My Beloved

My fingers brush the holy water as I enter the church. I’m here for a Gospel meditation, and I linger, imagining the Jordan. Was it shallow or deep, cold or comfortable? I see John the Baptist and crowds of onlookers. Some have already been baptized; others are making a ruckus with some Pharisees. I try to ignore them, refocusing on Jesus’ mother, who is seated on a large rock under a tree. I approach and […]

Walking with Mary

Two travelers are on a road in the hill country. One is Mary, who’s thinking: “I’m so excited! The Messiah is coming! I feel as if I could dance the entire trip ahead of me. I can’t wait to see Elizabeth.” Imagine you’re the other traveler: an apprentice carpenter. You’ve been charged with an important duty: caring for your boss’s beloved. Can you keep her safe? Just look at her! She’s practically running! What’s her […]

Mary’s Lesson of the Present Moment

For most people who celebrate Christmas, this season becomes a time of surviving tasks and events. We spend days, if not weeks, planning parties, lunches and dinners out, lunches and dinners in (involving grocery shopping, cooking, prepping the house), making our lists and checking them multiple times, buying gifts, sending gifts, writing letters, sending cards, traveling to others’ homes or hosting others in our homes, and so on. Add to that the difficulties that often […]

The Return Home

That Christmas, when we were in love, he gave me a watercolor he’d done some years before of the Holy Family’s return from Egypt. He explained that, while he was painting it, he knew it was to be given away, but he didn’t then know to whom. As he painted, he was thinking about what it would be like to be really at home, to be in the place where you belong for all time. […]

Mary Showed Me Jesus’ Humanity

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I prayed most of the Spiritual Exercises with a baby in my arms. I began making them when our daughter, Abby, was one month old. When I began the Second Week of the Exercises, she was almost six months old and just starting to sit up. Most of my days at that time were spent sitting on the floor playing with her and […]

Mary’s Humility

In a homily last week, Pope Francis talked about “fear of the Lord” as a humble way of living. As reported in Zenit: “The humility of the childlike is that of somebody who walks in the presence of the Lord, does not speak badly about others, looks only at serving and feels that he or she is the smallest …. That is where their strength lies.” The Holy Father praised Mary’s humility, as a girl […]

Waking Up to the Risen Jesus

This story is inspired by the first contemplation in the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises, the apparition of Christ to Mary (#218). Do you know that semiconscious state as you begin to awaken, when it’s possible to believe you’re still dreaming? That’s how I awoke the morning of my son’s Resurrection. I felt my Jeshua gently stroking my hair. I smiled and looked into his sweet face. Such a loving son! He was sitting […]

Going Off Road in Advent

As we experience this season of Advent, the metaphor of a journey stands out to me. I think about the different journeys, both geographical and interior, that the Gospels describe even before Jesus arrives. Zechariah journeys from distrust and silence into belief and joyful proclamation. Mary travels to visit Elizabeth, who, like Mary, undergoes the deep internal changes of pregnancy and the slow transition into motherhood. Joseph dreams. Mary ponders. Eventually, they both travel to […]

Arts & Faith: Advent—Fourth Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

Each week of Advent, we’ll provide an Ignatian prayer for you, inspired by a video from Arts & Faith: Advent. The video and prayer for the Fourth Week of Advent, Cycle C, is based on Luke 1:39–45. The art is Henry Ossawa Tanner’s The Visitation. Preparation Prepare for a period of meditation by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, and breathing deeply for a moment or two. Allow any present concerns to move across your mind […]

Honoring Mary

Catholics traditionally give special honor to Mary during the month of May. With that in mind, and remembering that St. Ignatius had a strong devotion to Our Lady, we share these featured articles: Five Things the Spiritual Exercises Taught Me about Mary Mary as a Model of Indifference Jesus Appears to Mary, His Mother The Joyful Mary and St. Ignatius Also reflect with this video by Vinita Hampton Wright: If you’re receiving this via e-mail, […]

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