CBB Review: Take Five: On-The-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius

CBB Review: Take Five: On-The-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius July 21, 2016

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There are a countless number of saints we can use as our example on the journey. Saint Ignatius of Loyola is one such example and a fine one to learn from at that. Ignatius led a life of consumption from goods to women to alcohol. He knew how to party and live the secular life to the full. This all changed after a debilitating war injury led him to God. Upon discovering God and realizing he had been wasting his years prior, he put equal if not more energy into helping others and spreading God’s word. Mike Aquilina takes the teachings of Ignatius, known as the Spiritual Exercises, and boils them down into brief readings that can be read easily throughout the day. The book is called Take Five: On-The-Job Meditations with St. Ignatius.

As Mike states in the introduction; “Most Christians spend a large part of their waking hours in activity related to their professional work. They put in long shifts – on the shop floor, in the classroom, in the office – and they pass even more time commuting to and from their labors. Thus, when they pass from this life, they will likely be judged to a great extent on what they did for a living.” These long hours spent in work can have short periods of reflection carved out within them however. That is how Mike’s book can play a beneficial role.

As noted earlier, the meditations draw from the writings of one of the Church’s hardest workers, St. Ignatius of Loyola.esilt ad ls them down into brief readings that r life to the furney of life. e beds ized until adulthood.

ying. As the title suggests, each of the meditations take only about five minutes read. What each meditation does is plant a fruitful seed for reflection for the rest of the day. This is the key to the book. Short reads that invoke long, thoughtful reflections for the remainder of the day. These are perfect for breaking up the sometimes monotonous work day.

To learn from someone you should first learn about that person. The book leads off with a great biographical overview of Ignatius’ life. One question you may be wondering is why Ignatius? What does he have to offer my workday? Well, Ignatius was a hard worker himself and though he may not have chosen the same occupation as us, labor is labor. He wrote many letters addressing the topic of work and how to get it done without running oneself ragged. His writings focus on how to deal with co-workers and the inevitable office politics. He addressed the critical challenge of attending to our labors but keeping a razor-sharp focus on God.

The book consists of 74 meditations. These move from elementary to deeper topics. It can be read in order or randomly. Some of the meditations include; Extra Effort, Speak Moderately and Politely, Learn to Listen, Decision Making, Office Gossip, Sick Days, Don’t Blame Others, and Prayer Goes to Work. Each of he meditations is divided into four sections. First up is an excerpt from the writings of Ignatius. Next is a short section titled “Think About It” which gives bullet points for reflection and prayer. “Just Imagine” provides a brief passage of Scripture relative to the reflection presented. Lastly comes “Remember” a one-line thought meant to be written down and carried with you throughout the day. Pull this out, repeat it as a prayer and try to memorize it before the end of the day.

Work can be tough…it’s not called the daily grind for nothing! Mike Aquilina and Fr. Kris D. Stubna bring readers a book of meditations to survive the daily rat race. With Saint Ignatius of Loyola as our guide the workday can become a more satisfying experience. By using this book we will come to two things of great importance. We will improve our own approach to our labors placing work in the heavenly context it was meant to be. Second we can use this as a springboard for workplace evangelization. Take Five a day and incorporate self-improvements for a lifetime.

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