About Vinita Hampton Wright
Vinita Hampton Wright has served as senior editor at Loyola Press for 16 years and recently became managing editor of the trade books department. She has written various fiction and non-fiction books, including the novel Dwelling Places with HarperOne, Days of Deepening Friendship and The Art of Spiritual Writing for Loyola Press, and most recently, The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book for Paraclete Press. Vinita is a student and practitioner of Ignatian spirituality, and from 2009 to 2015 she blogged at Days of Deepening Friendship. For the past few years, she has co-led small groups through the 19th Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises. She lives in Chicago with her husband, three cats, and a dog. In her “spare” time these days, she is working on her next novel.

The Journey Backward

We talk a lot about “moving forward”—whether in a business meeting or a relationship or an aspect of personal spirituality. United States culture is generally obsessed with productivity, profit margin, and success. And we can carry that obsession into our attitude about moving forward. Progress is the key! Some of the most powerful spiritual practices, however, aid us in moving backward. The journey backward can balance our constant anxiety about going forward. What does the […]

Can I Be in Consolation and Desolation at the Same Time?

Briefly stated, consolation is a state in which a person is growing in faith, hope, and love. Desolation is a state in which a person is diminishing in faith, hope, and love. Some people think of consolation as moving toward God and desolation as moving away from God. However, we cannot really move away from God—God is always present, and, as Psalm 139 says, we cannot do anything or go anywhere to escape God’s presence. […]

Three Reasons It’s Hard to Be Still

We have been conditioned to feel guilty whenever we are not “productive.” Stillness, even for the purpose of rest or prayer, can feel like wasted time to someone who lives in a world that values wealth, competition, high productivity, full schedules, and general self-importance. If we stare off into space for half an hour—and fail even to take notes on the thoughts that come to mind—that’s half an hour lost. The writer must always be […]

Before Incarnation Comes the Silence

We associate the Christ Child’s arrival with angelic pronouncements and nighttime fanfare: the heavenly hosts singing and sending brilliant disturbance into the lives of shepherds, townspeople, and even great kings. However, as we approach our celebration of the great event, let us consider its silent aspect. Before holy announcement opened the skies, the darkness sparkled quietly with distant stars. Shepherds could hear the normal sounds of wind moving across the landscape and creatures sleeping or […]

Three Ways to Find God in Winter

I happen to like a midwestern winter: cold, barren, dark, and windy. I enjoy bundling up and walking on winter days, with or without snow. The introvert in me looks forward to spending those dark evenings with books, knitting projects, writing projects, cooking, and pots of tea. Something in me connects to the sacred in winter—because I believe that each season is sacred in its own way. But I know that many people struggle to […]

An Anxious Person’s Prayer

How can I pray when I’m anxious? That is, how is it possible to pray when anxiety fills my person? How might I go about prayer when I’m in such a condition? Here are a few points to remember. First of all, reality does not change when I experience internal changes. I might be enraged, frightened out of my mind, or too worried to remember words to a prayer. But God continues to dwell with […]

Wisdom Story Examen

We are quite accustomed to hearing wisdom sayings, such as those found in the book of Proverbs or what we look for in a collection of quotations from famous people. This wisdom comes in short phrases, maybe funny or maybe profound. Perhaps we memorize it and store it away. However, the wisdom that makes its deepest impact on us is what we absorb from stories. A classic myth or fairy tale instills insight that stimulates […]

Four Principles of Pilgrimage

We have taken a rather brisk tour through the life of St. Ignatius during the past few weeks, following the pilgrimage that is his life story. Now let’s glean some general principles of pilgrimage that apply to each one of us. 1. Pilgrimage presents itself, but we decide to go or stay. Ignatius could have responded in other ways to his months of healing from the cannonball incident. He could have set his mind in […]

An Ignatian Pilgrimage Week #4: The Legacy of St. Ignatius

One year after Pope Paul III approved the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits elected Ignatius Loyola to be Superior General of their Society, in 1541. Ignatius tried to reject this appointment, but after he was voted to the position three times, he accepted that this was God’s will for him and the Jesuits. The man who had dreamed first of serving God in Jerusalem and then of spreading the Gospel throughout the world would, for […]

An Ignatian Pilgrimage Week #3: Preparation for a Life’s Vocation

Ignatius Loyola went through a conversion experience while he was recuperating from battle wounds. However, the transformation was not over. In fact, the most critical months were ahead of him—months that would prepare him for the life to which God was calling him. After Ignatius laid down his sword before Our Lady of Montserrat, he traveled down the mountain to Manresa. There, a woman named Inez Pascual, who would remain a friend throughout his life, […]

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