Ten Things Forgiveness Is Not

Forgiveness is not the acceptance of injustice. Forgiveness is not a reason to keep things the way they always have been. Forgiveness is not incompatible with loving anger. Forgiveness does not eliminate the need for mutual communication. Forgiveness is not yet reconciliation. Forgiveness is not a moment but a process. Forgiveness does not forget history. Forgiveness does not create illusions but engages deeply with what is real. Forgiveness is not a straight line. Forgiveness is […]

What If the Answer Is No?

What if God’s answer to one of our prayers is “no”? We are given this answer at times. Sometimes when we are told “no” we easily accept the answer we are given, because what we are asking for is something that really did not matter that much. Occasionally, though, we find ourselves being told “no” when every part of our being wants the answer to be “yes.” What happens to our relationship with God then? […]

An Imaginative Reflection on the Crucifixion

When we heard that Jesus had been arrested, I went with Mary to help her through this terrible time. She had a premonition that something bad was going to happen. I don’t know how she knew, but I’ve learned to trust her instincts. I hope this won’t end badly, but standing outside the governor’s palace, we can hear the words, “Crucify him!” My blood runs cold, and I can feel Mary stagger and sag into […]

God in the Annoying

Take a minute to think of the person who annoys you most in your life, the one who always seems to find his or her way under your skin. That person who always seems to say the wrong thing at the wrong time and who most often brings out the worst in you. The person who knows every button to push to upset you. Now think about how you react when that person is in […]

The Steps of the Examen

Today let’s explore the Examen through the lens of brief reflections pertaining to each step. The steps in this version of the Examen match what is presented in A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer by Jim Manney. Ask God for light. If we attune ourselves to look and listen, we may find God present within us, all around us, and speaking to us constantly. But if we don’t bother to look, it will seem that there is […]

Challenged by Ignatius

I’ve heard Jesuits joke that they’re not afraid to meet Jesus in the hereafter, but they are a bit anxious about meeting St. Ignatius. Jesuits go through rigorous training for many years, and the principles of spirituality Ignatius laid out in the Spiritual Exercises are reinforced again and again. Those of us who are laypeople familiar with the Exercises understand that they are demanding, but we are not likely to experience them as intensely as […]

When We Can’t Have What We Want

You’d think that people of faith would know how to deal with basic disappointments. We have been trained to think in the long-term and welcome ordinary hardships that provide character-building opportunities. But, alas, most of us aren’t skilled at remaining calm and positive when we don’t get what we want. Those of us in first-world situations have bought into the culture of consumerism and instant gratification. We expect fast Internet service, medications that will make […]