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The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life

4.33  ·  Rating Details ·  3,249 Ratings  ·  372 Reviews
St. Ignatius to the Rescue!

St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit Order, was known forhis practical spirituality. Now, Father James Martin translatesIgnatius's insights for a modern audience, revealing how we canfind God in our everyday lives in often surprising ways.

Includes a new reading group guide and bonus material
Paperback, 436 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 2010)
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Brian Any books by Fr. James Martin would likely be helpful, in addition to the Ignatius Spiritual Excercises. This book also makes reference to a number of…moreAny books by Fr. James Martin would likely be helpful, in addition to the Ignatius Spiritual Excercises. This book also makes reference to a number of books that would be helpful in exploring this topic.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Theresa Leone Davidson
Let me preface my review by saying that, despite being almost completely educated by Catholics (only high school was public for me, and the second time I went to graduate school, that college wasn't Catholic), and despite my parents being devout and attending Mass every week, I never had a blind faith in either the church or in God. However, as an adult, I made a conscious decision that God in my life only made my life better, that I was a happier, more fulfilled person because of my faith. Now, ...more
Derek Emerson
Religious, and specifically Christian, books can be a challenging lot. On the one hand there are plenty of great theological texts to read (Augustine, Aquinas, Calvin, Rahner, Barth, etc), but suffice it to say they are not the type of book you curl up with at the end of the day. On the other hand, there are too many "Christian-lite" books (I'll be nice and not name names) which touch on Christian themes, but lack the depth to really challenge the faithful.

With his rather bold title, The Jesuit
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booklady
Father’s Martin’s book is what it claims to be—a ‘spirituality for real life’. It’s an immensely practical ‘guide to discovering how God can be found in every dimension of your life. How God can be found in everything. And everyone, too.’ Martin’s writing is humorous, light-hearted and easy-to-read. And it’s a book you can feel comfortable recommending to people from widely varied backgrounds—as the numerous positive reviews here on GRs indicate.

As a guide, it could be used on one’s own or even
...more
Michael John
Jun 25, 2012 Michael John rated it it was amazing
Let me just start by saying that this book kept me from leaving my lifelong Catholic faith on two occasions. Fr. Martin has written a book that reminds us of the good that is in Christian faith, especially Catholicism, in a time filled with troubles. He makes the teachings of the Jesuits easily comprehensible and applicable to everyone's life. I especially remember section on finding God in everything (not to be confused with worshiping everything). Fr. Martin's book also reminds us of the impor ...more
Jose
Aug 23, 2010 Jose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. My only criticism would have to do with a bit of the "writing from a bubble" that one can perceive in passages where the story seems to be more about the effect on oneself than on the people involved. A very Zen attitude that is common in writings from people in large communities or sheltered by them. The very reason why I would never trust spiritual advice from wealthy people.
However, Jesuits themselves are not wealthy and , of all religious orders, they tend to be a lot more en
...more
Justin
Feb 18, 2014 Justin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. To be honest, I've carried a very negative view of the Catholic faith/tradition for much of my life, based on what I've seen in the news (child abuse scandal), and people that I know that identify Catholic. Then again, a lot of other people who identify as Christians, in whichever way they practice, don't do a great job of representing their beliefs/denomination.

That being said, learning about the Jesuits was extremely refreshing. I love how academic they are, contemplative,
...more
Tiff
Feb 28, 2015 Tiff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not since J. K. Rowling have I ever wanted to write to an author so much. I want to thank James Martin for seemingly comforting me during one of my darkest times. I've always viewed myself as Agnostic ever since high school ended and I have felt too many times that God has distanced himself from me through the years. Why hasn't God been helping me and such questions arose.

For this FY15, I really wanted to understand more about God and about spirituality in general to help me with my current iss
...more
Cristina
Feb 15, 2014 Cristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spirituality
Fr. Jim says Ignatian spirituality is simply about finding God in all things. And prayer is a long, loving look at the era.

His book takes the reader through the life of Saint Ignatius and his own experiences to show that common events and common longings are where God may be found. Savoring things, naming your desires--these allow moments of contemplation.

Fr. Jim quotes Anthony de Mello: 'You sanctify whatever you are grateful for.' and Father Keenan: 'Sin is often a failure to bother.'

Maggie
my first ebook read ... bookmarks and notes are easy. yay. saving those trees! eye-ease seems okay. still working on the best print size for me. content is excellent. excellent. excellent. a help on the journey for SURE. recommended. this book marks the beginning of my immersion into the ignatian discernment process and ignatian spirituality. thank you, james martin.
Andy
Jun 19, 2013 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps my biggest takeaway from this book is the idea that as we grow older, we must develop a "new" relationship with God. That is to say, far too many of us are introduced to God or religion by our parents while we are still to young to truly comprehend the magnitude of the concepts we are being taught. Many Christians never grow out of this phase and move forward with blind faith. Equally troubling is that once we reach adulthood, many of us turn away from the "dumbed-down" religious princip ...more
Edward
Feb 28, 2011 Edward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went to a Jesuit college half a century ago and while I vaguely recall the sequence of the required courses in religion and philosophy (based on Thomas Aquinas' medieval scholasticism), carefully arranged as if they were a permanent pipeline to the TRUTH, the actual content of the courses has pretty much evaporated.
What stands out, though, was the dreaded “orals” examination in which a trembling student appeared in front of a panel of three Jesuits to answer questions about his knowledge of
...more
Katie
Jan 19, 2011 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book.

Admittedly, I am probably predisposed to like this book because 1) I am Catholic; 2) I work for the Catholic Church and love spiritual writing; 3) I am fascinated with the charisms of the mendicant orders; 4) I am familiar with Fr. Jim's writings from his work in America magazine and have a favorable view of it. So, I started biased.

The book offers a very approachable look at St. Ignatius Loyola's spirituality. And as the title suggests, it delivers on providing a spiritualit
...more
Bomalabs
Feb 14, 2013 Bomalabs rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Maybe I'm a bit biased, I have this impression that Jesuits are really sincere, practical and accessible with their Faith, with the Catholic Faith. Sometimes religion/faith/Christianity tends to be too "up-there", too symbolic, too superficial, or too showy. It's something that I admire and really wanted to learn about, which is why I got this book in the first place.

There might be some topics that can be too expounded upon, but then maybe the Author really wanted the reader to understand how a
...more
Ken
Feb 14, 2013 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-written and thorough as all get-out. Approachable. Includes a sense of humor (always nice). Lots of practical stuff, too, like how to make decisions the way St. Ignatius did. Some history, some self-help, some religion, some philosophy, and some memoir-ish touches. The memoirish part is repetitive if you read My Life With the Saints, a book I enjoyed more only because it kept changing topics as Martin went from saint to saint and connected their experiences with his own. Still, I cannot fau ...more
Amy
May 15, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed immersing myself in this book. James Martin, SJ does a wonderful job of conveying the message of spirituality in a way that is enriching for christians, jews, buddhists, muslims. It will help you in your journey towards a closer relationship with God. It also provides a spiritual roadmap to help you with more thoughtful decision-making, better relationships and an understanding of the spiritual exercises as set forth over 450 years ago by the founder of the Society of Jesus (aka ...more
Robert Snow
May 04, 2013 Robert Snow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jesuits think on a different level than the general public and it is very evident in this book. We read this for our Catholic Men's group and it took us forever to read. The interesting thing about this book was many of the practices were not new, I just didn't know that other people thought in the same way. This can be a very helpful book to many people unfamiliar with St. Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises. The "Examen" portion and the five steps at the end of the day I found the most in ...more
Jp Bagatsing
Apr 14, 2013 Jp Bagatsing rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything is a nice book and recommended to be read by ordained ministers(bishop, priests, nuns, etc.) and even by ordinary people.

Fr. James Martin, SJ discusses in this book on the secrets of living the Ignatian Spirit that was pass down from the Jesuit founder himself St. Ignatius of Loyola to the present Jesuits around the world.

It is nice that the writer of this book allowed us to gain access of the life of a Jesuit and allowing us to practice their ways even th
...more
Thom
Feb 22, 2013 Thom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
I started reading this at roughly the same time as The Sparrow. What I learned here shed an interesting light on that book, which didn't fare well by comparison. I learned more of Jesuits and Ignatian spirituality here than I did at my Jesuit college - but then I had other focuses at the time.
This book is very accessible and covers both history and practices in a clear stepwise fashion. The narrative illustrates these steps neatly as well. Even though I was often interrupted, I found it easy to
...more
Grace
Oct 26, 2011 Grace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The retired bishop of my diocese recommended this book during the closing Mass of my Cursillo retreat weekend. It's packed with practical, easy-to-understand advice and anecdotes for living the Ignatian spiritual path, which Jesuit priests and brothers live. The author says you don't have to be a Jesuit, a Catholic, or even a Christian to benefit from this way of living. I found the chapters on meditation and poverty (i.e. living a simple life) most thought-provoking and helpful.
Arlien
Dec 28, 2012 Arlien rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition


This is a book I mean to read over and over again. I was moved in more than a few occasions. In this world where we are faced with many challenges in our journey, it is good to know that others have walked the same or a similar distance and that there is a helpful guide to help us through and along it...
Claire Gilligan
Jan 26, 2015 Claire Gilligan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty good! Definitely accessible to beginners, yet covers all the important facets of developing a spiritual life, for believers at any level. Looks at everything from an explicitly Jesuit perspective, so once I stopped muttering under my breath "Not just Jesuits! Also Franciscans! And Dominicans! etc", I came to quite enjoy it.
Thadeus
Aug 07, 2013 Thadeus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very well done book on the spiritual life. I learned much about St. Ignatius and the examen. The author did a great job of providing concrete examples and practical tips and explanations. I would highly recommend this book to anyone seeking a better relationship with our Lord.
MaryAnn
So so good. I can't wait to pore over my notes and highlights!

Incidentally, thanks to this book I feel like I understand and respect Pope Francis even more than I did before.
Jm Deblois
Mar 01, 2013 Jm Deblois rated it it was amazing
Jesuit spirituality at its most accessible. It does help so much in discernment. :)
Tim Cigelske
Jul 31, 2016 Tim Cigelske rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To me, this book feels less like a "guide" and more like conversations. I could almost picture myself sitting on the patio over beers with Father Jim, and asking him about topics like the existence of God, faith and non-belief, stress at work, struggling to balance work and family, and other problems we all think about or face.

I appreciate that Father Jim never says, "This is the RIGHT answer." Rather, he offers up what Jesuit founder Ignatius wrote, what the church teaches, what we can learn f
...more
Mike Finucane
Jul 11, 2012 Mike Finucane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For newcomers to Ignatian Spirituality, Fr. Martin lays out the basic tenets with such simple, accessible language that one cannot help but try out Ignatian practices. His stories carry great weight and help illustrate his themes. The greatest success in the book lies in Martin's honesty and genuineness. He shares his struggles in a non-condescending way to connect with his readers. There's something here for a great variety of people: atheists, agnostics, religious, Christian, Catholic, and pra ...more
Joel Wentz
Let me be clear: this is a good book! More than anything, I appreciated the down-to-earth and intensely practical tone, which Martin is becoming known and appreciated for. The book is thoroughly based on the writings and teaching of Ignatius of Loyola (which makes sense, as it is written by an active Jesuit priest) and I walked away with a much deeper understanding and appreciation of Ignatius' contribution to Christian tradition. I also loved the ways Martin addressed very real concerns of dail ...more
Alex Baker
Mar 01, 2013 Alex Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to explore their faith or spirituality in more depth. I've been reading some more spiritually- and religiously-inclined books recently, and some have really spoken to me while others have totally turned me off. This one falls firmly in the former category.
I think the thing I enjoyed so much about it is Martin's approach to spirituality. I thought he deftly walked the line of pushing the reader to question themself and go out
...more
Cassidy Stinson
Fr. James Martin's book came highly recommended to me, and I honestly expected to love it. In retrospect, however, I believe this approach to the work's easily discernible subject matter - namely, applied Jesuit spirituality - is integrally flawed. Martin attempts in his writing to divest "Jesuit" spirituality as much as he can from anything that is overtly Roman Catholic, which he claims is intended to make said spirituality accessible to people outside of Catholicism itself. Unfortunately, a J ...more
Jack Perry
Feb 03, 2014 Jack Perry rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The word spirituality can send up warning flags-close minds, threaten your beliefs and prejudice your mind-set. OK, you are warned, this is a brilliantly written book that gives you an opportunity to examine spirituality for real life. It is not a hard-sell on the Catholic Way, but rather a way to see, live and have spirituality as a focus in your life. The author, James Martin, SJ with his wit and personal perspective will engage you in a spiritual conversation and make his points with stories ...more
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James J. Martin, born 29 December 1960, is a Jesuit priest, writer and Culture Editor of the Jesuit magazine America.

Education and Career

Martin grew up in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States, and attended Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business in 1982 and worked in corporate finance at General Electric for six years.
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“Overall, being spiritual and being religious are both part of being in relationship with God. Neither can be fully realized without the other. Religion without spirituality can become a dry list of dogmatic statements divorced from the life of the spirit. This is what Jesus warned against. Spirituality without religion can become a self-centered complacency divorced from the wisdom of a community. That’s what I’m warning against. For St. Ignatius” 4 likes
“When John O’Malley was a Jesuit novice, an older priest told him three things to remember when living in community: First, you’re not God. Second, this isn’t heaven. Third, don’t be an ass.” 4 likes
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