Today is the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus, so we turn to these videos from Xavier University for a brief history lesson to mark the occasion.

The Suppression of the Society of Jesus (1773)

The Restoration of the Society of Jesus (1814)

If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to watch the videos.

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August 7, 2014

Pray as You Go has released the latest in a series of imaginative contemplation exercises. Pray with the story of Jesus walking on water with this 15-minute guided reflection.

If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to listen to Imaginative Contemplation: Jesus Walks on Water.

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August 6, 2014

heart and crossRecall the last time you had a heart-to-heart conversation with a friend. It required the letting down of guards, and it probably involved the discussion of matters that were intimately personal. Perhaps you were seeking advice, and perhaps advices were given; what mattered at the end was the friend’s presence. Our hearts were exposed, but they were also transformed. The same goes for our friendship with God. It will change us, and changes can be intimidating. But God isn’t intimidating, and love always transforms us.

Edmund Lo, SJ, reflects on the meaning of friendship with God in a thoughtful article at Ibo et Non Redibo. For more on this topic, read God Wants Our Friendship by William A. Barry, SJ.

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August 5, 2014

man playing with children

In a recent interview, Pope Francis shared ten secrets to happiness. The complete list is here.

Number four on the list is:

“A healthy sense of leisure.” The pleasures of art, literature and playing together with children have been lost, he said.

“Consumerism has brought us anxiety” and stress, causing people to lose a “healthy culture of leisure.” Their time is “swallowed up” so people can’t share it with anyone.

As summer stretches on, it seems a perfect time for evaluating our sense of leisure. How are you making time for leisure this month?

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August 4, 2014

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. Tomorrow is the feast day of St. Peter Faber, one of Ignatius’s first companions. In his honor, enjoy this excerpt from The Quiet Companion by Mary Purcell.

Quiet Companion Peter Faber book coverPeter [Faber] had come to Paris a youth of nineteen reared in a home protected from outside influences by a double range of Alps. Imbued with the intense faith and living traditions of the people of Savoy he had always enjoyed a sense of security, solidity, permanence. His humble birth and religious upbringing gave him a taste for simple things; he never lost his preference for the devotions his childhood had known: the feasts of Our Lord, Our Lady and the saints; relics, processions, shrines and pilgrimages; the angels who guarded individuals, households, towns and peoples…

His first five years in the Ste-Barbe were devoted to the Arts course which comprised grammar, dialectic, geometry, cosmology, literature and philosophy. “This should have given him an almost encyclopedic intellectual baggage, ranging from Hebrew vocabulary to astral influences. It also called for incessant mental gymnastics, argumentations of all kinds, attacks and defences.” For the remainder of his University career (1530–1536) he studied theology. His studies, however, do not seem to have been well ordered or continuous…How then, we may ask, did he come to be regarded as an outstanding theologian?

Faber may not have been a professional theologian. He had no diploma. He had no taste for theology. But “theologian” in the sense used (by Peter Canisius and Kalckbrenner) does not mean the rigorous science dealing with the truths of faith, but that perception of mysteries which experience yields, the wisdom imprinted by piety and matured by discernment, reflection of a particular type born of personal encounters with Jesus Christ and the moral attitudes these encounters engender.

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August 1, 2014

Today is the Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola. Thank you for celebrating with us all month through 31 Days with St. Ignatius. Today’s link is What Surprises You About St. Ignatius? All 31 links will remain available for you if you missed any of the days.

Thanks also to those of you who are participating in this week’s Find Your Inner Iggy contest. Enjoy some of our favorite submissions.

Carmen V response to FindIggy

Mary Askren shares:

I had moved over 300 miles to start a new job only to discover my fundamental value system conflicted significantly with the organizational culture. When my supervisor gave me an ultimatum—get on board or get out, I opted to get out. Unfortunately, I had used up my savings to move and was not able to collect unemployment because I had left the position voluntarily. With no income and no cash reserves, I was more than a little afraid of what the future held. My parish priest gifted me with a weekend retreat, “Living in the Sacred Heart of Jesus.” On the first night, retreatants sat in a darkened conference room where the Blessed Sacrament was exposed. I sat without words and wondered whether I’d been foolish in quitting a job when I had nothing to live on. Suddenly, and unexpectedly, my heart opened and I surrendered completely to God and his will for my life. I knew without question that I was loved beyond anything I could imagine and all would be well. #FindIggy

Instagram user laurmik shares this photo and caption:
Sacre Coeur interior

#findIggy (late) Day 2: attending Mass as a non-Catholic at Sacré Coeur. The love was profound and palpable and really started me on my journey of faith.

Today and tomorrow still present opportunities to win, so use the #FindIggy hashtag for your chance to win Ignatian prizes. See findyourinneriggy.com for full details.

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July 31, 2014

shadows of darkness and light

This summer my brother spent some time in Montana and planned on returning to Massachusetts by train. Being a train lover, I met him in Montana, and we rode the Empire Builder three nights back home. As we passed through rural Minnesota, I saw painted on the side of a light bulb store the phrase, “Without darkness, there is no light.” It struck me as ostensibly religious-sounding. I’m not sure if the owners of the store were trying to make a spiritual allusion, but that phrase stuck with me.

The Bible is filled with light and dark imagery:

  • “If your whole body is full of light, with no part of it in darkness, it will be bright all over, as when a lamp shines on you with its brightness.” (Luke 11:36)
  • “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
  • “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isaiah 9:2)

Like the Spiritual Exercises’s journey from the darkness of sin to the light of God’s infinite love, darkness becomes a necessary place for the Christian. The dark emptiness of desolation leads to the bright joy of consolation. Do we notice the importance of contrasts in the spiritual life?

Jesus employed ideas that seemed in stark contrast to the law. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:43–44) Such sayings were meant to shake up the people. St. Paul said that where sin increased, grace abounded all the more. Similarly, where there is a void like hatred, sin, and darkness, we can more easily see the light God wishes to shine on us. This is not to say we ought to seek out darkness but rather that sometimes we must walk through the darkness in order to find the light. We must have a First Week experience, to use Ignatian language, before we can truly see the light of God’s infinite love.

St. John of the Cross’s poem, “On a Dark Night,” captures the invisible force of the darkness leading us to the illuminating joy of God the lover:

Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

God is always calling us to the light, transforming what feels like bleak emptiness into a joy-filled abiding with God, a divine light that the darkness cannot overcome.


Today’s 31 Days with St. Ignatius link is The Only True Identity.

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July 30, 2014

Rosemary DeJulio of Fordham University talks about the significance of women in St. Ignatius’s life and what modern women can take from his legacy in this 16-minute video.

If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to watch the video The Women in St. Ignatius’s Life.

Join in 31 Days with St. Ignatius by reading today’s entry, Five Things the Spiritual Exercises Taught Me about Jesus.

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July 29, 2014

pruning gardenLast year my prayer life told me it was pruning season. After years of being in the full bloom of my outward call, it was time to re-evaluate life’s commitments. God was inviting me to a period of letting go of well-discerned commitments of the past. Many were once the luscious, vibrant signs of new growth in my life, but not anymore. There were pieces of my life, while familiar and comfortable, that were slowly being overtaken by the rapid growth of new invitations.

Pruning felt scary, because it meant cutting back and letting go. Pruning required cutting back those things that overpowered the rest of life to the point of making life feel lopsided. Pruning required trimming away the brown underbrush of my life, the pieces that I desperately tried to keep, but in reality had already died. Clinging tightly to Ignatian discernment tools and with the Spirit’s help, I prayed my way through the season of letting go.

I desperately hoped that pruning season would lead me directly into spring and summer, where there would be rapid new growth and clarity of my call. However, that season only prepared me for winter, the season of dormancy, temporary inactivity, and deep rest. Entering into this season of dormancy required special precaution.

I prepared myself for the dormant season by limiting my commitments to only the necessary ones, covering myself in extra time with my family and friends, and most importantly, giving myself permission to stop writing and producing creative material. Prayer affirmed God’s invitation to deep rest and acknowledgment of my exhaustion. Leaning into this period of dormancy was not easy. After blooming for so long, all the growth seemed to be inward, and I struggled to name the fruits of any of my work.

It is only now, after many months of dormancy, that signs of new life appear, holding their own surprises. I am now actively discerning what this new season means for me. What parts of my life are actively growing again, re-affirming my commitment to them? Where do I see new long shoots of possibility, beckoning to burst open with hope? What areas of my life were pruned away or killed off that no longer require my time, energy, or attention?

The season of pruning was needed to let go of old ways and old commitments, allowing me to give energy to the things that God is inviting me to now. The season of dormancy was necessary for restorative rest and to re-focus my growing season. I see signs of new life all around me, and I am full of hope that outward growth is occurring again. Now my task is to discern all the new life around me.


Today’s 31 Days with St. Ignatius link is The Earthen Vessel.

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July 28, 2014

31 Days with St. IgnatiusWe’re entering the final days of 31 Days with St. Ignatius. Ignatian spirituality attracts people in all walks of life, and today’s entry is just one example of why: Why a Scientists Finds Ignatian Spirituality Compelling.

You might also like to check out Find Your Inner Iggy this week on Facebook for more Ignatian celebration.

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July 27, 2014