Prayer Exercise: Enjoying Jesus’ Presence

Remember a time when you saw Jesus with the inner eyes of your soul, when you experienced his presence in a vivid way, when he came alive for you in your prayer. Remember the inner details and outer circumstances of the experience. Savor the richness of the experience and relive it in your memory, feeling, imagination, heart, and mind. Be attentive to God’s presence. What were the circumstances of the experience, that is, were you […]

Practice Listening

A listening exercise by Vinita Wright, from her book Days of Deepening Friendship. 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 […]

Gabriel Is Surprised

Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, notes something unusual in a Renaissance depiction of the Annunciation: Mary is surprised, but the angel Gabriel seems to be surprised too. That’s the beginning of a fine Advent meditation. (If you can’t see the video, click here.)

Nativity Mosaic

This depiction of the Nativity is a mosaic by Fr. Marko Rupnik, SJ, in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut.  Fr. Jim Martin has written meditations on three of the mosaics in a recent online edition of America magazine.  You can view a slideshow of Rupnik’s mosaics here.

An Ignatian Rosary

Brother Thomas Koller, SJ, at the Jesuit Retreat Center in Los Altos, California, has been praying the rosary with Ignatian-style visualization, a method of prayer used in the Spiritual Exercises. His meditations on the mysteries help people put themselves into the gospel setting as participant-onlookers.  Fifteen of Brother Koller’s meditations can be found here.  (H/T to my friend Jim Campbell.)

What Does God Think of You?

“Imagine God thinking about you. What do you assume God feels when you come to mind?” That question begins David Benner’s Surrender to Love which I have been reading recently.  In our heads we mostly know what the correct answer is, or should be: Of course God loves us.  But deep in our hearts, it’s not that easy.  Our sense of being a disappointment or of being a sinner or of simply not being all […]

Built on a Rock

Jim Martin, SJ, comments on Jesus’ parable about the man who built his house on a rock: If you act on Jesus’s words (not just listen but act on them) you’ll be like the fellow who builds on rock. Your life will be steady, unshaken, permanent. Notice that Jesus does not say that you won’t encounter any storms in your life. The one who builds on rock still has to face the rains and the […]

Contemplative Cooking

Since I no longer believe in coincidence, I’m wondering what God is inviting me to see, not only in the sudden spate of movies glorifying food, but because this morning’s kitchen adventure soon became an especially contemplative exercise. I’ve been cooking—and eating—for many years. I was raised by foodies who entered cooking competitions on weekends. My mother (The Gourmand) vs. my father (The Short Order Cook)—grab your ingredients and claim your burners…on the same stove. […]

Try Bothering for Lent

This Lent, says Fr. Jim Martin, SJ, take the time to “bother.”  He points out that the people who angered Jesus were people like the two guys who ignored the wounded man in the parable of the Good Samaritan.  These are people who didn’t bother to love.  He goes on: So this Lent, instead of fasting, why not bother? Instead of a negative Lent, how about a positive one? Instead of giving up chocolate for […]

Last Things

Before All Souls Day recedes too far, read this powerful piece by Michelle Francl-Donnay about  facing the reality of one’s death.  She refers to the last days of the Jesuit Alfred Delp, killed by the Nazis: Delp’s final writings, smuggled out of prison on bits of torn newspaper, speak poignantly of how difficult he found living in this liminal time, literally on the threshold between life and death. I’m coming to realize that this is […]

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