The Wisdom App

Have you heard about the app that turns you into a happier, more grateful person, that makes you feel more balanced and peaceful, and that keeps you focused and on track every day? I sometimes call it “The Wisdom App,” even though the app’s developer originally used a different name (more on that later). The app is free, and you don’t even need a smartphone to use it. Here’s how it works: you commit to […]

Ignatian Gratitude: Encounter and Response

With rapt attention, I watched the rescue of the boys’ soccer team in Thailand. The boys were stranded by rising waters in a cave. People from all over the world came together in treacherous conditions to pull the boys back from the brink of death into the light of day. When all of the boys finally emerged safely, it seemed the whole world breathed a sigh of relief. Joyful prayers of gratitude arose from around […]

Pilgrimage

Immediately after his recovery from the wounds of battle sustained at Pamplona, St. Ignatius set out to make a pilgrimage to the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat in Spain. There he spent an all-night vigil before the Black Madonna and surrendered his sword to her. This marked the formal ending to any hopes of a military career and his total dedication to serving Christ under the patronage of Our Lady. It also marked Ignatius’s recognition that […]

Three Kinds of Humility

St. Ignatius, like many spiritual masters over the centuries, suggested that humility was a prerequisite for the spiritual life. In his Spiritual Exercises, he described three kinds of humility: To humble myself to total obedience to God. To be ready for honor or dishonor, poverty or wealth, or anything else for God. To desire poverty, dishonor, and even be a fool for God, since Christ was. The last of these, he said, was the most […]

Contemplation to Attain the Love of God

The Contemplation to Attain the Love of God is a kind of capstone of Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises. Sometimes it is phrased as “The Contemplation on Divine Love,” since God’s love is not something that we “attain” through our own actions. The aim of the meditation is to be aware of the gracious and abundant love of God and to respond in love, generosity, and freedom. Ignatius asks us to pray for the grace that we […]

Colloquy: Conversing with God

What is a colloquy? I’ll let Kevin O’Brien, SJ, explain: A colloquy is an intimate conversation between you and God the Father, between you and Jesus, or between you and Mary or one of the saints. It often occurs at the end of a prayer period, but it can take place at any time. Let this conversation naturally develop in your prayer. In the colloquy, we speak and listen as the Spirit moves us: expressing […]

Magis

A few years ago, I was visiting a Jesuit college and speaking to an eager and enthusiastic undergraduate. Our conversation turned to the idea of the magis, a popular and familiar word in Jesuit circles, especially in high schools, colleges, and universities. He said to me, “Boy, I really love the idea of the magis! It’s encouraged me to get the highest paying job that I can after I graduate!” I think I probably turned […]

Finding God in the Birds

Growing up in Inner City Los Angeles, I hadn’t really seen a bird that wasn’t a pigeon unless I went to the beach. You know what they call pigeons in East L.A.? Flying rats. The only other experience I had with birds was the Alfred Hitchcock movie by the same name. One of the local networks would show the film on television each year around Halloween. So yes, I was never what you might call […]

Decision Making

We are constantly making decisions, every day, all day: what to eat for breakfast, what to wear, whether to add an umbrella to all the things we have to carry, how to prioritize the day’s activities, whether to start the day with exercise or catch an extra half-hour of sleep, whether to keep waiting for that overdue bus or flag down a taxi. The decisions may be different based on the kind of work we […]

Consolation and Desolation Whiplash

I used to think that desolation was a state one entered for a long period of time, like Mother Teresa experiencing years of dry prayer. Lately, though, and perhaps because I’m using the Examen more faithfully, I’ve learned that a single day can hold both consolation and desolation like a zig-zag line or a roller coaster. I’m pushed and pulled simultaneously by various forces, quickly passing from things that increase faith, hope, and love to […]

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