The Consequences of Seeing

This story is inspired by John 9:1–41, the healing of the man born blind, and Mark 10:46–52, the healing of Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus and I talked about it. His healing was immediate. Not mine. I must have looked like a fool stumbling down the road, mud on my eyes. “What was the first thing you saw?” I asked Bartimaeus. “The face of Jesus. You?” “My own reflection in the pool.” As we sat looking—just looking—at the […]

Applying the Examen to Praying the Stations of the Cross

In a National Review interview with Kathryn Jean Lopez about his new book Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of the Cross, author Gary Jansen states: Everyone has time for prayer. You can pray when you’re going to the bathroom or taking a shower. You asked about stillness. Well, take one particular station with you in the shower in the morning, or to the sink while you’re brushing your teeth, and think […]

Following Jesus into the Desert

After my baptism, I returned daily to the river and watched. When John said, “Behold the Lamb of God,” we applauded. Some danced. Some jumped into the water and splashed each other like children. People were so busy celebrating that they didn’t notice Jesus head toward the desert. I wondered why he left and followed. He walked for an hour and then stopped. I stayed back, hesitant to disturb him. He stood still, eyes closed, […]

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, […]

Pray for Strangers

Wyatt Massey writes for America magazine: I sit alone on the bench, outside of a café as I wait for a friend. The lines on each passing face, the way they hold their hands, the postures they keep—it all tells a story. They are strangers, but I fill in details of their lives with imagination and prayer. His brief essay, “Prayers of a Wondering Mind,” beautifully tells of one way to pray for strangers when […]

Setting Down Our Nets

When Jesus calls the fishermen Peter and Andrew, he tells them, “Come follow me.” In response, the new disciples experience a new desire and put down their nets to follow Jesus (Matthew 4:19–20). We, too, can also have various “nets” that can limit our capacity to follow Jesus more closely. One way to pray with this passage is to consider the question: What are my own nets? In the Principle and Foundation, St. Ignatius names […]

Fr. James Martin on Ignatian Contemplation

Fr. James Martin, SJ, author of books including My Life with the Saints (10th anniversary edition) and Jesus: A Pilgrimage, recently shared with Sean Salai, SJ, some thoughts on prayer, specifically Ignatian contemplation. Salai: Beginners in Ignatian contemplation sometimes struggle to distinguish between what comes from God and what comes from their own heads when they use their imagination to pray. As a spiritual director and retreat master, what do you say to them? Martin: […]

Time and Space for Silence

Shemaiah Gonzalez appreciates “The Gift of Silence in the Morning.” But it’s difficult to sit still. It’s not just my body that wants to move, to twitch and shift; it’s my mind too. I think of to-do lists and my schedule until finally I give in to the utter gift of a quiet space. I ask God to remind me of what is true and good. Read the full reflection at Busted Halo. Whether you […]

Take, Lord, Receive, My Work and Career

I work in an office where the pace is breakneck speed. I pray during my morning commute, but pride kicks in as I park: “See you at noon, God. I’ve got things covered.” Then I read the Suscipe. Uh, oh. Do I mean it? I pray, “Take, Lord, receive, well, most of me. Can I hang on to this area—and that—while I ‘let you’ take care of the rest?” So I’m taking an incremental approach […]

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