Fr. Kevin O’Brien, S.J. had more on his plate this summer than preparing for his new role as vice president of mission and ministry. He was also prepping for the publication of his first book.

O’Brien’s work, “The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life,” was released by Loyola Press at the beginning of this month.

Four years ago, O’Brien began writing a compilation of personal stories meant to complement the history of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus who authored “Spiritual Exercises” in the 1500s after a series of personal encounters with Jesus.

“[My] book stems from my experience of offering the ‘Spiritual Exercises’ to people, to students and parishioners at my old parish, Holy Trinity,” O’Brien said.

Typically, the “Exercises” — “the foundation of Jesuit spiritual values,” according to O’Brien — are led by a spiritual director and performed over a period of 30 days. For O’Brien, in the modern-day context and with those he mentors spiritually, such a timeline is impractical.

“Jesuits meet people where they are at,” he said.

The purpose of The Ignation Adventure is to guide people in their day-to-day encounters with God, helping them locate the source of spirituality in their lives.

“Jesuit spirituality is based on the belief that we can find God in all things,” O’Brien said.

According to O’Brien, the book also helped him transition into his new role as vice president of mission and ministry.

“No Jesuit is able to help others unless they grow spiritually themselves,” he said. “So in my new role as vice president of mission and ministry, I rely on the ‘Exercises’ every day because if I am not rooted in the love that God has for me [and] if I am not attentive to my own interior life, I am not going to be able to do my job well, which is to help people and to help this university understand its soul.”

The book is intended for those living harried lives, according to O’Brien.

“You don’t need to be perfectly devout to make the ‘Spiritual Exercises’,” he said. “You need to be generous and to have a generosity of soul. When you are open to generosity and open to God leading you, you are ready to start making the Exercises.”

The use of personal stories and tips is intended to help facilitate readers to grow in self-awareness, O’Brien said.

“Discernment is all about an interior motion — the things we feel moving within us. Discern where it came from and only act on ones that move you closer to God and to faith, hope and love,” O’Brien said.

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