“I love you” It just was the most believable utterance of that phrase I’ve ever heard, while sitting in an utterly unremarkable conference room transformed with incense and song into a place open to worship; somehow breaking through the stubborn habits of conventional self-assurance I felt forced to carry. For some, a vocation is automatic, an easy skin to fit into. For others, God’s call is great, the response is real, and yet it is something one must learn to love. Take a moment to read and pray with a reflection about my vocation, and maybe it will illuminate something about yours.
One Jesuit thought he was done with deer hunting for good when he entered religious life. Then he had an opportunity to hunt earlier this month in northern Michigan. Here’s what he learned about prayer during that time.
I had helped to COVID-proof the school with the other faculty members. I had hustled my way through the first weeks teaching a new subject. I had experimented with masks to be sure my voice could be heard over New York City traffic. Suddenly, none of that mattered. I was thrust into something totally new. I no longer needed to wear a mask, but wrangle a group of thirteen-year-olds I could barely see through their tiny on-screen boxes. As soon as I finished my first online lesson, I complained to Jesus in prayer. And that prayer was raw and real. Find out happens when you start getting real with Jesus.
In a time where screens, digital streaming services and social media consumption seem to be the “daily bread”, is there a way to ensure we are discovering God in all of it? This new series gives some practical tips to discern God’s voice in the culture. This edition is part one of how to discern God’s voice in movies and TV shows.
I found myself in the community garden here at Loyola University Chicago, where students and Jesuit scholastics volunteer. We harvest the crops and donate them to a local food pantry, I was told, and the idea of helping out appealed to me. So much more happens in the garden that day. Take a moment to read and reflect with me on an experience of a God who nurtures.
There are times when I don’t want to accept my present circumstances, so I enter another world with more novelty and excitement. Yet when I turn back to reality, that world evaporates and I am left feeling more alone and discouraged than before. A recent chance meeting with someone broke through this fog of drudgery to reignite the roots of life within me, reminding me to keep my faith in what God places before me each day, no matter how small or mundane.
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.
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.
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.
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.