About Andy Otto

Andy Otto credits his relationships for a strong and ever-growing faith in God. After spending nearly three years as a Jesuit, he came to a deep appreciation for the practical application of Ignatian spirituality. He currently lives with his wife in California, where he works as a high school theology teacher. He is the author of God Moments and holds a master’s degree in theology and ministry from Boston College.

Darkness and Light

This summer my brother spent some time in Montana and planned on returning to Massachusetts by train. Being a train lover, I met him in Montana, and we rode the Empire Builder three nights back home. As we passed through rural Minnesota, I saw painted on the side of a light bulb store the phrase, “Without darkness, there is no light.” It struck me as ostensibly religious-sounding. I’m not sure if the owners of the […]

The Joy of Firsts

After writing about the joys of ordinary miracles, those things that happen all the time and seem normal—like birthdays or celebrating anniversaries—I got thinking about the joys of those not-so-common experiences: firsts. As I write this I am one week away from getting married, which will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. From that moment Sarah and I will encounter many firsts as a married couple: our first dance, our first international trip together, our first time […]

To Give and Not to Count the Cost

In celebration of our fifth anniversary, we’ve invited our dotMagis bloggers to reflect on the individual lines of St. Ignatius’s Prayer for Generosity. Imagine making a reservation at a five-star restaurant. When you show up, the owner comes out and says to you, “Come and dine! But there will be no cost for you!” I think most of us would love receiving a free meal, but we may be suspicious of the owner. Perhaps it’s […]

Ordinary Miracles

A couple Sundays ago at church, the priest was giving a captivating homily. In it he had mentioned his ill mother, who had just turned 99 years old. In the pew in front of me were two women. One leaned to the other and whispered, “Wow!” At first I thought, No big deal. I’ve known of people who’ve lived well into their nineties. People in my fiancée’s family tend to live long, and my own […]

Loving People Who Annoy Us

I commute about two hours most weekdays, so I’ve had a lot of experiences on the road. I’m generally a calm driver, but I’m not immune to frustration. The other day I was in the left lane, moving at about 75 mph with the rest of the traffic, when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a car racing up to me. The car was nearly riding my bumper. Frustration started to well […]

God Winks

I was driving home the other day and was listening to the song “Lost in the Wilderness” from the musical Children of Eden. In the song Cain expresses to Abel his loss of faith in God because they are in the wilderness, not the garden. As I pulled into my driveway Cain sang, “Don’t you ever watch the eagle fly to the sun and wonder how he got to be so free?” At that moment, […]

A Faith That Disturbs

Being a graduate student of theology means I’ve been encountering questions that directly challenge the solid faith I’ve come to grow into over the years. In my studies I’ve learned that the Church has changed and developed drastically over time, even in just the last century. What we consider to be a long-standing tradition may not have always been. Popes used to be married. Bishops’ roles today are far different than they were in the […]

The Sponge and the Rock

During the icy cold “polar vortex” in early January, my landlord asked me to leave the taps dripping at night to prevent the pipes from freezing. The problem was that the sound of the dripping water from the kitchen faucet hitting the metal sink was keeping me up. It was irritating. So I placed a sponge in the sink and let the water drip into that—no more loud clang when the drops hit the metal. […]

Mary and Joseph Are Expecting

About nine months ago we celebrated the Annunciation when the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she would conceive God’s son. It was at the moment of conception—beginning with just two cells—that Jesus became incarnate. I don’t think we often think much about Mary’s pregnancy during Advent. The New Spiritual Exercises by Louis Savary, which pulls from the incarnational spirituality of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, gives a detailed meditation on what’s going on inside Mary’s […]

Ignatius and the Sacraments

The Spiritual Exercises are not just a listing of meditations separated into four “weeks.” They are much more than that. They are a work of art that has inspired thousands, if not millions, of Christians throughout the last five centuries. And while Ignatius offers them as a model of prayer and discernment, the Exercises also model how one lives the sacramental life in the Church. Since Ignatius was very much a part of the Catholic […]

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