A couple of interesting new bloggers have set up shop lately. Convert Webster Bull writes the blog “Why I am a Catholic.” The title of each post begins with the word “Because” (Because Gerard Manley Hopkins Was a Catholic, Because We Live in a Dark, Dark Time, Because I Have Daughters, etc.) The blog is thoughtful and well-written. A Protestant pastor named Brian Rice demonstrates the long reach of Ignatian spirituality with his new blog “Evangelicals […]

Back to School at Cristo Rey

This week classes start at 22 US high schools that are part of the Cristo Rey network, an innovative and highly successful model for urban education.  Cristo Rey schools serve the urban poor.  99 percent of their graduates go to college.  The schools are partly financed through their students’ paid internships at local businesses.  Many of them are Jesuit high schools, and the original Cristo Rey school was developed under Jesuit sponsorship and direction in […]

Best Ignatian Songs: Livin’ on a Prayer

This week’s Ignatian song is the hard rock classic “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi. It’s about a working class couple “livin’ on a prayer” as they struggle to make ends meet. Lyrics here. But it’s this performance rather than the lyrics that makes this song an Ignatian classic. These are Jesuits on the campus of Boston College. It compares pretty well to the Bon Jovi music video that’s been viewed nearly three million […]

Administration as a Spiritual Path

People who work as administrators grumble about it all the time.  “Another meeting.” “Another performance review.” “Another crisis.”   Yet administration is on St. Paul’s list of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.  Ann Garrido, an academic administrator in St. Louis, asks, “Why not reconceive administration as a potential spiritual pathway by which good people can become better people, distinguished by a certain translucence and vitality that extends beyond themselves and into the institutions they serve?” […]

The Power of a Book

Here is a fascinating conversion story by a blogger named Webster Bull.  The decisive moment in his spiritual journey came when he wandered into Borders and picked up a copy of My Life with the Saints by Jim Martin, SJ, the bestselling memoir about the author’s personal attachment to 24 saints. I began attending mass the morning after I bought the books, by which time the fire in my heart had burned away any trace […]

Ignatian Contemplation

Prayer using the imagination is a pillar of the Ignatian spiritual tradition. In its most common form, you take a passage from scripture, usually one of the gospels, and immerse yourself in it imaginatively using all the senses. You feel the heat of the day, smell the livestock and clouds of dust on the road, listen to Jesus’ words, watch his actions. It’s a way to engage the gospel personally, with all of our faculties. Creighton University’s online ministries […]

Dennis McNally's Art

Several readers asked where they could see the the lovely stained glass window created by Dennis McNally, SJ, featured here last week.  As far as I can tell it’s not installed anywhere.  Fr. McNally says that the window is “partially realized.”  I certainly would like to visit a church where it’s installed. Fr. McNally is professor of fine arts at St. Joseph University in Philadelphia.   He’s a prolific artist, as you can see by browsing […]

Best Ignatian Songs: Ripple

This week’s song selection is “Ripple” by the Grateful Dead.  It was recommended by John Montag, SJ, who wrote on the Ignatian Spirituality Facebook page that the chorus of the song aptly describes “consolation without cause.” “Consolation without cause” is a sense of peace and joy that suddenly appears without a reason.  Most of our good feelings are caused by something: a job well done, an encounter with a friend, a splendid work of art.  […]

Surviving Desolation

Some friends are having a hard time lately, so I reread this piece called “How to Survive Desolation.”  It’s an excellent summary of what Ignatius had to say about coping with hard times.  At the end the author says that Ignatius’ most profound insight was his focus on “sufficient grace.”  Says Ignatius:  “A person who is in desolation should recall that he can do much to withstand all of his enemies by using the sufficient […]

Different Sins for Different Sexes

Men and women struggle with different sins, according to research carried out by Roberto Busa, SJ, a Jesuit scholar.  Fr. Busa studied the sins men and women confess and found striking differences in the frequency of sins.  His list: Men 1. Lust 2. Gluttony 3. Sloth 4. Anger 5. Pride 6. Envy 7. Greed Women 1. Pride 2. Envy 3. Anger 4. Lust 5. Gluttony 6. Avarice 7. Sloth Fr. Jim Martin at America magazine […]

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