More Light on the Examen

I just ran across a very good article on the daily Examen by Phyllis Zagano.  There are many brief explanations of the Examen.  This goes into some detail about it.  A sample: This small prayer, the Examen of Consciousness, is the heart of the spirituality developed by St. Ignatius Loyola and his followers. If practiced once or twice daily, it will help move you closer to the heart of Christ in all your thoughts and […]

Three Types of People Revisited

One of the central exercises in the Spiritual Exercises is the meditation on “three types of people.” It invites us to give a long, searching look at how free we really are. It’s designed to help us achieve greater freedom by detaching ourselves from desires that entangle us. Lisa Kelly, an Ignatian Associate and blogger, has a perceptive comment on “three types of people:” I think we are misled though by Ignatius naming these people […]

The Best Ignatian Songs: That’s the Way God Planned It

Optimism is a distinctive note of Ignatian spirituality.  We trust the goodness of God, who is at work in his creation.  As Billy Preston put it: All things are God given And they have all been blessed That’s the way God planned it That’s the way God wants it to be Preston was one of the great soul musicians.  He is sometimes called “the fifth Beatle” because he worked so closely with the fab four.  […]

Ron Hansen's Exiles

Ron Hansen is one of my favorite writers.  I heartily recommend his latest novel Exiles.  The novel tells the story of how the account of a maritime disaster in 1875 moved the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins to return to writing poetry. The disaster was the shipwreck of the steamer Deutschland.  Among the lost were five German nuns who were on their way to establish a house of their order in America.  Their agony and […]

How the Jesuits Got So Worldly

Historian John W. O’Malley, SJ, ponders Jesuit worldliness  in a recent article.  He starts with a Jesuit joke, but the “worldliness” of the Jesuits is no joke.  It’s real. The decision to operate schools gave the Society a big shove in the worldly direction.  But O’Malley traces the roots of worldliness to the Jesuits’ early commitment to works of mercy: The Franciscans and Dominicans, of course, also engaged in works of mercy. Charity, after all, […]

Chaplain on the Bench

Many sports teams at Catholic universities have chaplains.  You can sometimes catch a glimpse of these men at basketball games.  They are the fellows in black in their Roman collars, hovering the background during timeouts.  Did you ever wonder what they do?  Fr. Dave Anderson, SJ, explains how it works at the University of Seattle.

Pedro Arrupe's Vocation

A genuine miracle played a decisive role in Pedro Arrupe’s decision to become a priest. He was a young medical student on pilgrimage to Lourdes. He noticed a young man twisted with polio in a wheelchair at Mass. At the consecration of the host, the man stood up, cured. Writes Arrupe: Thanks to the special permission I had, I was later able to assist at the medical examinations of the young man. The Lord had […]

Best Ignatian Songs: Anthem

I recently read an article in which the author argues that suffering is often a necessary part of Ignatian discernment.  A painful situation spurs us on to make a change.  Achieving the spiritual freedom necessary to choose well can be a wrenching and lengthy process. That’s the theme of the song “Anthem,” written by Leonard Cohen.  The chorus says that the flaw is where the light shines: Forget your perfect offering There is a crack […]

Flannery O'Connor and William Paul Young

America magazine’s Books and Culture section looks at Flannery O’Connor and William Paul Young, two writers at opposite ends of the literary quality spectrum. Young, author of the best-selling The Shack, holds up the low-quality end of the scale.  I started The Shack but didn’t finish it.  After reading David Nantais fair-minded America piece I realized that there is more to the book than I saw in my literary snobbery.  Jon Sweeney’s piece on O’Connor […]

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