How Jesus Responds to Suffering

Perhaps you’ve participated in a Stations of the Cross service this Lent. This devotion is well-suited to an Ignatian approach, as Gary Jansen suggests. Jansen is the author of Station to Station: An Ignatian Journey through the Stations of the Cross. “As Jesus responds to his sorrow, he is expressing to us the best of what it means to be human,” writes Jansen. Consider how Jesus responds to suffering, taking the brief video below as […]

How Shall We Live?

As I entered my dorm on my first day at college, I read the writing on the wall: “How, then, shall we live?” I interpreted it as a simple question relating to dorm life, something akin to, “How are you going to live together, being conscious of your roommate?” By the time I finished my four years of Jesuit education, I realized that this question was much more complex than I had understood it to […]

Praying Through Suffering

In his book, The Ignatian Adventure, Kevin O’Brien, SJ, writes: In the third week of the Exercises, Ignatius invites us to consider how Jesus’ divinity ‘hides itself’ (SE 196). We must not easily explain away the suffering we encounter. Jesus is not merely playacting his way through a passion play. We must take Jesus’ humanity seriously enough to realize just how much he loves us. (227) In what moment is Jesus’ divinity more hidden than […]

Even in the Aftermath

Recently I attended the showing of a local organization’s documentary called After a Suicide—Moving Past Why. While this would not normally be on the top of my “must do” events for a Friday night, I was there with my husband to support a friend of ours who lost her son to suicide a couple of years ago, and who was featured in the documentary. I thought I would leave that night feeling sombre after focusing […]

The Attitude We Should Have

As a preface to his declaration about the Incarnation in Philippians, St. Paul said, “The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had.” Wisdom is making peace with the unchangeable. We have the freedom to face the unavoidable with dignity, to understand the transformational value that attitude works on suffering. Viktor Frankl wrote that in concentration camps, “what alone remains is ‘the last of human freedoms’—the ability to choose one’s attitude in […]

Jesus Responds to His Sorrow

As Jesus responds to his sorrow, he is expressing to us the best of what it means to be human. There are no miracles here. No sudden healings. No casting out of demons. No parables. Someone coming to the story of Jesus’ Passion for the first time, not knowing anything else of the Gospels, would think that this is just an ordinary person, someone who experienced loneliness, heartache, pain, exhaustion, and ultimately death. He’s no […]

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 […]

I’m Having a Hard Time Sitting in the Desert This Lent

I’ve been trying to sit with Christ in the desert as St. Ignatius suggests. I can’t manage to stay with him for long. I’m uncomfortable. I’m hot. I’m thirsty. And, worst of all, I really just can’t stand to see him suffering. I want out. I’m ready to skip right ahead to the Resurrection. My Ignatian contemplation is hitting too close to home this year. When my mother passed in September of 2015, we brought […]

Angry at God

A friend of mine recently shared that her daughter was angry with God. A dear friend was facing cancer and her daughter was sure God could do something but wasn’t, and she was mad. Anger is an understandable stage in the grief process. We want someone to blame. In our desperation to make things right, we begin to think of God as someone we can bargain with, persuade, cajole, or beg into fulfilling our wish […]

The Anima Christi During Holy Week

Among my favorite prayers to pray during Holy Week is the Anima Christi or “Soul of Christ.” Many of the lines are resonant with Passion Week, as the poem reflects on Christ’s body and spirit. Among my favorite lines are those at the center: “Within your wounds hide me. / Permit me not to be separated from you.” In the Passion, God unites himself to us so that we are never alone in our own […]

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