Three Ways to Pray Ignatian

There’s no great mystery to Ignatian prayer, but this week is a good time to review. If you want to pray in the Ignatian way, here are three ways to do it—not an exhaustive list but a good start. 1. Do the Examen. At the end of the day, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your memory over the day’s events and conversations. Give thanks for the blessings of the day. Ask God’s forgiveness if […]

Cannonball Moments

My car entered into a spin that left me pressing locked brakes and clutching a wheel that could not be steered. Halfway through the spin, the momentum brought the car onto its outer two wheels—the side where the gas tank is housed. The sounds of the steel arching beneath me as the car fought to right itself inspired my desperate prayer: “Lord, is this the day I’m going to see you? If it’s ok with […]

The Greatest Union

I’ve recently returned from my annual weeklong silent retreat. Often it is the highlight of my year, a place to reconnect more deeply with God and to get my priorities straight for the next year. This year, I arrived at retreat with the intent to grieve. I was grieving the recent death of my stepdad. I was grieving the loss of a friend who had dropped out of my life without explanation, then briefly reappeared […]

Prayer and Rest

So often, summer vacation becomes busier than any other part of the year. We’re trying to fit in trips and visits and host people visiting us. Or there’s the home improvement list and the extensive garden, church picnics, summer sports, etc. This busyness is reason enough to practice prayer that helps us rest. Prayer we do sitting still. Meditation in a quiet place. Centering prayer during an unhurried time of day. I believe that even […]

God at the Root of Patience

Sometimes I find myself in a rush, desperately trying to accomplish as much as possible, as efficiently as possible. While high energy and my naturally fast pace fit well in today’s American culture, this “productive” lifestyle has a downside that took years for me to realize: distance from God. Patience usually requires cultivation, because few of us are born patient. Witness any infant: instantly demanding when the slightest discomfort arises. Yet experiencing the peace that […]

Grateful for Anything—Except Dirty Looks

Driving home from work, I regularly see panhandlers standing at the freeway off-ramp. I hesitate to find Christ in them or give them money. For one thing, it’s a dangerous place to stand. I’m suspicious about how my money will be spent. It could be a scam. Plus I do plenty of other charitable works. Most days it’s someone different. But there’s one “regular,” a young man with varying cardboard signs. Guilt used to fill […]

A Prayerful Environment

It’s summertime, and for many of us, summer means time at a beach somewhere. What a great place to pray! What a perfect place in which to blend our prayer with play. Might we allow ourselves to get lost in the activity of building things with sand? Might we create homey spaces with umbrellas, chairs, mats, and towels? Might we gaze into clouds or across the water and allow that gaze to be a prayer […]

The Steps of the Examen

Today let’s explore the Examen through the lens of brief reflections pertaining to each step. The steps in this version of the Examen match what is presented in A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer by Jim Manney. Ask God for light. If we attune ourselves to look and listen, we may find God present within us, all around us, and speaking to us constantly. But if we don’t bother to look, it will seem that there is […]

Praying When in Consolation

Don’t you love praying when it’s easy to show up to prayer? Or when you feel God’s presence during your prayer? During a season of consolation, it is easy to name the graces given to us by God. St. Ignatius offers us wisdom on what to do when we are in this season of prayer. Relish the graces. “For it is not much knowledge that fills and satisfies the soul, but the intimate understanding and […]

Summer Pilgrimage

We’ve talked about walking prayer. We can take walking prayer further and make a pilgrimage. Actually, summer could be an ideal time for pilgrimage if you tend to take vacation during summer months. Many of us use vacation time to journey to hometowns and visit family. A hometown can be the location for profound pilgrimage. For instance, your parents or aunt may still live in the town where you spent your childhood years. Childhood holds all […]

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