About Tim Muldoon
Tim Muldoon is the author a number of books, including The Ignatian Workout, Longing to Love, and Living Against the Grain, as well as many essays. He edits the journal Integritas: Advancing the Mission of Catholic Higher Education, a publication of the Boston College Roundtable. He, his wife, and their children live west of Boston.

The Grace of Failure

This topic came up in class, and it gets better as I continue to think about it. Here’s the thumbnail: the young Ignatius went to Jerusalem to imitate St. Francis, wanting to walk in Christ’s footsteps and convert Muslims. But after he got there, the local priests sent him packing, and he was dejected. Why did God set him up for failure? One of the most difficult periods in my own life was a professional failure. It […]

Practice, Love

I’d like to propose a juxtaposition of two ideas that emerge from the Spiritual Exercises: practice and love. Without getting into too much insider baseball on how Ignatius’s text emphasizes these themes, let me suggest a brief thought exercise that you might take into prayer. We learn anything by practicing: the piano, soccer, algebra. Jesus calls us to love one another as the Father has loved Jesus. How do you practice love? Notice that embedded […]

The Long Ride

I do some of my best thinking and praying while running or biking. This morning I considered how biking hills is not a bad analogy to the discernment of consolation and desolation in the spiritual life. Here’s the idea. Coming to the beginning of a long upward climb can be a daunting experience. You see it looming, and you see that it will be hard and tiring. There is a temptation to quit or turn around. This is […]

God’s Project

I first encountered the term “God’s project” in an essay by Joseph Tetlow, SJ. I think it’s an idea worth considering further. Looking at the world as God’s project has some powerful implications. For example: 1. It emphasizes the radical human freedom with which God has created us, and the passion God brings to persuading us to help God create a kingdom of goodness, truth, and beauty. 2. It allows us to see human evil […]

Form My Heart

At every moment of my life I have two options. If I allow it, God will form my heart more and more in the image of his Son. I will act in faith to let God lead me into an unknown place, a place that I cannot know and cannot guarantee I will fully understand or enjoy. Like the one who is brought out of a cave into the light of the sun, I may […]

Discernment as Common Vision

As I deepen my love for my friend, I come to know what she likes and dislikes. I come to see the world through her eyes, and thereby experience it anew. What once was trite and meaningless to me now becomes an object of wonder, when I look at it with her. This deepening friendship gives rise to regular moments of conversion. In the early days when I was just coming to know the woman who was to […]

A Spirituality of Orality

Nearly 25 years ago, the Jesuit scholar of language Walter J. Ong wrote a seminal work on the difference between spoken and written language, and how the use of these different forms of communication impacted human cultures of antiquity and the modern age. He used the term primary orality to talk about cultures that only know communication through spoken words and who have no written language. Secondary orality, in contrast, refers to cultures that use “essentially a […]

A Spirituality of Study

For students and teachers involved in academic life, early fall can feel like being shot out of a cannon. It can be jarring to move from the slow pace of summer rest into the overscheduled life of reading, writing, scheduling meetings, meeting deadlines, and so on. Hamlet’s response to Polonius’s question of what he was reading comes to mind: “words, words, words!” As a writer, I find it consoling to contemplate a bookshelf and recall that […]

Care of the Person, Care of the Self

Care of the person (cura personalis) is one of the common principles of Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy. It is rooted in the faith that God has created me to do some good in the world, and that through discernment I can come to an understanding of how to love the people in my life as Jesus might, awakening in them the same desire to give their lives in loving service to others. Cura personalis has […]

Giuseppe Castiglione, SJ: Aesthetic Missionary to China

What would it be like to share the Gospel not through words, but through a vision of what is beautiful? Giuseppe Castiglione, who became known as Láng Shìníng (郎世寧) during his 51 years in China, painted in the court of three emperors and influenced Chinese painters to write the first book on Western painting. His work is commemorated today in over 40 Chinese postage stamps, not to mention his many museum pieces in Beijing and Taipei. Below is a […]

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