We are by nature related to God.

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Because God created us and continues to create in and through us, we are by nature related to God. In other words, we are created in the image of God, and that image is indelible. The challenge for us is to be more aware of that ever-present relationship…

Father Kevin O’Brien SJ. The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life (Kindle Locations 463-465). Kindle Edition.

The Genius of the Exercises

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The genius and beauty of the Exercises is that we learn to weave our own life narrative into the life story of Jesus Christ in such a way that both become more vivid and interconnected.

Father Kevin O’Brien SJ. The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life (Kindle Locations 84-85). Kindle Edition.

It’s About What You Ask For

 

Vending MachinesOne of the idols I no longer believe in is Vending Machine God. You know Him well. Pray hard enough. Behave righteously enough. Rebuke the sinners enough. Deposit the right amount, hit the button, and you get your candy bar. You deserve it!

It’s not that we shouldn’t ask for the things we want. It’s the things I wanted that changed as I let go of that immature image. I ask for a grace every time I pray but as I go deeper into God, I stopped asking for me and started asking for God. I don’t ask for more money. I ask to provide for my family. I don’t ask for power. I ask to be able to do God’s will. If I ask for an outcome, I qualify if it’s God’s will. I do ask for the graces of peace, wisdom, charity and love.

I ask for those a lot!

The Sound of Silence

 

A couple's joy: their daughter is named into the Covenant.

A couple’s joy: their daughter is named into the Covenant.

Went to two Shabbat services this weekend, one included a beautiful baby naming ceremony, and was thoroughly impressed. I’ve done my share of reading about ritual, meaning and myth and their power in our lives. And it enabled me to appreciate what I witnessed and participated in not only with heart and soul but with my mind. 

But for all the beauty and joy, my mind was troubled. I was saddened by the fact that fewer and fewer of us have those resources in our lives. In our pursuit to master the world around us, we’ve reduced myth to fables and fantasy. We’ve made ritual mere clashing cymbal and empty motion. We’ve made a God shaped hole in our lives and have since tried mightily to fill it.

We’ve tried fundamentalisms of every sort, from a worship of science to a worship of sacred books. We’ve tried amorphous “spirituality” and superstition as well. We’ve tried mindless distractions and “serious” politics. I’m wondering when we will try humble, contrite hearts that can listen to that soft whisper that only our deepest selves know.

Jesuit Padawan Learner

The Jesuits have a handbook for this search. It is The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola, composed by the saint before he was even a priest. Often described as Ignatius’s greatest gift to the world, these exercises unfold a dynamic process of prayer, meditation, and self-awareness. The basic thrust is to make us more attentive to God’s activity in our world, more responsive to what God is calling us to do. Ignatian spiritual directors accompany or guide people through the exercises in retreat houses, parishes, and other settings.

via Ignatian Spirituality | Finding God in All Things.

I “finished” my Exercises several months ago and it has taken me some time to reflect and digest what’s happened. I would say that no great vocational insight struck me. What happened was I received a capstone to a very long process of getting to know who I am and whose I am on a deep level. What I am to actually do is simple: the “slow work” of God. Day to day. Minute to minute. I’ve learned to be open to God directing my life. My direction becomes clear as circumstances arise and preparation makes for opportunity.

Qui-Gon Jinn

Qui-Gon Jinn

I’m mindful of the Living Force so to speak.

Use your opponents’ strategies against them and you take away their power. […] Get your opponents to lose their grace, and they will lose their purpose, Padawan. […] Do not meet hate with hate. Meet it with purpose.―Qui-Gon Jinn teaches Obi-Wan Kenobi how to win a battle.[src]

The Church of No-God: Blasphemy Day Edition

R. Joseph Hoffman brings it.

What I miss about the old atheism–even though I still find its central premises wobbly and unconvincing–is that thinking was permitted. The conversation continued. There was no infallible source of confidence. Skepticism reigned.

The new atheism is a catechism of conclusions reached, positions taken, dogmas pronounced. It is more like the Catholicism I giggled to see parodied, a church too sure of itself and its exclusive ability to save souls and reveal the kingdom.

via Atheist Tantrums: The New Loud | The New Oxonian.

 

How hard do bishops have to listen?

Perhaps most interesting about the document, Hinze continued, is that it recognizes that some priests and bishops might not have figured out exactly what the church should be teaching on a particular subject.

“I thought it was pretty judicious that the hierarchy has to recognize that they may not have it right yet,” said Hinze, referring to a passage in the document that states that Catholics may “deny assent” to church teaching “if they do not recognize in that teaching the voice of Christ.”

via Vatican considers: How hard do bishops have to listen? | National Catholic Reporter.

Finally.