Wednesday 7 August 2019

Take Five: On-the-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius - Mike Aquilina and Kris D. Stubna

Take Five: On-the-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius
Mike Aquilina
Kris D. Stubna
Our Sunday Visitor
ISBN 9780692584873
eISBN 9781306066884

This book was edited and compiled by Mike aquiline and Kris D. Stubna. It is one of three books co-authored by Mike that are in this style and format:

Take Five: On-The-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius
Take Five: Meditations with Pope Benedict XVI
Take Five: Meditations with John Henry Newman 

It is a wonderful little devotional. Last year after reading a different book on Saint Ignatius my son decided that would be his confirmation saint. And he has asked me if we can read this together. So I will be starting it again soon. That speaks to how well compiled this volume is, in that I am reading to begin reading it again as soon as I have finished it. This volume contains 74 meditations which is right in the middle as the other two Take Five books have either 72 or 76. 

The sections in this volume are:

Foreword by Father Raymond Gawronski, S.J.
How to Use This Book
The Life of Ignatius
The Spirit of Ignatius
The Meditations
 1. The World Needs You
 2. Use the Gifts God Gave You
 3. Prayer for Generosity
 4. Higher Goals, Better Striving
 5. Work: A Continuous Prayer
 6. Keep the Goal in Mind
 7. God Is Here
 8. How to Win Friends and Influence People
 9. Don’t Procrastinate
10. Extra Effort
11. Modesty in All Things
12. Speak Moderately and Politely
13. The Benefit of the Doubt
14. Correcting Others
15. Instructions on Dealing With Others
16. Learn to Listen
17. On Flatterers and Friends
18. Work for Peace
19. Take Time for Self-Improvement
20. First Things First
21. Decision Making
22. On Time
23. Making Sacrifices for Others
24. Speaking of Co-workers
25. Office Gossip
26. Idle Talk
27. When Co-workers Are Downhearted
28. Be a Peacemaker
29. That All Might Be Saved
30. Good Deeds: You Can Take Them With You
31. Work With What You Have
32. People Before Paychecks
33. Setting the Standard
34. To Speak Up or Keep Silent?
35. Obeying the Teaching Church
36. Menial Work
37. Keep Busy and Out of Trouble
38. Asking for a Raise
39. Against Presumption
40. Nothing’s Going Right!
41. How God Teaches
42. Courage!
43. Don’t Overdo It
44. Sick Days
45. Take Care of Yourself
46. The Grass Seems Greener Over There
47. Self-Pity and Discouragement
48. Anxiety About Spiritual Things
49. When We Are Ashamed
50. Don’t Blame Others
51. The Temptation of the Future
52. Encourage Your Critics
53. Friends
54. The Name of God
55. Make Time for Quiet
56. Never Alone
57. We Are Not Hermits
58. Seeing Clearly
59. Driving Out Vice
60. Back to the Basics
61. Praying the Lord’s Prayer
62. Receive Jesus Often
63. Say “Thanks”
64. Fair Wages!
65. Cross Examination
66. Holy Indifference
67. The Things of This World
68. False Humility
69. Give as God Has Given
70. Prayer Goes to Work
71. The Circle of Service and Prayer
72. Contemplation in Action
73. Aim High
74. A.M.D.G.

The forward to this volume begins with:

“St. Thomas Aquinas teaches that the contemplative life is to be preferred to the active, but that the mixed life is better than both, as the fruits of contemplation can serve our neighbor. This “mixed life” characterizes the vocation of St. Ignatius of Loyola, whose followers soon saw themselves as “contemplatives in action.” Resisting the natural attraction of permanent withdrawal from the world, St. Ignatius insisted that God can be found in the midst of the world itself.”

And the 74 reflections draw upon both the practical and the profound knowledge and insights from the works of Ignatius. Each meditation is an extract from the works of Saint Ignatius, from his letters, his Spiritual Exercises, his autobiography, and the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. They can be read in any order. And you can return to the book and read them again and again. There are 76 meditations or reflections in this volume. They cover a wide range of topics. The format of each is:

Think About It – a few points for prayer.
Just Imagine – a biblical passage for reflection.
Remember – a quote to take with you for the day.

As I stated in my previous Take Five review: I am typically an eBook guy, I read 30 eBooks for every physical book. This is one I will pick up a physical copy of to keep in my bedside bookcase, so that I can randomly open it any where and read them again from time to time. The themes from Saint Ignatius’s writings that this book focuses on are:

1. “Seek God in all things.”
2. “For the greater glory of God.”
3. Service
4. Detachment
5. Obedience
6. Method

We are told that:

“Ignatius knew — and we must learn — that what the workplace needs is not another theory, not another system, but the living presence of Jesus. Over the course of a career and a lifetime, that’s the only thing that works.”

And that is what this little volume shows us. It gives us 74 samples of Ignatian spirituality, in order that we might grow in living our vocation daily in our work and while at play. 

A sample meditation from this book is:

33. Setting the Standard

It can be most difficult to get perspective on oneself. In the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius offers us three imaginative ways to do so.

I should place before my mind a person … whom I wish to be wholly perfect in the office and state of life which he occupies. Now the same standard of action that I would like him to follow in his way of distributing alms for the greater glory of God and the perfection of his soul I myself will observe, and do neither more nor less. I shall abide myself by the same rule I would like him to follow, and the norm I judge would be for the glory of God.

I should picture myself at the hour of my death, and ponder well the way and norm I would then wish to have kept in carrying out the duties of my office. I will lay down the same rule for myself now, and keep it in my distribution of alms.
I should imagine myself before my judge on the last day, and weigh well the manner in which I would wish then to have done my duty in carrying out this office. The same rule that I would then wish to have observed I will keep now.
Exercises, nn. 339-341


 Do I judge myself by the same standard I use to judge others?

 I must live (and give) as if today were my last day and my judgment by God tomorrow.

 If I were to be judged today, what might God say about my generosity and my sense of duty?


“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry … or thirsty …? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
MATTHEW 25:31-40


I should picture myself at the hour of my death, and ponder the way I would have wished I had carried out my duties. I will lay down the same rule for myself now.”

This book is a wonderful read. It is great as in introduction to Ignatius’s though and Ignatian spirituality. It is an excellent as a devotional. The hard part will be sticking to just one meditation at a time. It is another excellent resource from Mike Aquilina and Father Kris D. Stubna. I highly recommend it.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2019 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books about Saint Ignatius:
Consoling the Heart of Jesus: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat Inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius - Michael E. Gaitley
Probing the Depths: Ignatian Lessons and Meditations Arranged According to the Liturgical Year - John Paul Thomas

Books by Mike Aquilina:
A Year with the Angels: Daily Meditations with the Messengers of God
A Year With The Church Fathers: Patristic Wisdom for Daily Living
Angels of God: The Bible, the Church and the Heavenly Hosts
Companion Guide to Pope Benedict's 'The Fathers' 
Faith of Our Fathers: Why the Early Christians Still Matter and Always Will
Fire of God's Love: 120 Reflections on the Eucharist
Good Pope, Bad Pope: Their Lives, Our Lessons 
Love in the Little Things: Tales of Family Life
Ministers & Martyrs: The Ultimate Catholic Guide to the Apostolic Age
Praying in the Presence of Our Lord: With St. Thomas Aquinas
Roots of the Faith: From the Church Fathers to You
Sharing Christ's Priesthood: A Bible Study for Catholics
Signs and Mysteries: Revealing Ancient Christian Symbols
Sweet Gridlock: Selected Love Poems 
Terms and Conditions: Assorted Poems
The Apostles and Their Times
The Church and the Roman Empire
The Fathers of the Church Bible
The Fathers of the Church: An Introduction to the First Christian Teachers
The Mass of the Early Christians
The Resilient Church: The Glory, the Shame, & the Hope for Tomorrow
The Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church
The Way of the Fathers: Praying With the Early Christians
The Witness of Early Christian Women: Mothers of the Church
Understanding the Mass: 100 Questions, 100 Answers
Why Me? When Bad Things Happen
Yours Is the Church: How Catholicism Shapes Our World

Books co-written by Mike Aquilina:
A Pocket Catechism for Kids - Fr. Kris Stubna
Dion: The Wanderer Talks Truth - Dion DiMucci
Keeping Mary Close: Devotion to Our Lady through the Ages - Fr. Frederick Gruber
Living the Mysteries: A Guide for Unfinished Christians - Scott Hahn
Praying the Psalms the Early Christians - Christopher Bailey
Saint Monica and the Power of Persistent Prayer - Mark W. Sullivan
Seven Revolutions: How Christianity Changed the World and Can Change It Again - James Papandrea
Something More Pastoral: The Mission of Bishop, Archbishop, and Cardinal Donald Wuerl - Ann Rodgers
Take Five: Meditations John Henry Newman - Fr. Juan Velez
Take Five: Meditations Pope Benedict XVI - Fr. Kris Stubna
Take Five: On the Job Meditations With St. Ignatius - Fr. Kris Stubna
Talking to Youth About Sexuality: A Parents' Guide - Fr. Kris Stubna
The Ancient Path: Old Lessons from the Church Fathers for a New Life Today - John Michael Talbot
The Church: Unlocking the Secrets to the Places Catholics Call Home - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Doubter's Novena: Nine Steps to Trust the Apostle Thomas - Christopher Bailey
The Feasts: How the Church Year Forms Us as Catholics - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The Grail Code: Quest for the Real Presence - Christopher Bailey
The Great Life: Essays on Doctrine and Holiness in Honor of Father Ronald Lawler, O.F.M. Cap. - Kenneth Ogorek
The Holy Land: A Guide for Pilgrims - Fr. Dave Halaiko
The How-To Book of Catholic Devotions - Regis J. Flaherty
The Mass: The Glory, the Mystery, the Tradition - Cardinal Donald Wuerl
The World's First Christmas: Jubilee 2000 - Regis J. Flaherty
Weapons of the Spirit: Selected Writings of Father John Hugo - David Scott
What Catholics Believe: A Pocket Catechism - Fr. Kris Stubna

No comments: