THE IGNATIAN WORKOUT: Daily Spiritual Exercises for a Healthy Faith

Tim Muldoon, Author . Loyola $14.95 (300p) ISBN 978-0-8294-1979-5

Using athletics as a metaphor for the spiritual life is not exactly a new idea, but Muldoon, a theologian who teaches religious studies at Mount Aloysius College in Pennsylvania, attempts to give it a fresh treatment in this handbook based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius. The exercises are a time-honored method of self-examination and reflection that Muldoon believes to be especially well-suited to postmoderns in search of answers to life's most basic questions. In drawing parallels between the life of prayer and his own experience of physical exercise, which is largely centered around the sport of rowing, Muldoon begins by explaining the idea of the spiritual workout, offering two introductory exercises as illustrations: the spiritual autobiography and the "examen," a kind of rigorous self-inventory. He also offers helpful tips and practices such as using the imagination in prayer and practicing the presence of God, then launches into four "workouts" that consist largely of guided reflections on key Bible passages. In these, he does best when he sticks to traditional texts. His effort to put a contemporary spin on the story of the prodigal son, for example, falls a bit flat as he tries to substitute a party-loving college dropout for the son who squandered his inheritance in the gospel account. That aside, Muldoon has put together a down-to-earth, practical guide that will be useful for novices making forays into the spiritual life. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/12/2004
Release date: 06/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
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