i thank You God for most this amazing day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything which is natural which is infinite which is yes (i who have died am alive again today, and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth day of life and love and wings:and of the gay great happening illimitably earth) how should tasting touching hearing seeing breathing any-lifted from the […]

Best Ignatian Songs: What a Wonderful World

I’ll bet that you already know and love this week’s Ignatian song, but tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  There’s no better time to listen to Louis Armstrong sing “What a Wonderful World” again.  It celebrates finding God in all things. Hat tip to Rick Malloy, SJ, for the suggestion.

Ignatian Parenting

It is possible to bring an Ignatian perspective to parenting. My wife Sue and I don’t claim to be the best at this all the time, but the basic thrust of it goes like this. Taking the First Principle and Foundation (FPF) seriously means seeking to discover what kind of person God has created our daughters to be. I paraphrase the FPF this way: God creates us to render praise, reverence, and serve God our […]

Mary Karr’s Conversion

The poet Mary Karr has just published a new book, Lit, in which she talks about her conversion to Catholicism as well her struggle with alcoholism.  She mentions in a recent interview that the Spiritual Exercises were an important part of her spiritual awakening. That’s all the excuse I need to mention Karr here, because she is one of my favorite poets.  Here’s a sample: Disgraceland Before my first communion, I clung to doubt          as […]

Congressman Cao’s Discernment

Anh “Joseph” Cao got a lot of attention last December when he became the first Vietnamese-American to be elected to Congress. He was in the news again recently when he became the only Republican to vote in favor of the health reform bill that passed the House of Representatives. Cao is a former Jesuit seminarian. In a recent interview, he talked about the importance of Ignatian discernment in his work: I still use the Ignatian […]


Every year some 100,000 undocumented minors are picked up by the U.S. Border Patrol as they try to enter the United States. Posada is a 55-minute documentary film that tells the story of three who stayed. The film was written, produced, and directed by Mark McGregor, SJ, who teaches film at Gonzaga University. He connects the journeys of the three youths to the annual Mexican “Posada” Christmas procession which depicts Mary and Joseph’s search for […]

Spiritual Direction

I’d like to respond to Autumn’s comment to my earlier post about living the “examen”ed life. She asks about what to do when it is difficult to find a spiritual director. Since she raises an important question I thought it more helpful to dedicate a new post to it, rather than bury my response below hers. So, Autumn, thanks for your question. I hope many people have the same problem you do. I don’t mean […]

Best Ignatian Songs: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

Our Ignatian song this week is U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” It’s a song of deep spiritual yearning. You broke the bonds And you loosed the chains Carried the cross Of my shame Oh my shame You know I believe it But I still haven’t found what I’m looking for Every time I hear it I think of St. Augustine’s famous saying, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and […]

Celebration of Matteo Ricci, SJ

Next year is the 400th anniversary of the death of Matteo Ricci, SJ, one of the most remarkable of the early Jesuit missionaries.  He was the first to bring European learning and culture to the Chinese.  This is a video marking a special exhibition at the Vatican in honor of Ricci.

The “Examen”ed Life

The fruit of the regular practice of the Examen—or more broadly, the life of regular, cumulative, formative reflection—is living with greater attentiveness, greater readiness, even greater anticipation of God’s whispers. I felt it this evening, running an errand with my older daughter Grace. We searched six stores for an item she needed for a science fair project—in the middle of rush hour!—when at one point it just occurred to me: “I am really enjoying this.” […]

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