Getting Started

The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola are best suited for prayer during a silent retreat. However,  Ignatius knew that they could also be effective when employed in a less isolated environment. It is the hope of the authors of this blog that you, the reader, find the meditations that we offer here useful in your own search to encounter Christ in prayer in your daily life. The meditations are intended to be prayed in order, from as close to the beginning as possible, perhaps over the course of a dedicated time such as the season of Lent. (more…)

March 6th, 2014

April 3, 2014 |

Grace: To sense more deeply the possibility of deep renewal and reform in my life and the desire in God’s heart for that renewal in me.

Text for Prayer: Lk. 9:23-36

Reflection: Over the last few weeks I have given a couple of retreats that dealt in some ways with discernment. During these retreats, I had the opportunity to chat with most of the participants. Many of them pointed out that in terms of remaining faithful to their prayer life, they sometimes lack discipline and willpower, and I often acknowledged that discipline is a great avenue to renewal and reform.

Certainly discipline is an important part of discipleship. Both of those words, along with the word discernment come for the Latin word discere which means to learn. To grow as a disciple—in discipleship and discernment—we need to learn or to discover life-giving ways of finding the strength to remain faithful and committed to them.

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April 3rd, 2014 | |

March 14, 2013 |

Grace: To reform my own heart during this Lenten season in order to collaborate with Pope Francis in reforming the Church

Text for Prayer: Matthew 16:18 and the “Autobiography of St. Ignatius”

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld will not prevail against it.”

Reflection: Peter was a mouse who became a lion. And “the rock” today is a 76-year old Jesuit priest who studied chemistry, joined the Society of Jesus at age 22, and taught high school literature as a seminarian before embarking on greater ecclesiastical paths. He is the first Pope Francis, the first pope from Latin America, and the first Jesuit pope. Leading the faithful in simple prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be) for the retired pope, bowing awkwardly in silence to ask the people’s blessing before giving them his own, and surprisingly ordinary in his vulnerability, he is unmistakably a Jesuit.

As cardinal-archbishop of Buenos Aires, he lives in a simple dwelling and takes public transportation to work. He visits AIDS patients and the poor. He has only one lung due to a childhood illness. Today he will pray to the Virgin Mary at St. Mary Major.

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March 14th, 2013 | |

March 23, 2012 |

Grace: To sense more deeply the possibility of renewal and reform in my life and the desire in God’s heart for that renewal in me.

Text for prayer: Lk. 18:18-27

Reflection: Sometimes the most important thing in a passage is what Jesus doesn’t say. Such is the case in today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel, where Jesus encounters a rich young man who has lived a pretty good life and is now seeking for that certain something that still seems to elude him. He wants not just to be moral or happy; he wants God. And so he comes to Jesus. Jesus asks him if he has followed several of the Ten Commandments, and the young man says that he has followed each of them from his youth.

But when Jesus lists some of the commandments, he leaves off the first commandment: “You shall have no other god before me.” The rich young man realizes this omission in Jesus’s list of the commandments (and in his own attempts to live them out) and walks away sad, for he is possessed by many things. These possessions might be his high social standing, his wealth, his relationship to his family, or (perhaps most painfully) even his sense of his own righteousness. Whatever the case may be, the rich young man is attached to many things in his current life and is therefore unable to follow after Jesus who is humble, poor, and despised by all.

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March 23rd, 2012 | |

April 7, 2011 |

Grace: To sense more deeply the possibility of deep renewal and reform in my life and the desire in God’s heart for that renewal of me.

Text for prayer: Lk. 18:18-27

Reflection: In Georges Bernanos’s classic The Diary of a Country Priest, Monsieur le Curé writes,

“No, I have not lost my faith.  The expression ‘to lose one’s faith,’ as one might a purse or a ring of keys, has always seemed to me rather foolish… Faith is not a thing which one ‘loses’; we merely cease to shape our lives by it.”

The enemy of shaping our life by faith is acedia, that classic Greek concept of living “without care” (a+ kedos) of the virtues.  More commonly, we refer to this as sloth or apathy.  We tend toward sloth when we cease to hold our desires, actions, and thoughts up to the purifying light of God and presume to go it alone.  And that is how the slow, lazy drift away from God and His plan for us occurs.  We have all experienced tepidity or vague disinterest in living a life of faith and virtue at different times.  So how do we to turn things around and ‘reignite the fire of faith’?

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April 7th, 2011 | |

March 18, 2010 |

Grace: To sense more deeply the possibility of deep renewal and reform in my life and the desire in God’s heart for that renewal of me.

Text for prayer: Lk. 16:19-31

Reflection: The plan of reform for our lives is according to the dynamic of humility and gratitude.  If the path to sin and death and destruction was initiated by an act of rebellion, of pride or arrogance, of taking matters into one’s hands, the way back to life and to freedom is by way of obedience, of looking to the Other and placing ourselves back in His Hands- the hands which shaped us and gave us life in the first place.

Our way back to life and freedom from death and slavery to sin is through poverty and humility.  “If we had the courage,” Karl Rahner observed in an essay on prayer, “to renounce inwardly what life takes from us anyway- namely everything…we would notice that we possess everything.”  This is the source of true reform of our lives- to let go of everything in order to remember in the depths of our hearts that all has been given by God.  From that point on, we are able to live in freedom and gratitude.

Not everyone is called to material poverty, but all are called to a spiritual poverty- that is true freedom, wherein we are not ruled by things we falsely think will bring us happiness.  Only God satisfies our infinite longing.  Nothing else.  Try as we might, nothing else satisfies.

Questions: What is an experience of zeal and excitement I have experienced in the past when I made an important change in my life?  Can I “taste” that joy and excitement again?  What new freedom in abandonment is the Lord calling me to today?

March 18th, 2010 | |