About Loretta Pehanich
Loretta Pehanich is a spiritual director and author of Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy (CreateSpace, 2012). Steeped in Ignatian spirituality, she has more than 20 years of experience in ministry, including retreat work and small group leadership. Loretta currently works as a fundraiser in the Sacramento area. She and her husband have four children and eight grandchildren.

A Fragrance of Love

The aroma of fresh coffee sends me to bed every night as I lock the doors and my husband grinds the beans for the next morning’s automatically brewed wake-up beverage. Smelling that rich dark roast, I feel hope as I say goodnight to the day. Inhaling is an invitation to the Examen for me, and I make my resolve for tomorrow. The promise of a cup of coffee to greet the next day sends me […]

The Servant’s Healing

This story is inspired by Matthew 8:5–13, the healing of the centurion’s servant. The sickness? I never saw it coming. All of a sudden: slam. My body felt as if it had been hurled against a solid wall. Within a day, I could barely move. Without reason or cause. It just was. It was difficult for me because not only does the master of the house rely on me to run things smoothly, but also […]

Waking Up to the Risen Jesus

This story is inspired by the first contemplation in the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises, the apparition of Christ to Mary (#218). Do you know that semiconscious state as you begin to awaken, when it’s possible to believe you’re still dreaming? That’s how I awoke the morning of my son’s Resurrection. I felt my Jeshua gently stroking my hair. I smiled and looked into his sweet face. Such a loving son! He was sitting […]

Joseph’s Yokes

In honor of the feast of St. Joseph on March 19, we share this reflection on how Joseph may have influenced Jesus’ teaching example in Matthew 11:28–30. Jesus and I played together as boys in the streets of Nazareth. I liked to run to the carpenter’s shop to watch his dad skillfully construct all kinds of things out of wood. Joseph mastered the yoke so necessary to guide oxen in the fields. They fit each […]

We Never Expected the Transfiguration

This story is inspired by Luke 9:28–36, the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus casually invited three of us on a hike one warm, sunny day. I think Peter, James, and I are probably his closest buddies. Can you imagine what it felt like to be Jesus’ best friend? The hike turned out to be a steep one, but we were happy to go along. Wherever Jesus was headed, we were willing to follow. But we never […]

God Looks at Me

While reading Pope Francis’ book, The Church of Mercy, I stopped in my tracks. He asks, “Do you let yourself be looked at by the Lord?” I wondered if I take time to be aware of God’s gaze upon me. Pope Francis continues, “God looks at us, and this is itself a way of praying.” The Pope’s words led me to the following contemplation. I picture myself before God, like a child self-dressed for school […]

In God’s Waiting Room

Swirling ideas, wresting thoughts, and mixed-up emotions vie for my attention. Come, Holy Spirit. I sit still for what I hope will be a time of prayer. What will emerge? I trust. I wait. I thank God in advance for what will be. But my stillness leads to tangents. I am preoccupied by a decision I need to make, and people are waiting to know my choice. I’ve been invited to add one more good […]

Housecleaning Leads to an Examen of Physical Surroundings

I hired a housecleaner because I simply cannot keep up with a full-time job, choir practices, leadership with a women’s fellowship, family obligations, and oh…too much going on. Carissa labored for three hours in my absence, and afterwards, our house looked very different to me. Returning home that evening, I stepped back and saw my house with new perspective. It was as if another person were showing it to me. What did the house look […]

The Rich Young Man and the Look of Love

This story is inspired by Mark 10:17–22, Jesus and the rich man. I had to walk away. Was he kidding? No way could I give up my comfortable life and spacious home! I love my clothes and collections and my small luxuries. I love eating food others prepare and walking away from clean-up. I enjoy all sorts of entertainments—and none of these are bad. I am a God-fearing man who keeps every commandment. I just […]

The Golden Ticket to a Papal Mass

The song, “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory describes how some eager Californians feel right now as drawings all over the state determine who will get tickets for the papal Mass canonizing Father Junípero Serra. For generations, fourth graders in our state have studied the missions, but their founder is not the main draw for these Mass tickets; Pope Francis is. People are jealous that I’m able to serve […]

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