Three Kinds of People

Jean Vanier, the man who committed his later life to serving people with intellectual disabilities in the L’Arche communities around the world, observed that “if you are blind to the poor, you become blind to God.” His attitude was very much like that of St. Ignatius, who described three kinds of people: the postponer, the compromiser, and the free person. The postponer may have a vague interest in a life committed to loving service in […]

Encounters in Imaginative Prayer

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. When preparing to enter into imaginative prayer, I always pray that the Holy Spirit leads me and even surprises me. While I can think I know what the Gospel story is about, I pray that I may hand over my imagination so that I may experience myself in the scene, to be one of the people in Mary’s or Jesus’ presence. Allow me […]

Enkindling the World Before Lent

This short period of Ordinary Time after the Christmas season is a great time to prepare ourselves for the season of Lent, leading to Christ’s Passion. We can spend time getting to know Jesus, encountering him, growing in friendship, witnessing his way of proceeding, and coming to know his heart. The Sunday readings in these weeks move from stories of calling, in which the disciples make a commitment to follow Jesus, to stories of Christ’s […]

Mary Showed Me Jesus’ Humanity

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I prayed most of the Spiritual Exercises with a baby in my arms. I began making them when our daughter, Abby, was one month old. When I began the Second Week of the Exercises, she was almost six months old and just starting to sit up. Most of my days at that time were spent sitting on the floor playing with her and […]

God Has Hope in Us

Advent is a season of hope and expectant waiting. Yet we are faced with many global crises such as climate change, war, poverty, and racism. I find that in looking at the world and its suffering, my own heart is often filled with grief, especially as I wonder about the effects of climate change on my children and grandchildren’s generations. God grants us freedom to act for love, peace, and justice, but also the freedom […]

St. Ignatius and Serving the One True Ruler

As a child, Ignatius listened with amazement while his father and his eldest brother told stories about how their ancestors had served with distinction the kings of Castile, how they had identified with and dedicated themselves to the monarchy, and how they had been richly rewarded for their devotion. After his conversion, Ignatius strove to serve the greater glory of the one true ruler of the world: Christ. Human rulers have human flaws. They can […]

Who Calls You?

This post is based on Week Five of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I recently attended a parish workshop on the topic of servant leadership. In a small group exercise, we shared examples of people in our lives who truly embody the characteristics of a servant leader—leaders who are empathetic, humble, focused on others, and driven by a sense of mission. Our group shared stories about saints and popes, family members and friends, civic and political […]

Contemplation on the Dance Floor

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. In the Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius invites us to imagine looking at the world with God’s-eye view—to gaze upon the whole of humanity in the moment before the Incarnation. We are invited to pay attention to what affectively arises when we observe the triune God gazing at the world and responding in love. This week, I connected most fully with […]

The Birth of Jesus: Part of the Family Now

This post is based on Week Four of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. For this particular reflection, I’m sharing a raw journal entry. The following letter includes my thoughts right after my meditation on the birth of Jesus. Dear Lord, In my reflection today I discovered that I have to enter into my imagination; otherwise I’ll just be sitting waiting for things to magically happen. Lord, help me to use my surroundings and my consciousness as […]

Holding Baby Jesus

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). That one sentence took on a whole new meaning for me when I experienced the Spiritual Exercises. Sadly lacking in imagination, I found myself struggling greatly with contemplation, and I was dragging our poor director along with me to the point that I thought he was going to “excuse” me from the Exercises altogether. Nearing Christmas, he had me discard all previous attempts and […]

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