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 consultant and Catholic writer for a number of national media. She and her husband have four children and nine grandchildren.

Can I Really Drink This Cup?

In the Anima Christi prayer, we pray, “Blood of Christ, inebriate me.” I ask to be made drunk with God’s love. Can I really drink this cup? What does the cup mean to me? To answer these questions, I visit in my imagination with the mother of Zebedee’s children (Matthew 27:55–56). She tells me: What mother would wish crucifixion for her sons? While my sons were hidden, I dared climb the hill with many other […]

Letting Go of the Shades

I remember the time I was praying silently in the living room very early in the morning, before my little ones were awake. It was prior to my father’s death from cancer, when my sister and I, many miles apart, were praying simultaneously thanks to prearranged appointments on our calendars. I sat alone, criss cross-legged in the middle of the room, with sunlight just beginning to filter through the partially closed mini blinds in front […]

Anger About My Roof

This story is inspired by Mark 2:1–12. Jesus “returned to Capernaum…[and] it was reported that he was at home.” As I reflected on the Gospel passage, I found myself drawn to the character of Jesus’ landlord. I could hear her: I’ve rented out rooms before. It’s chancy, despite references. The carpenter from Nazareth seemed safe, because he’s a distant relation. Our bedrooms surround a large front room that I share with my tenants. I keep […]

My Beloved

My fingers brush the holy water as I enter the church. I’m here for a Gospel meditation, and I linger, imagining the Jordan. Was it shallow or deep, cold or comfortable? I see John the Baptist and crowds of onlookers. Some have already been baptized; others are making a ruckus with some Pharisees. I try to ignore them, refocusing on Jesus’ mother, who is seated on a large rock under a tree. I approach and […]

Walking with Mary

Two travelers are on a road in the hill country. One is Mary, who’s thinking: “I’m so excited! The Messiah is coming! I feel as if I could dance the entire trip ahead of me. I can’t wait to see Elizabeth.” Imagine you’re the other traveler: an apprentice carpenter. You’ve been charged with an important duty: caring for your boss’s beloved. Can you keep her safe? Just look at her! She’s practically running! What’s her […]

Yo-Ho! Yo-Ho! Ignatian Life for Me

“Let us give thanks for the great treasure of Ignatian spirituality.” Fr. David Ayotte, SJ, led us in prayer, but I didn’t hear the rest of it. I was captured by the image of treasure. Have you seen the underground fortune in the pirate ride at Disneyland? When I was young, I could easily imagine that the underground cavern with its enormous pile of coins, golden objects, and jewels was real. And now in my […]

The Devil in a Piece of Pie

Waiting for a friend at a local coffee shop, I used my smartphone to read a portion of the first letter of John. God took the initiative to sit with me in that moment. My heart was deeply at peace. I was aware of a presence beyond myself. I was warmed by God loving me. I breathed deeply, looked out the window at freshly mown grass and marveled. I was glad my friend was late. […]

God Right Here

This story is inspired by Matthew 14:22, following the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus made me get into the boat with the other disciples. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay with him on the shore, savoring the miracle I’d just seen. Thousands of people fed! I wished I could just stand there at his side, watching. He made us get into the boat, and I sat with my legs crossed, my […]

The Dark Night of Seeds

One of Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom of God depicts us as various types of soil into which the sower plants seeds. I found myself imagining that I was the seed instead. It led to a fruitful contemplation about heaven. I see myself planted deep in the earth, with its darkness and grime. I cannot see heaven above, but I know in faith that it is there, somewhere. I wait. God’s living water cracks the […]

Consolation and Desolation Whiplash

I used to think that desolation was a state one entered for a long period of time, like Mother Teresa experiencing years of dry prayer. Lately, though, and perhaps because I’m using the Examen more faithfully, I’ve learned that a single day can hold both consolation and desolation like a zig-zag line or a roller coaster. I’m pushed and pulled simultaneously by various forces, quickly passing from things that increase faith, hope, and love to […]

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