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 […]

Never Alone

What comforts me the most in my life is the fact that I am not left on my own to figure out things. One of the many things that Ignatian spirituality continues to teach me is that I am never alone. I am not alone in growing in my relationship with God. I am not alone in making any decisions. I am not alone in walking through both the joys of life and the heartbreaking […]

Praying for Others

Do you ever wonder why we pray for people? Praying for the living and the dead is, after all, a spiritual work of mercy. I believe one of the key characteristics of Ignatian spirituality, being a contemplative in action, offers us insight into this work of mercy. To me, living as a contemplative in action means being a person of prayer who puts that prayer into concrete reality. It doesn’t mean that we merely act […]

A Lenten Invitation from William Barry, SJ

Just think about this: God, the creator of our vast universe, made each of us in his own image and likeness to be his friend and to cooperate with God in the great adventure of developing this planet. Moreover, after thousands of years of seeing how often human beings mess things up, God still delights in us so much that God became one of us in Jesus of Nazareth. God becomes as vulnerable as any […]

The Imaginary Boy

The other day I came across a passage in a novel that brought me up short. The book is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. The writer describes the thoughts of a nine-year-old boy: “His father always talked to him—so he felt—as if he were addressing some imaginary boy, one of those that exist in books, but quite unlike him. And he always tried, when he was with his father, to pretend he was that book […]

The Shepherd Girl’s Experience

“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). I try to imagine night in an ancient land and myself in it, millennia before the mechanical hum of machines and motors entered the world. I try to think of the most natural quiet I have ever known, maybe after a fresh nighttime snow. Maybe the expectant hush that falls over the crowd as the houselights […]

Prayer While Grieving

Praying during a season of loss can be hard. When I think of my own seasons of loss or of listening to others’ prayer during their seasons of grief, I can think of multiple descriptions of prayer that sounded something like: I cannot even sit down to pray, because my mind races everywhere when I try to pray. Being still is hard, because so much hits me at once that I don’t know where to […]

God Receives Us

The Ignatian Suscipe begins with the words, “Take, Lord, and receive…” This prayer then goes on to offer oneself to God. The Suscipe is a prayer of surrender. We might think about what we are doing on our end when surrendering (or resisting surrender): what parts of our lives we give to God or hold back; what aspects of ourselves we disclose or hide (perhaps even from ourselves); and whether we are free around matters […]

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