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The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life Paperback – 2 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne (2 Feb 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061432695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061432699
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 50,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything becomes like a read-along spiritual director, someone to prompt you with questions, redirect your gaze and help you, Martin says, to discern where God might be speaking to you. --USA Today

The book is a remarkable achievement. Enlivened with Jesuit humor and touching personal anecdotes, it lends itself well to a wide audience -- to all who believe that spirituality is a fundamental human dimension and who wish to develop the spiritual dimension in their own lives. Martin deliberately casts his net as widely as possible, aiming to reach not only the devout but also those who believe in God without ties to institutions of worship, those on the way back to a community of faith, as well seekers, doubters and the puzzled.... A fundamental lesson of Martin's book is that a mature spirituality is within everyone's grasp.... The spirituality of The Jesuit Guide is without a doubt Christian in a manifestly Jesuit key. To read the guide is to be on an enlightening Jesuit retreat. Christians and those who want to be Christian, but perhaps not yet, will find the book most appealing... Martin comes across not so much as the consummately wise the retreat director but as a fellow retreatant who gladly offers what he has learned from his own experiences and from the wisdom of his Jesuit spiritual directors. The frequent autobiographical references provide a personal touch that establishes a powerful bond with readers.... Readers receive a sound training and Ignatian spirituality. They learn to find God in and to pray out of their experiences, thoughts and desires. Martin is a compelling teacher... The Jesuit Guide bestows a double gift. Not simply an accessible introduction to Jesuit spirituality, it also introduces us to cloud of Jesuit witnesses: Saints, spiritual writers, psychologists and other seers, who have inspired Martin and whom he repeatedly invokes the purposes of illustration and libration. Readers may be equally inspired. --The Tablet

Writing beautifully, and with frequent touches of humor, James Martin, SJ, shows us what he's learned in religious life, and in the process offers us a rich spiritual feast. --U.S. Catholic (Editor's Top Pick of the Month)

An excellent introduction to Jesuit spirituality for a general reader.... [Martin's] writing is accessible, comprehensive, and often humorous. --Commonweal

Writing beautifully, and with frequent touches of humor, James Martin, SJ, shows us what he's learned in religious life, and in the process offers us a rich spiritual feast. --U.S. Catholic (Editor's Top Pick of the Month)

An excellent introduction to Jesuit spirituality for a general reader.... [Martin's] writing is accessible, comprehensive, and often humorous. --Commonweal

Writing beautifully, and with frequent touches of humor, James Martin, SJ, shows us what he's learned in religious life, and in the process offers us a rich spiritual feast. --U.S. Catholic (Editor's Top Pick of the Month)

An excellent introduction to Jesuit spirituality for a general reader.... [Martin's] writing is accessible, comprehensive, and often humorous. --Commonweal

About the Author

James Martin, SJ, interviewed on the new website Bigthink, answering all sorts of questions about poverty, chastity, Stephen Colbert, the papacy, what' s hip in spirituality, poetry, and the worst career advice he ever received. You can watch the video of James Martin , SJ, now!

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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

46 of 46 people found the following review helpful By P. Younger on 9 Dec 2010
Format: Hardcover
This very lucid and enjoyable book, which includes several "laugh out loud" moments, is a superb introduction to an approach to life which is at once practical and deeply contemplative. Much has been written about St Ignatius opf Loyola, the Jesuits and their approach to spirituality. However, I doubt there has ever been a clearer and more down-to-earth account, at full book length, than this volume. It quotes many of the other great works on Ignatian sprirutality anyway, so acts as a good gateway to the wider literature. I was already familiar with quite a few elements of Ignatian spirituality; this book filled in a lot of gaps and gave me a far deeper appreciation of all the major aspects. I particularly commend the exposé on "The Examen" - a daily exercise of counting your blessings and identifying where God was active in your life each day - as well as where you turned a blind eye or deaf ear to his presence. I've pasted the summary of the Examen from Fr Martin's book on my bedroom wall and using it has already greatly improved my gratitude for the here and now. I highly recommend this book to anyone remotely interested in what are, without wishing to sound morbid, truly matters of life and death - of a life well lived and well examined, and a death enfolded in hope.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophile on 2 Jun 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life

When I ordered this book I did not quite know what to expect. It was listed as a New York Times Bestseller, and sadly bestsellers on the topic of spirituality I have often found to be deadeningly superficial. However I was in for a surprise with this book, to an extent that I could hardly put it down. Just try to read the original text of Saint Ignatius Loyola's "Spiritual Exercises" and as Father Martin puts it in another context; snooze. However what Father Martin has achieved is to bring not only the Spiritual Exercises, but indeed the whole field of Ignatian Spirituality vividly to life. Further he has also managed this challenging task with both humour and deeply imbued humanity. Father Martin must be a wonderful person to know and what comes across is a very human person, with flaws very much like our own, but who through his twenty years as a Jesuit has learned to recognise God's presence and activity in every area of his life. But it must be said that this is not simply a book to be read, but rather one to be experienced and experimented with. Speaking personally, I believe that this book for me has been life-changing insofar as it has transformed my way of praying. I have no reservations in recommending this book and if you do read it, I hope that you will find it as enriching and life enhancing for you as it has been for me. This is a book to be read and re-read, and with each re-reading I suspect that deeper layers of meaning will emerge. I believe that this book will become a spiritual classic.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By foxglove on 5 April 2011
Format: Hardcover
If you feel the need for a guide to spirituality in this materialistic age, then try the Jesuit Guide. It's easy and informal style is the way in to a profoundly spiritual but acessible way to live at the present time. Moreover it's realistic about everyday life so that the busy person living in the world, not hived away in a monastery, can find realistic advice here. But be careful - it may change your life.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By MARK BRYANT on 10 Mar 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent introduction to Ignatius and his spirituality. The only reason it does not get five stars as I think the author is a bit muddled as to whom he is writing for. Is iot peoplewithout faith or those well into it. I belong to the latter category and enjoyed it very much indeed and have given quite a number as gifts
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Richard.H.John on 25 Mar 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Essential not only for spiritual life but very much for all aspects of life. so please do read and recommend.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By SL Garner on 6 Feb 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I would recommend this book to anyone wishing to go more deeply into their spiritual life , it is his humour that was most endearing and the common sense that underlies his writing .
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Warren on 2 Nov 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
James Martin's book on Jesuit spirituality is a well written resume of the ideas and aims of the order.
Jesuits are sometimes liked , sometimes hated and sometimes feared within the Church and outside. This book gives an understanding of the manner and direction of the pattern of thought that has led to the success of the Jesuit order throughout the world. Many of the ideas stemming from Ignatian spirituality would be comfortable within the current school of cognitive psychology and the concepts of written consideration of alternatives and their analysis is widely used in current therapeutics. History shows that the Jesuits used these ideas long before the modern era.
Written from a personal perspective the book is an engaging , informative and extremely helpful guide to an education in an elite and powerful order within the Church . Thoroughly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cynthia Danute Cekauskas, LCSW on 9 May 2012
Format: Hardcover
I first became aware of this book when it was featured on some television talk show I had been watching. I must admit at first I was disappointed because I thought it was going to be a much lighter read perhaps even a humorous account of some religious blunders a certain religious order had been found guilty of. On the contrary, I found the book to be very thoughful in nature, deep and philosophical. At first it intrigued me intellectually. Father Martin begins by informing the reader how the Catholic religious order of the Jesuits was founded by a recuperating soldier (Inigo de Loyola) in mid-sixteenth century Spain. Inigo, whose name in Latin is Ignatius, was ordained in 1537 and founded the Society of Jesus, officially approved by Pope Paul III, in 1540. What I personally liked was that although Ignatius "counseled the Jesuits always to carve out time for prayer, they were expected to lead active lives...they were to be active people who adopted a contemplative, or meditative stance to the world. The "contemplative in action", according to St. Ignatius Loyola, "not only contemplates the active world and sees wonderful things but also sees in those wonderful things signs of God's presence and activity. The contemplative in action is deeply aware of God's presence even in the midst of a busy life. It is a stance of awareness. Awareness of God."

The more I read this book the more I liked it. My favorite chapters, for instance, Chapters Twelve "What Should I Do? The Ignatian Way of Making Decisions" and Thirteen "Be Who You Is! Work, Job, Career, Vacation...and Life." were in the second half of the book.

Father Martin has a remarkable ability to reach others through his writing in a most compassionate and understanding way. I truly believe this is a gift he received from God.
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