A Grain of Compassion

I was preparing to cook rice the other day when some grains overflowed the scoop and fell to the floor. As I reached for the broom, a memory halted my hand. It was my first year working in refugee resettlement. We had prepared an apartment for the arrival of a refugee family by furnishing each room and stocking the kitchen. When the family arrived that evening, we brought them to their new apartment and showed […]

Dude, You Can’t Fail!

My e-mail inbox is peppered with requests from Jesuit advocates on a variety of issues, often asking for me to take action. Ignatian spirituality promotes “faith that does justice.” We are formed to be contemplatives in action. Our regular prayerful conversation with Christ and meditation on his life is the motivation for our action and opens our eyes to Christ’s presence in our daily activity. And yet so many times I find myself thinking, What’s […]

Men and Women for Others

It’s often said that people following an Ignatian path are working to become “men and women for others.” But what does that mean? The newest episode of the Ignatian Way series explains. Other presentations in the complete series address themes of Ignatian prayer, decision making, and finding God in all things. Continue your exploration of Ignatian spirituality with today’s 31 Days with St. Ignatius contribution, A Gratitude Deficit.

Lord Jesus, Teach Me to Be Generous

In celebration of our fifth anniversary, we invited our dotMagis bloggers to reflect on the individual lines of St. Ignatius’s Prayer for Generosity. “I don’t want your charity,” the young boy retorted. “I want your privilege.” My friend, a director at a local food pantry, shared with me this insight from a young client. As I did my Examen, the comment kept recurring to me. It is relatively easy to give charity, to give in […]

What’s Difficult Is the Follow-Through

The thing is, it’s easy to imagine yourself doing great works of mercy. It’s easy to have good intentions. What’s difficult is the follow-through, because God didn’t challenge us to commit to the corporal works of mercy for a few days. God challenges us to commit to a lifestyle—and a lifetime—of mercy. And that’s not easy, because maybe in the end, the corporal works of mercy—feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the […]

With the “Blessed”

The stench of the mud hut with the tin roof that was home to a woman dying of breast cancer, her two children in torn, dirty clothes, and their cow—that stench will never leave me. After 12 days in the heart of Africa, I found myself almost numb to the poverty. So many seemingly impossible situations. The average life expectancy is 55. The orphans, street children, child wives, AIDS victims, deformed bodies, dirt-floored schools, and […]

A Change of Preposition

A little change of preposition can make a big difference. Imagine that you see a disheveled looking man holding a cardboard sign saying “Hungry, out of work, please help.” You feel the typical internal angst. Shall I ignore and look away? Shall I give money (most likely to make myself feel better)? But somewhere inside you realize that this person is not so very different from you. Perhaps he once had a good paying job and frequented […]

A Place at the Table

We always hear how Jesus ate with sinners, but it really struck me the other day when in the Gospel passage where Jesus is dining with tax collectors and sinners, the Pharisees said in shock to the disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” They were practically offended by this sight, disgusted. Who are the people of today Jesus would eat with? It’s not hard to imagine people asking Jesus, “Why […]

Ministry of Presence

A few weeks ago, Beth Knobbe shared about her mission trip to Haiti. Today we share the video reflections of two Northwestern University students who accompanied Beth on the trip in a ministry of presence. As one of the students says, “Service is messy…[but] I found God present in the fact that he’s with us there, working through these challenges.”

We Learned a Lot on Haiti Mission Trip

This is a guest post. There are two phrases that I consistently use to describe our mission trip to Haiti—“it was interesting” and “we learned a lot.” One of our students recently attempted to call my bluff on this. “Beth, you do realize that those two phrases used in conjunction with one another are code for ‘it was terrible,’ right?” It was not terrible; it was in fact a really good trip. It was by […]

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