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In Wonder, Love and Praise

Approaches to Poetry, Theology and Philosophy

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Edited By Martin Potter, Malgorzata Grzegorzewska and Jean Ward

This collection of essays explores poetry’s contribution to the expression of theological wonder, which can occur both in ordinary life and in the natural world or can arise in the context of explicitly supernatural mystical experience. Poets have a special role in capturing religious awe in ways beyond the power of discursive language. Some essays in this book approach the subject on a theoretical level, working with theology, philosophy and literary criticism. Others provide close readings of poems in which the engagement with a variously understood idea or experience of wonder is prominent, from the English-language tradition and outside it. Poets from culturally and historically different backgrounds are thus drawn together through the focus on the meaning of wonder.

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Wonder and Imagination in Ignatius of Loyola: A Study from Paul Ricoeur’s Work

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Abstract: The process of Ignatius of Loyola’s conversion occurs in his astonished consciousness when he confronts the diversity of spirits within him. His astonishment contains a seed from which the Spiritual Exercises will grow. The use of the imagination in the Exercises shows Ignatius how to inhabit the biblical text, regarded as a poem that unfolds before the reader. The joyful and amazed encounter with the deepest truth of the human heart opens the exercitant to greater self-understanding.

Keywords: Ignatius of Loyola, amazement, conversion, Ricoeur, imagination

According to Paul Ricoeur, imagination does not merely reproduce reality, but can play a key role in the understanding of what surrounds us, and also in the self-knowledge of the subject. In this essay I attempt to illustrate this, while analysing the conversion of Ignatius of Loyola, which takes place before feelings of wonder enter his consciousness due to the awareness of the diversity of spirits. Ignatius’ conversion and the practice of the Spiritual Exercises originate mainly in the imagination. It is through imagination that Ignatius discovers his ability to spiritually inhabit a text. The transformation or conversion of the believer’s heart occurs when he can dwell, so to speak, within the biblical text which challenges him and invites him to heed God’s call. Therefore, while referring to the notion of imagination in Ricoeur’s work, I would like to explore a possible dialogue between spirituality and hermeneutics, and suggest how this dialogue can help us understand the...

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