Faith that Works

Teaching middle schoolers how to live and practice their faith

Hearts on Fire: Praying with the Jesuits is available on Amazon.com and from Loyolapress.com

This book came into my life about 9 years ago from two different groups of people.  The first copy I got at a conference of the University Consortium for Catholic Education.  I was there representing the PACE program at University of Portland.  For anyone reading this who is interested in serving in Catholic schools, the UCCE might be a good place to look.  It is a group of Universities working to put highly qualified teachers into Catholic schools through service learning programs.  For example, I earned my masters in teaching while working as an AmeriCorps member in a Catholic school.

Hearts on Fire is a compilation of poems, prayers and methods of prayer loosely organized into the 4 weeks of the 30 days retreat created by Ignatius Loyola which he called The Spiritual Exercises.  In my second year of teaching I made the exercises as a 9 month retreat, and my spiritual director also gave me a copy of the book.  It is one of those books I have never read through in its entirety, but at various points in my spiritual journey the words in this book have been the prayers of my heart when I couldn’t find those exact words.

The poems and prayers come from a wide variety of writers- from Gerard Manly Hopkins (the English major in me was very happy about this- also I was a little upset that I didn’t know he was a Jesuit) to Saint Edmund Campion, who was a hero of my middle school English teacher.  There’s also writings from Pedro Arrupe whose poem “Fall in Love” is one of my favorites, although that one is not in the book.  There’s also some classic prayers of Ignatius Loyola and the steps to the Examen.

Popcorn: This one is tough to give a rating to.  4?  It is full of short meaningful readings that make for excellent prayer times.

Stars: 5.  Beautiful writing and powerful prayers.

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