Form My Heart

At every moment of my life I have two options. If I allow it, God will form my heart more and more in the image of his Son. I will act in faith to let God lead me into an unknown place, a place that I cannot know and cannot guarantee I will fully understand or enjoy. Like the one who is brought out of a cave into the light of the sun, I may […]

Four Ways the Examen Helps in Discernment as a Couple

In recent posts, I shared a process of discerning as a couple and also five ways the Examen can support us in our marriage. Now let’s take a closer look at four ways the Examen can help us discern as a couple. 1. The Examen helps us get clarity on what we are discerning. It is hard to make a choice without clearly knowing what the decision we are being asked to make is. My […]

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 […]

Toward a Habit of Gratitude

What kind of prayer expresses thanksgiving that is honest? Do I begin with my complaints and then end with words of praise and trust? Some of the psalms from the Bible follow that structure, so it must be OK. But is it enough simply to say, “Things are horrible, but I know that God is good, so I thank you, Lord, that you are watching over me”? There’s probably more to it than that. First, […]

Touch Heals and Restores

While all of our senses help us to learn and to know about the world, the sense of touch is perhaps the most intimate. Our skin defines our very boundaries as physical persons and is a point of connection to other people, nature, and objects in our world. All of us had fundamental experiences of touch in our receiving nurture as babies: we were held when we were fed, rocked and soothed when upset, and […]

Encountering God through the Interior Senses

In my interactions with students at Boston College, where I teach and live with freshmen, I often speak to them about the need for continued care of the senses of the heart. I emphasize the need to exercise these interior senses, because the physical senses already receive so much attention during college formation. During studies, it is simply a given that the physical senses will constantly be tapped. Students use their eyes to read texts […]

Love, Relationship, and How We Live

The other day, I was sorting through some old papers and came across the “Fall in Love” prayer attributed to Pedro Arrupe, SJ. His thoughts are so simple yet so profound. I was glad to come across them again. The first time I read these words, though, I was completely intimidated. It was my first Ignatian retreat, and Arrupe’s words presented such a challenge that I had to fight the urge to hightail it out […]

The Greatest Super Power Ever

On a lark, I forwarded an e-mail quiz entitled “20 Things You Never Knew About Me” to several friends. With 20 questions ranging from “What was your first job?” to “If you could live anywhere on earth, where would it be?,” I hardly expected a spiritual revelation in the replies. On question 17, “If you could have one super power, what would it be?,” my other friends had answered, “to be invisible so I could […]