The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living

by Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.I.

Reviewed by Eileen Quinn Knight, Ph.D.



This book was written as a companion to The Discernment of spirits: An Ignatian Guide to Everyday Living. It is designed to serve both groups and individuals. In group settings such as parish study groups, formal classes programs in spiritual centers, gatherings of families and so forth, the Reader’s Guide supplies leaders with a tool for presenting The discernment of Spirits, and participants with a ready means for assimilating its content. This text may also serve individual readers for personal study of The Discernment of Spirits.


The Reader’s Guide presumes individual reading of The Discernment of Spirits, and complements it. Each chapter in the Reader’s Guide corresponds to a chapter in The Discernment of Spirits. It first offers a synthesis of that chapter’s content. Questions that highlight important points in the chapter follow. The Guide then provides practical case studies and, finally, questions to assist the personal application of the teaching.


Discernment of Spirits is concerned with our interior experience on the level of both the ‘head” (our thoughts) and the “heart: (affective movements). By becoming aware of and understanding our interior movements, we can then choose to accept or reject them appropriately. These movements include both our patterns of thought (thinking, reasoning, pondering) and affectivity (stirrings of the heart, delight, joy, sadness, agitation and the like).


Throughout the book, case studies are presented that may be helpful in illustrating the real-life application of St. Ignatius’s Rules for the discernment of spirits. In the case-study sections of this guide, we will help you examine these cases and become much more capable of applying them in your daily life


This book is a wonderful way to examine one’s conscience each day and to offer to God the joy of our humanity.