God’s Grace and Our Efforts

I have watched myself and other people swing back and forth between two extremes of expectation when it comes to spiritual growth. One expectation is that God will do everything if only I have faith and wait patiently. This view goes out of balance when, in my waiting and believing, I become passive. I pray but do not act. I pray but do not engage with the realities in my daily life. When I become […]

Explaining Thanksgiving

When I was in college, I studied abroad for a year in Madrid, Spain. The father of my host family was a teacher in a grade school. In the late fall, he asked me to come to work with him and give a presentation to his students on the American holiday of Thanksgiving. At first this sounded easy, but as I prepared my notes it became apparent that my six years of Spanish were not […]

Coming Together at Table

Growing up, our table was always filled with friend and stranger. While we lived far from our own families of origin, we were never at a loss for family because, through the sharing of meals, a beautiful and unique family arose. At that table, we prayed together, savored dishes from around the world, and learned about the ways in which holidays and holy days were celebrated in each person’s culture. People would often bring token […]

God Receives Us

The Ignatian Suscipe begins with the words, “Take, Lord, and receive…” This prayer then goes on to offer oneself to God. The Suscipe is a prayer of surrender. We might think about what we are doing on our end when surrendering (or resisting surrender): what parts of our lives we give to God or hold back; what aspects of ourselves we disclose or hide (perhaps even from ourselves); and whether we are free around matters […]

The Gratitude List

A friend of mine was stuck in traffic in New York City late on a summer Friday afternoon. He was really stuck—sitting in his car on a narrow east-west cross street in Manhattan, going nowhere. He grew impatient, then angry. After a while, he started to think about how pitiful his life was. His friends were smarter, wealthier, happier than he was. He hadn’t accomplished anything significant. He was stuck in life, just as he was stuck in traffic. […]

Advent Preview

Advent begins on December 3. Make it a season of grace with the help of seasonal features from Loyola Press. Sacred Advent Embrace the Advent season as a sacred space from the ease of your e-mail inbox. Each day of Sacred Advent invites you to a step-by-step way of praying with a Scripture reading and related points of reflection. The messages also include suggestions for further exploration of Advent themes. Sign up to receive the […]

Three Poems

Jubilee You’ve multiplied the many fruits of every gift You’ve given me: music, service, intellect, with love-begetting-love multiplied most; and now like a plant in a pot You ask me to rest; and looking up I see Your hand and feel grace shower down restoration, emancipation, readying me for Your coaxing forth the new growth, the new buds, the new fruits, the new gifts-for-the-world. At rest I receive what I need for next, what serves […]

The Power of One

This whole universe, with its trillions of galaxies, began as a tiny speck of concentrated energy; smaller than a grain of salt. When you were first conceived, you were just a single cell, a mere pinpoint of life, barely visible to the naked eye but packed full of the potential for everything you would ever become—every action, choice, and relationship. You are just a drop in the ocean, but without you the ocean will not […]

Even in the Aftermath

Recently I attended the showing of a local organization’s documentary called After a Suicide—Moving Past Why. While this would not normally be on the top of my “must do” events for a Friday night, I was there with my husband to support a friend of ours who lost her son to suicide a couple of years ago, and who was featured in the documentary. I thought I would leave that night feeling sombre after focusing […]

When Do You Pray?

So, when do you pray? Think about that for a few moments. Most of us pray when we feel in desperate need of help or rescue. At the apex of anxiety over a teenager who is two hours late getting home or the car that’s acting up on the expressway in the middle of a downpour, we send our most blunt and honest prayers. At the other end of the experience spectrum, we utter prayers […]

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