December 13, 2018

Want to give a really meaningful gift to someone this Christmas? Pray for them. You don’t have to tell them you are doing it, and you don’t have to forgo giving them a material gift if you really want to do that. Begin to think of intercessory prayer (praying for others) as part of your collection of spiritual gifts to impart to the world. This particular form of intercessory prayer is adapted from Marjorie Thompson’s best seller Soul Feast. It’s… Read more

December 12, 2018

You’ve probably heard people say “your body has wisdom.” Maybe you’ve wondered how to tap into that wisdom before the body gets cranky and pitches a pain fit. Let’s try focusing. Focusing prayer is a great way to step back from holiday stress this Advent. This prayer allows your body to show you what optimal health feels like. The practice of focusing comes from the work of psychologist and philosophy professor Eugene Gendlin and has been popularized in Christian spirituality… Read more

December 11, 2018

Advent invites us to embrace the mystery of incarnation — God’s action of dwelling in and among us. Because so much of our faith involves mystery, it can be helpful to acknowledge that and sit with it, question it, even when it is uncomfortable. We can pray with this holy discomfort. We can pray our questions. For this practice I have collected a series of questions for you to choose from. Or you may have one of your own ready… Read more

December 10, 2018

This Advent, why not keep your eyes open for evidence of God’s love and action in the world? Let’s try the Daily Examen. The motto Jesuits live by is “finding God in all things,” and the way to do that is to examine your own daily life for the activity of the Spirit. Ignatius of Loyola — founder of the Jesuit order of the Catholic church — gave this prayer to his community and commanded them to do it every… Read more

December 9, 2018

We began the Advent meditations with the gospel of Luke’s version of the flight of Mary and Joseph from their home while Mary was pregnant. Today we’ll re-enter this story as the time comes for Mary to give birth. Once again, use your imagination to enter the scene. It’s a short passage, so spend time not so much on the words but on the visual scene you create in your mind. The Practice Begin by asking God to be present… Read more

December 8, 2018

Prayer doesn’t have to be all that wordy. Early Christians used to pray, “Come, Lord Jesus,” to express their deep longing for Jesus to return and be among them in physical reality. This practice, the Prayer of the Heart, is designed to help us create those prayers that are as close to us as our very breath. The beauty of this prayer is the way it stays with you all day, all week, throughout Advent, or even a lifetime if… Read more

December 7, 2018

As we focus this Advent on the coming of Jesus, why not pray one of the most famous prayers in the history of Christianity — the Jesus Prayer? You will find a version of this prayer in the Gospel of Luke’s story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The tax collector is praised by Jesus for humbling himself in prayer, saying, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Christians later expanded the prayer to “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of… Read more

December 6, 2018

The Psalms are among the most human expressions found in the Bible. A Psalm can give us confidence that no matter what emotion we are feeling, we can share it with God. In this exercise, you will be invited to write your own Psalm. It doesn’t matter whether you think of yourself as a writer or not — this is heartfelt communication, not an exercise in pretty writing. Start by reading over Psalm 16 which is part of today’s lectionary… Read more

December 5, 2018

We need not approach biblical texts passively. We can communicate with the stories as we read them — we can talk back to them! Today’s Advent meditation is a dialogue with Matthew’s version of the feeding of the four thousand (Matthew 15:32-37). Then Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat; and I do not want to send them… Read more

December 4, 2018

For many Christians, praying daily with scripture is an important devotional practice. There are a number of ways to do this. One of the easiest and most portable is to use the Irish Jesuit’s Sacred Space 2019 prayer book or find it free on their website (www.sacredspace.ie). They include a short snippet of scripture from the daily lectionary — scriptures chosen to be read in churches and homes worldwide — with suggestions for points of reflection. You can read it… Read more

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