Not Confusing Ends with Means

The endpoint for the Christian—one who follows Jesus of Nazareth—is to imitate him in bringing God’s kingdom to earth through loving God and all creation. “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is.” (1 John 3:2) That endpoint of being “like him” is meant to […]

Pilgrim, See Your Path

Today, imagine a long, thin trail ahead of you. You see it disappear down distant hills, only to reappear on even more distant hilltops. This trail wanders to the left and then turns back on itself. It weaves over bare fields, down the Main Streets of small towns. It works its way through tall trees in one spot, tall buildings in another. In some places, the trail is dotted with many other pilgrims. Some talk […]

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 […]

When We Can’t Have What We Want

You’d think that people of faith would know how to deal with basic disappointments. We have been trained to think in the long-term and welcome ordinary hardships that provide character-building opportunities. But, alas, most of us aren’t skilled at remaining calm and positive when we don’t get what we want. Those of us in first-world situations have bought into the culture of consumerism and instant gratification. We expect fast Internet service, medications that will make […]

Recalculating with the Holy Spirit

I am not the greatest driver. I am easily flustered, particularly when I am in the unfortunate position of having to drive in an area unfamiliar to me. In those flustered and confused moments, I am comforted by one word spoken all too often by my GPS: recalculating. The word reassures me that no matter how far off-course I may have gotten from my desired destination, my trusty GPS is working to get me back […]

Four Ways the Examen Helps in Discernment as a Couple

In recent posts, I shared a process of discerning as a couple and also five ways the Examen can support us in our marriage. Now let’s take a closer look at four ways the Examen can help us discern as a couple. 1. The Examen helps us get clarity on what we are discerning. It is hard to make a choice without clearly knowing what the decision we are being asked to make is. My […]

Discerning as a Couple

Discerning as an individual is something that’s covered at length in the world of Ignatian spirituality. But what about discerning as a couple? The framework my husband Chris and I use for discernment is not that different from the framework I recommend people use for discerning as an individual. The major difference is there are two people’s voices and experiences of prayer, and there is the larger context of marriage and family life in which […]

Discernment at Different Stages of Life

A major gift from Ignatian spirituality is its wisdom about discernment. Discernment enables us to assess situations, pay attention to various clues, approach our decision making prayerfully, and ultimately choose well according to our faith and our life situation. But discernment is not the same at every stage of life. Each season presents unique challenges that require yet another nuance of Spirit-helped discernment. When we’re young—in late childhood and the teen years—much discernment has to […]

Guide to Making Good Decisions

The Irish Jesuits are offering some Jesuit wisdom on making good decisions. Their free eight-step guide will be delivered via e-mails over the course of a month. Featuring short videos with Michael Paul Gallagher, SJ, the series begins by considering dreams: Are you willing to dream big, to let yourself be inspired to respond to the challenges of our day? Few people are called to be another Martin Luther King or Ignatius Loyola, but all […]

Communal Discernment

Matt Emerson raises some interesting questions about involving others in the discernment process. When it comes to Christ, to being his disciple, we very well may have to divert from the path that those closest to us wish we would follow. Our choices might have to disappoint our family. But this prospect is not universally appealing. It wasn’t for men and women of the first century, and it’s not for students of the twenty-first. For […]

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