Book Review: “What Matters Most and Why: Living the Spirituality of St. Ignatius Loyola,” by Jim Manney 

By Steve Givens, executive director 

Whether you’re an experienced and seasoned practitioner of Ignatian spirituality or a seeker looking for new ways to put your faith into practice, Jim Manney’s new book of daily “actionables” is going to be a welcome addition to your nightstand or prayer space. 

Manney, a former editor at Loyola Press and author of many books on Ignatian spirituality, including “Ignatian Spirituality A to Z,” “What Do You Really Want?” and his popular work on the Examen, “A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer,” has organized this collection of 365 daily reflections around a traditional Ignatian approach to learning and spiritual development that includes experience, reflection, and action. 

The book from New World Library offers readers a daily dose of wisdom from established writers — from historical and contemporary Jesuit writers and thinkers to the Dalai Lama and Nelson Mandela to Buddhist, Hindu and Jewish texts — in addition to Manney’s own insightful commentary and calls to action. “What Matters Most and Why” is designed as a tool to help readers/prayers find additional depth and awareness during their times of daily prayer — added inspiration for going deeper and wider in the awareness and gratitude that naturally spring from the daily examen of consciousness. 

As author Chris Lowney writes in the book’s foreword, Ignatian spirituality is a “superb technology, ideal for navigating today’s complex, volatile world.” The wisdom and approaches to prayer and life found in Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises are now 500 years old and yet retain a contemporary freshness, depth and applicability missing from much of today’s self-help philosophies. What Manney has given the world with this new volume is an easy-to-read and apply daily guide to the ancient wisdom of St. Ignatius and those who have followed in his footsteps. He does so with a clarity and conciseness that make this daily guide indispensable reading for mature Christians seeking inspiration to take their spiritual lives to both a higher and deeper level. 

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Note: Jim Manney will be in conversation with Bridges Executive Director Steve Givens for a “Bridges Conversation” on Facebook Live on Friday, April 7 at noon (CT). You can visit and like Bridges’ Facebook page here: