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.

Simple Prayers

Sometimes we try too hard at prayer. We make it complicated. We load it down with expectations. If I pray really well, then I will come away inspired, or I’ll have a question answered, or I’ll feel happy, or I’ll have learned something. Let’s use the not-quite-so-intense season of summer to lighten up a bit on prayer. “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” […]

How a Busy Person Finds God in All Things

Busy people generally don’t stop being busy people. If they are spiritually aware, they will intentionally cease activity at regular intervals to be silent and still, to listen to the Divine, and to care for themselves. But then, they’re off! Busy people use their energy for action. Their minds rarely pause, because there are always multiple projects and plans forming. I use “busy” to describe a person who is nearly always outwardly active—this is the […]

Praying with St. Ignatius

July 31 is the feast day of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), and a man whose life was dedicated to introducing people to Jesus and encouraging their conversations with him—their prayer. So let’s approach this post with a focus on Ignatian prayer. First I want to point out that the Society of Jesus was the first religious order to move away from the practice of praying the Divine Hours. […]

Three Ways to Pray Ignatian

There’s no great mystery to Ignatian prayer, but this week is a good time to review. If you want to pray in the Ignatian way, here are three ways to do it—not an exhaustive list but a good start. 1. Do the Examen. At the end of the day, ask the Holy Spirit to guide your memory over the day’s events and conversations. Give thanks for the blessings of the day. Ask God’s forgiveness if […]

Prayer and Rest

So often, summer vacation becomes busier than any other part of the year. We’re trying to fit in trips and visits and host people visiting us. Or there’s the home improvement list and the extensive garden, church picnics, summer sports, etc. This busyness is reason enough to practice prayer that helps us rest. Prayer we do sitting still. Meditation in a quiet place. Centering prayer during an unhurried time of day. I believe that even […]

A Prayerful Environment

It’s summertime, and for many of us, summer means time at a beach somewhere. What a great place to pray! What a perfect place in which to blend our prayer with play. Might we allow ourselves to get lost in the activity of building things with sand? Might we create homey spaces with umbrellas, chairs, mats, and towels? Might we gaze into clouds or across the water and allow that gaze to be a prayer […]

Summer Pilgrimage

We’ve talked about walking prayer. We can take walking prayer further and make a pilgrimage. Actually, summer could be an ideal time for pilgrimage if you tend to take vacation during summer months. Many of us use vacation time to journey to hometowns and visit family. A hometown can be the location for profound pilgrimage. For instance, your parents or aunt may still live in the town where you spent your childhood years. Childhood holds all […]

Challenged by Ignatius

I’ve heard Jesuits joke that they’re not afraid to meet Jesus in the hereafter, but they are a bit anxious about meeting St. Ignatius. Jesuits go through rigorous training for many years, and the principles of spirituality Ignatius laid out in the Spiritual Exercises are reinforced again and again. Those of us who are laypeople familiar with the Exercises understand that they are demanding, but we are not likely to experience them as intensely as […]

Take a Walk and Breathe

I was fortunate to grow up in a family that understood how to dwell in outdoor space. We lived in a small town in the middle of farm country; most people had big yards, many of them filled with flowers, vegetable gardens, trees, swing sets, treehouses, and pets. I can remember sitting in our backyard with my parents, and all we did was watch the various birds that flitted in the trees and visited the […]

Grounded Prayer

I think that sometimes we make prayer difficult because we separate it from what is concrete in daily life. We develop the attitude that prayer is supposed to be something in the mind and heart, a spiritual quality hard to define and somewhat elusive to experience. Yet Jesus urged his disciples to pray, to ask God for what they wanted, and to never give up at prayer. The Gospel accounts tell of his regular excursions […]

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