Simply Advent: Simple Celebrations

We’re approaching the end of Advent, and even though you probably have your Christmas plans set, here are a few ideas for simple celebrations. First, consider making some adjustments to grand-scale plans, and then, savor the here and now. Make a Few Adjustments Is there a simple way to celebrate Advent and Christmas? Every time I consider inviting people over, this machine turns on in my head, and it churns out these huge events with […]

Simply Advent: Simple Practices

We continue trying to keep things simple this Advent with suggestions for simple practices this season. Linger with the Nativity Story This seems simple enough, but why not be quite intentional about taking in, once more, the story of Jesus’ birth? Read it in Scripture. Read a children’s book version of the story. Watch a film about it, such as The Nativity Story or Jesus of Nazareth (first part). Read about it in poetry form. […]

Simply Advent: Simple Encouragements

This week, plan to make a single phone call. Just one call, to one person you care about. The purpose? To express your appreciation and concern. The person you call could be a family member, someone from church, a person in your neighborhood, a coworker, a friend you don’t see often enough, or someone else you know through a shared interest or organization. You will call to say, essentially two things: I appreciate you and […]

Simply Advent: Simple Prayers

This Advent, I want to help you keep things simple. Each week I’ll share ideas for simple prayers, encouragements, practices, and celebrations. Today, as we anticipate the start of Advent this weekend, I offer suggestions for simple Advent prayers. Prayer Bowl Choose a bowl, basket, or box that you can set in a central spot in your home. If this will be a family activity, you might place the container on the table where you […]

Preparing Our Hearts in Advent

I take pride in being prepared for anything. Advent is a time of preparation, so it should come as no surprise that I have always rather liked Advent. As I sat at Mass listening to the homily for the First Sunday of Advent, I was reminded of what we’re preparing for during Advent: the Second Coming of Christ. The readings from the First Sunday of Advent this year seem rather ominous. A sort of “woe […]

Advent and Profound Silence

Have you ever tried playing the quiet game with a child? The younger the child, the more likely you are to win the game. I know. I’ve had my less-than-stellar parenting moments when I start the game in a vain hope of attaining some peace and quiet after a long day. The trouble with that game, as any parent knows, is that children just can’t stay quiet. It’s too hard, because the world is so […]

Advent 2014

As Advent gets underway, here are a few resources to help you enter the season. Arts & Faith: Advent invites you to explore sacred art inspired by the Sunday Scripture readings. Enjoy the weekly video commentary and related Ignatian contemplations. Vinita Wright offers an online retreat with the theme, “Simply Advent.” Join her Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at Days of Deepening Friendship. If you’re looking for an Advent calendar, check out this online version that […]

It’s Never Too Late to Enter Advent

As I have so often written in this blog, my life is hectic, busy and frantic. I can now see that I seem to be hell-bent on keeping it that way. In recent months I have put in very long hours on wonderful projects at work and perhaps received a little dose of self-importance as a bonus. In 2011, I was off work for six months and for a very long time after I returned, […]

An Ignatian Prayer Adventure: Week 6

This week we follow Jesus in his public ministry. Each day we’ll pray and reflect on a Scripture passage describing Jesus interacting with people. The idea is simply to get to know Jesus better. Use your imagination to become part of these Gospel scenes. Watch what Jesus does. Listen to how he speaks. Note how people react to him. Ponder his words. If you wish, talk to Jesus in a colloquy. There’s no need now […]

An Ignatian Prayer Adventure: Week 5

Our prayer this week explores the implications and consequences of following Christ. Ignatius does this by proposing three scenarios or “thought experiments” involving the challenge of being one of Christ’s disciples. The question hovering over the whole week is: What do I really want? What do you want? That is, what does your heart say? What do you really want? That is, look honestly at your desires as they are. God is more interested in […]

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