Letting Go of the Shades

I remember the time I was praying silently in the living room very early in the morning, before my little ones were awake. It was prior to my father’s death from cancer, when my sister and I, many miles apart, were praying simultaneously thanks to prearranged appointments on our calendars. I sat alone, criss cross-legged in the middle of the room, with sunlight just beginning to filter through the partially closed mini blinds in front […]

A Patient Lent

When March rolls around in New England, I eagerly look forward to the arrival of spring and new plant life, only to discover that, same as last year, meteorological spring comes a lot sooner than the “spring” soil that allows the ground to be workable and new life to emerge. I am not an especially patient person. I hate waiting and doing nothing and the frustration that ensues when the ground and cold weather seem […]

On the Examen

This post is based on Week Two of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I first encountered the Daily Examen—the five-step prayer of St. Ignatius, which aims to help one find God in all things—when I was in Malta in 2015. I had decided to take part in a 30-day silent retreat, doing the Spiritual Exercises under the guidance of a spiritual director. In this dedicated time and space of the silent retreat, it wasn’t difficult to […]

Prayers and Practices for Spring: Darkness Lifting

I do believe that spiritual practices inspired by our physical environment can be quite effective. So let’s think a bit about winter’s transition to spring.* Winter has always represented a certain level of darkness. The daylight is shorter; many of us retire into our homes earlier than we do in the spring and summer months. Partly this is due to the cold—we’re eager to go home and get warm. But I think the general lessening […]

Joy in the Lord

As a couple of lone parents settled in to watch their children’s swim lesson through the glass and perhaps catch up on social media, I sat down nearby with one of my four-year-old twins to wait for one brother’s lesson to end and his to begin. “Mommy, what’s that? There’s a white pole near the pool; what’s it for? There’s a basketball in a bucket; why? The big guy’s in the water with the little […]

Into Me You See

This post is by Fiona Basile, author of Shhh…God Is in the Silence, as she begins An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. As I make my way through the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises, I am reminded of who I am in the eyes of God—my core identity: that I am God’s beloved daughter, his precious child. I am fearfully and wonderfully made! God delights in me and loves me. This is my inherent dignity. I […]

Not Confusing Ends with Means

The endpoint for the Christian—one who follows Jesus of Nazareth—is to imitate him in bringing God’s kingdom to earth through loving God and all creation. “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) That endpoint of being “like him” is meant to […]

Humility

Humility gives us the sacred gift of being able to learn from everyone. It gives us the ability to take advice from any person who gives it, not just the brilliant or the holy or the great, but from the simple and the ignorant and from those who may be far below our own position or station in life. It gives us the power to imitate Christ himself, who learned from Peter how to catch […]

Listening for God Through All God’s Gifts

This morning I prayed the Examen, reviewing the last 24 hours with God’s help. As I jotted notes in my journal on what arose while praying, I was yet again struck by all the ways God encountered me and I encountered God in my day. I noted God in the beauty of our backyard, where I watched bluebirds and cardinals flitter from the bird feeders to their nest. Memories of the belly laughs of my […]

Anger About My Roof

This story is inspired by Mark 2:1–12. Jesus “returned to Capernaum…[and] it was reported that he was at home.” As I reflected on the Gospel passage, I found myself drawn to the character of Jesus’ landlord. I could hear her: I’ve rented out rooms before. It’s chancy, despite references. The carpenter from Nazareth seemed safe, because he’s a distant relation. Our bedrooms surround a large front room that I share with my tenants. I keep […]

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