Hours of Light and Dark

I don’t know how old I will be when I have finally learned to live in synch with times of day and night. Thanks to electricity, many of us humans no longer sleep at night and move around in the daytime. I wonder how many health problems are related to that. And I understand that some jobs must be done at night, and we need nighttime workforces. But on an individual basis, perhaps each of […]

Five Creative Ways to Give Grounding to Your Spiritual Journey

1. Consider gardening a sacred activity. Allow yourself enough time to attend carefully to each task, whether it is planting, weeding, watering, or other care. Offer the plant to God, and ask God’s help and blessing on the growth of the garden and on the end results of its fruits. And when it’s time to harvest the tomatoes or cucumbers or herbs, your prayer can then move right along to the preparing of a meal […]

Praying with People

In the summer, many of us spend time with people more than usual. We’re on vacation with family, or we host visitors. We go to special events such as weddings and anniversary celebrations. We attend concerts, parties, and sporting events. Is there any way to incorporate prayer in all of this? No, I’m not going to suggest that you try to lead your fellow sports fans in a prayer before the game starts. But think […]

Praying with Creation

Sometimes we fail to see that an entire created world can lead us to prayer. We don’t need to look far for it, because often it’s in our own home or yard. This week, let’s pray with creation. When you tend a plant, you are fulfilling one of your purposes as a human being on this earth. The Book of Genesis tells the story of God creating the world; Adam and Eve represent humanity, and […]

Simple Prayers

Sometimes we try too hard at prayer. We make it complicated. We load it down with expectations. If I pray really well, then I will come away inspired, or I’ll have a question answered, or I’ll feel happy, or I’ll have learned something. Let’s use the not-quite-so-intense season of summer to lighten up a bit on prayer. “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” […]

Praying with St. Ignatius

July 31 is the feast day of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), and a man whose life was dedicated to introducing people to Jesus and encouraging their conversations with him—their prayer. So let’s approach this post with a focus on Ignatian prayer. First I want to point out that the Society of Jesus was the first religious order to move away from the practice of praying the Divine Hours. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Take a Walk and Breathe

I was fortunate to grow up in a family that understood how to dwell in outdoor space. We lived in a small town in the middle of farm country; most people had big yards, many of them filled with flowers, vegetable gardens, trees, swing sets, treehouses, and pets. I can remember sitting in our backyard with my parents, and all we did was watch the various birds that flitted in the trees and visited the […]

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