Explaining Thanksgiving

When I was in college, I studied abroad for a year in Madrid, Spain. The father of my host family was a teacher in a grade school. In the late fall, he asked me to come to work with him and give a presentation to his students on the American holiday of Thanksgiving. At first this sounded easy, but as I prepared my notes it became apparent that my six years of Spanish were not […]

From Secular to Sacred: Go All Out!

As you prepare for the holidays this year, go all out! Literally—get OUT of the house, go OUTside, experience the great OUTdoors. Yes, you’ve got too much to do, but that’s no excuse. If it’s cold, bundle up and allow your cheeks to get rosy and your body to become energized by the brisk air. If you’re not in a cold climate, then spend a little more time wandering at a nearby lake/ocean/mountain/park. Take along […]

The Examen and Holiday Family Times

This time of year brings many family gatherings. Have you thought about how prayer—specifically the Examen—can help you appreciate, grow, or heal your relationships? Andy Otto offers a Family Examen that might be a nice prayer to spend some time with during these busy days of December. The special Examen is available in audio and print formats at Andy’s blog, God in All Things. Becky Eldredge shares Five Ways the Examen Can Play a Role […]

Coping with Spiritual Desolation During the Holidays

Usually, during November and December, our thoughts turn to gratitude for God’s blessings and preparing our hearts for the coming of hope through the Christ Child. But what if, as the holidays approach, we feel anything but hopeful? The other day, I was sharing with a friend how excited I was that Advent was coming. My friend usually loves Advent too. However, when I mentioned it, her face literally contorted in pain. She shared that, […]

Why Celebrate Labor Day

Joe Simmons, SJ, shares 32 Reasons to Celebrate Labor Day. Read the entire list over at The Jesuit Post, but here’s a sampling to get us thinking this holiday. Labor is the smile mom forced to snuff out her yawn after working third shift. Labor robs life of indolence to reward it with satisfaction. Labor is the scratchy calloused palms your grandpa developed, so you wouldn’t have to. Labor groans at sunrise, but sighs contentment […]

Five Reasons Not to Dismiss Halloween

Whether or not you have children, it’s hard to escape the Halloween decorations and festivities this time of year. Here are my thoughts on why we should attend to this holiday. Halloween has become just another fun day for kids. Yes, there are some dark origins of All Hallows Eve, but the little folks that come traipsing up your sidewalk dressed as monsters, Disney characters, and comic book heroes do not connect their good time […]

Prepare for the Holidays with an Afternoon of Prayer

Today, I issue a challenge. Schedule an afternoon for nothing but prayer. I use the word “prayer” loosely, so don’t panic. And you already know how short an afternoon is. So this activity is not as intimidating as you might first suspect. Here’s what I propose. Choose a place that’s good for you. It can be outdoors or indoors, somewhere in your home, on your property, or somewhere else entirely. But it needs to be […]

Fourth of July

We are thankful to have a worldwide readership for dotMagis, but today those of us in the U.S.A. pause to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. Here are a few summertime images to mark the day, courtesy of our sister blog, Picturing God. Where are you finding God this weekend? Don’t take a holiday from 31 Days with St. Ignatius. Today’s entry is I Love This Picture.

Advent and Christmas Retreat 2011: Christmas Time, First Week

Merry Christmas! We continue our seasonal retreat by reflecting on Christmas. Please share your retreat experience with others here in the comments. Christmas Time, First Week: Jesus Is Light in the Darkness. Petition: Ask for the grace to receive Jesus, the Savior, as the light of our path. A first-century philosopher observed: “When I light a candle at midnight, I say to the darkness: ‘I beg to differ.’” As we light our Christmas candles, we, […]

Giving Thanks

We are all living the unlived lives of our parents and our culture. In Anna Karenina, Tolstoy writes, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Now we speak of dysfunctional families. We’re wounded by our beginnings, even if we just had a “good-enough father” when we wanted a perfect father. But could it be a necessary wounding? –from On the Threshold of Transformation by Richard Rohr I remember […]

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