About Andy Otto
Andy Otto credits his relationships for a strong and ever-growing faith in God. After spending nearly three years as a Jesuit, he came to a deep appreciation for the practical application of Ignatian spirituality. He currently lives with his wife in California, where he works as a high school theology teacher. He is the author of God Moments and holds a master’s degree in theology and ministry from Boston College.

Tasting the Breeze

I was recently asked how we can “turn down the noise” in our lives so we can better notice God around us. What I don’t think we actually do is listen to the noise. How often do we pause to notice the sounds coming into our ears? The sights and colors entering our eyes? The scents entering our nostrils? It’s this kind of awareness that’s key to an Ignatian spiritual life. St. Ignatius would call […]

Advent Waiting

I’m usually not a big fan of waiting. My wife and I are pregnant, and our daughter is due to arrive at the very end of December. These days are hard! I want our little girl to be here already. “Have patience,” a voice inside me says. Indeed, the word patience comes from the Latin word patior, meaning “to suffer.” How true. Waiting is not always easy. Many have pointed out that our waiting coincides […]

Self-Awareness: The Oxygen of the Spiritual Life

In one of my recent classes I mentioned the term “self-awareness” and discovered that most of my students did not know what it meant. We interestingly live in a culture of self-absorption—of selfies and self-centered Facebook posts—but lack a healthy awareness of self. Many of us grew up in an environment where talking or thinking about one’s self was bad. We just didn’t do that. Sitting and reflecting on our interior life might have been […]

Our Intrusive God

During my summer off from teaching, one might think it would be easier for me to make time for God, yet I found myself either working on my writing or planning for the new school year. One afternoon I sat down with a cocktail and decided to devote some solid time to working on a project for my business. A few minutes in, the doorbell rang. I ignored it. It rang again. Frustrated, I peeked […]

Sight Is the Seed of Contemplation

The Examen begins with an awareness of God’s presence, imagining God gazing upon us with love. It’s this gaze that taps us into the importance of our sense of sight. A large part of Jesus’ mission was helping people to see—physically and spiritually. Bartimaeus begs Jesus for the gift of sight, bringing him to faith in Christ. An entire chapter is devoted to sight and blindness in the Gospel of John. Jesus wants to open […]

The Fatigue of Mercy

We’re nearing the halfway mark for the Year of Mercy, and for those of us regularly tapped into the Catholic world, all this talk of mercy can start to feel tiring. Even the demands of mercy can be tiring: trying to live out the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, giving attention to those in need—all of it can be very exhausting. My fatigue of mercy is made apparent when my wife’s heavy workload moves […]

Ignatian Quietude

Ignatian spirituality is very action-oriented. We name desires. We engage our senses in prayer. We respond to the Call of the King. We converse with Jesus. We discern. In contrast, as I’ve studied the Eastern religions and taught them to high school students, I’ve noticed an important element that’s often too hidden within the Christian spiritual tradition: inaction. Taoism embodies a virtue called wu-wei, which means “actionless activity.” Its paradoxical nature says that we can […]

Faced with What We Lack

With the end of each year I typically find myself in a state of hopefulness for the next year. I want to make resolutions like eating healthier, exercising, and praying more. But I also find that my hopefulness comes with a lament about some lack in the past year: I failed to make healthy choices; I was over-stressed with work; I got lazy with prayer and exercise. That lament is coated with a layer of […]

Marking God’s Goodness

Before making the big decision to move from the East Coast to the West Coast, my wife Sarah and I prayed with the story of Abraham and Sarah’s journey. Each place they travelled, they built an altar to honor God. They were responding to God’s call to depart from their homeland and journey to a new, unknown land. What they left behind in each place they went was a symbol of their relationship with God. […]

Overturning the Tables of the Evil Spirit

I’ve always struggled with the story of Jesus, in a seeming rage, turning over the tables of the moneychangers in the Temple. But after reflecting on how the evil spirit pesters us constantly, I have a new understanding of what was going on in that Gospel story. Jesus was not reacting to the buyers and sellers themselves, but to the evil spirit at large. The holy place of the Temple, a house of prayer, became […]

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