The Feast of St. Ignatius

Today, July 31st, is the Feast Day of St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1566).  You can go to other places on this website to learn more about him, but I think his greatest legacy is his Spiritual Exercises.  Growing out of his own conversion experience, the Exercises can be done in a number of different ways.  Now, Ignatius’ exercises don’t require any physical labor or gym membership.  Instead, they are a series of spiritual prayers, meditations, reflections and activities which can lead a person into a deeper relationship with God.  It just so happened that when I did a multi-month version of the Spiritual Exercises, I threw in a daily walking regime and healthier eating habits into the mix, and the end result was a better me. 

Over the last 450 + years, millions of people have taken part in the Spiritual Exercises and integrated some of the principles, prayers and activities into their daily lives.  I know I’ve done just that, and it’s made a huge difference in my life.  Maybe has been or could be the same for you.  You can learn more about Ignatian Spirituality by clicking here.  Below is one of my favorite prayers written by St. Ignatius, I hope you might consider praying it today.

Prayer for Generosity

Eternal Word, only begotten Son of God,

Teach me true generosity.

Teach me to serve you as you deserve.

To give without counting the cost,.

To fight heedless of wounds,

To labor without seeking rest,

To sacrifice without thought of any reward

Save the knowledge that I have done your will.



California Dreaming

I just got back from vacation in my home state of California.  Despite some unexpected but much needed rain the first two days, it was a near perfect trip.  A big family gathering, drives along the coast, the Bach Festival in Carmel, museum and California Mission visits, great food and surprise tickets to a performance of Phantom of the Opera in Hollywood, were just some of the highlights.  I’m from a family that likes to be on the go, and I was able to squeeze in a lot during a week.  More than anything, it was nice to be home.  California is a beautiful state, and it’s incredibly diverse, not just culturally, but also visually.  There’s so much to do and see, and I’m already in the planning stages for my next visit.  But for now, I have to be content with great memories of this past trip, and grateful for the chance to experience all that I did. 

Vacations are a wonderful gift, no matter how short they might be.  Just to have the chance to break free from the normal rhythm of our crazy lives is a blessing, one which we should be most grateful for.  In a conversation with my sister, we reminisced about the many trips we took with our mom when she was alive.  I have no doubt that the desire to travel, which I share with my siblings, was instilled upon us by our mother.  She loved seeing new places and things, and this wanderlust took her all over the world, almost always with one or more of her children as traveling companions.  We had some wonderful adventures, and even as I write these lines, several of my siblings and their families and friends are out traveling to places like Cripple Creek, Great Basin National Park, and Glacier National Park.  Everyone is on separate trips, but they’re all together in spirit, looking for that next memory to share with the rest of us when they return. 

How about you?  Have you had the chance to get away this summer?  Where did you go, who were you with, what did you see?  Most importantly, are you grateful for the experience? 

I know some people reading these lines might not be able to enjoy a vacation this year due to illness, finances, etc.  If this sounds like you, I hope you’ll be able to at least go to a park, a museum, the beach, or the mountains, even if it’s just for a few hours.  And if none of those are options, close your eyes and dream of a place you’ve always wanted to go.  Enjoy the visit, and I hope you can go back again soon! 


Summer Joy

This afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit with a good friend.  Our conversation was not long, but it was rich in subjects.  He had just gotten back from a trip to France, and by chance our paths crossed at the place where he worked and where I was spending the day writing, so we sat down on a bench under the trees for a bit and talked about our summer.   He told me about the places he visited, how miserably hot it was, and what he liked about the trip.  Overall, it was great for him.  We then turned to books we were reading, how my doctoral writing was going, and how things were shaping up for the various ministries we do.  Our time together went by too quickly, but sadly we had other things to accomplish before our day was over.

One of my important tasks today was preparing the final posts for the retreat section of this website.  The group who made my June Making All Things New retreat are just getting ready to start the fifth week of our on-line sessions.  It’s amazing to me how quickly the weeks and months seem to roll by, but that they seem to do.  Remember when you were a kid and, in some way, you were ready to get back to school come the dog days of summer?  August in Southern California where I grew up can be miserable.  Did I mention we somehow survived without air conditioning?  It’s funny, isn’t it, that we managed to survive without so much of what we are dependent on today.  I wrote survived but maybe a better word would be thrived.  It could be we didn’t know any better, but we still managed to find ways to have fun, enjoy life, and make do with what we had.  What’s happened to us?

This morning, I finished a book written by a Jesuit priest named Walter Ciszek.  The book, He Leadeth Me, is his story of unwavering faith which allowed him to survive twenty-three years in Russian prisons and labor camps.  He was convicted of being a “Vatican spy,” and somehow he found the courage and strength to trust God through times of incredible evil and darkness.  Reading Fr. Ciszek’s unbelievable story was a source of great encouragement for me, and I trust it can be for you as well.  Buy the book and spend the rest of the summer reading and thinking about it.

Friends, many today see the storm clouds gathering all around us, and some are stuck in a perpetual gloom and doom attitude.  Just two days of the evening news and down we go into an ever increasing negativity.  Fr. Ciszek reminded me that God is still on the throne, and despite what circumstances may come to be present in our lives, He is still showing us The Way toward a future full of hope and joy.

Have a blessed week.