On Gratitude

Driving home recently, I couldn’t help but notice that God seemed intent on slowing me down—behind a bus first, then a delivery truck; then a traffic light turned red just as I approached. Far from a waste of time, delays like this signal that God is trying to get my attention. I smile interiorly, grateful for the chance to ponder God’s presence in the brief moments of stillness the detainment affords. Every tree and flower, […]

God Is Trying to Catch Our Attention

We know that much of prayer is simply paying attention. A prayerful person learns how to tune in, more and more, to the details of daily life and notice where the Divine is showing up. Sometimes, though, God steps in and tries to catch our attention. It’s not that God is coercing us—divine love always respects our freedom of will. But there are situations in which we are unable to pay attention: We are emotionally […]


Back in my coaching days I learned to develop a particular kind of vision: I saw details of my athletes’ performance that others would miss. This one slouched a bit; that one overreached; and so on. The vision was the product of careful, attentive, even loving work. What others saw was just a boat full of rowers, either winning or losing. I think that the Christian life involves a similar deepening of vision, of attentiveness. […]


Marquette Magazine shares a “reminder to notice” by Garrett Gundlach, SJ. I don’t think we ever need permission to share with each other or to care about one another, but sometimes it’s given anyway. I’m embarrassed at how often I just keep the roll call rolling, how often I keep the clipboard close and stick to the schedule because, let’s face it, there’s always more to do. And then some. And the bigger the workload, […]

Stop-Sign Examen

It’s traditional to undertake the Examen in the middle of the day and just before bed, but for the last few weeks, I’ve found myself starting the day with a version of this reflective prayer. It starts as I watch yet another car blow through the stop sign at the edge of the neighborhood. Sometimes I honk; sometimes I sigh. Always, I am aware of God’s presence and grateful—as one should be at the start […]

Paying Attention

While in Paris, inspirational speaker Daniel Midson-Short learned the importance of paying attention. The lesson came from a silent woman, about whom Midson-Short says: “She knows that the greatest gift that you can give to another person is presence.” Watch the TEDx video below, and think about how you are paying attention to those around you.

Catching the Soap

Chances to see the good or find the promise of hope emerge in sometimes very subtle ways. Too often those opportunities are suppressed or overwhelmed by terrible news or ugly political rhetoric that fuels negativity. So when we most need those moments of hope, they sometimes slip away, a perishable treat which could have refreshed us in the midst of our busy days. Capturing those moments is like catching a quick toss of an apple […]

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. […]

Praying Through a Season of Noticing

Jesus, I feel within me a great desire to please you but, at the same time, I feel totally incapable of doing this without your special light and help, which I can expect only from you. Accomplish your will within me—even in spite of me. —St. Claude la Colombiere, SJ (Found in the book Hearts on Fire) I believe certain prayers find us when we need them. I heard Claude la Colombiere’s prayer for the […]

Purposeless Walking

In our hectic world, too many people view walking as a means to an end at best and a waste of time at worst. But writers, among other creative thinkers, have long lauded the value of walking for the sake of walking—clearing one’s head, allowing inspiration to strike, taking in the scenery, and noticing people who inhabit the same world. Two key quotes from a fascinating article from BBC News, “The Slow Death of Purposeless […]

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