Discernment as Common Vision

As I deepen my love for my friend, I come to know what she likes and dislikes. I come to see the world through her eyes, and thereby experience it anew. What once was trite and meaningless to me now becomes an object of wonder, when I look at it with her. This deepening friendship gives rise to regular moments of conversion. In the early days when I was just coming to know the woman who was to […]

Yearly Check-In for Couples

My years of being immersed in Ignatian spirituality have taught me the importance of being intentional—to be dedicated to my prayer life, to be dedicated to discernment, and to live purposefully. It is this idea of intentionality that I offer to all couples this new year as we naturally start setting our sights on goals, resolutions, and dreams. Instead of picking the first thing that comes to mind for our New Year’s resolutions, consider a […]

Discerning as a Couple

Discerning as an individual is something that’s covered at length in the world of Ignatian spirituality. But what about discerning as a couple? The framework my husband Chris and I use for discernment is not that different from the framework I recommend people use for discerning as an individual. The major difference is there are two people’s voices and experiences of prayer, and there is the larger context of marriage and family life in which […]

Five Ways the Examen Can Play a Role in Marriage

I remain thankful for all who taught me Ignatian spirituality. It is not only the spirituality that guides my relationship with God, but it is also the spirituality that guides my marriage. Here are five ways the Examen can play a role in marriage. 1. The Examen helps us pray our marriage. When I teach someone about the Examen, I often say, “It helps you pray your life.” Our relationships and marriages are significant pieces […]

Intergenerational Socializing

Ashley McKinless, associate editor of America, reflects on intergenerational socializing and her recent pilgrimage in “Pathfinding in Spain.” It’s worth reading the full article, but the conclusion offers good food for thought in terms of the value of mixed-generational relationships. McKinless writes: Ignatius’ conversion might have begun with Pamplona; but the still-unfolding story of the Jesuits began with the 38-year-old pilgrim moving in with a couple of 20-somethings at the University of Paris. What lessons […]

No Excuse for a Closed Heart

Another question I ask: in the evening, how do you conclude your day? With the Lord or in front of the television? How is your relationship with those who help you to be more merciful? That is, how is your relationship with the children, with the elderly, with the sick? Do you know how to reassure them, or are you embarrassed to caress an elderly person? Do not be ashamed of the flesh of your […]

The Virtue in Playing Games

When was the last time you played cards or a board game, just for the fun of it? Matthew, who blogs as the Mountain Catholic, sees the virtue in playing games for fun, with not even the smallest of wagers at stake. [G]ames are a means, not an end in themselves. They exist to build up the relationship between all players, not the livelihood of just one. And so we ought to fight against the […]

What Is Ignatian Friendship?

Is there a difference between an Ignatian friendship—a friendship inspired by the spiritual wisdom of St. Ignatius Loyola—and other types of friendship? I posit that an Ignatian friendship is an intentional relationship modeled on the idea of magis, a word that means more, but for our purposes, we’ll expand that to define magis as the greater good. An Ignatian friendship is therefore grounded in the idea of one friend desiring the greatest good for the […]

Relationship Examen

It’s amazing how much my first year of marriage has found Sarah and me sharing with others about what the experience has been like. Just recently we gave a talk to some undergraduates about how we integrate prayer into our relationship. One key feature of our prayer, especially at the beginning of our marriage, was a Relationship Examen. Our method takes the spirit of Ignatius’s examination of conscience and applies it to a deep examination […]

Two Differences between Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Sometimes we hesitate to forgive because we think it must automatically include reconciliation. These are two separate processes, and one does not always lead to the other. 1. One person can forgive; it takes two to reconcile. With God’s help, I have the power to forgive anything. That doesn’t mean that I’m willing to forgive anything or that it will be easy. And sometimes a wrong is so heinous that it can take the rest […]

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