Confidence in the Holy Spirit

Loyola Press recently published a wonderful collection of Pope Francis’s talks, sermons, and writings: Embracing the Way of Jesus: Reflections from Pope Francis on Living Our Faith. Here is one of many treasures from our Pope: “When we receive and welcome him into our heart, the Holy Spirit immediately begins to make us sensitive to his voice and to guide our thoughts, our feelings, and our intentions according to the heart of God.” This is […]

10 Things to Love about Ignatian Spirituality

Here are 10 things I love about Ignatian spirituality. 1. It promotes lasting happiness. One of my friends gave me a coffee mug that reads “Do more of what makes you happy.” Every morning, it makes me happy just thinking about doing things that make me happy! I am also reminded of St. Ignatius’s belief that those noble desires closest to our hearts that make us most happy deep down—not passing fancies or things that […]

Agere Contra for Lent

Andy Otto suggests agere contra as one approach to Lenten practices. He writes at God in All Things: Agere Contra—This popular Ignatian term means “to act against.” It means that we can deliberately choose to go against what our tendency might be. It’s useful in avoiding temptation or bad habits but can also stretch us spiritually. So if you realise that Facebook is a bit of an addiction for you, you can practise agere contra […]

How to Prepare for Lent

How do you prepare for Lent? How have you prepared in the past? What are your ideas about what should happen during Lent? We have the traditional Catholic practices of praying, fasting, and almsgiving. So, we pray more than usual, or we pray with different emphases. We eat smaller or fewer meals or give up a favorite food or drink group. We give more of our resources or give them specifically to special works of […]

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 […]

O Come Emmanuel

Thinking Faith has been sharing a series of reflections on the O Antiphons this Advent. In a reflection on the last antiphon in the series—but the first in a popular Advent hymn—Frances Murphy writes of “O Emmanuel.” The traditional lyrics call, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.” Murphy writes: An exile is someone who is separated from the place they […]

Mary’s Humility

In a homily last week, Pope Francis talked about “fear of the Lord” as a humble way of living. As reported in Zenit: “The humility of the childlike is that of somebody who walks in the presence of the Lord, does not speak badly about others, looks only at serving and feels that he or she is the smallest …. That is where their strength lies.” The Holy Father praised Mary’s humility, as a girl […]

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 […]

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 […]

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