Jesus Responds to His Sorrow

As Jesus responds to his sorrow, he is expressing to us the best of what it means to be human. There are no miracles here. No sudden healings. No casting out of demons. No parables. Someone coming to the story of Jesus’ Passion for the first time, not knowing anything else of the Gospels, would think that this is just an ordinary person, someone who experienced loneliness, heartache, pain, exhaustion, and ultimately death. He’s no […]

Who Is This Jesus of Nazareth?

Brian Prugh reflects on Titian’s Ecce Homo (“Behold, the man”) in a Dappled Things post that gives much to contemplate this Holy Week. The painting depicts Pilate showing Christ to the crowd. This is his public display, and our chance to confront the question, who is this Jesus of Nazareth? The soldiers have done their best to humiliate him with the crown of thorns, purple sheet and broken-stick scepter. His beard is unkempt, his gaze […]

God Is All About Balance

Char, a widow and grandmother who has assisted in many family medical needs lately, tells me that God is all about balance. “My life has three main themes,” she says. “Family, volunteer work, and fun. I’m closest to God when they are all in balance. I make a to-do list every morning with subtitles: Go, Get, Do, and Call. But before I make the list, I read my devotions. Tucked into my prayer book is […]

Paying Attention

While in Paris, inspirational speaker Daniel Midson-Short learned the importance of paying attention. The lesson came from a silent woman, about whom Midson-Short says: “She knows that the greatest gift that you can give to another person is presence.” Watch the TEDx video below, and think about how you are paying attention to those around you.

Longings in Advent

In December, we often ask children, “What do you want Santa to bring you for Christmas?” In Advent the Church poses to us a deeper question: “What are the deep needs and longings of your life, which only God can fill?” Frank Majka, SJ, presents that question to us in a brief reflection on Advent Longings. Are you taking time this season to consider the question? What do you really want for Christmas as a […]

Everyone Experiences God

I can say, with no reservations, that everyone experiences God. We might not all use the same language for the experience. We might not recognize the experience as having anything to do with God. We might not share that experience with others, because it is deeply private or because we’re not sure how to communicate it. But the Divine seeks us, desires us, and waits for the opportunity to meet us. Fortunately for us, God […]

A Spirituality of Orality

Nearly 25 years ago, the Jesuit scholar of language Walter J. Ong wrote a seminal work on the difference between spoken and written language, and how the use of these different forms of communication impacted human cultures of antiquity and the modern age. He used the term primary orality to talk about cultures that only know communication through spoken words and who have no written language. Secondary orality, in contrast, refers to cultures that use “essentially a […]

Events Through a Camera

Shemaiah Gonzalez’s children were in a performance after a week of theater camp. She writes: I arrived early and got a seat on aisle so I’d be sure to see both children wherever they happened to be on the stage. When performance time came I was taken aback when every single adult in the audience stood up, took out their phones and began filming the performance. There was no way I could see through the […]

Four Ways to Rest This Summer

Summer is here (or almost, depending on your counting). I confess to over-planning at the beginning of summer because the weather’s right and I feel energized by the extra daylight to get a lot done! But let’s consider another worthy goal for these months: rest. Here are four suggestions out of many possibilities. 1. Create a comfortable space, away from television, computer, and other distractions. The best anniversary gift my husband ever bought me was a […]

A God Who Labors

There is a life-size crucifix I once saw in a church in Germany, ordinary except for the fact that—a casualty of war—the body of Jesus has no arms. The parishioners decided to leave the crucifix in that truncated state as a reminder to onlookers that they are to become Christ’s arms. The God of Ignatian spirituality is the God who “acts in the manner of one who laboring” (Spiritual Exercises, 236). Ignatius speaks of God […]

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