A Certain Place

The room where I quilt, the arms of my husband, and sitting in my inherited wingback chair are some of my favorite places. Jesus was praying in a certain place, and his friends asked him to teach them to pray. (Luke 11:1) I always focused on the words of the Our Father that follow. But today it was that certain place that stopped me in my mental tracks. Perhaps the first teaching on prayer, for […]

A Few Moments to Imagine

I offer a short meditation to take you into the weekend. Get comfortable and take a few deep breaths. Close your eyes. In your imagination, place yourself in a location that is comfortable and beautiful and where you feel safe. Notice that a person is walking toward you. As he draws closer, you realize it is Jesus. (Or, if you prefer, it’s Mary, the mother of Jesus.) Jesus smiles at you and then embraces you […]

He Walked Beside Me

I was doing a very ordinary task: washing clothes for the Apostles. I was almost done, and the basket was very heavy. “Can I help you with that?” I turned to see who spoke, and a handsome stranger was smiling at me. Rather than speak to him, I simply handed him the basket since my shoulders ached and I was exhausted by the hot sun. Relieved of the burden, I suddenly recalled something Jesus once […]

Cooking the Passover Meal for Jesus

“Who’s doing the haroset? These apples should’ve been chopped by now!” “Judith, where’s the rest of the matzah?” The tantalizing aroma of perfectly prepared lamb fills the crowded room. Noisy conversation buzzes all around. To paraphrase the youngest child, this night is different from every other Passover I’ve ever prepared. I’m standing in the doorway of the upper room, watching Jesus. It’s difficult to pay attention, because I’m so distracted. I wish I had another […]

The Shepherd Girl’s Experience

“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night” (Luke 2:8). I try to imagine night in an ancient land and myself in it, millennia before the mechanical hum of machines and motors entered the world. I try to think of the most natural quiet I have ever known, maybe after a fresh nighttime snow. Maybe the expectant hush that falls over the crowd as the houselights […]

Joseph of Arimathea and Burying the Dead

In honor of the feast of St. Joseph of Arimathea on August 31, we share this reflection based on Luke 23:50–53. Joseph didn’t witness the death of Jesus. He sent me to watch and to notify him when Jesus was pronounced dead. As I headed to Golgotha, Joseph went boldly to Pilate to request Jesus’ body. Joseph knew how to work within existing leadership structures. He wanted Jesus to have a decent burial, not to […]

What Happened in the Tomb?

Did you ever wonder what exactly happened in the tomb after Jesus was buried? The mystery of Jesus fully human and fully divine tangles my brain like a shroud; I can’t get my mind wrapped around it. I’m puzzled by the few details the Gospels provide after the Resurrection. We’re told that the disciples found “the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place […]

The Consequences of Seeing

This story is inspired by John 9:1–41, the healing of the man born blind, and Mark 10:46–52, the healing of Bartimaeus. Bartimaeus and I talked about it. His healing was immediate. Not mine. I must have looked like a fool stumbling down the road, mud on my eyes. “What was the first thing you saw?” I asked Bartimaeus. “The face of Jesus. You?” “My own reflection in the pool.” As we sat looking—just looking—at the […]

Following Jesus into the Desert

After my baptism, I returned daily to the river and watched. When John said, “Behold the Lamb of God,” we applauded. Some danced. Some jumped into the water and splashed each other like children. People were so busy celebrating that they didn’t notice Jesus head toward the desert. I wondered why he left and followed. He walked for an hour and then stopped. I stayed back, hesitant to disturb him. He stood still, eyes closed, […]

Listening on the Sea of Galilee

Last year I was on a boat with 50 people on the Sea of Galilee. Admittedly, this makes praying pretty easy. Our joke during the Holy Land pilgrimage was that you didn’t really have to “imagine” anything, as you do in the Ignatian way of praying. All you had to do was open your eyes and look around! In the Ignatian tradition, people are encouraged to use their senses to picture themselves in a passage […]

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