The Gift of Knowledge

As we approach Pentecost, Philip Shano, SJ, considers one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in relation to Ignatian spirituality: Saint Ignatius of Loyola invites us to pray for an “intimate knowledge” of Jesus Christ. He is not inviting us to research Jesus Christ on Google until we get to the very heart of who Jesus is. This knowledge is not about the mere accumulation of facts. A person can read theology books and […]

Pentecost Astonishment

A fundamental element of Pentecost is astonishment. Our God is a God of astonishment; this we know. No one expected anything more from the disciples: after Jesus’ death they were a small, insignificant group of defeated orphans of their Master. There occurred instead an unexpected event that astounded: the people were astonished because each of them heard the disciples speaking in their own tongues, telling of the great works of God (cf. Acts 2:6–7, 11). […]

Imaginative Prayer: Pentecost

This imaginative prayer meditation is based on Acts 2:1–11, the story of the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. After Jesus ascended to the Father, all of us who followed him decided to stay together. He told us to wait for the Holy Spirit. We weren’t sure what that meant, really. What would it look like, feel like? The Holy Spirit visited the prophets in strange ways—in visions, with powerful speech, even with great miracles. […]

Hurricane Katrina and the Holy Spirit Prayer That Remains

Hurricane Katrina occurred in hot, muggy August in the middle of Ordinary Time. Katrina, however, felt nothing like Ordinary Time; rather, it felt like the darkness of Good Friday as I had a first-hand look at the suffering of my loved ones who resided in New Orleans. Their suffering was situated in the overwhelming suffering by the many beloved Louisianans who resided in my home state. To say that Katrina was a major turning event […]

Desire and the Church

During this week of Pentecost I have been thinking about the Church as an institution, a community launched by Christ and gifted with the Holy Spirit. Our beginning, we profess, is through God’s own activity, and our continuing life is through grace. This was certainly Ignatius’ understanding, a point underscored by Michael Buckley in a fine essay he wrote in Theological Studies 15 years ago (“Ecclesial Mysticism in the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius,” v. 56, […]