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.

I Can’t Wait

My daughter just sent the dates when her family will be with us over the Christmas week. I can’t wait to see them. I can’t wait to decorate our tree and set up our plywood manger scene on the lawn. I can feel a sense of excitement building. How often do you say, “I can’t wait,” and mean a sense of eagerness and longing? We all know the other kind of waiting: slow-motion moments filled […]

Prayers Rising

“Let my prayer be counted as incense before you.” —Psalm 141:2 I just blew out my candle on my desk, and the smoke billows upward. I take my palms and catch some of the spindly lines, moving them upward as I add my thoughts of thanks. I didn’t expect this small visual reminder of prayer to touch me so. I’ve finished planning a retreat for a women’s group, and it’s time to transition to the […]

In the Mother Church of the Jesuits

As I write this, the Society of Jesus meets in Rome for their 36th General Congregation. It amazes me that despite being founded by St. Ignatius in 1540, the Society has held just 36 general sessions since then. I stood next to Ignatius last April, when I visited his apartment in the building next to the Church of the Gesu, the mother church of the Jesuits in Rome. There sits a bronze cast of the […]

Take, Lord, Receive, My Work and Career

I work in an office where the pace is breakneck speed. I pray during my morning commute, but pride kicks in as I park: “See you at noon, God. I’ve got things covered.” Then I read the Suscipe. Uh, oh. Do I mean it? I pray, “Take, Lord, receive, well, most of me. Can I hang on to this area—and that—while I ‘let you’ take care of the rest?” So I’m taking an incremental approach […]

Are We All Elijah?

When Jesus raised the widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:11–17), his Jewish listeners must’ve remembered Elijah, who raised a widow’s son during a visit to Zarephath (1 Kings 17:17–24). Life and death miracles aren’t relegated to biblical history or extraordinary prophets. Fr. Dan Looney in Sacramento tells about the night last November, after a meeting in the church, when a violent pounding assaulted the church door. Theresa, the last volunteer in the church with Fr. […]

A Fragrance of Love

The aroma of fresh coffee sends me to bed every night as I lock the doors and my husband grinds the beans for the next morning’s automatically brewed wake-up beverage. Smelling that rich dark roast, I feel hope as I say goodnight to the day. Inhaling is an invitation to the Examen for me, and I make my resolve for tomorrow. The promise of a cup of coffee to greet the next day sends me […]

The Servant’s Healing

This story is inspired by Matthew 8:5–13, the healing of the centurion’s servant. The sickness? I never saw it coming. All of a sudden: slam. My body felt as if it had been hurled against a solid wall. Within a day, I could barely move. Without reason or cause. It just was. It was difficult for me because not only does the master of the house rely on me to run things smoothly, but also […]

Waking Up to the Risen Jesus

This story is inspired by the first contemplation in the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises, the apparition of Christ to Mary (#218). Do you know that semiconscious state as you begin to awaken, when it’s possible to believe you’re still dreaming? That’s how I awoke the morning of my son’s Resurrection. I felt my Jeshua gently stroking my hair. I smiled and looked into his sweet face. Such a loving son! He was sitting […]

Joseph’s Yokes

In honor of the feast of St. Joseph on March 19, we share this reflection on how Joseph may have influenced Jesus’ teaching example in Matthew 11:28–30. Jesus and I played together as boys in the streets of Nazareth. I liked to run to the carpenter’s shop to watch his dad skillfully construct all kinds of things out of wood. Joseph mastered the yoke so necessary to guide oxen in the fields. They fit each […]

We Never Expected the Transfiguration

This story is inspired by Luke 9:28–36, the Transfiguration of Jesus. Jesus casually invited three of us on a hike one warm, sunny day. I think Peter, James, and I are probably his closest buddies. Can you imagine what it felt like to be Jesus’ best friend? The hike turned out to be a steep one, but we were happy to go along. Wherever Jesus was headed, we were willing to follow. But we never […]

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