As I write this post, my absentee ballot is sitting next to me, still blank. There are Catholics who say the choice is simple. There is only one issue that matters. But the stories I heard suggest it is more complicated.
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I am far from the only person who has ever been frustrated by prayer in which “nothing happens.” In fact, I hear this quite regularly from people sharing their spiritual lives. We want to experience our prayer as we do almost everything else: productively. We wish to finish a time in prayer feeling that we have accomplished something, learned something, moved forward, or used our time well.
It took two weeks of monotony and uncertainty to realize what I really relied on. And in my most recent quarantine, I experienced what millions around the world have been going through since March. And it’s something I pray we can all return to again, in person, to celebrate the ultimate celebration.
Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ, once again invites to consider another “One Moment for One Thing.” Let us discover how to get in touch with what we feel while examining our heart and soul to more clearly experience the greater glory of God in our lives and in the world around us. Pray with us once again as we move towards a deeper and clearer relationship with ourselves, hand-in-hand with God.
Eric Immel, SJ, writes: “I spent more time in my room these past nearly six months that I had the previous, say, four years combined. The same is true for the number of times I’ve washed my hands. I’ve high-fived less people in the past nearly six months than was typical for me in a day pre-COVID, and I cannot count the number of times I’ve wanted to yell at people for getting too close to me, which I don’t think I’d ever thought to do before in my life.” Eric takes us on journey of a small world that opens up to something larger than previously thought.
When I take a more honest look at life, with its’ beauty, and also its’ darkness and suffering, I’m drawn to see the meaning of seeking something that transcends worldly pleasures or pursuits, even the willingness to sacrifice those things. And I want to affirm this desire to “transcend” is not an escape from reality, nor is it inhuman. It is rather a call to become even more fully and authentically human concretely in the world. Chris Williams, SJ, invites us to see this transcendence in his newest poem perfect for prayer and reflection.
It happened when I served as a Eucharistic minister at a large suburban hospital over five years ago. When I walked into his room, he looked like anybody’s grandpa. I can still see him lying there: a 90-some-year-old man with smallish frame nestled into the middle of the recliner bed, a tuft of white hair atop a wrinkled but happy-go-lucky face, the flimsy-knit, standard issue hospital blanket pulled up just under his chin. Read as Christopher Alt, S.J. reflects on the Eucharist and our everyday life.
On a bitterly cold Thursday night in February of 2019, I was sitting on the ground hanging out with a group of folks experiencing homelessness down by the Chicago Art Institute. I spent most Thursdays this way, as chaplain to the student-run Labre Homeless ministry. Despite the bitter cold, we laughed a lot. After a particularly icy burst of wind rushed through, one of the men, named Wiz, looked at me and said “Gimme a scarf.” Jake Braithwaite, SJ, offers us a compelling parable about death and resurrection.
Awareness drives Ignatian Spirituality. Breathing is the fire that maintains the engagement of awareness in action. One needs God’s grace to learn how to breathe. In our next installment of “One Moment for One Thing,” Patrick Saint-Jean invites us to say nothing in our prayer except only to breath and listen.
My Jesuit community engaged in COVID-19 protocols after Mass on March 16. No more all-community Masses. No more going to school for class. No more ministry. A world of masks and gloves and handwashing. That evening, a friend and I had a conversation thinking through ways we could try to make the most of the indefinite future that came with pandemic.