Sin, the Breaking of Relationship

This post is based on Week Three of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. Growing up, I understood sin to mean being “off the mark” or “off target.” I have an image of an archer lining up to shoot the arrow, which when released, abruptly lands on the outer edge of the target perimeter. I missed. And so it is with sin, particularly in my personal relationship with God. If I believe that God dwells within me […]

Facing Up to Sin

This post is based on Week Three of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. When I was introduced to Ignatian spirituality through the “Retreat in Daily Life” (the 19th Annotation), the hardest part for me was the spotlight on sin in the First Week. Why is it so hard to seek the grace of “a healthy sense of shame and confusion before God,” or to “consider the effects of sin in my life, my community, and my […]

Healthy Confusion

This post is based on Week Three of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. Ignatian spirituality has a way of flipping upside down everything I thought I knew about faith. For years of classes in the Catechism, ethics, and theology, the focus was on clearly understanding the Catholic worldview. This was right and that was wrong. The answers were clear. Follow the “do’s” and avoid the “don’ts” and you are good to go. All of that works […]

The Sin of Ingratitude

A question recently came to the editor’s desk about the fact that St. Ignatius believed ingratitude to be “the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sins.” The quote is from a letter dated March 18, 1542, cited in this helpful article on gratitude by Brian J. Lehane, SJ. Fr. Lehane writes: Perhaps God doesn’t necessarily want us always to be saying “thank you” so much as to be noticing how much we are […]

God Runs

This post is based on Week Three of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. “While he was still far off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion; he ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:20) I imagine the father squinting towards the horizon, daring to whisper, “Could it be my child has returned?” Although his son is still far away, the father cannot help but break into a run. I […]

Loved Sinners

We have not always made choices that lead us to praise, honor, and serve God. We have not always acted as if we believe that we are loved. We have not always treated everything in our lives as a gift. We come to the humbling awareness that we are sinners, that we have often been ungrateful and unfaithful. We have failed to respond to God’s offer of love by failing to love God and love […]

The History of My Sin

This post is based on Week Three of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. How does one write a short blog post on the interior sin that lies deep within a person’s heart? I remember the first time I entered into this exercise, I did it with my spiritual director, Jim, and—like a good Jesuit—he kept pushing me to go deeper. He asked questions like, “Why do you act in this way?”, “What draws you to these […]

A Gratitude Deficit

Ignatius thought that a particular type of ignorance was at the root of sin. The deadliest sin, he said, is ingratitude. It is “the cause, beginning, and origin of all evils and sins.” If you asked a hundred people to name the sin that’s the origin of all evils, I’ll bet none of them would say ingratitude. They would say pride or disobedience or greed or anger. The idea that we sin because we’re not […]

Sin Explains Things

Sin isn’t the human condition; it’s the explanation for the human condition. Without knowledge of sin, life makes no sense at all. I first got a glimmer of this when I was a sophomore in high school. The occasion was the first live play I had ever seen: a production of Macbeth in a high school gym in Bergenfield, New Jersey. The humdrum setting took nothing away from the theatrical power of Shakespeare’s tale of […]

Mirrors of Dangerous Grace

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. I have a favorite mirror, which thankfully is not in my house. In it, I see myself as I do in my mind’s eye: five inches taller, and maybe even 10 pounds lighter. Alas, the mirror is slightly warped, stretching reflections like taffy. The reality is that I’m five foot tall and my bad knee would be happier if I, and not […]

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