Little Lesson from St. Ignatius of Loyola

“We should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. . . . Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.” —St. Ignatius of Loyola, The Spiritual Exercises We talk a lot about freedom in the United States. Our nation was founded on the principles of freedom and liberty. Ignatius of Loyola recognized that […]

The Examen of the Future

The Examen is part of our tradition. Usually thought of in terms of St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, it has emphasized watching sins and failings. That emphasis was deepened by our post-Enlightenment emphasis on rules and counting things. The whole thrust of discernment as a spirituality for the twenty-first century has parted from that. We have opened ourselves deliberately and boldly to finding how the Holy Spirit is leading us here and now. Before we get […]

The Steps of the Examen

Today let’s explore the Examen through the lens of brief reflections pertaining to each step. The steps in this version of the Examen match what is presented in A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer by Jim Manney. Ask God for light. If we attune ourselves to look and listen, we may find God present within us, all around us, and speaking to us constantly. But if we don’t bother to look, it will seem that there is […]

No Prayer Warrior

Talk of “winners” and “warriors” with respect to prayer is, to me, oxymoronic. Christ told us to be willing to take the last place, and for me that’s never so much a matter of willingness as acknowledging that I’m there by default pretty much all the time. I’m no prayer warrior, or any other kind of warrior. I’m just a run-of-the-mill, deeply flawed human being who is terrified of not being loved, afraid of dying […]

The Attitude We Should Have

As a preface to his declaration about the Incarnation in Philippians, St. Paul said, “The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had.” Wisdom is making peace with the unchangeable. We have the freedom to face the unavoidable with dignity, to understand the transformational value that attitude works on suffering. Viktor Frankl wrote that in concentration camps, “what alone remains is ‘the last of human freedoms’—the ability to choose one’s attitude in […]

Forced Stillness

Jesuit Volunteer Grace Ogihara was forced into stillness because of neck and back pain one weekend. She writes: Though I otherwise would’ve been outside traipsing about Minnesota wilderness, I recognized my weekend being injured as sacred and precious time I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I’m counting it as a blessing after the fact. It was like God was literally making me be still, so that I might know Him better, just like the verse, “Be […]

A Spiritual Way of Proceeding

The Jesuit Institute South Africa produced a two-minute video introduction to Ignatian spirituality. David Fleming, SJ, is quoted in the video as saying Ignatian spirituality is “a spiritual way of proceeding that offers a vision of life, an understanding of God, a reflective approach to living, a reverential attitude to our world, and an expectation of finding God in all things.” Fleming is the author of What Is Ignatian Spirituality?

Control

I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them. —Hosea 11:4 If I had just a little more control, I’d be happier. Sound familiar? How often we blame our misery on a lack of control over our lives. We need to get a handle on our schedules; we need to get more […]

Lay It Out Before God

Scott Santarosa, SJ, talks about prayer in a short video produced by the Society of Jesus. He says: When things are getting rough or busy, or I feel a lot of interior movement—positive or negative, but especially negative—I feel like one of the antidotes is to sit down and lay it out before God and say, “God, here it is, here’s my heart.” For more on prayer, explore the archives here at dotMagis.

Joy and Mission

Jesus is not a lone missionary; he does not want to fulfill his mission alone but involves his disciples. In addition to the twelve apostles he calls another seventy-two and sends them to the villages, two by two, to proclaim that the Kingdom of God is close at hand. This is very beautiful! Jesus does not want to act alone; he came to bring the love of God into the world, and he wants to […]

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