About Loretta Pehanich
Loretta Pehanich is a spiritual director and author of Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. She is involved with the Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Sacramento and its program in giving the Spiritual Exercises. She has more than 20 years of experience in ministry, including retreat work and small group leadership. Loretta currently works as a fundraiser in Sacramento. She and her husband have four children and nine grandchildren.

He Walked Beside Me

I was doing a very ordinary task: washing clothes for the Apostles. I was almost done, and the basket was very heavy. “Can I help you with that?” I turned to see who spoke, and a handsome stranger was smiling at me. Rather than speak to him, I simply handed him the basket since my shoulders ached and I was exhausted by the hot sun. Relieved of the burden, I suddenly recalled something Jesus once […]

Cooking the Passover Meal for Jesus

“Who’s doing the haroset? These apples should’ve been chopped by now!” “Judith, where’s the rest of the matzah?” The tantalizing aroma of perfectly prepared lamb fills the crowded room. Noisy conversation buzzes all around. To paraphrase the youngest child, this night is different from every other Passover I’ve ever prepared. I’m standing in the doorway of the upper room, watching Jesus. It’s difficult to pay attention, because I’m so distracted. I wish I had another […]

Hooked by a Choice

I’ve played a video game where you get points for hooking all kinds of fish. Accidentally catch the old shoe or tin can and points count against you. I love the metaphor of Jesus as the living water. I want to be immersed in God’s great love, swimming like a fish with the flow of God’s direction, and I use my imagination to contemplate being a fish in the immense ocean of God. Lately I’ve […]

Jesus Asked Me to Pray He Gets a Home

I blasted out of my office with a broken heart and crestfallen face. I needed a break to calm my agitated spirit. As I took off down the street, a homeless man sitting on the sidewalk said something to me. I stopped and bent closer. “I’m sorry; I didn’t hear you,” I said. He asked if I had any prayer needs, because he would pray for me. Have you ever had a homeless person offer […]

Coffee Shop Encounter

Mary and I were talking at the coffee shop about a ministry we lead. The tables were close together, but I forgot that as I was engrossed in conversation. We didn’t see the professionally dressed man at the table next to us, laptop open, until we noticed that he was crying. “God bless you!” he said emotionally when we made eye contact. “Obviously, you’re women of faith. I’m inspired.” “Are you eavesdropping on us?” I […]

Joseph of Arimathea and Burying the Dead

In honor of the feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea on August 31, we share this reflection based on Luke 23:50–53. Joseph didn’t witness the death of Jesus. He sent me to watch and to notify him when Jesus was pronounced dead. As I headed to Golgotha, Joseph went boldly to Pilate to request Jesus’ body. Joseph knew how to work within existing leadership structures. He wanted Jesus to have a decent burial, not to […]

Extraordinary Moments in Ordinary Time

I watched the five-year-old children in swimsuits step gingerly up to the font. Climbing the two stairs up seemed pretty easy, but every one of them waited before taking two steps down. What was their hesitation? Every eye in the packed church was focused on the font as the four children waited their turns. Excitement was building among the assembly, as if each of us was willing the children to step forward. We held a […]

Grateful for Anything—Except Dirty Looks

Driving home from work, I regularly see panhandlers standing at the freeway off-ramp. I hesitate to find Christ in them or give them money. For one thing, it’s a dangerous place to stand. I’m suspicious about how my money will be spent. It could be a scam. Plus I do plenty of other charitable works. Most days it’s someone different. But there’s one “regular,” a young man with varying cardboard signs. Guilt used to fill […]

What Happened in the Tomb?

Did you ever wonder what exactly happened in the tomb after Jesus was buried? The mystery of Jesus fully human and fully divine tangles my brain like a shroud; I can’t get my mind wrapped around it. I’m puzzled by the few details the Gospels provide after the Resurrection. We’re told that the disciples found “the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place […]

Your Rod and Your Staff

I love the 23rd Psalm. And lately, I’ve been thinking a great deal about the verse mentioning the rod and the staff. I see myself as this well-fed and comfortable sheep, and then I feel a gentle prodding. It’s that Shepherd again, inviting me to move along. Why? I’d fallen into self-absorption, thinking about my problems and having a little pity party. One translation says, “with your rod and your staff you give me comfort.” […]

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