Using Sacred Space for Small Faith Groups

One of the most important “ingredients” for small faith groups is establishing a climate of prayer at the beginning of a session. Small groups each have their own unique focus: exploring the Sunday Scripture readings, discussing a book, watching and discussing a video series, and so on. What remains constant, however, is the need to create a climate of prayer in which the “work” of the group takes place. Some of the resources that small […]

A Week with Jesus: Making the Examen More Intentional

The Daily Examen or Awareness Examen is a reflective, prayerful spiritual practice that comes to us from the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Its simple premise—that we can with practice become more consciously aware of God’s activity in our lives—makes it a great prayer for young and old. If you’re looking for a fun, interactive way to introduce young people to this wonderful spiritual practice, consider taking up the following challenge for a […]

The Examen in Catechetical Programs

Several years ago, I became acquainted with Ignatian spirituality, and over time, incorporated many of the key components of this spirituality into my daily living. Although I’m certainly not an expert, I have learned enough so as to feel comfortable weaving such topics as the Examen into our programs. There are five key components to the Examen, a daily review of how the day went. Become aware of God’s presence. Even first graders are leading […]

From Fulfilling Obligations to Living Heroically

Fear can be a great motivator. When I was growing up, religion classes at St. Casimir School regularly included filmstrips (the great cutting-edge technology of the 1960s) from the St. John’s University Sound Filmstrip Catechism that always seemed to include a depiction of God speaking in an angry voice and/or people burning in hell. For most of us growing up at that time, the primary reason for going to church was to avoid the fires […]

St. Ignatius Asks: How Are You Doing Right Now?

St. Ignatius of Loyola loved to ask: “How are you doing right now?” When I first heard that St. Ignatius asked this, especially when meeting someone for the first time, I felt this huge “how nice” wave rising within the core of my being. As people of the 21st century, often we become so engulfed in our busy schedules. We are intent on trying to figure out which beep or ring to answer first, and […]

31 Days with St. Ignatius

Every July, in anticipation of the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola (July 31), we here at Loyola Press invite you to spend the entire month walking with Ignatius, our founder. Click on the image below to join the journey!

Conversing with Mary, Colloquy-Style

There is a wonderful gem hidden within the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius that has been a grace-filled gift to my prayer life. Early in the Exercises, Ignatius recommends a creative type of prayer known as the colloquy. A colloquy, as Ignatius describes, is a conversation that, “is made, properly speaking, as one friend speaks to another” (SE 54). At times this involves a series of three conversations beginning with Mary, continuing with Jesus, and […]

Holy Thursday’s Hidden Graces

On Holy Thursday Jesus explains to his disciples that he will be leaving them: Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, “Where I am going, you cannot come,” so now I say it to you. (John 13:33) These are hard words to hear. Why would Jesus ever remove himself from our lives? And yet, we know from our own experiences that […]

According to Your Word

In the life of a parish, there are going to be good days and bad days. The good days include sacramental events such as First Communions and Confirmations. Bad days might force us to deal with troubled children, angry parents, or upset pastors. If we want to celebrate the good things and rise above the negative, the Virgin Mary might be an example for us to pattern ourselves after. Throughout her life, Mary no doubt […]

Where Have You Been, Lord? Praying the Examen with Your Families

I always found our opening prayers for Confirmation and First Eucharist meetings to be challenging. Normally these involved something written down, something we would all read together, or maybe a pertinent piece of Scripture, or maybe both. It often felt dry and mechanical. What I wanted to do was engage our families, invite them to get to know the Jesus I knew—a Jesus who was active, interesting, and intensely interested in their lives. The question […]

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