I found it very rewarding, and a very workable introduction to Ignatian spirituality, but without enough of the history and direct drawing from St. Ignatius to make me feel I have really connected to his process. I now hope to go back to more original works of the great Jesuit father to gain more insight and to put what I have learned into action. I recognized elements I was familiar with like the concept of the paradigm shift from Stephen Covey, the realization that between stimulus and response there is a space or moment in which we can make a choice on how we respond from Victor Frankl, and the reality and survival of shipwrecks of faith from Sharon Daloz Parks. In that way, the book is a true success.
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Shelves: grey-room , own This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I found it very rewarding, and a very workable introduction to Ignatian spirituality, but without enough of the history and direct drawing from St. Ignatius to make me feel I have really connected to his process. I now hope to go back to more original works of the great Jesuit father to gain more insight and to put what I have learned into action.
The entire work provides a guide to viewing life as a spiritual journey and gives tangible ways to reflect on and share that life and more importantly to see the "God-in-the-other" in all we encounter. I recognized elements I was familiar with like the concept of the paradigm shift from Stephen Covey, the realization that between stimulus and response there is a space or moment in which we can make a choice on how we respond from Victor Frankl, and the reality and survival of shipwrecks of faith from Sharon Daloz Parks.
In that way, the book is a true success. I found through my LBC that many of the visualizations did not work for everyone, but everyone was able to connect to at least one or two of the major imagery-segments that Silf provided. For me, the most poignant moments were those in which Silf recognizes evil in our fallen world, that our failings and weaknesses are real but are part of what God is using to bring his goodness and kingdom into the world. I appreciated the ability to recognize that almost everything can be offered in some prayer-like way.
And I especially loved the suggestions for further reflection at the end of each chapter calling us to explore the psalms, experience the walk to Emmaus, comparing bees and spiders and seeing ourselves in both! Recognizing our own fallenness can really be very sad, but Silf does not let it immobilize us.
She draws out the value of all we experience. As my father would say, "Suffering builds character", I imagine Silf would say "Suffering brings us closer to God" - or maybe "Suffering builds the Kingdom". I love the idea of the light of God and our choice to either face it and all it illuminates, both good and bad or to keep our backs to it allowing our line of sight to be darkened by our own shadow, creating a shadow that might darken the world for others, or worse, that the darkness of our creation will actually worsen the world.
I truly appreciated the advice from Igantius, to not make a decision to change our course while we are in a period of desolation, this has been very needed advice for me in the past weeks, and advice I was even able to impart to others without any religious overtones to help others consider and contemplate decisions instead of making them rashly.
And even allowed me to recognize when others did make rash and regretful decisions. There is great value in the chapter on Tracking Our Moods. Silf provides real tools in recognizing the triggers for both our desolations and consolations and I find this to be of great value lots of underlines and highlights! And of even more value are the practices she introduces to recognize our deep desires, and how uncomfortable they might really be, but once glimpsed, how uncomfortable our current status or situation becomes.
And then comes the realization, that whether we like it or not God really is answering our prayers, we just need to realize it.
And in the end, we can recognize the call to be more fully converted, no matter how close we think we are already. In closing, I have to say that I think Ms. Silf stops short from really challenging us. We are certainly challenged to view ourselves differently, but she is very gentle in what we do next with that, there is not enough emphasis on how to then take these new realizations and exercises and push ourselves to a new level.
I did read his autobiography while at Fordham for grad school, maybe I should revisit it Most certainly Silf relates, in an understandable and moving way, that God is with us in the dark and trying times, as much as he is with us in the times of consolation. That, if we stay close to him, we are consecrated in him, and then every time we are broken a little, every time we "die a little to self" we are able to move closer to him, to his suffering, and with each break and sacrifice we are giving to others in some measure.
Deep stuff, hard to fathom and even harder to accept for those of us who are already hard on ourselves. Lastly, if you do journey through this book, I would love to know how you would define "the gap" that Silf describes, in your own words.
Our LBC struggled over this and in the end we decided to move on and not force the definition, but the fruit of that part of our conversation was very valuable. Shall we share more conversations? Follow me seekingwisdomsharing.
Inner Compass: An Invitation to Ignatian Spirituality
Books by Margaret Silf
BOOK REVIEW – Inner Compass by Margaret Silf