Three Characteristics of Advent Waiting

Advent is a time of waiting. But not all kinds of waiting are alike. In Advent, we wait in a special way. 1. Advent waiting is expectant. Many years ago, when I was expecting my first child, I felt a deep connection to Mary in the Nativity stories. As I noticed my stomach beginning to swell, awaited feeling the first kicks, and wondered what it would mean to become a mother, I waited with an […]

Quiet for Three Minutes

I whisper that we are going to be quiet for three minutes and listen. I set the timer on my phone and let my younger son push the start button. My sons might wiggle. They might giggle. And with my eyes closed, I feel my younger son gently touching my fingernail. But if I ignore the movement and model stillness, they follow. I open my eyes to see my older son, his eyes closed, with […]

Five Easy Ways to Build Prayer into Your Day

Too busy to pray? Here are five easy ways to build a little prayer into the day. Try a “mini Examen” just before lunch, dinner, or going to sleep. Pause to thank God for good gifts from the day, and notice where God was present. Gratitude is at the heart of prayer. (And the full Examen doesn’t take that long, either!) Slow down and take a walk. On the way to an appointment? Instead of […]

An Anxious Person’s Prayer

How can I pray when I’m anxious? That is, how is it possible to pray when anxiety fills my person? How might I go about prayer when I’m in such a condition? Here are a few points to remember. First of all, reality does not change when I experience internal changes. I might be enraged, frightened out of my mind, or too worried to remember words to a prayer. But God continues to dwell with […]

God Is There All the Time

Becoming aware that we have been divinized by Jesus Christ, invited into the Trinity family, is a felt realization of the numinous presence of God not only all around us but also within us. God is there all the time, waiting. But, like God’s forgiveness, God’s will to share the divine aliveness with us can’t activate until we invite it. It is the heart-stopping understanding that despite our shortcomings, despite our seeming insignificance to most […]

Four Principles of Pilgrimage

We have taken a rather brisk tour through the life of St. Ignatius during the past few weeks, following the pilgrimage that is his life story. Now let’s glean some general principles of pilgrimage that apply to each one of us. 1. Pilgrimage presents itself, but we decide to go or stay. Ignatius could have responded in other ways to his months of healing from the cannonball incident. He could have set his mind in […]

How to Get Unstuck

I believe that one of the biggest obstacles to a person living her values is the ease at which we get stuck on any given day. And it’s rarely the big events that hold us back but the smaller, relentless thoughts, attitudes, and fears that show up all the time. When I encounter a big problem, such as a job change or a death in the family, I’m on high alert for whatever opposes God’s […]

Inner Vision

There is a marvelous bonus waiting for those who entrust themselves to God in intimate prayer. Just as you bring all your everyday concerns to God in prayer, and talk to him about how you really feel (which may well include expressing your anger and frustration with him from time to time), so, steadily, he will open up more and more of himself to you—or rather, he will increasingly open up your own inner vision, […]

If You Lose Your Way in the Fog

If the worst happens, and the fog gets so thick that you really can’t move an inch, try using these tactics: Tell God, and maybe a human friend, how you feel, and ask them to pry you away from the negative force fields, even though you really want to stay where you are, in isolation. Force yourself to make contact with other people; go to town, walk around the market, make yourself a meal, phone […]

Try Story

I love that Christianity is all about story. It is rooted in the immense narratives of the Old Testament and comes to bloom in the strange and wonderful story of Jesus. We believe that true life is not a string of truths or a complex philosophy or a system of rules and moral codes. No, our faith is best represented by a phrase such as, “In the beginning . . .” or, “There once was […]

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