Authentic Gifts

It is National Reading Month, and I am an author invited to speak to grade-school children at the local Catholic school. I am unsure what to talk about. I do not write books for children. But my own daughters attended this school when they were young, and I write books. Apparently, these are good enough credentials. I tell the attentive, upturned faces a story from the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store about a child […]

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 […]

Mary Showed Me Jesus’ Humanity

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I prayed most of the Spiritual Exercises with a baby in my arms. I began making them when our daughter, Abby, was one month old. When I began the Second Week of the Exercises, she was almost six months old and just starting to sit up. Most of my days at that time were spent sitting on the floor playing with her and […]

Lenten Spring Cleaning

Most years, as I make my way to the Ash Wednesday service, it’s bitterly cold outside, and the hope of spring seems distant. With Easter a bit later this year, I was surprised to look out my window on Ash Wednesday to see the signs of spring quietly beginning its slow advance on winter. This little change shifts my perspective, and I begin to think about Lent in the context of spring rather than winter. […]

Awareness of God in All Things

This post is based on Week Two of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. My mom and dad are avid gardeners. On many occasions growing up, my weekends included a chore in the yard—raking leaves, weeding (my least-favorite job in the world), deadheading flowers, or picking up branches. My dad, especially, had this way of noticing the beauty that was unfolding right in our backyard, that I often missed because my attention was focused on getting my […]

Reverence and the Deer

I was walking early one morning, just as the sun was coming up. I was in a section of woods not too far from my home. I was trying to walk as soundlessly as possible. There was a mist that morning and the woods seemed hushed. Before I was aware of it, I came face-to-face with a large male deer. It was beautiful. I was startled; the deer just stood there and watched me. I […]

The Depth of God’s Love for Me

This post is by Becky Eldredge, author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls, as she begins An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. [There is a] kind of knowing that afterward you can never not know. The kind that, no matter what anyone says, you know what you know, and that deep foundational knowledge is unshakeable. You can stand on it. It is a rock. —Margaret Silf in The Other Side of Chaos Every time I read this […]

Encounter in an Airport

I am waiting for my husband’s very delayed flight to arrive. The baggage carousels stopped revolving over 20 minutes ago, and the only other people in the area are slumped in their plastic chairs without apparent anticipation. The chairs across from me are backed-up to a stainless steel wall, so I shift over there. Now I have a place to lean my head. Reaching in my pocket, I draw out a ruby-red string of rosary […]

Loving Our Enemies

To be a Christian means to love one’s enemy. Jesus’ words and his actions alike testify to this idea. Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). From the Cross, he forgives the people who are crucifying him: “Forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Such love can be challenging. Consider what it means to love one’s political “enemies,” those who hold beliefs […]

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 […]

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