ASK FATHER: Solid books about Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit teaching without the crazy stuff

From a reader…


Thank you for all you do Father. I’ve always been a big fan of St Ignatius of Loyola and what the Jesuits once were. I’m also equally appalled at what they have become. Growing up the Benedictine nuns were teachers at our school in ___ (in full traditional habit) and our priest was a solid Irish Monsignor who resisted the innovations and gave us solid instructions and always remarked how St Ignatius would tackle a problem sparking my life long interest. My question is do you know where we can find or even titles I should look for on solid book about Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit teaching prior to when they went sideways? Every search I do always leads me to the plaid shirt wushu washy modern Jesuits and for the life of me I can’t seem to find much written prior to their demise as a solid order. I’m positive if anyone knows it’s you and your network. Thanks for everything in advance.

While I had a few ideas of my own, I figured it best to reach out to a Jesuit priest friend who would give reliable counsel.  This is what he responded.

I would probably recommend All My Liberty – Theology of the Spiritual Exercises by John Hardon, S.J. It serves as a good introduction.
I would also recommend The Spiritual Writings of Pierre Favre The Memoriale and Selected Letters and Instructions. Ignatius considered St. Peter to be the best at giving the Exercises.
Finally, the best contemporary writer on Ignatian spirituality is not a Jesuit, but an O.M.V., Timothy Gallagher. I would recommend his books as sound and very worth reading.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Roy says:

    Fr Robert McTeigue has a good book out Real Philosophy for Real People: Tools for Truthful Living published by Ignatius Press. He is neither wishy nor washy. For individual work with the Spiritual Exercises I strongly recommend the adapted version edited by Fr Sean Salai, SJ. And anything by Fr Gallagher is solid and useful the pair of The Examen Prayer and Discernment of Spirits will set you up admirably.
    He is Risen!

  2. jdejak says:

    The reader can’t go wrong with the Servant of God Fr. Walter J. Ciszek, S.J. His books are a must as an authentic expression of what it means to be a son of Ignatius. _With God in Russia_ (1964) is the story of his heroic odyssey as a missionary in Russia to help beleaguered Christians suffering under communism, his subsequent arrest and time in solitary confinement and then the gulag; _He Leadeth Me_ (1973) are the spiritual lessons he learned from that odyssey. Finally in 2016 was published _With God in America: The Spiritual Legacy of an Unlikely Jesuit_ is a posthumous collection of Ciszek’s writings from his time back in the States from 1963 to his death in 1984. His writings are especially poignant on guiding souls through the tumultuous post-Vatican II period, where he was a rock of faith. Solid stuff “for the greater glory of God.”

  3. Sportsfan says:

    I am currently reading
    Ignatian Meditations, A Perspective From Tradition.
    by Father Jeffery Jambon
    published by Romanitas Press

    I find it very edifying. There is not much Jesuit teaching but plenty of solid Ignatian spirituality.

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