Coming Together at Table

Growing up, our table was always filled with friend and stranger. While we lived far from our own families of origin, we were never at a loss for family because, through the sharing of meals, a beautiful and unique family arose. At that table, we prayed together, savored dishes from around the world, and learned about the ways in which holidays and holy days were celebrated in each person’s culture. People would often bring token […]

An Examen at the End of a Relationship

When significant relationships come to an end, whether due to geographic distance, drifting apart, or brokenness through conflict, we have the task of integrating that relationship into our memories and identities. As Christians, we are formed to be people who exist in loving community, always reconciling mercifully with one another, but at times human limits prevent this from being possible. As we seek to make sense of where God is in broken relationships, an Examen […]

Load-Bearing

If you ever watch programs on HGTV, you’ve heard the term “load-bearing wall.” That’s the wall in a house that is holding up the rest of the structure. The word bear means “to support.” It also means “to endure.” When we endure one another—with all our imperfections, quirks, disagreements—we are helping hold up the body of Christ. I admit, I flee when things get difficult in a relationship. But the older I get, the more […]

Discernment as Common Vision

As I deepen my love for my friend, I come to know what she likes and dislikes. I come to see the world through her eyes, and thereby experience it anew. What once was trite and meaningless to me now becomes an object of wonder, when I look at it with her. This deepening friendship gives rise to regular moments of conversion. In the early days when I was just coming to know the woman who was to […]

Yearly Check-In for Couples

My years of being immersed in Ignatian spirituality have taught me the importance of being intentional—to be dedicated to my prayer life, to be dedicated to discernment, and to live purposefully. It is this idea of intentionality that I offer to all couples this new year as we naturally start setting our sights on goals, resolutions, and dreams. Instead of picking the first thing that comes to mind for our New Year’s resolutions, consider a […]

Discerning as a Couple

Discerning as an individual is something that’s covered at length in the world of Ignatian spirituality. But what about discerning as a couple? The framework my husband Chris and I use for discernment is not that different from the framework I recommend people use for discerning as an individual. The major difference is there are two people’s voices and experiences of prayer, and there is the larger context of marriage and family life in which […]

Five Ways the Examen Can Play a Role in Marriage

I remain thankful for all who taught me Ignatian spirituality. It is not only the spirituality that guides my relationship with God, but it is also the spirituality that guides my marriage. Here are five ways the Examen can play a role in marriage. 1. The Examen helps us pray our marriage. When I teach someone about the Examen, I often say, “It helps you pray your life.” Our relationships and marriages are significant pieces […]

Intergenerational Socializing

Ashley McKinless, associate editor of America, reflects on intergenerational socializing and her recent pilgrimage in “Pathfinding in Spain.” It’s worth reading the full article, but the conclusion offers good food for thought in terms of the value of mixed-generational relationships. McKinless writes: Ignatius’ conversion might have begun with Pamplona; but the still-unfolding story of the Jesuits began with the 38-year-old pilgrim moving in with a couple of 20-somethings at the University of Paris. What lessons […]

No Excuse for a Closed Heart

Another question I ask: in the evening, how do you conclude your day? With the Lord or in front of the television? How is your relationship with those who help you to be more merciful? That is, how is your relationship with the children, with the elderly, with the sick? Do you know how to reassure them, or are you embarrassed to caress an elderly person? Do not be ashamed of the flesh of your […]

The Virtue in Playing Games

When was the last time you played cards or a board game, just for the fun of it? Matthew, who blogs as the Mountain Catholic, sees the virtue in playing games for fun, with not even the smallest of wagers at stake. [G]ames are a means, not an end in themselves. They exist to build up the relationship between all players, not the livelihood of just one. And so we ought to fight against the […]

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