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April 2005 Vol 44 no 2


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Words and the Word: Reflections on Scripture, Prayer and Poetry

A scripture scholar and practising poet reflects on how imagination and metaphor open us to the unseen God.

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The ‘History’ in Ignatian Contemplation: From the Last Supper to the Garden

Ignatius’ presentation of the ‘history’ in each contemplation is, for good reasons, often sketchy. Peter Edmonds explores how modern scholarship on the Gospels can enrich our practice of scriptural prayer.

Ignatian Contemplation and Modern Biblical Studies

What Ignatius says about imaginative prayer converges impressively with newer approaches to the Bible that stress the reader’s active role.

From the Ignatian Tradition
On Preparing Affective Movements in Prayer

A seventeenth-century Jesuit writer from Peru on how our desires should shape the use we make of Scripture in prayer.

Theological Trends
The New Testament as Holy Ground

The biblical text is inspired, somehow more than the sum of its parts. Nicholas King explores some different ways in which modern theologians are trying to explain and express this conviction.

Matteo Ricci in Post-Christian Europe

Missionaries in the conventional sense have always argued about how and how far they should temper their message to indigenous cultures. But these problems are occurring now in Europe, as we confront the phenomenon of post-Christianity.

Sacred Space and Online Religious Communities

One of the most striking expressions of Ignatian spirituality in recent years has been Sacred Space, the prayer website originally developed by the Irish Jesuits, and now available in a wide variety of languages. One of the staff closely involved with the project explores what Sacred Space may be saying about the Church of the future.

Diplomacy with Benedict

A distinguished retired ambassador explores connections between Benedict’s Rule and the practice of diplomacy.

Tradition, Spiritual Direction, and Supervision

Supervision in spiritual direction is a relatively new practice, and raises many questions. The chair of the English and Welsh Bishops’ Spirituality committee reflects on the implicit form of supervision latent in any religious tradition.

Oscar Romero, Religion and Spirituality

The witness of Oscar Romero, martyred 25 years ago this spring, shows how scripture and tradition can nourish a healthy, prophetic spirituality, and challenges the easy and increasingly common tendency to develop a spirituality independent of a religious tradition.

Book Reviews

on Tim Muldoon’s Ignatian fitness programme
on an important new Ignatian book on education
on Ignatian humanism
on Anglican identities as seen by Rowan Williams
on spirituality and the family
on Hadewijch, the great medieval mystic
on the Carmelite rule
on a new book about saints
on new approaches to the study of spirituality from Ireland


From the Foreword

THE BIBLE DOES NOT CLAIM TO BE TRUE BEYOND QUESTION; it claims to be ‘inspired by God’ (2 Timothy 3:16). It certainly refers to things that happened in history, but it does not give us straightforwardly historical truth. It may indeed tell us truths we can rely on, but these truths are of a distinctively religious character. They are not like logical axioms: cool, detached and neutral. Rather, the foundational convictions of the Bible involve us, change us, subvert us. ‘The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow ….’ (Hebrews 4:12)

This second issue of The Way for 2005 explores the different ways in which the Word of God nourishes our Christian lives. Bonnie Thurston and Nicholas King reflect on the figurative and transformative character of biblical writing. Peter Edmonds and Helmut Gabel—helped by a seventeenth-century Jesuit theologian from Peru—look at the distinctive ways in which Ignatian spirituality draws on the Bible. Gerard J. Hughes and David Goodall consider the tactfulness and sensitivity necessary to Christian witness when it engages cultures that are secular, foreign or both, while Róisín Pye tells of how Sacred Space, the Irish Jesuits’ prayer website, has enabled people to share the Word in new and fruitful ways. Finally, we consider the Word’s authority. Two bishops, Brian Noble of Shrewsbury and Oscar Romero of San Salvador (through the sensitive voice of Matthew Ashley), look at how biblical tradition properly shapes and regulates contemporary Christian spirituality. If spirituality is to maintain stability and identity, it must be regulated by the practices of biblical and traditional ‘religion’—a regulation, rightly understood, that empowers rather than constrains.

When the Easter Jesus touches us, we are in the position of the Lukan disciples: he opens our minds so that we may read the Scriptures anew (Luke 24:45). He fulfils our expectations, but also extends them. May this Eastertide issue sustain that process as we wait in our cities for the promised Spirit, who will clothe us with power from on high (Luke 24:49).

Philip Endean SJ



Please click here to subscribe to The Way,
here to order this issue alone,
and here to order a free sample copy.