The Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius (written between 1522 and 1548) are a very representative example of Catholic Christianity. Although they were elaborated by one individual, they echo the practice of the preceding thousand years. The reality ofMoreThe Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius (written between 1522 and 1548) are a very representative example of Catholic Christianity. Although they were elaborated by one individual, they echo the practice of the preceding thousand years. The reality of the Exercises is rooted in the principle of personalisation, and in the discernment of how the act of following Jesus makes itself concrete in history.
Javier Melloni follows up his popular exploration of the Spiritual Exercises in their Christian setting, The Exercises of St Ignatius in the Western Tradition, with a new book examining three spiritual pathways which underlie three different religious traditions the Spiritual Exercise of St Ignatius, linked with Christianity- Yoga, which proceeds from Hinduism- and Zen, originating from the womb of Buddhism.
With an understanding of these three ways we place ourselves at the heart of their respective traditions, as suggested by the Latin saying: Lex orandi, lex credendi, that is to say, prayer and by extension, every spiritual practice is the reflection of a mode of belief, just as every belief is configured to the extent to which it is prayed. He presents these three ways with a double purpose: to show the specific elements of each one, as well as their common or convergent points.
Only if we do not confuse them can we recognise both the difficulty and the richness to be found in placing them in relation with one another. To integrate is not the same as to mix up. Above all, what certainly unites the three ways is that they are not speculative, but initiatory or mystagogical. Their objective is the transformation of the person who undertakes them, to admit that person into the experience of the Absolute. This book explores the Spiritual Exercises through the Yoga Sutras (the Yoga Karma or the Yoga of Action, the Bhakti Yoga or the Yoga of Devotion, the Jnana Yoga or the Yoga of Knowledge), through Zen Buddhism, and by looking at the role of images and of discursive thought, emptying and decentring, effort and grace, and the presence and absence of a divine Thou.
Javier Melloni was born in Barcelona. He has studied in Kerala and in Paris, and is now working in his home country in the retreat house known as the Cave of St Ignatius in Manresa.