The Light of Grace Is Always Shining

A couple of afternoons a week, I bring my work to a local coffee shop. It gives me a chance to get out of the home office, attack a problem in a different setting, and get a gorgeous view of Lake Washington. Sometimes I put on headphones, drowning out the coffee-shop conversation, but sometimes, I’ll keep my ears open for quirky banter. Like today, when the barista and a customer shared a candid moment, and […]

The Grace of Failure

This topic came up in class, and it gets better as I continue to think about it. Here’s the thumbnail: the young Ignatius went to Jerusalem to imitate St. Francis, wanting to walk in Christ’s footsteps and convert Muslims. But after he got there, the local priests sent him packing, and he was dejected. Why did God set him up for failure? One of the most difficult periods in my own life was a professional failure. It […]

What Makes You Hesitate?

I often revisit Ignatius’s reflections on the Resurrection in the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises at this time of year. This year, I am finding myself moved in a particularly unexpected way by Matthew 28 (SE 307): Meanwhile, the eleven disciples set out for Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had arranged to meet them. When they saw him they fell down before him, though some hesitated. —Matthew 28:16–17 I imagine myself on Mount […]

Expressing My Love for God

This post is based on Week Eight of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. Some of St. Ignatius’s most noted words can be found in one of the last meditations in the Exercises: “Love shows itself in deeds more than words.” (SE 230) As I reflect on these words, it reminds me that Jesus desires concrete acts in response to the abundant love and gifts God offers us. So how do we express our love for God […]

Jesus Appears to Mary, His Mother

The first contemplation in the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises involves Jesus appearing to his mother. Can you imagine being Mary, sitting in her house, overcome with grief and despair at losing her son? Can you imagine Mary, fully immersed in a “Holy Saturday” moment, pondering what happened, absorbed in her grief? Grief that we can relate to because of loss in our own lives. Ignatius invites us to contemplate the interaction between Mary […]

Thin Places

William Barry, SJ, in his book, A Friendship Like No Other, invites us to be aware of our “thin places,” those moments where we easily find God. Barry’s challenge to name for ourselves our “thin places” was a challenge I took to heart, and I have come to two conclusions. First, there are “thin places” that occur in my life that are unique, special places that I do not get to visit very often, but […]

Pay Attention!

When I was in grade school, I was a daydreamer. I could get lost in the view out of the classroom window, in the display on the bulletin board at the side of the room, or in the stories at the back of my reader—although I was never reading the ones we happened to be working on in class that day. “Miss McCann!…Maureen!” was the constant call from Sister to bring me back to whatever […]