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 […]

The Crumpled Ribbon and a Moment of Grace

A sweaty little kindergartener came running towards me from the playground one afternoon. When he got close, I noticed he had something crumpled tightly in his hand. He reached out his hand to show me his prize as the words tumbled out of him in one long, continuous breath: “Mommy, a friend spilled her water, and I helped her, and I got to pick this ribbon, and I picked the rainbow one.” As he exhaled, […]

Yo-Ho! Yo-Ho! Ignatian Life for Me

“Let us give thanks for the great treasure of Ignatian spirituality.” Fr. David Ayotte, SJ, led us in prayer, but I didn’t hear the rest of it. I was captured by the image of treasure. Have you seen the underground fortune in the pirate ride at Disneyland? When I was young, I could easily imagine that the underground cavern with its enormous pile of coins, golden objects, and jewels was real. And now in my […]

Prayer for Humility

Let me have too deep a sense of humor ever to be proud. Let me know my absurdity before I act absurdly. Let me realize that when I am humble I am most human, most truthful, and most worthy of your serious consideration. —Daniel A. Lord, SJ, in Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash.

God’s Intimate Presence

Prayer is a matter of relationship. Intimacy is the basic issue, not answers to problems or resolutions “to be better.” Many of life’s problems and challenges have no answers; we can only live with and through them. Problems and challenges, however, can be faced and lived through with more peace and resilience if people know that they are not alone. A man’s wife will not return from the dead, but the pain is more bearable […]

Wisdom Story Examen

We are quite accustomed to hearing wisdom sayings, such as those found in the book of Proverbs or what we look for in a collection of quotations from famous people. This wisdom comes in short phrases, maybe funny or maybe profound. Perhaps we memorize it and store it away. However, the wisdom that makes its deepest impact on us is what we absorb from stories. A classic myth or fairy tale instills insight that stimulates […]

Better Than Your Best?

Magis is one of the more mysterious Ignatian terms. It’s a Latin word meaning “the greater, the excellent, the best.” It’s associated with restless striving to always do better, to undertake a greater project, to set more ambitious goals. Sometimes I find the notion of magis inspiring. Often I find it intimidating. The idea of the magis comes from the Call of the King meditation in the Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius has us imagine Christ as a King calling […]

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 […]

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