Sharing the Wisdom: What I Learned from a Friend About the Gift of Presence

I can’t remember exactly when we met her. We had arrived in the snowy tundra in January of my fifth-grade year. I know it was after the permafrost had thawed, and it was after “mud season,” because she was wearing high heels as she stood there, not mud boots. It had been a hard winter. The transition to the sleepy town of two stoplights was not an easy one for our family. We were far […]

God Is There All the Time

Becoming aware that we have been divinized by Jesus Christ, invited into the Trinity family, is a felt realization of the numinous presence of God not only all around us but also within us. God is there all the time, waiting. But, like God’s forgiveness, God’s will to share the divine aliveness with us can’t activate until we invite it. It is the heart-stopping understanding that despite our shortcomings, despite our seeming insignificance to most […]

God Right Here

This story is inspired by Matthew 14:22, following the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus made me get into the boat with the other disciples. I didn’t want to go. I wanted to stay with him on the shore, savoring the miracle I’d just seen. Thousands of people fed! I wished I could just stand there at his side, watching. He made us get into the boat, and I sat with my legs crossed, my […]

Coffee Shop Encounter

Mary and I were talking at the coffee shop about a ministry we lead. The tables were close together, but I forgot that as I was engrossed in conversation. We didn’t see the professionally dressed man at the table next to us, laptop open, until we noticed that he was crying. “God bless you!” he said emotionally when we made eye contact. “Obviously, you’re women of faith. I’m inspired.” “Are you eavesdropping on us?” I […]

At My Breaking Point

This post is based on Week Seven of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I felt the hard, cool rock in my hand. I slowly felt each bump and groove with my fingers as I attempted to stuff the intense feelings that were welling up within me. Despite my best efforts to hold them back, tears poured down my face as a wave of emotions surged. The mixed feelings of sadness and anger boiled over as I […]

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.

Alone or Lonely?

Some people just like to be alone, and I’m one of them. Give me a book, a movie, or a comfortable seat under a shade tree, and I’m happy. I don’t need the constant stimulation of other people. Some people function best when they’re around others. They feel more energized when not alone. In some religious subcultures, extraversion is rewarded. The more outgoing and talkative you are, the more likely people will think you have […]

Events Through a Camera

Shemaiah Gonzalez’s children were in a performance after a week of theater camp. She writes: I arrived early and got a seat on aisle so I’d be sure to see both children wherever they happened to be on the stage. When performance time came I was taken aback when every single adult in the audience stood up, took out their phones and began filming the performance. There was no way I could see through the […]

Come as You Are to Jesus

When I was preparing for First Communion, I remember Sister telling our class that when we go to Mass, we are going before a king—the King of all Creation—so we had better be prepared and presentable. I took her words to heart, always wanting to be “prepared and presentable” when I went to Mass. I wanted to be so perfect for the King. The fact was, though, I wasn’t perfect. What’s worse, I knew I […]

A Moment of Shared Silence

It’s safe to say that doing a year of service with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) changed my life. I served as a teacher/lunch coordinator at Detroit Cristo Rey High School, in the heart of a small neighborhood called “Mexicantown.” When I first saw Miguel*, I thought he was a punk. He was a good-looking kid, clean-cut. But he always looked like he wanted to fight. I wondered if Miguel was in a gang. But […]

1 2