January 26, 2011

Book Review: The Prayer That Changes Everything

Reviewed by Meredith Gould (@meredithgould) who was thrilled to receive this book as a review copy from Loyola Press.


The Prayer that Changes Everything:
Discovering the Power of St. Ignatius Loyola's Examen
Jim Manney
Loyola Press (2011)
Paper: 85 pps.

Read the 1st chapter online!

In his new book, The Prayer that Changes Everything, Jim Manney provides a highly engaging guide to the examen created by St. Ignatius Loyola during the 16th century.

Yes, I'm admittedly smitten by Ignatian spirituality and have a "thing" for the fine folks at Loyola Press. But that's not why I urge members and visitors of @Virtual_Abbey to include this book in their personal libraries. The examen is a spiritual discipline that takes nothing from, and will add a lot to, praying the Daily Office.

The examen is both a structured contemplative prayer practice and a way of viewing the world. At the core of Ignatian spirituality is the ongoing and grateful awareness that God is in all things, everywhere and at all times. All things. Everywhere. At all times. It provides a way to embrace this spiritual reality but, as Manney explains, the examen is "actually an attitude more than a method, a time set aside for thankful reflection on where God is in your everyday life."

If you've ever tried completing the Spiritual Exercises and then given up on engaging in a daily examen, this book will help you re-discover the value of this prayer practice. The Prayer That Changes Everything puts the examen in simple (but not simplistic) terms. In delightfully readable text, Manney provides examples of how this centuries-old prayer can help us encounter God in contemporary life. This is a book to keep nearby — on your desk at work, bedside or tucked into a pocket — long after you've finished reading it.

6 comments:

Brenda said...

Great review. Love the attitude of prayer more than a method.

Sue said...

Meredith,

I just looked at other reviews over on amazon after reading this review and feel inspired to give the examen another try...

"At the core of Ignatian spirituality is the ongoing and grateful awareness that God is in all things, everywhere and at all times." I agree with this--when I first read the word "panentheism", I say "YES!!! That's what I am." Ignatian spirituality is profoundly panentheistic--not pantheistic where everything is God--but panENtheistic, where God is IN all things--and all of us exist within God...

It's just that my prior attempts at the examen got really self-condemnatory. Instead of where was God in your life today it got to "I was too busy to notice God today and I'm just a horrid person for this" and I'd just dive into the chocolate... more unconsciousness rather than more consciousness! So I'll look for this book and give it a go....

Colleen Fahey said...

Great review Meredith! I hope you are doing well.

Fran said...

I just got the book as a gift and cannot wait to read it!

TULLIUS said...

Very interesting. I visited the Rooms of St. Ignatius in Rome in September. A man who walked the walk.

TULLIUS said...

Interesting. I was in the rooms of St. Ignatius when I visited Rome in September. Encourage everyone to go there. This was a man who walked the walk.