Three Pilgrimage Experiences

St. Ignatius referred to himself as a pilgrim, and many followers of the Ignatian way have used special times of pilgrimage to encounter God more deeply. Today we highlight three examples. Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, made a pilgrimage to the famous shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico and encountered great generosity and hospitality, as he explains in this five-minute video. Fr. Casey Beaumier, SJ, also did a pilgrimage during his early formation as […]

Appreciating Emmaus

There’s much to appreciate in the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus, says Michael Sparough, SJ. For one: It’s in looking back on the experience that they realize just how impactful it’s been. I think it’s that insight that encouraged St. Ignatius Loyola to teach his followers the importance of a daily Examen. It’s in looking back and sifting and sorting through the events and the feelings of our day that we […]

Were You There?

To help us when contemplating the Passion of Christ, St. Ignatius Loyola “invites us to enter into this scene imaginatively, to place ourselves in the context of this story and ask the question, not only Were you there?, but Where are you there? Where do you find yourself in the story this year?” Michael Sparough, SJ, asks these questions in a prayerful seven-minute video reflection on the Passion. We are encouraged to think about whether […]

Dare to Look Inside Yourself

Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, suggests the Examen as a tool to help us in daring to look inside ourselves. In explaining the steps of this foundational Ignatian prayer, Fr. Sparough tells us to pray from one or two dominant emotions: Those are the feelings that you especially want to pay attention to—those that are shouting at us and then those that are cowering, that say, “Don’t look at me.” Those are the ones we want […]

Bethlehem Bound

We’re almost at Christmas. This video from Heart to Heart Ministry features Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, inviting us to be Bethlehem Bound. Sparough says, “Let us come to wonder, to witness, the birth of this babe, the gift of our savior.”

We Can Trust Our Experience

Knowing that we can trust our experience is the first and perhaps the most fundamental lesson about discernment. Books and ideas and the counsel of the wise are all well and good, but the main arena for discernment is what we ourselves experience. We can discern the right direction by thoughtful reflection on our relationships with others, our work in the world, and on the feelings generated by these encounters. They are meaningful because God is […]

John 15 and the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love

Michael Sparough, SJ, offers a homily on the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love in response to John 15:9–17, which includes Jesus’ command to his disciples: “Love one another as I have loved you.” Fr. Sparough says that the Contemplation to Obtain Divine Love might better be translated as “a meditation on how God is alluring us. God is luring us to fall in love with him.” He continues on to consider the four meditation points […]

What Do I Really Want?

The question to be constantly asked in decision-making is “what do I really want?” Deep down, that’s what God wants too. God wants what is best for us. This isn’t something repugnant, or burdensome, or sad, or difficult. The way of life that God desires for us is the way of life we desire. “What do I really want?” is a simple question. But simple doesn’t mean easy. Usually this question is quite difficult to […]

Three Kinds of People

Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers a homily that includes a discussion of the three kinds of people as categorized by St. Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises. The types, as Sparough explains, are: First: all talk and no action Second: will do anything but the one thing necessary Third: surrender their lives into the hands of the Lord

God Deals with Us Directly

Something to think about | We can trust our experience because God deals with us directly.  Ignatius certainly believed that the Church and Scripture are trustworthy teachers of truth, and that we need that truth to help us interpret our experience.  He also believed that Christians receive spiritual nourishment in the sacraments and in devotional prayer.  But he also believed that God communicates directly to each of us.  We can have a personal relationship with […]