Friday, July 20, 2007

Care of the Self and Others: Chapters 4 and 5

In these chapters, our authors discuss the many obstacles and need for balance between the individual spiritual life and the need to reach out to others. While it may be hard to imagine now, Ignatius had to warn the early Jesuits about dedicating too much time to isolated prayer and harsh penance. Our authors note an early attempt to strike a balance between "the tensions of desires with regard to union with God and service to neighbor." (pg 29) It was the particular Jesuit vision to find God in the world and in all things. However, our authors also note that "Friendships in general are risky, difficult to develop, and often messy." (pg 39). What are your own thoughts on this balance of finding time for yourself, while also being encouraged and supported through friendships? Does this mission of spirituality lead one to being "walked on" rather than asserting one's individual needs? What do you think of that type of spirituality that focuses on finding God in isolation and contemplation (like a cloister community)? What are some other themes or topics from these chapters that interested you? Remember to comment on each others posting as well.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

A God of Relationships: Chapters 2 and 3

We may note a theme in chapters 2 and 3 that Ignatius asserted a form of spirituality that finds God within human and divine relationships. This is different than a spirituality that sees God as an impersonal force or spirit. Examples are given in chapter 3 that early novices had tough experiences such as working in hospitals or going on long pilgrimages without resources (pg 21) in order to develop this trust and openness to God. What are your own reactions to this form of spirituality? What are the benefits and dangers of discerning God's presence within a broken world and at times difficult relationships? Feel free to pull from our own experiences or examples from the book that demonstrate your thinking.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Spirituality: Introduction to CONTEMPLATIVES IN ACTION

Our book opens with a discussion of what "spirituality" means. Our authors note that there are a variety of spiritual practices both within and beyond the Roman Catholic and Christian traditions. While the focus of this book will be an examination of Jesuit spirituality, I would be interested in reading your thoughts on what spirituality means to you.
Our authors note that spirituality can mean "the concrete ways that a person or group relates to life's ultimate questions" or more simply, spirituality can be "a pathway to God." (pgs 2) Newsweek did an interesting poll (August 29 - September 5, 2005: that showed a high number of Americans willing to define themselves as "spiritual," not necessarily "religious." How would you answer if asked to define yourself? What are the differences between "spiritual" and "religious?" Any other reactions to the introduction or other aspects of the book?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


This blog stems from students at Saint Joseph's University (Phildelphia, PA) who are taking a first level theology course entitled, "Introduction to the Christian Tradition."
Our discussions will be centered around our reading of Contemplatives in Action: The Jesuit Way by William Barry, SJ and Robert Doherty, SJ. However, we hope to encourage dialogue in this space from a number of people who are interested and invested in the history, theology, politics, and meaning(s) of Jesuit spirituality and education.