For the first time during my break, I was able to concentrate on something. I began sketching a chubby leg, two hands hovering above a halo. This was the infant Jesus that would become the object of my prayer over the Christmas season. What I created also became my prayer, a prayer to be less active and more present.
The newest pixar movie, Soul, raises the question about each person’s purpose. It deals especially with the question many of us ask ourselves, “what if I choose the wrong thing?”
Today is Inauguration Day. So much has happened leading up to this day that we offer this moment to God, to bless, to protect, and to guide this day into the way of peace. Pray with us today as our country takes time to transition and change.
What is discipleship? What is mere discipleship? The opening line of my newest poem, “Mere Discipleship,” says that “mere discipleship sheds easy excuses, burns hot and bright,” and that line is just the beginning of unpacking a process of following Christ. Are you a disciple? Are you a mere disciple? How do you know? Pray with me in today’s reflection and discover how I uncover that I am a mere disciple.
Imagine it’s Christmas morning again. You reach into your stocking and pull out a hefty lump of clay with directions attached. You’re to make clay figures of the most important people in your life and arrange them in a way that represents each person’s personality and role in the group dynamic. What does the scene reveal? Christopher Alt reflects on a family therapy technique, the Nativity, and allowing ourselves to be molded more deeply into God’s divine embrace.
I might be exhausted from the pandemic, or frustrated that I can’t control a math class, or anxious about the election, but that all pales in comparison to everyone I’m praying for. What my students have taught me, though, is that behind this faux-humility is my false belief that I can probably resolve my exhaustion or frustration or anxiety by myself. My students have taught me so much about prayer. Read and reflect with me about wisdom that can arise from seventh graders.
Perhaps, like me, you are discerning how you should spend your holidays? You are praying and asking God to show you how to be present to your loved ones and still keep them safe. As I pray with all my anger, frustration, loneliness, and hunger for loved ones this holiday season, I am reminded that God often provides for us in ways we don’t expect or even necessarily want.
Sometimes God uses others to point us in his direction.
“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.