This book is a collection of fifteen spiritual exercises for people who seek to experience God in everyday life with the help of Ignatian discernment. At times, life looks like a way of the cross. Pain is there, uninvited. Art and beauty have long been able to deepen our spirituality. By contemplating a work of art, we are invited to follow step by step the downward path of the disfigured Christ, who configures us in his glorious transfiguration. This Ignatian journey follows the steadfast rhythm of a bronze way of the cross, in which artist Werner Klenk has captured with astonishing and disarming power the essence of a Christian lifestyle made of encounters.
Bert Daelemans, SJ, graduated as engineer-architect and theologian (PhD, KU Leuven, 2013). He is the author of Via Crucis: Overwegingen bij de bronzen kruisweg van Werner Klenk in Altenhundem (Averbode: 2103), Spiritus Loci: A Theological Method for Contemporary Church Architecture (Brill: 2015), and Encuentros en el camino: Una propuesta de discernimiento spiritual (PPC: 2015). He is currently professor of pneumatology and sacramental theology at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain.
"The uniqueness of An Ignatian Journey of the Cross: Exercises in Discernment is its holistic engagement of body, mind, and spirit with the Paschal Mystery of Christ as our own Christian Mystery as human persons. Daelemans employs Scripture, the text of the Exercises, original verse, a bronze relief-sculpture of an eminent German artist, and moving pieces of music to help incarnate a process of discerning prayer that is sensual, poetic, and visual and that cuts to the heart of a `Beauty ever ancient and ever new.' The language is accessible and contemporary, poetic and rich with the texts of our tradition, with stunning reproductions and musical suggestions that together serve to enhance what St. Ignatius would call sentir, a `felt knowledge' that leads to deeper spiritual and apostolic freedom."
Paul A. Janowiak, SJ, Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
"Fr. Daelemans's sensitive interpretation of the Ignatian text, enhanced by Werner Klenk's beautifully photographed Way of the Cross in bronze, offers an engaging and deeply personal spiritual experience. In this relatively compact work, the full range of our human capacities for prayer-imagination, the senses, memory, and intuition-are brought into play. We move at our own pace. The graced moments ripen slowly. This is a book to keep."
Fr. William Pearsall, SJ, University Chaplain, University of Manchester
"It is rare to find a spiritual writer who combines so many gifts: theology, aesthetics, and intimate familiarity with Saint Ignatius's wisdom about prayer. An Ignatian Journey combines art, Scripture, poetry, and even suggestions for music in a single, multifaceted meditation. As with Saint Ignatius's great classic, the Spiritual Exercises, the prayer engages the senses, the imagination, and the heart. I am sure that any who desire a deeper and more personal encounter with the Lord will find in this unusual and beautiful book a continual source of inspiration."
Nicholas Austin, SJ, Heythrop College
"This is a wonderful book, which invites us on a journey with Jesus as he faces his most difficult and most glorious moments on his journey of the Cross. It is a tough and challenging journey-almost harrowing, yet intimate and beautiful-calling us to explore the depth of our own being and all of our relationships, not least with Jesus and with ourselves. This is a text I have and will use often for meditation and contemplation, and I found the use of images and music suggestions, along with the Scripture and almost poetic text, really helpful and evocative-drawing me into the exercises in spite of my reluctance!"
Jim Culliton, SJ Dublin, Ireland
"More than mere devotional practice, this contemporary, existential, and artistic Way of the Cross is at once a guide to meditation and a path to encounter Christ in whom we are and find what we are searching for: a fullness of joy and life beyond our own darkness and our daily struggles."
Georges Ruyssen, SJ Pontificio Istituto Orientale Rome
"Bert Daelemans, SJ, gently guides us in the contemplation of the Passion of Jesus through a series of sculptural images. As we, reverently or even shyly, approach Jesus in this via crucis, we are led to discover that it is Jesus who walks with us during the course of our lives. We are captivated by Jesus in these most genuinely human moments of his divinity-to see, to listen, to feel, and even to taste the beauty, the truth, and the proximity of God living and embracing our humanity. By way of a dialogue with this Jesus, so truly meek and humble, we are encouraged to experience a moving encounter with him in a journey of discernment so as to grow in his likeness."
Miyako Namikawa, RSCJ Madrid, Spain
"This book might be described as a little Gesamtkunstwerk. In Bert Daelemans's An Ignatian Journey of the Cross the reader will find an uplifting and interesting approach to contemplating the Way of the Cross through poetic writing, visual images, and selected pieces of music in the context of the Ignatian tradition. For those who seek beauty, hope, and inspiration, the book will be a source of reflection and sustenance."
Gesa Thiessen, Trinity College, Dublin