Eight Tools for Combatting Desolation

Editor’s note: Celebrate the 10th anniversary of IgnatianSpirituality.com with us. For 10 weeks, we’ll be “Counting the Gifts of Ignatian Spirituality” by bringing you special content on our website and special offers from our sponsor, Loyola Press. Learn more here. Once called “Devil’s Valley,” California’s Desolation Wilderness is a 100-square-mile protected “forest” near one of the most beautiful spots on earth (in my opinion): Lake Tahoe. I see this topography within my home state as a metaphor for […]

Nine Reasons to Embrace Ignatian Discernment

Editor’s note: Celebrate the 10th anniversary of IgnatianSpirituality.com with us. For 10 weeks, we’ll be “Counting the Gifts of Ignatian Spirituality” by bringing you special content on our website and special offers from our sponsor, Loyola Press. Learn more here. Every spring, I invite the freshmen to consider how they can more actively engage in their faith lives as they prepare to move into their sophomore year. I wait until spring, because that is when […]

Gifts You Can Offer

Consider that you are a person brimming with gifts. Do you dare offer them to a world always in need of love and wisdom? Allow yourself to identify what you have to give. You can offer the gift of experience—all you have learned by doing, and some things you’ve learned the hard way. You can offer the gift of listening—whether or not you have anything to say. You can offer the gift of creativity—whatever you […]

Listening for God When We’re Stuck

Have you ever had a moment when desolation hit you so hard you felt like you were stuck in the mud? Just a few weeks ago, I rode the wave of creative energy for several days in a row. Words poured out of me as I wrote talks for a retreat. More words came as I dug into another writing project. I can remember feeling the lightness and joy of living a call and thanking […]

What Do You Really Want?

This post is based on Week Five of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. This week provides an opportunity to delve into a very deep question: What do you want? What do you really want? What is your heart’s deepest desire? This can be quite a confronting question. In today’s culture, we are bombarded with so many messages about whom we should be and what we should do in order to be happy: own this car, live […]

Courage’s Role in Discernment

When it comes to discernment, sometimes another word for faith is courage. We ask the Holy Spirit to lead us to the best decision: the choice that honors God the choice that makes use of the gifts God has given us the choice that does the most to further God’s kingdom on earth. We go through various steps and processes through which discernment can take place. For instance: We explore the pros and cons of […]

Not Confusing Ends with Means

The endpoint for the Christian—one who follows Jesus of Nazareth—is to imitate him in bringing God’s kingdom to earth through loving God and all creation. “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) That endpoint of being “like him” is meant to […]

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. […]

Seagulls as an Image of the Evil Spirit

I like to watch seagulls as they glide across the sky, but as with many of God’s creatures, we can have negative interactions with them as well. This past summer on retreat, I spent much of my time praying near the ocean. One day I watched as seagulls chased down a fishing boat. A flock of seagulls repeatedly dove in, attempting to steal some of the haul from the boat as it sailed forward in […]

Decision Making

We are constantly making decisions, every day, all day: what to eat for breakfast, what to wear, whether to add an umbrella to all the things we have to carry, how to prioritize the day’s activities, whether to start the day with exercise or catch an extra half-hour of sleep, whether to keep waiting for that overdue bus or flag down a taxi. The decisions may be different based on the kind of work we […]

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