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Posted January 12, 2014

Book: Mind your Body Work your Soul
Author: Clare Strockbine
Liguori, Liguori, Missouri. 2014. Pp. 143

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

"This engaging and gently encouraging book is loaded with excellent advice about physical training and well-being, but unlike the typical self-help manual, it is refreshingly grounded in a remarkable depth and breadth of spiritual vision. Each paragraph reflects a seamless integration of Ignatian spirituality's focus on identifying one's unique passion and become free to pursue the magis (the more) while developing into the multi-talented, fully alive person God intends one to be.

"The author's perspective is at all time holistic, integrating body, mind, and spirit while repeatedly challenging the reader to consider the truly global perspective of wellness derived from her international living experiences and profound commitment to social justice.

An Excerpt from the Book:

In my opinion, one of the most beautiful prayers of all time is Saint Ignatius's Suscipe;

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty
My memory, my understanding,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me,
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will,
Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.

This prayer, the Suscipe (which is the Latin word for "receive"), sketches out for us the ultimate purpose of life --- to surrender to God's will, to rely solely on God's love and grace, to source our lives from the knowledge and understanding that all we have --- our one and only life --- is a gift we receive from God. The Spiritual Exercises give us an opportunity to more fully comprehend this fact and to contemplate and reflect on how we live our days as manifestation of God's love and grace.

Here is where we can begin to take the first step, begin to figure out where we are and where we need/want to be. One of the gems that have come from the Jesuits and their devotion to the teachings of Saint Ignatius of Loyola has been that of the daily examen of conscience. Thinking about ways in which we can continuously reflect on our ability to live in a place of spiritual health and wellness, the daily examen of conscious can be a wonderful tool.

Particularly for those of us who might not be sure exactly "where we are spiritually" or how to begin to look for areas of growth in our own spiritual health, the daily examen can give us a valuable framework to engage with in reflection.

For Ignatius, praying the examen twice daily was one of his few rules of prayer. There are a number of adaptations of the examen, different methods that can be employed, all with the purpose of reflecting on the day to detect God's presence and discern God's will for us. Ignatius considered the examen to be a direct gift from God, which could not be absent in one's daily spiritual life.

The most common form of praying with the examen of conscience involves spending time in quiet (for most laypeople, usually done at night, before bed) and reflecting on five different points.

Become aware of God's presence.
Review the day with gratitude.
Pay attention to your emotions.
Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
Look toward tomorrow.

Through the examen of conscience, we are invited to reflect on the various aspects of our day; recognizing the greater Being at work in our world; being attentive to the sources of joy and the sources of sorrow in our days; the ways in which we succeeded to live God's will for us, served God, and the ways in which we failed God; giving thanks for moments of grace and the ability to recognize God's presence in our days; reflecting on the ways in which we can do better tomorrow. All prayerful reflection comes from a place of gratitude, being thankful for the moments (of both joy and struggle) that God places in our lives.

Table of Contents:

"Just" health

If not, can I get my money back?

You're all invited

It's a both/and

Everybody's got a story

Careful. . .you might catch it

Let's examine (and Examen)

Fear-factor challenge

A few recipes

That's a wrap