God Deals with Us Directly

We can trust our experience because God deals with us directly. Ignatius certainly believed that the Church and Scripture are trustworthy teachers of truth, and that we need that truth to help us interpret our experience. He also believed that Christians receive spiritual nourishment in the sacraments and in devotional prayer. But he also believed that God communicates directly to each of us. We can have a personal relationship with him. Prayer in the Ignatian mode […]

Direction

A ship may be tossed on the seas, buffeted by storms of every sort. Its crew may be struggling mightily every day simply to keep it afloat, wearying themselves, becoming chilled to the bone. They may fear for their lives every day, and regret ever having set sail with the hopes of adventure and fame and wealth. There may be days when the supplies are running low when they fear starvation. Perhaps every now and […]

The Way of Pilgrimage

A few months ago, I went on pilgrimage to Ireland and Scotland, to visit sites important to Celtic Christianity. I had been on pilgrimage before but had never been to this part of the world. I was with a group of Episcopalians from my sister-in-law’s church in Florida. So, in addition to absorbing the pilgrimage, I was making a number of new friends. How does a person “do” pilgrimage? For someone like me, from the […]

An Examen at the End of a Relationship

When significant relationships come to an end, whether due to geographic distance, drifting apart, or brokenness through conflict, we have the task of integrating that relationship into our memories and identities. As Christians, we are formed to be people who exist in loving community, always reconciling mercifully with one another, but at times human limits prevent this from being possible. As we seek to make sense of where God is in broken relationships, an Examen […]

Church and Community

The other day at Mass we sang a song that brings me back to my youth, a World Youth Day theme song called, “We Are One Body.” The song stuck in my head for hours afterward, leading me to consider more deeply what the song is really about, particularly in the context of my life right now. The song is about community. When we sing it, we remember that we are in community with those […]

Four Signs That You Are Merciful

God’s mercy, as Julian of Norwich put it, is “all love in love.” Mercy goes much further and deeper than taking pity on someone in need or reconciling with someone who has asked forgiveness. Mercy is a way of looking at life, a way of approaching our everyday experiences and relationships. There are many signs of a merciful spirit; let’s tackle a mere four of them today. You expect good (behavior, attitude, intention) from others […]

Autumn Stirs Interior Reflection

Autumn brings with it changes in weather, sending many of us indoors more regularly. We experience bright, sunny days that are quickly followed by torrential rains, cooler temperatures, and even the first flakes of snow. As we move to the interiors of homes and workplaces for refuge from these weather events, it’s a good time to consider the interior of our hearts. God is present with us at all times, of course, but autumn invites […]

Miss Woodland

The strictest teacher I ever had is also the one I recall as the gentlest. For most of the time she taught us mathematics, and she tolerated no nonsense, no lapses of concentration, and no bungled homework. She looked the part: severe, almost to the point of ferocity, with her silver hair impeccably pinned back. But she had another side. Her second passion was the garden. Occasionally she would walk into class with shining eyes […]

Coffee Shop Encounter

Mary and I were talking at the coffee shop about a ministry we lead. The tables were close together, but I forgot that as I was engrossed in conversation. We didn’t see the professionally dressed man at the table next to us, laptop open, until we noticed that he was crying. “God bless you!” he said emotionally when we made eye contact. “Obviously, you’re women of faith. I’m inspired.” “Are you eavesdropping on us?” I […]

Free at Last?

There’s a meditation in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius called “Three Classes of People,” which is designed to help us understand our attachments. Three people are given a great fortune, and each decides, in a different way, what to do about the fortune. Let’s be clear. The problem isn’t the fortune; it’s the attraction to the fortune. This exercise doesn’t assume that God wants you to give the thing up. It may well be […]

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