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 […]

Making Room for God Invitation

Dear dotMagis Readers, I don’t know about you, but for the last few weeks I’ve been readying my calendar for 2017, making goals and resolutions, and beginning anew. Maybe you’re in a similar mode right now—preparing, looking ahead, planning, and refining. A new year provides us with a fresh start and a chance to reset our thinking about what’s to come. As we go through this annual process, are we allowing God to be part […]

Discernment as Common Vision

As I deepen my love for my friend, I come to know what she likes and dislikes. I come to see the world through her eyes, and thereby experience it anew. What once was trite and meaningless to me now becomes an object of wonder, when I look at it with her. This deepening friendship gives rise to regular moments of conversion. In the early days when I was just coming to know the woman who was to […]

Hold Firm

It’s now pretty much the dead of winter. The thrill of Christmas is past us and we wake each morning—some of us in harsh, cold temperatures—to get to work day in and day out. It’s a quiet time of year, and things seem less exciting. Boredom and apathy begin to wage a slow and subtle war upon us as the more energizing days of the past weeks slip from our consciousness. It certainly can be […]

Andrew Garfield on the Spiritual Exercises

Martin Scorsese’s film Silence has its widespread release today. America magazine has an excellent interview with star Andrew Garfield on his experience doing the Spiritual Exercises as preparation for his role as a Jesuit priest. Interviewer Brendan Busse, SJ, says: When I asked what stood out in the Exercises, he fixed his eyes vaguely on a point in the near distance, wandering off into a place of memory. Then, as if the question had brought […]

Holy Incident Was No Accident

It was the kind of day when everything was going wrong. I could recite a litany of all the mishaps and disasters. I knew I needed a lifeline by 10 a.m., so I phoned a friend, my sister, who is a Daughter of Charity and a powerful pray-er. I had just shared (spilled) coffee with someone in a failed work meeting, so I sat in my car in the Starbucks parking lot as Sister Julie […]

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 […]

Writing Letters

Yesterday I sent off 15 letters, one to each of the students in my just-completed course on contemplative traditions in the West. I wrote to give them comments on their final projects and on their overall academic performance, but I closed each note with a few lines appreciating the particular gifts the student had shared with the class. I thanked the student who could be relied on to have brought a map when we were […]

One Reason Only: To Love God

Often, we talk so much about our lives and the lives of our neighbors—what we should do to fill our lives with God’s grace and peace and happiness, what we must do to make our neighbor’s life happy—that we forget the basic reason why you and I and all men live. We live and breathe and have our being for one reason only: to love God. God created us for this one reason, to love […]

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