Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V.
"America's preeminent writer on Ignatian spiritual direction and discernment." --Harvey. D. Egan, S.J.
Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Having obtained his doctorate in 1983 from the Gregorian University, he has taught (St. John's Seminary, Brighton, MA; Our Lady of Grace Seminary Residence, Boston, MA), assisted in formation work, and served two terms as provincial in his own community. He has dedicated many years to an extensive international ministry of retreats, spiritual direction, and teaching about the spiritual life. He is a frequent speaker on EWTN, and his digitally recorded talks are utilized internationally. He has written eight books on Ignatian discernment and prayer, a biography of Venerable Bruno Lanteri, and a book on the Liturgy of the Hours. He currently holds the St. Ignatius Chair for Spiritual Formation at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver.
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
The Spiritual Exercises is a book in which St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) sets down directives for prayer, counsels for spiritual directors, examinations of conscience, spiritual rules and the like. Fr. Gallagher's writing and teaching is deeply rooted in the careful study of the text of the Spiritual Exercises. Fr. Gallagher's love for the Spiritual Exercises flows from the charism of Venerable Bruno Lanteri, the founder of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, who said, "The Exercises of St. Ignatius are a very powerful instrument of divine grace for worldwide reform, and in particular, a sure method for everyone to become a saint, a great saint, and quickly."
The Discernment of Spirits
The word discernment comes from an ancient word for "sift" or "separate". The discernment of spirits is the art of sifting through spiritual experiences in order to distinguish what is from the Lord and what is not. Toward the end of his life, St. Ignatius of Loyola told one of his Jesuit companions that he wrote the Spiritual Exercises because he thought that some of his own experiences might be helpful to others. This is one of the greatest understatements in the history of Christian spirituality. St. Ignatius' rules for the discernment of spirits have helped countless souls to articulate and understand the ups and downs of the spiritual life. These rules are the topic of Fr. Gallagher's best-selling book entitled The Discernment of Spirits: An Ignatian Guide for Everyday Living.
The Will of God
God has a plan for every person, a plan that goes far beyond doing good and avoiding evil. God's plan can be rightly discerned by paying attention to one's spiritual experiences. St. Ignatius has much to teach us about following God's lead in daily decisions and especially in the major decisions of life. Fr. Gallagher's Discerning the Will of God is an excellent resource for those seeking God's will for their lives.