Expressing My Love for God

This post is based on Week Eight of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. Some of St. Ignatius’s most noted words can be found in one of the last meditations in the Exercises: “Love shows itself in deeds more than words.” (SE 230) As I reflect on these words, it reminds me that Jesus desires concrete acts in response to the abundant love and gifts God offers us. So how do we express our love for God […]

Authentic Gifts

It is National Reading Month, and I am an author invited to speak to grade-school children at the local Catholic school. I am unsure what to talk about. I do not write books for children. But my own daughters attended this school when they were young, and I write books. Apparently, these are good enough credentials. I tell the attentive, upturned faces a story from the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store about a child […]

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 […]

Thankful for the Gifts of Ignatian Spirituality

It is the Christmas season, the time of year that children are relishing the toys they received. They beam with smiles full of joy and gratitude as they cherish the opportunities to play unabashedly with their gifts. The newness of the gifts remains, and children are still discovering all the possibilities that the new gifts hold. In the weeks or months to come, children will still play with their toys, but the initial fascination with […]

An Ignatian Gift-Buying Guide

Trying to discern appropriate Christmas gifts for my family is always an issue. How much is too much to spend? Do I need to buy for everybody in the family? Has that gift been made under safe labor conditions, or will buying it contribute to a culture of economic slavery or environmental degradation? Which charity do we support, when there is so much need out there? As a creature of an Ignatian worldview, these are […]

Explore the Gift

Stay where you find fruit. This direction from Ignatius is very wise. If I’ve experienced fruit—consolation, some wonderful insight, a closeness to God, even a new awareness—I can trust that that gift is a signal from God: “Look deeper here, my dear friend, for I have so much more I want to give you.” Another way of looking at this is to imagine receiving a gift, all wrapped in paper and ribbon and a big […]

New Year’s Gift of Indifference

As we move out of the Christmas season and into the New Year, my family is cleaning up the last decorations and storing away extra gift wrap and boxes. It reminds me of a prayer from many Christmases ago, when my spiritual director suggested praying about what gift I’d like to offer to Jesus and what gift I thought he might be offering to me. This suggestion was given at a particularly difficult time in […]

Eucharistic Thanksgiving

This month we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. Eucharist means “thanksgiving,” and in the liturgy, we as a community express thanks at many levels. For example, in the Gloria we offer a song of praise that not only thanks God for taking away sin, but also adores God’s own being. An especially striking aspect of thanksgiving at the Mass is the constant, generous, mutual exchange between God and us during the Liturgy of the […]

Good Things Will Happen

Last weekend, my husband, Jim and I had dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  At the end, we opened our fortune cookies.  Mine was bland and offered lucky numbers.  But Jim’s fortune was specific and intriguing:  “Three months from this date, good things will happen.” We laughed and calculated the date in mid-May when good things will happen.  I went home and marked it on the calendar in the kitchen.  Good things will happen to us! […]

Noticing

I was walking through the parking lot at work this week, getting to campus early to catch up on a few things.  I zipped in and parked at the far end of the lot to get a little exercise  on my way into the office.  While I made mental lists of things to do for the day, I strode purposefully across the lot for several minutes.  Then I passed a young woman, a student, who […]

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