About Rebecca Ruiz
Rebecca Ruiz holds a B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.A. from Tufts University. She has worked as an ethnomusicologist, composer, and writer, in academia, and, for the past 14 years, in domestic refugee resettlement in the Diocese of Arlington, VA. She and her husband have two children and live in the Washington, DC metro area. She strives, as St. Ignatius taught, to see God in all things and do “all things for the greater glory of God.”
Contact: Website

What Was God Calling Me to Do?

“Uh, Mom?” my son said, motioning towards the window of our parked car. Outside the window, uncomfortably close, stood a slight woman, her face lined with age. I rolled down the window. With nary an introduction, the words starting pouring out. Decades ago, she had come from deep in the South. She had worked in the circus, had been a barn hand, a stage hand, a waitress, and a house cleaner. She wanted to know […]

Feeling the Joy with Jesus

A few years ago, a friend gave me some prints of the Laughing Jesus painting. When I saw it, I immediately started laughing. I wondered what it was about this image that made me laugh. Part of it was that Jesus seemed to have such a joyful countenance that one could really imagine him laughing, and it looked like “contagious laughter”—the kind where it’s impossible to resist joining in. It also made me a tiny […]

What Makes You Hesitate?

I often revisit Ignatius’s reflections on the Resurrection in the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises at this time of year. This year, I am finding myself moved in a particularly unexpected way by Matthew 28 (SE 307): Meanwhile, the eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. —Matthew 28:16–17 I imagine myself on Mount […]

I’m Having a Hard Time Sitting in the Desert This Lent

I’ve been trying to sit with Christ in the desert as St. Ignatius suggests. I can’t manage to stay with him for long. I’m uncomfortable. I’m hot. I’m thirsty. And, worst of all, I really just can’t stand to see him suffering. I want out. I’m ready to skip right ahead to the Resurrection. My Ignatian contemplation is hitting too close to home this year. When my mother passed in September of 2015, we brought […]

10 Things to Love about Ignatian Spirituality

Here are 10 things I love about Ignatian spirituality. 1. It promotes lasting happiness. One of my friends gave me a coffee mug that reads “Do more of what makes you happy.” Every morning, it makes me happy just thinking about doing things that make me happy! I am also reminded of St. Ignatius’s belief that those noble desires closest to our hearts that make us most happy deep down—not passing fancies or things that […]

Leave Room for the Holy Spirit

When I sat down earlier this month to think about my New Year’s resolutions, I wrote three columns: Mind, Body, and Spirit. As I was contemplating my Spirit column, I kept remembering Pope Francis’s frequent admonitions to leave room for the Holy Spirit. While I did want to include this in my list of resolutions, I struggled with how to fit this concept into the column. I’m accustomed to listing specific, concrete, and quantifiable actions […]

Coping with Spiritual Desolation During the Holidays

Usually, during November and December, our thoughts turn to gratitude for God’s blessings and preparing our hearts for the coming of hope through the Christ Child. But what if, as the holidays approach, we feel anything but hopeful? The other day, I was sharing with a friend how excited I was that Advent was coming. My friend usually loves Advent too. However, when I mentioned it, her face literally contorted in pain. She shared that, […]

Three Ways to Cultivate a Retreat State of Mind

Every year, when autumn rolls around, I want to go on retreat. Maybe it’s the smell of the autumn leaves clothed in brilliance, dancing down to earth, or maybe it’s the crisp air and waning light. Autumn is a feast for the senses, and God’s handiwork is apparent everywhere. Yet, every year without fail, autumn proves a time too busy to get away, even for a weekend. School has just begun, sports are in full […]

A Grain of Compassion

I was preparing to cook rice the other day when some grains overflowed the scoop and fell to the floor. As I reached for the broom, a memory halted my hand. It was my first year working in refugee resettlement. We had prepared an apartment for the arrival of a refugee family by furnishing each room and stocking the kitchen. When the family arrived that evening, we brought them to their new apartment and showed […]

Four Ways to Find and Keep Your Peace in Tumultuous Times

I recently heard a gorgeous new rendition of one of my favorite hymns, “It Is Well with My Soul.” As I was listening, I remembered a fascinating Library of Congress exhibit I came upon years ago about the song’s author, Horatio G. Spafford. In 1871, Spafford was a successful Chicago lawyer. He had it all: money, power, fame, and a beautiful family. However, in October of that year, he lost most of his business to […]

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