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God's Voice Within
Book Reviews
Tuesday, July 31 2012

Catholics Mean BusinessCan you discern God's will for your life?  How do we know what God wants for us?  Is there a way for us to listen to or hear God's voice?  Discernment can be one of the greatest challenges we face in our spiritual journey, but in his book, God's Voice Within, Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ teaches us how to listen for God's wisdom and guidance.

God's Voice Within takes its message from St. Ignatius of Loyola's teachings on discernent found in the Spiritual Exercises.  While the Spiritual Exercises focuses on retreat-style learning, Thibodeaux's book helps to bring St. Ignatius's teaching to us in a way that we can incorporate directly into our daily lives.  He brings his years of experience as a Jesuit, specifically in prayer and discernment, to the printed page.

How much would your life improve if you were sure that you were following the path that God wanted you to take?  Though we can never be fully sure, we can use Ignatian discernment to help us find those answers.  By carefully examining our spirit, we can have a better idea of where to go next.

At times, we seem to struggle making the most simple decisions in life.  In my home, choosing where to go to dinner on a Friday evening can be a challenge.  How much more difficult is it, then, to make the difficult choices - relationships, career, our "calling"?  Making the right choice in these situations depends on one thing: listening to God's direction.

Is there a system that can help us to make better choices?  The author tells us:

"Discernment would be simple if we could identify the five, or twelve, or twenty-five fool-proof steps to making good choices.  But choices are not the result of mere rational exercise; choices come of who we are as well as out of what we think.  That's why discernment is not a system but a process, and it's a process we must learn, and apply, and then learn some more."

God's Voice Within takes you through the process of making decisions by discerning one of two spirits: the true spirit and false spirit.  By examining which spirit is involved, we can better understand what path to take.  This is the foundation of Ignatian discernment.

As someone with a passion for Ignatian teaching (he is my Confirmation Saint - read more here), this book gripped me from the very beginning.  Struggling with discernment and knowing God's will for our lives is something that we all struggle with, and this book helped me through that process.  If you are facing major decisions in your life, this is the book to read!  If not, you will come across difficult decisions eventually, so read it anyway.

God's Voice Within makes the philosophy behind Ignatian spirituality and discernment available to all readers.  After reading this book, you will develop an intuition for making the right choices, big or small.  Add this book to your list of "must-reads," and when you're done with it, read it again.

To purchase God's Voice Within, go to the Loyola Press website to find information about purchasing it.  To learn more, about St. Ignatius of Loyola, read my Daily Bible reflection about him (click here).


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