Waiting on the Spirit

My son is preparing to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation this month. The other day, he came home from school worried because he couldn’t remember all of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit on a quiz. He was secretly wondering if this would affect his Confirmation. I told him not to worry; he simply needed to prepare his heart and ask the Spirit to come. The Holy Spirit would not be delayed by his quiz […]

Never Alone

What comforts me the most in my life is the fact that I am not left on my own to figure out things. One of the many things that Ignatian spirituality continues to teach me is that I am never alone. I am not alone in growing in my relationship with God. I am not alone in making any decisions. I am not alone in walking through both the joys of life and the heartbreaking […]

The Examen of the Future

The Examen is part of our tradition. Usually thought of in terms of St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, it has emphasized watching sins and failings. That emphasis was deepened by our post-Enlightenment emphasis on rules and counting things. The whole thrust of discernment as a spirituality for the twenty-first century has parted from that. We have opened ourselves deliberately and boldly to finding how the Holy Spirit is leading us here and now. Before we get […]

Confidence in the Holy Spirit

Loyola Press recently published a wonderful collection of Pope Francis’s talks, sermons, and writings: Embracing the Way of Jesus: Reflections from Pope Francis on Living Our Faith. Here is one of many treasures from our Pope: “When we receive and welcome him into our heart, the Holy Spirit immediately begins to make us sensitive to his voice and to guide our thoughts, our feelings, and our intentions according to the heart of God.” This is […]

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 […]

Leave Room for the Holy Spirit

When I sat down earlier this month to think about my New Year’s resolutions, I wrote three columns: Mind, Body, and Spirit. As I was contemplating my Spirit column, I kept remembering Pope Francis’s frequent admonitions to leave room for the Holy Spirit. While I did want to include this in my list of resolutions, I struggled with how to fit this concept into the column. I’m accustomed to listing specific, concrete, and quantifiable actions […]

Hurricane Katrina and the Holy Spirit Prayer That Remains

Hurricane Katrina occurred in hot, muggy August in the middle of Ordinary Time. Katrina, however, felt nothing like Ordinary Time; rather, it felt like the darkness of Good Friday as I had a first-hand look at the suffering of my loved ones who resided in New Orleans. Their suffering was situated in the overwhelming suffering by the many beloved Louisianans who resided in my home state. To say that Katrina was a major turning event […]

Finding by Forgetting

Something to think about | We must look for experience of the Spirit and for grace in the contemplation of our own lives. But not so that we can say, “That’s him. Now I know where the Spirit blows.”  That is not how the Spirit is discerned. He cannot be found by laying triumphant claim to him as if he were our possession and property.  We can seek him only by forgetting self. We can […]

A Lector’s Margin Notes

I probably can’t describe how I know if and when I’m hearing from the Almighty without sounding odd.  Let’s just say I’ve (pretty much) learned how to distinguish God’s prompts from whatever is bubbling up from the simmering cauldron of my own ego. In any given situation, God is infinitely more creative and nuanced than I. To the extent that I can get and stay conscious enough to choose, I choose to listen for the […]