Channelling the inner fire
Channelling the Inner Fire: Ignatian Spirituality in 15 Points (Messenger Publications) » is a new book by best-selling author Brendan McManus SJ. It is an accessible guide to Ignatian spirituality that draws on the life experience of the author and Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, showing readers how to ‘grow’ their image of God and faith.
This small book started out originally as an email for Brendan’s cousin who was struggling with faith and the challenges of life. Sharing his own search that eventually led him to the Jesuits, Brendan was trying to tell his cousin that there was something similar going on in his life and that the ‘answers were within’.
The book synthesises the Ignatian system into 15 easy to understand concrete aspects. It is a practical and concrete method, based on experience and dealing with the complexities of life.
Regarding point four on tuning into people’s deepest desires, Brendan writes:
“Working in the computer business, I quickly got all the material possessions and status I thought I desired (superficial desire), but it was a desolate, empty experience and prompted a search for my true vocation as a priest (deeper desire).
While not everyone is going to be a priest, it does highlight that each person has something unique to offer and happiness consists in working with this for others.”
The book is aimed at modern ‘searchers’ and is deliberately non-religious. It is explicitly about inner experience, the world of feelings and moods, which when well used, have a huge wisdom, especially attractive to a post-modern generation.
“I redefine spirituality as about ‘channelling the inner fire’, a phrase borrowed from Ron Rolheiser. There is some God-given desire within us that seeks expression and is where our peace lies (or alternatively what ‘burns’ within us).
Our goal is to become fully alive and human, just like Jesus was, by tuning into our inner world of feelings and desires. We are called to live like Christ, tuning into God’s plan for us and how we could serve the world.”
Along with the success of Finding God in the Mess and his other Camino books, Brendan has a reputation for gritty, down to earth spiritual writing that tackles tough issues. The book is not about promoting church or faith but rather getting postmodern people to notice what’s going on and begin a spiritual search.
Brendan McManus SJ comes from Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, and worked as a farmer and in IT before joining the Jesuits. He currently works as a spiritual director and retreat giver in Belfast. He is the author of The Way to Manresa, Contemplating the Camino and, with Jim Deeds, Finding God in the Mess and Deeper into the Mess.