The Dark Night of Seeds

One of Jesus’ parables about the Kingdom of God depicts us as various types of soil into which the sower plants seeds. I found myself imagining that I was the seed instead. It led to a fruitful contemplation about heaven. I see myself planted deep in the earth, with its darkness and grime. I cannot see heaven above, but I know in faith that it is there, somewhere. I wait. God’s living water cracks the […]

Finding God in the Birds

Growing up in Inner City Los Angeles, I hadn’t really seen a bird that wasn’t a pigeon unless I went to the beach. You know what they call pigeons in East L.A.? Flying rats. The only other experience I had with birds was the Alfred Hitchcock movie by the same name. One of the local networks would show the film on television each year around Halloween. So yes, I was never what you might call […]

On Gratitude

Driving home recently, I couldn’t help but notice that God seemed intent on slowing me down—behind a bus first, then a delivery truck; then a traffic light turned red just as I approached. Far from a waste of time, delays like this signal that God is trying to get my attention. I smile interiorly, grateful for the chance to ponder God’s presence in the brief moments of stillness the detainment affords. Every tree and flower, […]

I Am Not Worthy

I slipped into the church, unseen by the women cleaning on Saturday morning; the vacuum’s blare wiped out my footsteps. Early for a women’s breakfast, I thought I’d say hi to Jesus. In our church, an alcove creates a private space in front of the tabernacle. When I sat there, I sang a Communion hymn from my childhood so I wouldn’t scare anyone when I emerged from the hidden spot: Oh, Lord, I am not […]

Angels and Ice Cream

One day a father and his six small children troop single file into the thrift store. The tops of the little ones’ heads are staggered at four-inch intervals of height, like stair steps. At first, we clerks exchange glances, doubting whether one lone man is sufficient to keep twelve little hands off the breakables, but we needn’t have worried. The children follow along behind him to the back of the store and wait patiently while […]

God Is Trying to Catch Our Attention

We know that much of prayer is simply paying attention. A prayerful person learns how to tune in, more and more, to the details of daily life and notice where the Divine is showing up. Sometimes, though, God steps in and tries to catch our attention. It’s not that God is coercing us—divine love always respects our freedom of will. But there are situations in which we are unable to pay attention: We are emotionally […]

The Cheer-Ups File

This is the last stop for the Make Today Matter blog hop, in which bloggers have been reflecting on the habits in Chris Lowney’s new book from Loyola Press. See the full list of blog hop stops here. I keep a “cheer-ups” file for paper treasures that strengthen me when I hit a snag of desolation. I realized this week that the manila folder reminds me of happy warriors, those special people Chris Lowney talks […]

Go Set the World on Fire

Ignatius often ended his letters to Jesuits going to the missions with the expression ite, inflammate omnia—“go, set the world on fire.” What did he mean by that? Maybe it was just a rah-rah expression, the kind of thing a football coach says when he tells the team to go out on the field and “kick butt.” But I don’t think so. I don’t think Ignatius had a cheerleader’s personality. He was a serious man who used words […]

Accepting the Memories

Last week I meditated on how God has been present in every moment of my life. In order to do this, I took out an old photo album that my mom had given me after I finished high school and left home. I consider myself blessed that Mom put together this album of photos beginning with my birth and continuing through high-school graduation. Mom’s efforts fill about 15 pages of the album, and my entries […]

Savoring the Gifts Like Chocolate Eggs

When we were children, my brother and I used to eagerly await awakening to Easter baskets full of candy, which we soon devoured. As an adult, I have mostly lost my sweet tooth, but I still like the occasional small piece of chocolate. It is a treat to unwrap slowly just one foil-wrapped chocolate egg, savor its taste and texture, and let that be enough. This Easter, I have been praying about all the good […]

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