About Vinita Hampton Wright
Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

The Spiritual Meaning of Balance

When most people refer to balance, they envision a successful juggling act. A balanced life is one in which, simultaneously, I keep all my projects going and all my relationships healthy. I achieve this balance by sheer strategy and willpower. In Christian spirituality, balance has more to do with temperance, which means that we allow our deepest principles to hold our passions in check. As Paula Huston explains in her book By Way of Grace, temperance […]

Alone or Lonely?

Some people just like to be alone, and I’m one of them. Give me a book, a movie, or a comfortable seat under a shade tree, and I’m happy. I don’t need the constant stimulation of other people. Some people function best when they’re around others. They feel more energized when not alone. In some religious subcultures, extraversion is rewarded. The more outgoing and talkative you are, the more likely people will think you have […]

Freedom for the New Year

A new year usually means a fresh plan. It means another try at the life we want to live. It means opening up to possibilities—to forward movement, to adjusting old ways to work better. A new year reminds us that the Holy Spirit is always moving, working among us, and leading us to the next good step. However, we cannot respond fully to such guidance and holy inspiration until we are free to do so. […]

How to Recognize Jesus

How to recognize Jesus: Listen to whatever clues you’re given. For instance, angels told the shepherds to look in a certain town and a certain kind of place. They even mentioned swaddling clothes. So . . . it helps to listen to what others have said about Jesus—from the accounts in the New Testament Gospels to the testimonies of people here and now who have encountered him. Word of mouth means something, and the sacred […]

Abiding in Presence

During Advent, we often talk about hope. And one aspect of hope is our ability to abide in God’s presence while waiting for whatever will come. Jesus called himself the vine and his disciples (including us) the branches; for the branches to live, they must abide in the vine. For our lives to thrive and bear fruit—even while waiting—we need to learn abiding. We need to abide in Presence and allow that presence to soothe […]

From Secular to Sacred: Go All Out!

As you prepare for the holidays this year, go all out! Literally—get OUT of the house, go OUTside, experience the great OUTdoors. Yes, you’ve got too much to do, but that’s no excuse. If it’s cold, bundle up and allow your cheeks to get rosy and your body to become energized by the brisk air. If you’re not in a cold climate, then spend a little more time wandering at a nearby lake/ocean/mountain/park. Take along […]

Advent Again—Time for Practicing Hope

The thing about the Christian year is that it keeps coming around. Over and over again, we get to try our hearts and minds and hands at Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. We get to dust off the liturgies and speak or sing them again. We get to try old prayers in new ways—or try new prayers on old themes. We get to pick up our symbols and phrases and turn them […]

Why Gratitude?

Yes, here’s another article on gratitude—not because we can’t think of other topics but because we naturally cycle around to this one again and again. Gratitude is not a fad, not the latest trend on the World Wide Web. Gratitude is foundational to the life that so many people desire: a life that is well-lived, joyful, and connected to others and to God in good, healthy ways. I wouldn’t even call gratitude an attitude. It’s […]

Toward a Habit of Gratitude

What kind of prayer expresses thanksgiving that is honest? Do I begin with my complaints and then end with words of praise and trust? Some of the psalms from the Bible follow that structure, so it must be OK. But is it enough simply to say, “Things are horrible, but I know that God is good, so I thank you, Lord, that you are watching over me”? There’s probably more to it than that. First, […]

Habits of the Heart

Most of us are interested in spirituality because, at the heart of things, we want to be transformed. We want our lives to change for the better, in small ways and big ways. This desire for ongoing, positive change compels us to sign up for classes, join prayer groups, attend religious services, participate in faith rituals, and search—again and again—for the practice or information that will help us become the people we truly want to […]

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