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 8, 2012 |

Grace: To know the joy of the resurrection as Mary knows it.

ReadingJohn 20:1-9

Reflection: Christ is not dead. He has risen. He is alive.

Go ahead, ask Mary of Magdela, or Peter, or the beloved disciple, or the Mother of Jesus. They will tell you the story. Ask them what they saw while in the soft darkness before daybreak. You’ll hardly believe it.

Just imagine . . .

Nothing remained in that cold tomb except a folded up piece of cloth. Friends of theirs had laid Jesus there just a few days earlier after he was given a betrayer’s death. And now, that tomb was empty. The body gone. (more…)

April 8th, 2012 | |

April 3, 2012 |

Grace: To possess a personal intimacy with Christ just as the disciples did in the Upper Room on the night of the Last Supper.

Reading: John 15: 1-17

Reflection:

Where you there when they crucified my Lord?
Where you there when they crucified my Lord?
O, sometimes, it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Where you there when they crucified my Lord?

It takes a lot to cause a grown man to tremble. A Man trembles in an earthquake. He trembles from a heart attack or a stroke. He trembles after a good blow to the jaw or stomach.

So how many people will be physically trembling on Friday afternoon when we remember Christ’s Crucifixion? (more…)

April 3rd, 2012 | |

April 1, 2012 |

This Lent has been about walking in the ways of Christ, meditating on his teachings and contemplating his life. And now Christ is leading us to some very powerful places of prayer: Jerusalem, the Last Supper, the Passion, Crucifixion, and Resurrection.

Are you ready for it? To be honest, I don’t think I am. You see, Palm Sunday always makes me nervous. I am timid to contemplate about the Pharisee’s conniving plans, Jesus’ passion and death, and the disciples’ betraying fear. Those contemplations take me to places within my own nature (and the nature of the world) that I would much rather skip over. (more…)

April 1st, 2012 | |

March 21, 2012 |

Grace: I ask that I may be free enough to choose whatever God’s grace may indicate as his particular call to me.

Reading: John 21:15-19

Reflection: Jesus asked Peter if he loved him three times. Each time, I imagine, Peter became more and more uncomfortable:

“Jesus, of course I love you. We’ve been through so much together.”

“Uh, yes . . . yes, I love you. Jesus.”

“(gulp) You keep asking me, Jesus, and I am afraid that all I can say is ‘yes. I do love you.'”

Experiencing the love of Christ propels us to live as Christ. Jesus commanded Peter to “feed my sheep.” Now as most of us today are not shepherds, St. Ignatius offers us another paradigm by which to grow in the love that comes from the life of Christ: the three degrees of humility. Humility serves as a marker of one who has chosen to model his or her life on the example, teaching, and mission of Jesus. It is a virtue which all of us, no matter in what state of life we may be, should seek to develop. Each of the following three “degrees” of humility are meant not so much to be awards of accomplishment in humility as callings to an ever-deepening sense of humility and alignment with Jesus.

(more…)

March 21st, 2012 | |

March 16, 2012 |

Grace: To grow in an interior knowledge of Christ’s example in Nazareth so as to live my life as he lived his.

Reading: Luke 2:51-52

Reflection: I doubt few Israelites in Jesus’ time were packing the family station wagons and heading up to Nazareth for their annual summer vacation. Most biblical scholars consider Jesus’ Nazareth to have been a boring, unspectacular kind of place. The powerful elite of Jerusalem probably considered it to be, at best, a forgotten roadside town.

Jesus is probably the one and only reason why Nazareth ever made it on the map and in the history books (and that’s a pretty good reason). It was in the quiet little Nazareth town that Jesus began to know his Father face-to-face. In the ordinary days’ routines, day by day, week by week, year by year, he came to a radical  relationship with God the Father. Pope Benedict writes about Jesus saying, “He lives before the face of God, not just as a friend, but as a Son; he lives in the most intimate unity with the Father.” Jesus didn’t become this way in a vacuum, but in the dusty, forgotten village of Nazareth: sleeping under the roof of Mary and Joseph, sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast, standing at the lathe carving out a piece of furniture, reading and praying at the local synagogue. And so it was in this little town that Christ the King (like David, Moses and so many of the prophets before him) came from such a humble beginning.

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March 16th, 2012 | |

March 6, 2012 |

Grace: I ask for the knowledge of the true life exemplified in Jesus Christ, my Lord and my God, and the grace to live my life in his way.

Reading: Matthew 17:1-8

Reflection: I recently discovered a fascinating  nugget of trivia from one of those often forgotten coffee table magazines. It stated that the average man speaks about 13,000 words per day and that the average woman speaks about 20,000 words per day. The article went on to claim that each person hears thousands more words than he or she will speak. I had never thought about that statistic before, so the numbers astounded me.  (more…)

March 6th, 2012 | |

February 29, 2012 |

Grace: That my heart be on fire with the same zeal as Jesus’ Sacred Heart.

Reading: Revelation 3:14-22

Reflection: Did you see any of the commercials during the Superbowl this year? There’s this one in which Sir Elton John sits on a throne, dressed in some kind of ridiculous royal garb, begrudgingly judging whether or not the entertainer that sings to him (Melanie Amaro) is deserving of a Pepsi. While Amaro belts out a stellar rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Sir Elton stairs on unimpressed as if to say “thou art boring me.”

The Commercial might be ridiculous, but it also exemplifies the seductive absurdity of tepidity within the spiritual life.

(more…)

February 29th, 2012 | |

February 24, 2012 |

Grace: To know the Spirit of God at work in my daily life.

Reflection: Google came up with 304,000 results to my search query “Examen of Conscience.” Needless to say, a lot of great material on one of St. Ignatius’ most prized forms of prayer is already floating out there online for you to discover. While the Internet is already saturated with stuff on the Examen prayer, it is not without good reason. Millions of Christians pray (and blog) regularly about the Examen because it is: 1. short and simple, 2. personal, and 3. spiritually effective. So as not to clog the Internet anymore than necessary on things regarding the Examen, I will be brief . . . . (more…)

February 24th, 2012 | |