Saint Ignatius Loyola—The Spiritual Writings: Selections Annotated & Explained

Excerpts from The Spiritual Exercises, his autobiography, and his collected letters and instructions provide direct insights from Ignatius about the role of humility, obedience, discernment, sin and selfawareness in spiritual life.

Annotation by Mark Mossa, SJ

5½ x 8½, 288 pp | 978-1-59473-301-7

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This sixteenth-century mystic, whose mission was to ignite a love of Jesus in the hearts of all, can be a companion for your own spiritual journey.

Ignatius of Loyola, sixteenth-century mystic, spiritual director, and founder of the Society of Jesus, is considered to be among the greatest educators in the history of western civilization. While the Jesuits went on to establish one of the largest educational networks in the world, Ignatius’s initial vision was simply “the help of souls.” Even today, his writings continue to inspire Christians in their quest for a meaningful holy life. The Spiritual Exercises alone—Ignatius’s most well-known work—has guided the retreat experience of over a million Christians over nearly five centuries.

This fascinating introduction to Ignatian spirituality draws from contemporary translations of original texts focusing on the practical mysticism of Ignatius of Loyola. Excerpts from The Spiritual Exercises, his autobiography, and his collected letters and instructions provide direct insights from Ignatius about the role of humility, obedience, discernment, sin and selfawareness in spiritual life. Substantive facing-page commentary illuminates Ignatius’s perspectives on many key aspects of Christian spirituality, including trusting in God, imitating Jesus and the saints, love and the common good, and much more.

“Accessible, inviting and user-friendly.... Both novices to the spiritual life and experienced retreat directors will discover in [this] clever book a compendium of crucial passages supplemented by insights that are thoughtful, grounded in scholarship and most Ignatian of all—practical.”

James Martin, SJ, author, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything

“Wonderful....We hear the saint’s own voice—and we hear Fr. Mark’s instructive commentary to help us benefit from centuries-old insights today.”

Brian McLaren, speaker and theologian; author, Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words

“For the first time ... brings together The Spiritual Exercises as well as the letters and memoirs of Saint Ignatius in a form that illuminates the work of this spiritual master in an engaging and accessible fashion. If you are new to Ignatius, read this first. If you are a student of his work, read it for fresh perspective.”

The Rev. Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt, director of spiritual formation and Anglican studies,
Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University; author, What God Wants for Your Life

“The more our soul finds itself alone and isolated, the more apt it makes itself to approach and to reach its Creator and Lord, and the more it so approaches Him, the more it disposes itself to receive graces and gifts from His Divine and Sovereign Goodness.”

The Spiritual Exercises

“Moderation has staying power; what puts excessive strain on the body cannot last ... in whatever spiritual, academic, or even bodily exertions you undertake, your charity should be guided by the rule of discretion; that you should safeguard the health of your own body in order to aid your neighbors’ souls.”

Letter to Arnold van Hees

“Provides a multi-faceted mosaic of Ignatius’s pragmatic mind, passionate heart and profound commitment to help individuals grow in a personal relationship with God. An excellent contribution to a deeper understanding of Ignatian spirituality.”

Maureen Conroy, RSM, DMin, worldwide educator of spiritual directors; author, The Discerning Heart: Discovering a Personal God

“This labor of love gives readers a fine sample of Ignatius’s wisdom.... Readers will find food for their souls, thus joining millions of others over the past four and one half centuries who have come closer to God through the writings of Ignatius.”

William Barry, SJ, author, Praying the Truth: Deepening Your Friendship with God through Honest Prayer and Finding God in All Things: A Companion to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius

“Will reward readers with focus on spiritual exercises, prayer, imitating Jesus ... and other aspects of Christian life.”

Congregational Libraries Today

“Ignatius knew the Christian life is not about belief; it’s about cultivating an encounter with the presence of Jesus that brings greater compassion and purpose to one’s life. Thanks to [this book], the practices and insights of Ignatius are now available and accessible to anyone seeking to live a passionate life.”

Mark Yaconelli, author, Contemplative Youth Ministry; project director, The Center for Engaged Compassion

“An engaging book.... Written in a user-friendly style, with wise and elucidating commentary, [it] is sure to make Ignatius and his ‘practical mysticism’ more widely known and appreciated. An excellent guide for those who are meeting Ignatius for the first time as well as for those who have known him for many years.”

Melannie Svoboda, SnD, retreat director; author, Traits of a Healthy Spirituality