The Way of Ignatius by Gemma Simmonds
This is one of the most distinctive and attractive books on prayer that I have read for many a year. Dr Simmonds takes her reader on a journey of spiritual adventure using the tradition of Ignatius of Loyola together with the 17th century Yorkshire woman, Mary Ward. The reader is invited into a knowledge and love of spiritual pilgrimage. These skilfully written nine chapters offer us a prayer journey through Lent. The narrative and explorations are grounded, realistic, practical and real.
Expect to be changed by this book as it shows us that contemplation is vital if we are able to stop and discern God’s speaking through the details of our lives. In this age of distraction and hyper-connectivity and activity we need to find a method of praying that can deepen our spiritual life and enliven us with a sense of the love of God. The inner journey of prayer through these pages will enable you to encounter and discover God in a deeper way.
If this sounds both over-serious and intense the accessibility of these chapters reveal the author’s capacity to explain, illuminate and connect. Experience and story are shared and at the end of each chapter there are a number of helpful suggestions for further reflection or discussion. How might we go about writing our own personal prayer of offering? Is there anything in our lives that we should think about turning away from? How do we live and act for the common good? What might it mean for us to try to pray through our own bodies?
Reviewed by James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College