A Handbook for Spiritual Directors
A Handbook for Spiritual Directors

A Handbook for Spiritual Directors

An Ignatian Guide for Accompanying Discernment of God's Will


144 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Paperback, Mobipocket, ebook: EPUB

Paperback, $19.95 (US $19.95) (CA $26.95)

Publication Date: April 2017

ISBN 9780824521714


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Timothy Gallagher has focused his entire adult life to studying and teaching Ignatian spirituality. For decades he has made it the focus of his work to guide spiritual directors in the rich Ignatian discipline which currently is experiencing a remarkable renaissance far beyond the Catholic realm. Out of this work grew the Handbook for Spiritual Directors which will make Fr. Gallagher's extraordinary teaching available to Fr. Gallagher's growing audience around the world. This book helps spiritual directors guide the process of Ignatian discernment in a very practical and yet profoundly spiritual way. Spiritual directors receive few requests more often, and more demanding than that of helping a person discern God's will in life's taxing decisions. With this handbook, Fr. Gallagher has provided the means necessary for responding to and helping with this request. For those spiritual directors trained in Ignatian spirituality this book offers to become an essential companion, and for those who want to learn this form of discernment this book will provide the foundation for understanding and learning this age-old, proven process for discerning the will of God.


"This highly practical and lucidly written book is yet another example of why Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M. V., is America's preeminent interpreter of and writer on Ignatian spiritual direction and discernment." —Harvey D, Egan, S.J., Emeritus Professor of Systematic and Mystical Theology, Boston College

"I have used Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher's work on Ignatian discernment for both personal reflection and teaching, from the undergraduate to the doctoral levels. He has established himself as the one of the premier interpreters of Saint Ignatius of Loyola writing in English today, and this book is no exception. A beautiful example of profoundly pastoral theology, Discerning the Will of God: A Handbook for Spiritual Directors offers an important complement to his earlier work Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making, which has been a source of consolation for many today who seek guidance from Ignatius's wisdom about discernment. This new book will be a sine qua non for the training of spiritual directors, especially as interest in Ignatian discernment grows at retreat centers, parishes, and universities worldwide. I am grateful for the important work that Fr. Gallagher has undertaken and for the many who will benefit from his work." —Tim Muldoon, author of The Ignatian Workout and Living Against the Grain: How to Make Decisions that Lead to an Authentic Life

"A wonderful book! Sure to become a standard text for those in ministry. It will be an invaluable resource for all spiritual directors and those in pastoral ministry. Simply put, Gallagher "gets" St. Ignatius of Loyola. He understands Loyola's timeless wisdom and effectively teaches the reader to understand it as well." —Mark E. Thibodeaux, S.J., spiritual director and author of Armchair Mystic and God, I Have Issues

"The fruit of mature reflection and prayer, Fr. Timothy Gallagher's book, aimed specifically at assisting those who help others to discern the will of God, has been eagerly awaited by spiritual directors. With the hallmark of his earlier work Gallagher employs pertinent existential experiences to illustrate and concretize his points and helpful scriptural readings for prayer. Importantly, the work exemplifies the dispositions that Gallagher seeks to inculcate not just in would be "discerners" but also and significantly in the directors themselves. These involve a maturity and disciplined practice regarding prayer, both meditation and contemplation; faithfulness to making the examen; the review of prayer and attending to repetition; and an ongoing conscious employment of the rules for discernment. The goal is to be so well disposed that openness to the will of God becomes a deep fissure within. Though the aim is to assist the "discerner" spiritual directors know well that they are blessed in and through the process. This work makes clear our challenge is to be deeply honed instruments for such service!" —Gill Goulding C.J., Professor Systematic Theology Regis College, Toronto

"Fr. Timothy Gallagher has succeeded in writing an important and very useful sequel to his Discerning the Will of God: An Ignatian Guide to Christian Decision Making. It is addressed especially to spiritual directors who may be journeying with someone who is discerning God's will in their life. Spiritual directors will find important, practical examples and settings to help them in the indispensable ministry of accompanying someone discerning God's will outside the context of the "full" Spiritual Exercises." —Ernest Sherstone, O.M.V., Founder of the Lanteri Center for Ignatian Spirituality, Denver, and director of St. Joseph Retreat House, Milton, MA

"Spiritual directors and those who form them will find a treasure in Fr. Timothy Gallagher's book, Discerning the Will of God: A Handbook for Spiritual Directors. Fr. Gallagher's careful study of classical texts have brought clarity and depth to the understanding of Ignatian discernment. He facilitates a transfer of wisdom from these first spiritual directors to contemporary ones who are asking similar questions about the faithful accompaniment of those who truly desire to choose God's will. Accessible, thoughtful, and pastorally sensitive, this book is sure to be a lasting resource for teachers and directors alike." —Catherine Macaulay, spiritual director, wife, and mother, faculty of the Ignatian Centre, Montreal

"It is one thing to understand St. Ignatius' teaching on discerning the will of God, and quite another to understand how to apply that teaching in guiding particular persons in vocational discernment. Fr. Gallagher draws on his many years of study and experience to provide a practical guidebook for those privileged to accompany others in discerning the will of God. This book has strengthened my confidence as a spiritual director." —Daniel P. Barron, O.M.V., Director of Spiritual Formation, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Denver, CO

"Fr. Gallagher gives spiritual directors the insight and tools needed to help others to lay the foundation for discerning the will of God, to remove the human and spiritual obstacles to discovering it, and to form the proper disposition of heart for cooperating with it. This handbook offers wise and practical help for all who accompany others in the spiritual life." —Christina Lynch, Ph.D., Director of Psychological Services, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, Denver, CO

Author Biography

Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V. is a popular retreat leader, Ignatian scholar, and lecturer around the world. He holds a doctorate from the Gregorian University and is the author of several bestselling books, including The Examen Prayer.