Two Necessary Seasons of Life: Pruning and Dormancy

Last year my prayer life told me it was pruning season. After years of being in the full bloom of my outward call, it was time to re-evaluate life’s commitments. God was inviting me to a period of letting go of well-discerned commitments of the past. Many were once the luscious, vibrant signs of new growth in my life, but not anymore. There were pieces of my life, while familiar and comfortable, that were slowly […]

The Sponge and the Rock

During the icy cold “polar vortex” in early January, my landlord asked me to leave the taps dripping at night to prevent the pipes from freezing. The problem was that the sound of the dripping water from the kitchen faucet hitting the metal sink was keeping me up. It was irritating. So I placed a sponge in the sink and let the water drip into that—no more loud clang when the drops hit the metal. […]

Football and Discernment

Now that I have a son, I find my lingering doubts about football coming to a head. With the Super Bowl upon us, I find myself wondering whether it is for the greater glory and praise of the divine majesty to watch the game. Consider these two well-wrought essays: the first, by Steve Almond at the New York Times: Medical research has confirmed that football can cause catastrophic brain injury — not as a rare […]

Discovering Your Dream

Jerry Fagin, SJ, was a beloved teacher and spiritual director at Loyola University New Orleans for 33 years. He was known for his skill in presenting the main themes of Ignatian spirituality in clear, succinct language. When Jerry died in June of last year, he was in the middle of writing a book explaining these ideas, which he had studied and taught for many years. Loyola Press is proud to publish the book this month: […]

The Epitome of Discerning Love

Something to think about | From his own experience Ignatius learned the essential importance of spiritual freedom. One can claim grace as genuinely and uniquely his or hers only if the conditions for a free encounter be sustained. Perhaps an even more crucial reason lies within the Ignatian understanding of discernment and its relationship to Christ. For Ignatius, Christ symbolized the privileged moment of human and divine encounter both within Jesus’ own consciousness and in his […]

Five Things the Spiritual Exercises Taught Me about Jesus

On more occasions than I care to count, people will comment to me, “Ignatian spirituality does not have enough to do with Jesus. All you hear about is finding God in all things.” While in my head I am thinking of all the things I really would like to say in response to that comment, I typically take a deep breath and ask them, “Have you ever gone through the Spiritual Exercises? They are all […]

Discernment How-Tos

Spiritual director Teresa Blythe has a couple of interesting articles about discernment on Patheos.  One is a step-by-step guide to discernment based on Ignatian principles.  The other is a fascinating look at how the Quakers do group discernment. We also have much material on discernment on  Start here.

Praying with Your Feelings

In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius Loyola teaches ways to pray with our feelings. Engaging our emotions in prayer is key for conversion and discernment. I explain in today’s video contribution to An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. If you’re receiving this via e-mail, click through to watch the Week 7 video Praying with Your Feelings.

Blog-alogue Fourth Question: What Tools Should We Use?

Meredith, In this blog-alogue we’ve been talking mainly about the why of social media.  Why it’s important, what you can do with it.  There seem to be new social media tools emerging every day.  My question is about getting started. I began with blogging.  Is there another way to get started with social media? What do you need to know about yourself to get started with these tools? Jim ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Jim, Not only do new […]

The Two Poles of Discernment

I recently followed a link on this site to a 2003 article in America that expanded my understanding of Ignatian discernment.  I knew about discernment of the inner movements of the heart.  But William Spohn, SJ, points out how important it is to discern the what is happening outside ourselves. How does God call us to the right path? Usually this awareness comes through a process of discerning both the interior and the worldly poles […]

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