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 […]

Yearly Check-In for Couples

My years of being immersed in Ignatian spirituality have taught me the importance of being intentional—to be dedicated to my prayer life, to be dedicated to discernment, and to live purposefully. It is this idea of intentionality that I offer to all couples this new year as we naturally start setting our sights on goals, resolutions, and dreams. Instead of picking the first thing that comes to mind for our New Year’s resolutions, consider a […]

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. […]

Why the Son Came into Our Flesh

About discerning our call or vocation, the first thing to say is that we all share in the greatest one. God “calls humankind to seek him, to know him, and to love him with all our strength.” This is God’s call to all, and it tells about God’s dream: an earth peopled with lovers—with those who let the Holy Spirit lead them to love God, love one another, and love themselves—passionately and well. How is […]

Discerning as a Couple

Discerning as an individual is something that’s covered at length in the world of Ignatian spirituality. But what about discerning as a couple? The framework my husband Chris and I use for discernment is not that different from the framework I recommend people use for discerning as an individual. The major difference is there are two people’s voices and experiences of prayer, and there is the larger context of marriage and family life in which […]

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, […]

Four Reasons We Resist Letting Go

Why do we resist letting go of unhealthy, or disordered, attachments? What happens inside us that makes us hang on for dear life, even when hanging on is hurting us? Here are some ideas. I resist letting go because, at some level, letting go feels like failure. I don’t want to admit defeat—that I can’t finish a project well, that the relationship is never going to work, that I can’t change a situation no matter […]

The Inner Process of Letting Go

What has to happen inside a person before she can let go of attachments that are harming her? The attachment can be physical, such as a house or keepsake; it can be emotional, such as resentment about an incident or fear of an unwanted outcome. Attachments can be needs—the need to understand everything completely, or the need to force things into an order she can manage. Attachments can be relationships or jobs, or even dreams. […]

Discernment at Different Stages of Life

A major gift from Ignatian spirituality is its wisdom about discernment. Discernment enables us to assess situations, pay attention to various clues, approach our decision making prayerfully, and ultimately choose well according to our faith and our life situation. But discernment is not the same at every stage of life. Each season presents unique challenges that require yet another nuance of Spirit-helped discernment. When we’re young—in late childhood and the teen years—much discernment has to […]

Discipline Our Hearts

William A. Barry, SJ, writes for the Ignatian Volunteer Corps blog: Ignatian discernment of spirits is one way to discipline our hearts so that we become more adult in our desires and thus more in tune with reality, which is God’s dream for our world. We can attune our hearts to God’s ways and thus become images of God, human beings who are friends of God, of one another and of the rest of creation. […]

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