What If the Answer Is No?

What if God’s answer to one of our prayers is “no”? We are given this answer at times. Sometimes when we are told “no” we easily accept the answer we are given, because what we are asking for is something that really did not matter that much. Occasionally, though, we find ourselves being told “no” when every part of our being wants the answer to be “yes.” What happens to our relationship with God then? […]

An Imaginative Reflection on the Crucifixion

When we heard that Jesus had been arrested, I went with Mary to help her through this terrible time. She had a premonition that something bad was going to happen. I don’t know how she knew, but I’ve learned to trust her instincts. I hope this won’t end badly, but standing outside the governor’s palace, we can hear the words, “Crucify him!” My blood runs cold, and I can feel Mary stagger and sag into […]

An Examination of My Use of Time

Killing Time How do I kill time? Let me count the ways. By worrying about things over which I have no control. Like the past. Like the future. By harboring resentment and anger over hurts real or imagined. By disdaining the ordinary or, rather, what I so mindlessly call ordinary. By concern over what’s in it for me, rather than what’s in me for it. By failing to appreciate what is because of might-have-beens, should-have-beens, […]

Colloquy: Conversing with God

What is a colloquy? I’ll let Kevin O’Brien, SJ, explain: A colloquy is an intimate conversation between you and God the Father, between you and Jesus, or between you and Mary or one of the saints. It often occurs at the end of a prayer period, but it can take place at any time. Let this conversation naturally develop in your prayer. In the colloquy, we speak and listen as the Spirit moves us: expressing […]

Praying Through the Pain

Anyone who has ever tried to read the Bible or use a popular prayer app while recovering from surgery or undergoing chemotherapy can describe how difficult it is to pray in these circumstances. The words swim on the page; the meanings don’t register; the mind wanders; the pain blots out all other thoughts; when the pain subsides, drowsiness takes over; some passages trigger worries and anxieties; the joyful ones seem irrelevant. At first glance, Ignatius […]

A Certain Place

The room where I quilt, the arms of my husband, and sitting in my inherited wingback chair are some of my favorite places. Jesus was praying in a certain place, and his friends asked him to teach them to pray. (Luke 11:1) I always focused on the words of the Our Father that follow. But today it was that certain place that stopped me in my mental tracks. Perhaps the first teaching on prayer, for […]

Asking for What We Want

I don’t remember being encouraged to ask God for what I wanted, back when my faith was being formed in my childhood and teen—and even young-adult—years. It was assumed that my natural longings would be tainted by sin and selfishness. If anything, I was encouraged to suppress my natural wants and wishes and train myself to pray for what God wanted me to have: conflict-free relationships, happy willingness to obey authority and serve others, the […]

He Walked Beside Me

I was doing a very ordinary task: washing clothes for the Apostles. I was almost done, and the basket was very heavy. “Can I help you with that?” I turned to see who spoke, and a handsome stranger was smiling at me. Rather than speak to him, I simply handed him the basket since my shoulders ached and I was exhausted by the hot sun. Relieved of the burden, I suddenly recalled something Jesus once […]

Praying Through Suffering

In his book, The Ignatian Adventure, Kevin O’Brien, SJ, writes: In the third week of the Exercises, Ignatius invites us to consider how Jesus’ divinity ‘hides itself’ (SE 196). We must not easily explain away the suffering we encounter. Jesus is not merely playacting his way through a passion play. We must take Jesus’ humanity seriously enough to realize just how much he loves us. (227) In what moment is Jesus’ divinity more hidden than […]

Cooking the Passover Meal for Jesus

“Who’s doing the haroset? These apples should’ve been chopped by now!” “Judith, where’s the rest of the matzah?” The tantalizing aroma of perfectly prepared lamb fills the crowded room. Noisy conversation buzzes all around. To paraphrase the youngest child, this night is different from every other Passover I’ve ever prepared. I’m standing in the doorway of the upper room, watching Jesus. It’s difficult to pay attention, because I’m so distracted. I wish I had another […]

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