In light of the recent Home of the Mother of All Humanity, Mother of the Youth silent retreat, where retreatants were given the opportunity to experience guided meditations and to pray using an Ignatian style of prayer, there are three books written by Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, OMV that I thought would be of great interest. Fr. Gallagher has many years of experience with Ignatian style of prayer and spiritual direction, has led numerous retreats, and is an instructor at schools of spiritual direction (the two I am aware of are: Our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spiritual Direction in Clearwater, FL and the Lanteri Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Denver, Colorado.)
Each of these books will prove to be beneficial to those interested in learning more about the various insights of St. Ignatius of Loyola regarding prayer and traversing the spiritual life in route to union with the Lord. I will review one book here and the other two books in future issues of FFA.
Review of The Examen Prayer: Ignatian Wisdom for Our Lives Today, by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV
This book lays out and describes in practical detail the five steps associated with the Ignatian Examen Prayer: Gratitude, Petition, Review, Forgiveness, and Renewal. The Examen prayer is intended for daily use and is meant to take place within the context of a broader life of prayer. One is intended to be participating in regular dedicated times of prayer with scripture, as well as lifting their thoughts to the Lord throughout the day. The Examen prayer is meant to be a sort of daily inventory or review of the day. As the individual is faithful to this habitual daily prayer it provides the framework within which they are able to be attentive to how the Lord has been working in their life each day, the areas in which they must seek forgiveness, as well as the particular graces to seek from the Lord so as to achieve that which He wills for us. Fr. Gallagher does an excellent job of not only providing an intellectual explanation of this prayer, but also of tapping into his real-life experiences in spiritual direction to provide tangible and practical examples throughout the book.
One of the beautiful aspects of The Examen Prayer is its utility regardless of one’s place along the spiritual path; it is for beginners and veterans alike. Indeed, its utility only grows as one advances because of how they grow in perceptivity of the movements of the Holy Spirit. If one is already in the practice of making a daily examination of conscience, this prayer builds on that practice, incorporating recognition of the movements of the Holy Spirit within one’s daily life, in order to help them take positive action to bring their lives into greater conformity with the will of the Lord.
This book is 176 pages in length.
Article contributed by Christopher Fernandez