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Book: A Modern Scriptural Approach to the Spiritual Exercises
Author: David M. Stanley, S.J.
Loyola Press, Chicago, pp.358

Excerpt from Introduction:

The purpose of this book may appear to be a fairly grandiose one: to provide some exemplification of the way in which the twentieth century achievements of biblical scholarship may be pressed into service in giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius to men of the present day. The work of the Form critics, the valid insights operative in Rudolf Bultman’s attempts at “demythologizing” the Gospels, and the more theological preoccupations of the Redaktionsgeschichtliche school are all laid under contribution. Yet, this project has been undertaken not as any mere tour de force, but rather out of the conviction that, if the Spiritual Exercises are to fulfill the formative role in the spirituality of contemporary man which they certainly exercised upon countless Renaissance men, they should become instinct with that spirit of aggiornamento which Pope John has made the touchstone of modern Catholic orthodoxy.

Excerpt from Book:

From the biblical view, nothing can exist without a name. Accordingly in the opening chapter of the book of Genesis, the sacred writer represents his God, the God of Israel, as naming the various elements in the universe that they might begin to exist. Later, God was to call Jacob “Israel,” since he was destined to become the eponymic ancestor of God’s people, giving his name to them. By this act of changing the name of Jacob, which meant “cheat” to Israel, God was simply summoning the patriarch — and through him, his people — to be human.

What does it mean to be a human being? It means, first of all, that I know and — still more important — that I accept myself; that I have a good relationship with myself. This is what the child learns by being called by its name by mother and father. To be human means to be happy — not necessarily smiling, not merely “nice,” but possessing basically a healthy relationship with other human beings, accepting their humanity and their inhumanity, not feeling threatened by the excellence of others. To be human also means to be responsible, to accept responsibility in making decisions, to have enough courage to be right and wrong. For as Isaiah goes on to suggest, human life contains an ineluctable element of risk. “If you pass through the waters, I will be with you, through the rivers, they shall not engulf you. If you walk through fire, you shall not be scorched, through the flame, it will not burn you; for I Yahweh, your God, the holy one of Israel, your savior.”

Table of Contents:

1. Dimensions of Israel’s Election by Yahweh

2. Initial Attitudes to Prayer

3. The Prayer of the Creature

4. Faith Faces the Human Situation

5. Love What You Find

6. The Biblical View of Sin

7. Deeper Knowledge of God Through Repented Sin

8. Jesus’s Messianic Entry into Jerusalem

9. Preface to the Contemplation of the Second Week

10. Contemplation of the Incarnation

11. The Problem of Infancy Narratives

12. The Good News of Christmas

13. Jesus’ Baptism: Eschatological Dimension of History

14. Matthew’s Reconstruction of Jesus’ Temptations.

15. “Simul in Actione Contemplativus

16. Sermon on the Mount: Prayer of Petition

17. The Twelve: Institution and Mission

18. Jesus Feeds the Multitude

19. Our Lady in the Life of the Apostolic Church

20. Jesus “The Way” to the Father

21. The Last Supper: Christ in the Priest’s Life

22. The New Commandment

23. The Mass: School for the Religious

24. The Liturgy of Holy Thursday

25. Gethsemani: Dramatization of Christian Prayer

26. The Passion According to St. John

27. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

28. The Contemplation of the Fourth Week

29. The Last Adam

30. The Church, Body of the Risen Christ

31. “The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus”

32. Contemplation for Obtaining Love