Time in Silence

For the past several months, I have been building in one monthly retreat day into my calendar, on the advice of a spiritual director. I had been complaining that although I try to set aside an hour to pray in silence in the morning, I often long for the longer spaces of silence a time of retreat provides. Time in silence is nourishing and grounding. Silence gives the space to hear God speak, whether through […]

How to Get Unstuck

I believe that one of the biggest obstacles to a person living her values is the ease at which we get stuck on any given day. And it’s rarely the big events that hold us back but the smaller, relentless thoughts, attitudes, and fears that show up all the time. When I encounter a big problem, such as a job change or a death in the family, I’m on high alert for whatever opposes God’s […]

An Ignatian Pilgrimage Week #1: The Place Where a Person Begins

As you probably know, Loyola Press, the host of this blog, is a ministry of the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits. And this society is the legacy of St. Ignatius Loyola, who formed it 500 years ago with a few companions who, with him, wanted to help souls and change the world. Over the next few weeks, we will follow Ignatius’s life story and use key moments in it to prompt reflection […]

Ignatian Gratitude: Encounter and Response

With rapt attention, I watched the rescue of the boys’ soccer team in Thailand. The boys were stranded by rising waters in a cave. People from all over the world came together in treacherous conditions to pull the boys back from the brink of death into the light of day. When all of the boys finally emerged safely, it seemed the whole world breathed a sigh of relief. Joyful prayers of gratitude arose from around […]

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 […]

Advent Again—Time for Practicing Hope

The thing about the Christian year is that it keeps coming around. Over and over again, we get to try our hearts and minds and hands at Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. We get to dust off the liturgies and speak or sing them again. We get to try old prayers in new ways—or try new prayers on old themes. We get to pick up our symbols and phrases and turn them […]

Three Elements of Expressing Gratitude

With Thanksgiving approaching, it might be good to take the time to look at gratitude from St. Ignatius’s perspective. Gratitude is often diluted—a word we hear in passing that has lost its depth. Every Thanksgiving before dinner my family goes around the table and each person names something they’ve been thankful for in the past year. It’s a nice way to start a meal. It even becomes a prayer of sorts, but would Ignatius expect […]