The Craft of Using The Listening Book

Note your reflections

The Listening Book is a book you listen to after writing your prayer reflections in it. Following a spiritual exercise, you consider the questions listed below. After noting your responses in your Listening Book, you then close it.

Practically, buy a book to have as your Listening Book. You can title it beautifully and bless it before use. There are three sets of reflection questions below for different occasions.

Return later to listen

After some time, an hour, day or week, you open your Listening Book and carefully read what you wrote. You listen to the Listening Book as it reveals new meanings, insights, and feelings.

Your original prayer experience always has more grace in it than you might realise at first. Your Listening Book will help you to catch and chart what passes through your soul. It will become the voice of a friend.

Hear your inner voices

The Holy Spirit speaks through your Listening Book. Using a Listening Book also gives your inner self and your unconscious self time to absorb your prayer experience, and a way to tell you what they have discovered.

Furthermore, your Listening Book will grow rich with your favourite exercises, graces of understanding, and give you evidence of what the Spirit wishes you to share with others.

After a Spiritual Exercise

What were the more important things
in my prayer?

What were my stronger feelings?
What detail gave rise to them?

Has my relationship with the Lord grown?
How? Why?

Have I received the grace I asked for?
Other Insights? Delights?

Have I felt spiritual consolation or desolation since my prayer time?

Is there action I wish to take?

After a Spiritual Conversation

What were the more important things
I heard in the spiritual conversation?

Where was I most engaged?
What did I learn?

What were my stronger feelings?

Did any of my desires sharpen or deepen?

Have I felt consolation or desolation
since my conversation?

Is there action I wish to take?

After an Awareness Examen

For what did I feel gratitude for today?

How did God act in my life today?

What life-giving patterns are revealed
in the past week?

In what direction is the good spirit leading me?
The bad spirit?

Is there action I wish to take?


As for the Exercises, I did not produce them all at one time, rather that some things which I used to observe in my soul and find useful for myself, seemed to me could also be useful for others, and so I used to put them in writing.

Ignatius writing his Spiritual Exercises in a cave at Manresa


Every day I used to write down what passed through my soul, and so could now find these things in writing.
Part of the time I spent in writing and part in prayer.

Page from the Listening Book of Ignatius

Please note.  For greater depth in giving the FSE and guiding Spiritual Conversation see the Manual  here.