The Golden Ticket to a Papal Mass

The song, “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory describes how some eager Californians feel right now as drawings all over the state determine who will get tickets for the papal Mass canonizing Father Junípero Serra. For generations, fourth graders in our state have studied the missions, but their founder is not the main draw for these Mass tickets; Pope Francis is. People are jealous that I’m able to serve […]

Arts & Faith: Lent—First Sunday Imaginative Prayer Exercise

Each week of Lent, we’ll provide an Ignatian prayer for you, inspired by a video from Arts & Faith: Lent. The video and prayer for the First Week of Lent, Cycle B, are based on Mark 1:12–15. The art is “The Temptation of Christ” from the Basilica of St. Mark, Venice. “And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.’ “And the Spirit immediately drove him […]

Soap-Bubble Christians

In yesterday’s morning homily, Pope Francis spoke on the theme of vanity. In one notable section, he asked: “How many Christians live for appearances? Their life seems like a soap bubble. The soap bubble is beautiful, with all its colours! But it lasts only a second, and then what?” Those familiar with the Two Standards meditation might have the temptations of riches, honor, and pride in mind when they continue reading the pope’s thoughts on […]

The Greatest Super Power Ever

On a lark, I forwarded an e-mail quiz entitled “20 Things You Never Knew About Me” to several friends. With 20 questions ranging from “What was your first job?” to “If you could live anywhere on earth, where would it be?,” I hardly expected a spiritual revelation in the replies. On question 17, “If you could have one super power, what would it be?,” my other friends had answered, “to be invisible so I could […]

My Journey Through the Two Standards

This post is based on Week Five of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. In Ignatius’s day a “standard” was another name for a military banner or flag. Therefore, the Two Standards meditation was a way of testing the retreatant’s allegiance. The overwhelming question was: Whose flag will you wave? I asked bluntly, “What kind of question is that? Who would ever intentionally choose to be on Team Satan?” It seemed like a no-brainer. But when it […]

What Tempts You?

This month Vinita Wright has been discussing some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises on her blog, Days of Deepening Friendship. I especially liked her recent post about the meditation on the Two Standards, where Ignatius challenges us to look critically at what we are attached to. Vinita brings up three disordered attachments that you might not think about immediately: Silence: I do not speak up when something must be said, when I have […]

Battling Through Prayer

This is a guest post by Greg Herrle for Week Five of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. These past two weeks have been particularly hectic for me at work, which I found to take focus away from dedicating time to this Ignatian Prayer Adventure. However, due to the hectic work schedule, I found myself trying to integrate my prayer life throughout my workday more than usual. As things got stressful, I tried to find ways to […]

Who Am I? Asked in Light of the Two Standards

This is a guest post by Michelle Francl-Donnay for Week Five of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. What do I want to be? Who do I want to be? If my students could have read my thought bubbles this last week, I’m certain many of them would have been startled. Uh, don’t you know by now? I know that I am, to their eyes, old enough to be a grandmother— if not theirs, someone’s. Old enough, […]

Kevin O’Brien, SJ, on the Two Standards

A key meditation of the Spiritual Exercises is the meditation on the Two Standards. At this point in the Exercises we’ve reckoned with both our hopes and our failings; we’ve reckoned with our sin and also the redemptive grace, the mercy of God. And here we’re presented with a stark contrast—The Two Standards. Which will you choose? This video is part of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure, Week 5.

Two Standards

The meditation on the Two Standards is one of the key moments in the Spiritual Exercises. We’re invited to imagine two armies on a battlefield.  One under Satan’s standard; the other under Christ’s. Each army operates in completely different ways with sharply contrasting values. What Christ thinks is important is humility and poverty. Roger Dawson, SJ, writes that we’re faced with a paradox: We see this paradox throughout the Gospels: he calls us into poverty, to […]