The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything by James Martin, SJ

Chapter 1 - A Way of Proceeding

  • Basics of Ignatian Spirituality:

    • Finding God in all things

    • Contemplative in action

    • Incarnational spirituality - God is incarnate

    • Freedom and detachment

  • "No part of life cannot be transformed by God's love…God writes straight with crooked lines" (12).
  • The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola:

    • Week 1 - Gratitude for God's gifts, and looking at our sinfulness

    • Week 2 - Meditations from the NT on the life of Jesus

    • Week 3 - Jesus' Passion

    • Week 4 - Jesus' Resurrection

Chapter 2 - The Six Paths

  • Answer the question, "How do I find God?"
  • The Six Paths

    • Belief - faith always a part of their lives



      • danger - inability to understand others on other paths; temptation to judge; complacency



    • Independence - separate from religion but still believe

    • Disbelief - God may not, does not, or cannot exist

    • Return - childhood background of faith, which is lost, but eventually seek to return

    • Exploration - seeking something that "fits"



      • American Explorers include Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman



    • Confusion - crosses all other paths at various points

  • Spirituality without religion: the value of religion is that it helps you "connect and correct"
  • Finding God in all things

    • believing that God communicates with you through the little things

    • --> requires awareness

    • God is larger than the Church

Chapter 3 - Desire and the Spiritual Life

  • naming our desires tells us about who we are and helps us to when we receive their fulfillment
  • desire often has its roots in incompletion; want something more; "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you." - St. Augustine (64).

    • our hearts have a "God-shaped hole"

  • God is found the the simple things - often simple desires
  • "Every time that I have gone up in an airplane and looking down have realized that I was free of the ground, I have had the consciousness of a great new discovery. 'I see:' I have thought, 'This was the idea. And now I understand everything.'" (Out of Africa by Isak Dinesen)
  • "Dying is about becoming more human" (79).
  • "…finding God and being found by God are the same" (80)

Chapter 4 - Finding God and Letting God Find You

  • The Examen:

    • Give Thanks

    • Ask for grace to know my sins and rid myself of them

    • Examine your day step by step

    • Ask for pardon for your sins

    • Resolve to amend your sins

  • Modified Examen

    • Gratitude: recall anything from the day for which you are particularly grateful

    • Review: recall your day step by step especially where you felt God's presence

    • Sorrow: recall your sins

    • Forgiveness: ask for forgiveness for your sins

    • Grace: ask for God's grace for the next day

Chapter 5 - Beginning to Pray

Chapter 6 - Friendship With god

  • "Prayer is the conversation that happens in a personal relationship with God" (115).
  • "Knowing God is more important than knowing about God." (Karl Rahner)
  • If you want to know God, get to know Jesus.

    • and get to know the saints - "they are a clean window through which the light of God can shine" (120)

  • Aristotle believed we become like the object of our contemplation (140)
  • Preaching to the Converted

Chapter 7 - God meets you where you are

  • Lectio Divina - read, meditate, pray, act

    • what does the text say

    • what is God saying to me through the text?

    • what do you want to say to God about the text?

    • what do you want to do based on your prayer?

  • Centering Prayer

    • negative - more "content free"

    • Three steps



      • quiet down


      • repeat a single word


      • gently return to that word if we become distracted by anything



Chapter 8 - The Simple Life

  • simplicity moves us away from disordered attachment
  • Notes from Dean Brackley's "Downward Mobility:"

    • consumer culture is primarily individualistic

    • we are temped to consume to relieve insecurity

    • leads to the ladder of society, with some higher than others

    • show our status through job titles, possessions, credentials, etc.

    • we gradually interiorize these external measures

    • top of ladder is a mythical figure, bottom is the homeless

    • competition becomes the guiding force for social life

    • one's security depends on climbing

    • social model is not just a ladder, but a pyramid

    • no everyone can be on top

    • social class, race, etc. lead to further divisions

    • competition breeds mistrust and fear

  • Lord of the Rings as a means of understanding Ignatius' use of the metaphor of battle between good and evil

    • "riches to honors to price" (190)

  • voluntary poverty reminds us to help the poor - "extra coat hanging in your closet belongs not to you; it belongs to a poor person" (195).
  • "living simply means that one needs less and takes less from the world, and is therefore more able to give to those who live in poverty. Living simply can aid the poor." (197).
  • being poor brings us closer to God (201)
  • How to live simply:

    • Get rid of whatever you don't need

    • Distinguish between needs and wants

    • Get rid of things you think you need, but can actually live without

    • Get to know the poor

  • Poverty of spirit means accepting that we are powerless to change certain aspects of our lives (206)
  • There Degrees of Humility

    • First Degree: always obedient to the law of God - live a moral life

    • Second Degree: seek detachment when making decisions in life

    • Third Degree: you actually choose the most humble way in imitation of Christ

Chapter 9 - Chastity

  • Arrupe quote about falling in love (219)
  • "Love ought to maintain itself more by deeds than words." (Ignatius, 220)
  • love cannot be owned
  • How to love/grow in chastity:

    • listen compassionately

    • be present

    • do something practical

    • love freely

    • forgive

    • pray

Chapter 10 - Friendship and Love

  • the times when you are most tempted to move away from your friends are precisely the times when you most need those relationships and need to cultivate them (251)
  • good friends know about each other's lives
  • if God is at the center of a relationship there's always more room for others

Chapter 11 - Obedience

  • from latin root meaning to hear
  • "Poverty frees you to live dimly and frees you from worry about material possessions. Chastity frees you to love people freely and move around more easily. Obedience frees you from excessive self-interest, careerism, and pride and allows you to respond more really to the larger needs of the community" (270)

Chapter 12 - Making Decisions

  • The Three Times

    • First Time - decision comes without doubt

    • Second Time - less clear initially



      • live for a few days as if you've made decision and see how it feels



    • Third Time - less clear; Ignatius give us two methods



      • First Method - relies on reason





        • put yourself in prayer



        • identify the ultimate objectives



        • ask God for help to move your heart toward the better decision



        • make a list of positive and negative outcomes



        • pray about your list



        • ask for confirmation from God about your decision





      • Second Method - relies of imagination





        • imagine giving advice to someone you don't know in the same situation



        • imagine yourself at the point of death



        • imagine yourself at the last judgement






  • during a time of desolation you should never make a significant decision because you are not with God

    • keeping a journal can be helpful because you can look back to when you were close with God

  • Three ways the enemy works (333)

    • like a spoiled child

    • like a false lover

    • like an army commander - attacks the weakest point

  • remember there is no perfect outcome, and we need to be ok with the imperfection

Chapter 13 - Vocation

  • universal call to holiness - everyone has a vocation
  • "Vocation overarches our work, jobs, and career and extends to the kind of person we hope to become. It is what we are called to do and who we are called to be" (342).
  • desire plays a role - find our vocations through our natural longings
  • "Vocation is less about finding one and more about having it revealed to you, as you pray to understand what I want and desire" (343).
  • find God in your work, particularly in the people around you
  • we are like leaven (Mt. 13:33) with the people around us and a small change/influence can make a big difference (355)
  • Four Pillars of Jesuit Leadership

    • Self-awareness: reflection, action, reflection

    • Ingenuity

    • Love

    • Heroism

  • "Great works are often quiet works" (371).
  • dignity of work; co-creators; acceptance of failure; reliance on God
  • Becoming yourself

    • remember God loves you

    • realize God loves you as an individual

    • accept your desires, skills, and talents as given to you by God

    • avoid the temptation to compare yourself with others

    • move away from actions the are sinful and toward ones that make you more compassionate

    • trust that God will help you because he desires the best for you

    • recognize that this is a long process that takes time

Chapter 14 - The Contemplative in Action

  • Summary of Ignatian Spirituality: "Contemplatives in action seek to find God in all things by looking at the world in an incarnational way, and , in their quest, they realized their desire for freedom and detachment, which help them move even closer to God" (392)

Books Fr. Martin refers to:
* With God in Russia by Walter J. Ciszek, S.J.*
* A Friendship Like No Other by William A. Barry
* 2014-12-10-The Seven Storey Mountain by Thomas Merton* (first book he read after watching the documentary)
* Habits of the Heart by Robert Bellah
* Mariette in Ecstasy
* The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed by Katherine Dyckman*
* Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignation Spirituality
* The Selfless Way of Christ
* Nothing to be Frightened Of
* Guidelines for Mystical Prayer
* Surprised by Joy by C. S. Lewis
* Out of Africa
* God and you: Prayer as a Personal Relationship
* How Can I Find God?
* Dead Man Walking
* Days of Deepening Friendship
* So Long, See You Tomorrow
* God's Mechanics by Guy J. Consolmagno
* A Friendship Like No Other
* She Who Is
* Sketches of God
* Mother Theresa: Come Be My Light
* Cloud of Unknowing
* Finding Grace at the Center
* Birth: A Guide for Prayer
* The Cloister Walk
* The Progress Paradox
* Following Christ in a Consumer Society
* Together for Mission
* ~The Lord of the Rings
* Harry Potter
* The Discernment of Spirits
* The Screwtape Letters
* The First Jesuits*
* Poverty of Spirit
* Draw me into your friendship
* Stretched for greater glory
* One Jesuits Spiritual Journey
* In Pursuit of Love
* 2021-12-08-He Leadeth Me by Walter J. Ciszek, S.J.
* Talking about god
* why do we suffer
* The day Christ died
* Eyes to see, ears to hear
* Heroic Leadership
* Wise Choices
* A Time to keep silent
* Eyes to see, ears to hear
* Crazybusy: overstretched, overbooked, and about to snap
* why we hate us
* Power and secret of the Jesuits


Created: 2013-10-21
Updated: 2022-02-24-Thu