About Jim Manney
Jim Manney is the author of highly praised popular books on Ignatian spirituality, including A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer (about the Daily Examen) and God Finds Us (about the Spiritual Exercises). He is the compiler/editor of An Ignatian Book of Days. His latest book is Ignatian Spirituality A to Z. He and his wife live in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Not What You Expect

What does God’s voice sound like? In my experience, like nothing I was expecting. A while ago I was having some very bad days. I had too much work to do. My wife and I had a stack of unpaid bills. Problems kept cropping up, and my solutions weren’t working. I felt helpless, and I hated feeling that way. I was angry, then depressed; boastful, then self-pitying. In the middle of all this mental turmoil […]

The Imaginary Boy

The other day I came across a passage in a novel that brought me up short. The book is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. The writer describes the thoughts of a nine-year-old boy: “His father always talked to him—so he felt—as if he were addressing some imaginary boy, one of those that exist in books, but quite unlike him. And he always tried, when he was with his father, to pretend he was that book […]

Taking Advent Seriously

Advent begins on December 3, 2017. Years ago, I gave up on Advent. It was hard to maintain the Advent frame of mind (quiet longing for the coming of Christ) in the midst of the Christmas tumult, which seems to get started around Columbus Day. I remember listening to a priest one Sunday urging us to take Advent seriously by waiting until Christmas Eve to put up the tree and other decorations. You don’t live […]

The Gratitude List

A friend of mine was stuck in traffic in New York City late on a summer Friday afternoon. He was really stuck—sitting in his car on a narrow east-west cross street in Manhattan, going nowhere. He grew impatient, then angry. After a while, he started to think about how pitiful his life was. His friends were smarter, wealthier, happier than he was. He hadn’t accomplished anything significant. He was stuck in life, just as he was stuck in traffic. […]

Finding God in Music

There’s something thoroughly Ignatian about finding God in music. St. Ignatius’s spiritual approach mostly bypasses the concepts and ideas stuffed into our heads and strives to touch the heart directly. That’s what music does too. Music is literally beyond words. There’s a scene in the movie The Mission that shows what I’m talking about. A Jesuit, loosely based on the missionary and martyr St. Roque Gonzalez, comes into the jungle to make contact with the […]

Except That of Knowing That I Do Your Will

In celebration of our fifth anniversary, we’ve invited our dotMagis bloggers to reflect on the individual lines of St. Ignatius’s Prayer for Generosity. This is the reward for all that labor—the knowledge that we’ve done God’s will. Can we really know that? St. Ignatius thought that we can, not with 100% certainty perhaps; God is always greater than anything we can say or think about him. But Ignatius thought that most of the time, in […]

Being Free Is Demanding

In celebration of the release of Pope Francis’s book, The Church of Mercy, several of our dotMagis bloggers will be sharing reflections this month based on the words of Pope Francis. Pope Francis is a Jesuit, formed in the spirituality of the Spiritual Exercises. So it’s not surprising that he zeroed in on one of the central ideas of Ignatian spirituality when he found himself in front of a group of students from Jesuit high […]

The Pope on Christmas

Pope Francis has given another must-read interview, this one with the Italian newspaper La Stampa.  A couple of comments particularly struck me.  One: “reform always begins with spiritual and pastoral initiatives before structural changes.”  Another: “We must try to facilitate people’s faith, rather than control it.”  Nothing shows the Ignatian heart of Francis’s ministry more clearly than this relentless focus on spiritual conversion. Asked “What does Christmas say to people today?” he replied: It speaks of […]

Best Ignatian Songs: Mercy Now

I recently discovered the haunting ballad “Mercy Now” by the roots singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier. It’s a lovely, heartfelt prayer: Yeah, we all could use a little mercy now I know we don’t deserve it But we need it anyhow We hang in the balance Dangle ‘tween hell and hallowed ground Every single one of us could use some mercy now Every single one of us could use some mercy now Lyrics here. (Go here to […]

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ

Today is the feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, SJ (1533-1617). He was a humble lay brother who served as the doorkeeper at a Jesuit school in Majorca for 45 years. He exerted great influence on Jesuits and lay people who came to know him, and was especially admired for his wisdom about finding joy in hardship. Here is an exercise he used in times of trouble: I put myself in spirit before our crucified Lord, looking […]

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