Habits of the Heart

Most of us are interested in spirituality because, at the heart of things, we want to be transformed. We want our lives to change for the better, in small ways and big ways. This desire for ongoing, positive change compels us to sign up for classes, join prayer groups, attend religious services, participate in faith rituals, and search—again and again—for the practice or information that will help us become the people we truly want to […]

Halloween and Imagination

Whether you love Halloween or hate it, the holiday is a popular one. People love to dress up and pretend to be something else for the day. Do we ever stop to think about what we’re really pretending to be, or if we could use our imagination for greater benefit? Some people say they have no imagination, but then they go out and pretend on Halloween. That’s a grand night of imagination. Whether sharing stories […]

Three Ways to Cultivate a Retreat State of Mind

Every year, when autumn rolls around, I want to go on retreat. Maybe it’s the smell of the autumn leaves clothed in brilliance, dancing down to earth, or maybe it’s the crisp air and waning light. Autumn is a feast for the senses, and God’s handiwork is apparent everywhere. Yet, every year without fail, autumn proves a time too busy to get away, even for a weekend. School has just begun, sports are in full […]

Five Ways the Examen Can Play a Role in Marriage

I remain thankful for all who taught me Ignatian spirituality. It is not only the spirituality that guides my relationship with God, but it is also the spirituality that guides my marriage. Here are five ways the Examen can play a role in marriage. 1. The Examen helps us pray our marriage. When I teach someone about the Examen, I often say, “It helps you pray your life.” Our relationships and marriages are significant pieces […]

Taste and See: Experiencing God with Our Sense of Touch

Welcome to the Taste and See: Experiencing God with Our Senses online retreat. Each Monday we’ll explore one of the senses as a way to encounter God. Today we consider the sense of touch. Unlike some of the other senses, touch requires proximity. You can see, smell, or hear a person from a distance, but to touch someone or something, you need to be up close. Maybe that’s why touch is so often taken as […]

Gifts of Necessity, Gifts of Opportunity

Most of the time, we think of our gifts—our contributions to the body of Christ and to the world—as those abilities we’re born with, or the abilities bestowed on us by the Holy Spirit. We’re born with a gift of artistic expression; the Holy Spirit gifts us to teach or to show hospitality. Some gifts, though, come to us out of necessity. We learn how to care for physical and medical needs when a family […]

Spiritual Friendship

The twelfth-century Cistercian monk Aelred of Rievaulx wrote a small work that has become a classic, Spiritual Friendship. It would be easy to think that the word spiritual in the title refers to the quality of the friendship, spiritual friendships being the highest ones, something hard to attain. But Aelred is careful to say that what makes a friendship spiritual is not its lofty height so much as its origin and direction. Spiritual friendship, Aelred […]

The Challenge of the Examen

L. White, who blogs as the “Still Practising Catholic,” experimented with prayer journaling the Examen. She found it challenging to notice areas of her life that might need to change: One small example is at the Weekend the alarm goes off in the morning and I cajole my husband into getting out of bed and making me a cup of tea. He doesn’t work at the weekend and I realised that I was cutting his […]

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 […]

Taste and See: Experiencing God with Our Sense of Smell

Welcome to the Taste and See: Experiencing God with Our Senses online retreat. Each Monday we’ll explore one of the senses as a way to encounter God. Today we consider the sense of smell. “Stop and smell the roses,” is a familiar invitation. It’s a call to slow down and to enjoy life as we live it. There are many different ways to word this. We could tell each other to “stop and look at […]

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