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The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living
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The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living

4.45 of 5 stars 4.45  ·  rating details  ·  195 ratings  ·  27 reviews
St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, is one of the most influential spiritual leaders of all time, yet many readers find his Rules for Discernment hard to understand. What can Ignatius teach us about the discernment of spirits that lies at the very heart of Christian life? In The Discernment of Spirits, Fr. Timothy Gallagher, a talented teacher, retreat leader, and
Paperback, 232 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Crossroad Pub. Co.
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This book isn't something one reads for pleasure or even information so much as for utility. St. Ignatius of Loyola—the author of the fourteen rules for discernment of spirits—was a soldier before he was a saint. He was into results. His style was spare and to the point. Think, math book or a tech manual—what it takes to get the job done.

In writing about Ignatius’s rules for discernment of spirits, Fr. Gallagher updates and expands them for us in a way I believe would please the soldier-saint.
Birney Bull
This is great stuff, if God uses these frequencies with you. (And maybe He doesn't, which is fine, but we all should at least know how to tune them in, in case the voice mail box needs emptying! I've felt all my life like there were messages there for me, but until this book, I really haven't known how to access them, and certainly not how to evaluate them.)
Kevin Estabrook
"Ignatius's fourteen rules constitute a program for progressive growth in discernment of spirits. A humble and persevering effort to live according to the wisdom of these rules, assisted by a spiritual guide and with trust in God's always sufficient grace, gradually forms the mature spiritual person, able to discern and overcome the deceptions of the enemy, faithfully fulfilling God's will, and growing in love. This is the goal of the discernment of spirits."

I read this one chapter a day as part
Halfway through this book I doubt I would have given it a 5-star rating, but about rule 9 something clicked. And then I went on a 72-hour silent retreat based on Saint Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises, of which these 14 Rules for Discernment are a part, kind of an appendix. For me, trying to understand and incorporate the Rules has a cumulative effect, they build upon each other. Now that I have a better lay of the land both for the Rules for Discernment and of how the entire Spiritual Exercises wo ...more
"The Discernment of Spirits" by Timothy Gallagher is life-changing book. For those who are already familiar with the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, or with his rules for spiritual discernment, this work will no doubt provide helpful commentary and reminders. For someone like myself, however, who was (mostly) unfamiliar with the works of St. Ignatius, Gallagher's book (and the related podcast interviews) will open up an entire new pathway for spiritual growth. The serious and devout student ...more
My spiritual director recommended this book to me (along with the two that follow, Spiritual Consolation and Discerning the Will of God), when I asked her to teach me about Ignatian spirituality. The Discernment of Spirits has served as a companion piece to her teaching and its application to my prayer life. This book has required some patience for me to read but has also been exactly what I needed at times. It assumes a daily life of prayer and that the reader is a disciple of Jesus. It has hel ...more
Apr 16, 2015 James added it
Shelves: leisure-reading
Although seemingly repetitive at times, this book is very easy to read, very useful in the spiritual life, and Fr. Gallagher seems to me to be gifted in his ability to give realistic and relatable examples that will help you significantly in being able to identify when which rules of Ignatius should be applied in your own life!
This book is a really useful book on the development of our ability to manage and understand the ebb and flow of our spiritual life. Focusing on practices from Ignatian spirituality, it has significant depth while providing practical applications which some books lack.

If you are serious about aggressively living your Christian faith this book is a must-read. It helps you establish a concrete means to make spiritual growth and maturity a priority...It is so principle centered and oriented toward
Dave Woods
Fr. Timothy Gallagher breaks down Ignatius' rules for discerning everyday living and "the larger picture" in lay man's terms, no pun intended. This is a must read for people who have oscillated between tough choices, seem stuck between a rock and hard place, need guidance and don't really want to listen to their idiot friends/relatives or want to listen to all of the above and the include the Man upstairs because He will have your innermost desires at the vanguard of His plan. He directly quotes ...more
If only I had read this book earlier....
This book was recommended to me by a Spanish priest (not a Jesuit) who thought that it would advance my spiritual development by leaps and bounds. It's too early to assess whether it did just that but it quite lucidly set out the stakes and expanded my awareness of the realm of spirits. It will move you to a deepening of the interior life and expand your awareness of your own self. If you are a Catholic seeking to grow in your love and worship of God this
A great introduction to the basics of Ignatian discernment of spirits. This book has helped me immensely, full of quotes from Ignatius's original writings.
Mark Donovan
One of the most enlightening Christian books I've ever read. It not only deepened my faith, but it is making me a happier - much of it having to do with me reading it at the exact right time in my life.
Fr. Kyle
Fr. Timothy Gallagher provides great practical insight on how apply St. Ignatius of Loyola's rules for discernment of spirits. He gives real world examples and breaks down each rule so that everyone can understand and apply to their spiritual life immediately.

I would suggest this to anyone.
This challenging read is not for everyone. It's written primarily for very faithful religious persons who are dedicated to their ministry. It does however describe very well the teachings of Ignatius and left me with some thoughts for deepening my own spiritual practice.
Melissa Y.
Life-changing...a book to revisit many times. Thank you to Fr. Gallagher for breaking open the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola and giving us a guide to discernment of spirits.
Joe Foley
This was an excellent book on a very difficult subject. It was slow reading - read a few pages and then think for hours. I will definitely be reading his next book on Spiritual Consolation.
Patti Clement
Loved the practicality of this book. My peer supervision group used this book one year for the study component of our meeting. I was truly blessed from the information contained in this book.
A guide to "the process by which we seek to distinguish between different kinds of spiritual stirrings in our hearts" (3). Very readable and extremely practical.
Written by Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV, this is an excellent reference for anyone seeking to learn more of Ignatian discernment.
Although its not one of those books you cant put down it is the most important book I have read on spirituality.
Very clear and usable introduction to the topic of discernment of spirits. I found it inspiring and useful.
A helpful guide to determine if you are on the right path when making decisions.
Elisabeth pifer
I'm revisiting this one for the umpteenth time always good to refresh is so called.
Superb synopsis of Ignatian spirituality
Adam Ybarra
Another "must have" for EVERY Catholic Christian
Best Spiritual book for your life.
quit reading this.....
Anna Sandstrom Ocds
Anna Sandstrom Ocds marked it as to-read
Oct 05, 2015
Karen Cowgill
Karen Cowgill marked it as to-read
Oct 04, 2015
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Brian Pasemco marked it as to-read
Oct 04, 2015
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you can't read just ONE of his books! :D
More about Timothy M. Gallagher...
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“in time of desolation never make a change, but be firm and constant in the proposals and determination in which one was the day preceding such desolation, or in the determination in which one was in the preceding consolation.” 1 likes
“in persons entrenched in serious sin the enemy ordinarily works on the imagination. He fills such persons’ imagination with images of “sensual delights and pleasures” awakening, consequently, an attraction toward these “delights and pleasures” which confirms them all the more in their “vices and sins.” This is the action of the enemy in the young Augustine: “In my youth I burned to get my fill of evil things.” A great energy is stirred in Augustine, an energy that leads him away from God and toward “sensual delights and pleasures.” 1 likes
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