The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola give shape to the spiritual lives of Jesuits and many other Christians. But might these different ways of praying, meditating, and reading scripture be helpful to members of other faiths as well? In response to the call of Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, SJ, the thirtieth Superior General of the Jesuits (2008-2016) to explore how the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises can be fruitfully appropriated by non-Christians, A World on Fire analyzes the prospects for adapting the Spiritual Exercises in order to make them accessible to members of other faith traditions while still maintaining their core meaning and integrity.
Erin Cline examines why this ought to be done, for whom, and what the aims of such an adaptation would be, including the different theological justifications for this practice. She concludes that there are compelling reasons for sharing the Exercises with members of other religions and that doing so coheres with the central mission of the Jesuits. A World on Fire goes on to examine the question of how the Exercises can be faithfully adapted for members of other religions. In outlining adaptations for the Hindu, Buddhist, and Confucian traditions that draw upon the traditional content of the Exercises supplemented by the texts of these religious traditions, Cline shows how Ignatian spirituality can help point the way to a different kind of inter-religious dialogue – one that is not bound up in technical terminology or confined to conversations between theologians and religious leaders. Rather, in making the Spriitual Exercises accessible to members of other faith traditions, we are as Pope Francis puts it, "living on a frontier, one in which the Gospel meets the needs of the people to whom it should be proclaimed in an understandable and meaningful way."
A World on Fire will be of interest to comparative theologians and scholars working on inter-religious dialogue, religious pluralism, contemplative studies, and spirituality, as well as Jesuit priests and other practitioners who employ the Spiritual Exercises in their ministry.
" A World on Fire is a solid and welcome contribution to Christian thinking today on contemplative practices across religious boundaries, with particular reference to the Spiritual Exercises, a spiritual classic that has for centuries ignited and energized the Jesuit engagement with other religions. Christians have learned from yoga, zen, and other disciplines for a long time; as now we share the Exercises more deeply with members of other faith traditions, Cline wisely asks us to consider the theological and spiritual foundations for the spiritual gifts we offer. Her careful reflection should open a conversation that welcomes responses from other faith traditions and their own bold experiments in return."~Francis X Clooney, SJ, Parkman Professor of Divinity, Harvard University
" A World on Fire offers the reader pioneering work in the area of interspiritual dialogue. One of its great strengths is the careful balance between preserving the integrity of St. Ignatius of Loyola's Spiritual Exercises and respecting the non-Christian religious traditions the author invites into this dialogue. All those who care about the future of the encounter of Christianity with other world religions need to have this rich volume in their library. –"~Brian McDermott, Georgetown University
"Professor Cline brings new insight into the 500-year-tradition of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. In keeping with the central Ignatian principle of adaptation to meet current needs, she effectively takes up the challenge of considering how the Exercises may help those from Asian religions grow spiritually. With deep respect for the Christian tradition, she presents the Exercises as a bridge to interreligious dialogue that Ignatius could not have imagined but would likely applaud."~Kevin O’Brien, author of The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius in Daily Life
"This book will be beneficial for those who live in diverse religious contexts and want to share the Exercises not only with Christians but also with members of other traditions who desire to learn from Ignatian spirituality. This book will also be interesting to comparative theologians, Jesuits, and other practitioners who make use of the Exercises in diverse contexts."~Theological Studies
"Stimulating, original, consistently well written, and philosophically acute."~Horizons: Journal of College Theology Society