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 […]

The Wisdom of Walter J. Ciszek, SJ

Loyola Press just published a collection of writings by Walter J. Ciszek, SJ. If you recognize that name, it’s because Ciszek, a Jesuit priest, survived 23 years in Russian prisons and labor camps, was presumed dead, but then returned to the U.S. in a prisoner exchange in 1963. He wrote about his experiences in With God in Russia, a book well-received and widely read. He followed that with a book of more devotional writing: He […]

In the Mother Church of the Jesuits

As I write this, the Society of Jesus meets in Rome for their 36th General Congregation. It amazes me that despite being founded by St. Ignatius in 1540, the Society has held just 36 general sessions since then. I stood next to Ignatius last April, when I visited his apartment in the building next to the Church of the Gesu, the mother church of the Jesuits in Rome. There sits a bronze cast of the […]

What Does Ignatian Spirituality Have to Offer Parents?

Being a parent is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs I have. It is full of joy and small sacramental moments that often point me toward God amidst the mundane tasks of my day—the pure happiness on my infant daughter’s face every time she sees one of our family members, the wonder at watching a child grow and develop, the lightheartedness and laughter that explodes from my older two as they burst through […]

St. Ignatius Loyola’s 10 Guidelines for Negotiating Life’s Journey

One June morning, Brendan McManus, SJ, stepped out for a much-needed walk—to be exact, a 500-mile hike on Spain’s renowned Camino de Santiago. A few years earlier, his brother had committed suicide, and the tragedy left Brendan physically, psychologically, and spiritually wounded. Something radical was required to rekindle his passion for life and renew his faith in God. In Redemption Road: From Grief to Peace through Walking the Camino de Santiago, McManus tells his story […]

Taste and See: Experiencing God with Our Sense of Hearing

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 hearing. Thanks to technology, we have a lot of individual control over what we hear. We have favorite songs on our phones, podcasts we can tune into whenever we drive, and headphones to block out the conversation around us on an airplane. […]

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