Featured Uncategorized

Coming Down The Mountain

This past Saturday, I returned from a weeklong silent retreat.  The Retreat Center where I was is at the top of a large hill, I guess too small to be considered a mountain, but for me, I felt like I was far, far away from the daily rhythms of my busy life.  It had been several years since I made an extended retreat, and boy did I ever miss them.  As providence would have it, the person who has been my guide on previous retreats was leading this one, and it was such a blessing to work with him again.  Not having to spend a lot of time introducing myself allowed us to jump right in.

I could go on and on about the many experiences I had, but let’s just say I received some new and important insights into myself, my relationship with God, and my knowledge of Ignatian Spirituality.  I couldn’t have asked for much more.

If you have never been a retreat lasting longer than a weekend, I would really recommend making the investment.  Giving up precious vacation time or time which could be spent with family and friends is hard, and cost might also be a factor.  But at the end of the day, life is short and spending quality time to deepen your relationship with God will always be a good thing.

I hope that God gives me the opportunity to come back.  I want to see those mountains and hills break into song, the trees clapping their hands.

Life is a gift, and the Giver is good!

Featured Uncategorized

The Power of Pause

As providence would have it, I had the chance to spend a few days last week working at a conference in Ocean City, Maryland.  I’ve stayed at the particular hotel a number of times, and I’m sure it was chosen by the sponsors because every guest room is ocean front.  I took this photo the morning after I arrived. Even though it was cold and windy, I still sat on my little balcony to watch the sunrise.  Having a hot cup of coffee in my hands helped keep me warm, but I would have sat out there anyway.

There’s something so important about taking some time to pause, especially after a major life event.  So often, we take a quick breath and then forces sometimes outside our control push us forward and on to the next thing.  It would have been that way for me had it not been for this working retreat at the beach.  Yes, I was there for work, but to sit there in the conference room and look out the windows to see the ocean, to hear the waves, and to know that I would have time to walk the beach during breaks helped me to relax.  It was  a great three days.

Speaking of three days, next week is Holy Week, when the Church celebrates the Sacred Triduum, a time to pause and remember the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Be sure to take some time to pause next week.  It will make the joy which comes with Easter all the more powerful.

Featured Uncategorized

New Every Morning

This past weekend, I had to the joy of introducing a group of about twenty people to Ignatian Spirituality.  What a joy it was to see so many of the retreatants have “ah ha” moments, some of which might truly be life-changing for them. I certainly pray that is the case, and I hope the on-line continuation of our time together proves to be even more fruitful.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I have come to embrace the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola as my own.  To be a “contemplative in action,” to “find God in all things,” to focus one’s life on striving to serve God more and more each day (AMDG) resonated with me from the beginning of own Ignatian pilgrimage.  Even that word, “pilgrimage” drew me in.  To be a pilgrim, which Ignatius used when speaking/writing about himself means to be on a journey, one which will hopefully lead to eternal life with God.

However, to be a pilgrim in 2017 more that likely means the traveler will experience many roadblocks, wrong turns, grand canyon-sized obstacles and other risks along the way.  Thankfully, for five hundred years pilgrims and would-be pilgrims have used Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises as a spiritual road map.  His daily Examen helps keep it’s devotees on the right path, and helps them when necessary to quickly and effectively realize that somehow they took a wrong turn but can safely get back on track before too much time is lost.  The Examen is just one example of several Ignatian practices we discussed on our retreat.

Finally, I wanted to wrap this post up with a scripture passage which took on new meaning for many of my fellow pilgrims.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (Lamentations 3:22-23)


As we greet another sunrise, either today, or tomorrow, or the next day, I hope you will join me in recognizing that God’s love for us never ceases, and every new days comes with more mercy than we will ever need.  It’s ours for the taking, and best of all, it’s available to all.

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic area, please consider joining us for our next retreat, The Ignatian Way, which will take place April 28-30 at Bon Secours Retreat Center in Marriottsville, Maryland.  Click here for details.




Seasons and Prayer

We’re in between seasons right now in Maryland.  One day, it’s cold and you need a coat.  Then a few days later, it’s warm enough for shorts and a tee-shirt.  Before we know it, though, winter will settle in and we’ll be cold for months.  I like these back and forth days, since they remind me that there are just some things I can’t control.  Weather is one of them, and despite our best efforts, human beings still can’t make it rain or make spring come faster.  Some things are just out of our control, but there are many that are.

How we approach life is one of them.  Right now, there is a great deal of stress and worry about the upcoming election.  Just when you think it couldn’t get any worse, another revelation about one candidate or the other.  Yesterday, I made a resolution.  I’m going to do a fast from the news, and instead do more praying.  At this point, I don’t think there’s anything that will come out which will change my vote.  If there is, I’ll hear about it from a friend rather than a reporter.

For now, I think its best to pray for our country, our leaders, and all the suffering people in the world, of which there are many.  Let’s trust that God has a plan, and it’s a good one.  No matter what happens in the days ahead, we’ll make it through as a people of faith.  All our money has the words “In God We Trust” on it.  Maybe it’s time to move that thought from our money to our heart.  What a difference that would make!

This photo is from one the last rose blooms in my garden.  That rose bush is hanging onto fall as long as it can, and I’m grateful for it’s effort!