God’s Intimate Presence

Prayer is a matter of relationship. Intimacy is the basic issue, not answers to problems or resolutions “to be better.” Many of life’s problems and challenges have no answers; we can only live with and through them. Problems and challenges, however, can be faced and lived through with more peace and resilience if people know that they are not alone. A man’s wife will not return from the dead, but the pain is more bearable […]

Shhh . . . God Is in the Silence

Loyola Press has just published the children’s book, Shhh . . . God Is in the Silence, by Fiona Basile and illustrated by Alice Mount. It is designed to help children stop and listen for God’s voice in their hearts. When they do, they hear phrases such as: “You are precious.” “There is no one else like you.” “I created you.” “You are my child.” The subtitle of the book is “A story for all […]

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? […]

God Is Trying to Catch Our Attention

We know that much of prayer is simply paying attention. A prayerful person learns how to tune in, more and more, to the details of daily life and notice where the Divine is showing up. Sometimes, though, God steps in and tries to catch our attention. It’s not that God is coercing us—divine love always respects our freedom of will. But there are situations in which we are unable to pay attention: We are emotionally […]

When Do You Pray?

So, when do you pray? Think about that for a few moments. Most of us pray when we feel in desperate need of help or rescue. At the apex of anxiety over a teenager who is two hours late getting home or the car that’s acting up on the expressway in the middle of a downpour, we send our most blunt and honest prayers. At the other end of the experience spectrum, we utter prayers […]

Trust and Freedom

Jesus’ instruction to pray to God, “thy will be done” is an essential part of Christian practice. Many saints, like Ignatius, have asked God to assist them in letting go of their own wills in favor of God’s will, as we find in the Suscipe: “Take, Lord, and receive, my memory, my understanding, my entire will.” This is both a difficult and worthwhile enterprise. Giving up one’s own will requires deep trust that in all […]

Our Intrusive God

During my summer off from teaching, one might think it would be easier for me to make time for God, yet I found myself either working on my writing or planning for the new school year. One afternoon I sat down with a cocktail and decided to devote some solid time to working on a project for my business. A few minutes in, the doorbell rang. I ignored it. It rang again. Frustrated, I peeked […]

You Are a Child of God Too

Last night, my seven-year-old son struggled to fall asleep. He came into our room about a half hour after we tucked him in to let us know. He asked my husband, “What is it you told me to do when I cannot sleep?” My husband replied, “When I cannot sleep, I talk to God about my day. I let God know all I am thankful for, and I talk to God about all that concerns […]

Take Me as I Am

The graces of my silent retreat continue to deepen in my life. One gift continues to occur in the form of simple yet profound song lyrics that we sang multiple times as the reflection song after Communion: “Take, O take me as I am. Summon out what I shall be. Set a seal upon my heart, and live in in me.” (Lyrics by John Bell.) While on retreat, I found myself praying these lyrics about […]

The Gift of Retreats

Retreats hold a special place in my heart. As a junior high student, I enjoyed the high energy retreats of my Catholic elementary school that fired me up about my faith. As a high school student, retreats moved from an external experience that created a short-lived high to an internal experience that created longer-lasting impact on my relationship with God. It was the more contemplative retreats of my high school years that fueled my passion […]

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