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 […]

Fall in Love Prayer Video

Reflect today with this video of the popular poem “Fall in Love,” attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ. The poetic prayer is appropriate at any time of year, but in this month of Valentine’s Day we also recognize the formal opening of Arrupe’s cause for beatification and canonization, just days ago. As Jim Manney writes in An Ignatian Book of Days, “In the Ignatian view, love is very concrete. Arrupe says that it is practical. […]

Listening for God in Colloquy

Ignatian spirituality offers us a variety of prayer tools to help us listen for God. One of these Ignatian prayer tools that I turn to frequently is the triple colloquy, which is introduced in the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises, when we are meditating on sin. A colloquy is simply an intimate conversation. In the Spiritual Exercises, it is offered as a way of having an intimate conversation with Mary, with Jesus, and with […]

What Is Your Image of God?

Recently, I had an enlightening conversation with friends about how we envision God. It’s a really interesting question, because how we imagine God determines how we relate to God. For instance, if I see God as an old, bearded man on a cloud, I will find it pretty difficult to relate to him. I’m not really well-versed in talking with old men who live on clouds and, in fact, I don’t know anyone who lives […]

My Beloved

My fingers brush the holy water as I enter the church. I’m here for a Gospel meditation, and I linger, imagining the Jordan. Was it shallow or deep, cold or comfortable? I see John the Baptist and crowds of onlookers. Some have already been baptized; others are making a ruckus with some Pharisees. I try to ignore them, refocusing on Jesus’ mother, who is seated on a large rock under a tree. I approach and […]

Practice Listening

Over the next several days, practice listening. Listen to everything—traffic sounds, nature sounds, speaking sounds, and the sounds of peace and quiet. Try to listen with great attention for five or ten minutes every day. Do this during a coffee/tea break, if that helps. Then, gradually tune in to God’s voice. This voice will come through many of the sounds you have already been noticing. It will also emerge as you partake of the arts—books, […]

Questions to Ask in Contemplating the Nativity

Ignatian contemplation allows the Spirit to bring to light important aspects of the Gospel that inform us along our spiritual journeys. This year, my contemplation on the Nativity—which I shared here—highlighted the following: Amidst the hustle and bustle of the marketplace, no one saw Mary in labor with the Christ Child. Where have I missed the opportunity to respond to Christ among us? Mary did not become upset when there were no rooms at the […]

Contemplating the Nativity

Every year, as Advent and Christmas roll around, I return to the contemplation on the Nativity in the Spiritual Exercises. In this contemplation, St. Ignatius invites us to reflect on the Nativity from the viewpoint of a maidservant accompanying the Holy Family. I imagine it this way. The journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem has been long—winding miles through hill and valley. The sun is setting as we enter the gates of Bethlehem. We are hot, […]

Listening for God Through Our Imaginations

It never ceases to amaze me the abundant number of ways God speaks to us. I still remember the surprise of learning that not only can we listen for God through our imaginations, but that this prayer had a name: Ignatian contemplation or imaginative prayer. My first exposure to imaginative prayer came during high school religion classes. Several times a year, one of my religion teachers would guide us through an imaginative prayer experience. She’d […]

Prayer for Detachment

I beg of you, my Lord, to remove anything which separates me from you, and you from me. Remove anything that makes me unworthy of your sight, your control, your reprehension; of your speech and conversation, of your benevolence and love. Cast from me every evil that stands in the way of my seeing you, hearing, tasting, savoring, and touching you; fearing and being mindful of you; knowing, trusting, loving, and possessing you; being conscious […]

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