Who Do You Say That I Am?

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. When I was first introduced to Ignatian spirituality more than 40 years ago, I had to answer the question, “Who is God for you?” I realized that my prayer had always been directed to Jesus. I had a general idea of God the Father, and I sometimes experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit, but it had always been Jesus whom I addressed […]

From Bethlehem to Nogales

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. A young girl of maybe 16, wearing all her worldly possessions, sits in the middle of a lunch table and shares her story. Although her words must be translated and the temperature is near freezing, her audience pays rapt attention. They are mainly upper middle-class professionals, administrators from Jesuit colleges and universities, who have come to the Arizona-Mexico border town of Nogales to […]

The Miracle of the Incarnation

The miracle of the Incarnation never ceases to amaze me. It is through the Incarnation that God became human, or as John’s Gospel says, “The Word became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14). God’s love for us is revealed through the Incarnation—the concrete act of God choosing to become human and enter our world. The Incarnation birthed the face of mercy, Jesus. As St. Ignatius says, “Love shows itself in deeds more than words.” […]

A God with Skin

When we consider the Incarnation we tend to think about Christmas and the 33 years that followed. But in the Ignatian tradition—indeed, in the Christian understanding—incarnation is continuing and ongoing. Jesus, after his Ascension, did not disappear forever more. “God is everywhere,” people say. “A God who is everywhere is just as easily nowhere,” says Ronald Rolheiser in his book The Holy Longing. Rolheiser talks about the need for a God who has skin, that […]

Holding God Close at Hand

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I’ve been people watching all week—as prayer. Dan Ruff, SJ’s reflection on praying with the Incarnation suggested that we try prayerfully imagining how we might feel looking down with the Trinity “at the mixed, complicated messiness of the unredeemed human condition.” So I’ve been trying to see the crowds of people who move through my life as the Trinity […]

Master of Disguises

“‘In the poorest of the poor we see Jesus in distressed disguise.’ So said Mother Teresa as she and her nuns ministered to the abandoned babies and dying aged whom they gathered in from the streets of Calcutta. Disguise is central to God’s way of dealing with us human beings. Not because God is playing games with us but because the God who is beyond our knowing makes himself known in the disguise of what we can […]

That Close

“Throughout the New Testament we notice a sort of homeliness surrounding the Incarnation. In Jesus, God is completely present to the rest of us. Young men gather around him. A woman wants to touch the hem of his garment and be healed And Jesus wants them to come. He says, “Come and see.” Being close to Jesus, experiencing intimate friendship with him–that’s the seed of our transformation. That’s why the Father sent the Son to […]

What the Spiritual Exercises Taught Me about the Incarnation

The Incarnation gets me deep down in my core and it stirs intense emotions within me of awe, joy, and gratitude that occasionally bring tears to my eyes. I believe St. Ignatius would call this, “the gift of tears”: tears that come not from sadness, but because we have touched something meaningful and profound. Tears that help us know we are touching on something important that God yearns for us to understand. What is it […]

If Jesus Were Born Today

It’s easy to distance ourselves from the birth of Jesus. After all, it happened more than 2,000 years ago, and it happened in a place quite different from where most of us—the blog-reading community—live. A few of us have seen the Holy Land and understand a bit more about the landscape and the people, but still, there’s so much we don’t know about what actually happened when the Incarnation announced itself in the cries of […]