Gifts You Can Offer

Consider that you are a person brimming with gifts. Do you dare offer them to a world always in need of love and wisdom? Allow yourself to identify what you have to give. You can offer the gift of experience—all you have learned by doing, and some things you’ve learned the hard way. You can offer the gift of listening—whether or not you have anything to say. You can offer the gift of creativity—whatever you […]

Yo-Ho! Yo-Ho! Ignatian Life for Me

“Let us give thanks for the great treasure of Ignatian spirituality.” Fr. David Ayotte, SJ, led us in prayer, but I didn’t hear the rest of it. I was captured by the image of treasure. Have you seen the underground fortune in the pirate ride at Disneyland? When I was young, I could easily imagine that the underground cavern with its enormous pile of coins, golden objects, and jewels was real. And now in my […]

Giving in God’s Name

A Room Filled with Treasure You showed me a room filled with treasure, precious, priceless, and told me it was mine; I marveled: what a gift! such abundance! a comfort to have it, but what would I do with it? then I knew it: I could give it away… You interrupted, insisted “This is yours.” “I can’t give it away?” I asked. “Beloved heart, this is yours; you’ve already given it away.” And so it […]

Savoring the Gifts Like Chocolate Eggs

When we were children, my brother and I used to eagerly await awakening to Easter baskets full of candy, which we soon devoured. As an adult, I have mostly lost my sweet tooth, but I still like the occasional small piece of chocolate. It is a treat to unwrap slowly just one foil-wrapped chocolate egg, savor its taste and texture, and let that be enough. This Easter, I have been praying about all the good […]

Expressing My Love for God

This post is based on Week Eight of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. Some of St. Ignatius’s most noted words can be found in one of the last meditations in the Exercises: “Love shows itself in deeds more than words.” (SE 230) As I reflect on these words, it reminds me that Jesus desires concrete acts in response to the abundant love and gifts God offers us. So how do we express our love for God […]

Authentic Gifts

It is National Reading Month, and I am an author invited to speak to grade-school children at the local Catholic school. I am unsure what to talk about. I do not write books for children. But my own daughters attended this school when they were young, and I write books. Apparently, these are good enough credentials. I tell the attentive, upturned faces a story from the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store about a child […]

Gifts of Necessity, Gifts of Opportunity

Most of the time, we think of our gifts—our contributions to the body of Christ and to the world—as those abilities we’re born with, or the abilities bestowed on us by the Holy Spirit. We’re born with a gift of artistic expression; the Holy Spirit gifts us to teach or to show hospitality. Some gifts, though, come to us out of necessity. We learn how to care for physical and medical needs when a family […]

Thankful for the Gifts of Ignatian Spirituality

It is the Christmas season, the time of year that children are relishing the toys they received. They beam with smiles full of joy and gratitude as they cherish the opportunities to play unabashedly with their gifts. The newness of the gifts remains, and children are still discovering all the possibilities that the new gifts hold. In the weeks or months to come, children will still play with their toys, but the initial fascination with […]

An Ignatian Gift-Buying Guide

Trying to discern appropriate Christmas gifts for my family is always an issue. How much is too much to spend? Do I need to buy for everybody in the family? Has that gift been made under safe labor conditions, or will buying it contribute to a culture of economic slavery or environmental degradation? Which charity do we support, when there is so much need out there? As a creature of an Ignatian worldview, these are […]

Explore the Gift

Stay where you find fruit. This direction from Ignatius is very wise. If I’ve experienced fruit—consolation, some wonderful insight, a closeness to God, even a new awareness—I can trust that that gift is a signal from God: “Look deeper here, my dear friend, for I have so much more I want to give you.” Another way of looking at this is to imagine receiving a gift, all wrapped in paper and ribbon and a big […]

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