Seven Tips for Communicating Well from St. Ignatius

St. Ignatius must have thought a lot about how to manage oneself in the face of serious differences of opinion. Part of the answer was how he used his communication skills. What pearls of wisdom for communicating well can we glean from Ignatius for our own use? 1. Assume the best in others. Ignatius advised: It should be presupposed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a […]

Staying Curious

In his ministry, Jesus often asks others what they want. For example, he asks the blind Bartimaeus, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51) On another occasion, James and John approach Jesus, and he asks them, “What is it you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:36) Both in his healing ministry and with his friends, Jesus displays a kind of openness and curiosity toward others. Until recently, I had […]

How to Recognize Jesus

How to recognize Jesus: Listen to whatever clues you’re given. For instance, angels told the shepherds to look in a certain town and a certain kind of place. They even mentioned swaddling clothes. So . . . it helps to listen to what others have said about Jesus—from the accounts in the New Testament Gospels to the testimonies of people here and now who have encountered him. Word of mouth means something, and the sacred […]

Listening to My Son

As new parents, my husband and I are learning quite a bit these days. The past few weeks have been filled with new sights and sounds, new hopes and new fears. In the midst of it all, we are frequently offered advice that often is unsolicited, well-intentioned, and contradictory. And so we nod and we listen and let it wash over us, soaking in what seems worthwhile. And we are working first on listening to […]

Listening to God in Nature

I once went to Morning Prayer during a retreat. While other mornings had been filled with beautiful words and guided meditations that I no longer remember, on this morning the leader simply opened the windows in the room to a spectacular view of the woods and read one line from Psalm 46: “Be still, and know that I am God.” It was exactly what I needed: to look out into the trees and simply rest […]

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 […]

The Symphony of Your Day

There are certain routine sounds in our lives that call us into action simply by reflex. The morning alarm clock jolts us out of bed and into our morning routine. The ring tone on our phone beckons us to drop what we’re doing and respond to the person seeking us out on the line. The familiar beeping of a microwave leaves our taste buds anticipating another delicious meal. Familiar sounds call us into familiar actions. […]

Encountering God through the Interior Senses

In my interactions with students at Boston College, where I teach and live with freshmen, I often speak to them about the need for continued care of the senses of the heart. I emphasize the need to exercise these interior senses, because the physical senses already receive so much attention during college formation. During studies, it is simply a given that the physical senses will constantly be tapped. Students use their eyes to read texts […]

Hearing Places

I heard it before I quite realized what was happening. A brief slurp, a quick sucking noise, and my right leg was swallowed up to the knee. A few weeks ago my husband, Victor, and I were winding our way up to the top of a 300-meter cliff on the northwestern Irish coast. The path near the top was muddy and torn up by mountain bikers. Not quite long-legged enough to step over a large […]

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