Worth Revisiting: A Purposeful Path

How Far Can You Go With $30, A Bus Ticket, and a Dream?

Ever wonder where God is leading you and yearn to discover or explore your own vocation in life more fully? In Fr. Casey’s A Purposeful Path (Loyola Press), we are invited to do exactly that. By opening ourselves up to being vulnerable and embracing uncertainty we are then able to give way to trust. As a Jesuit novice, Fr. Casey takes us with him on a journey of a lifetime, on his pilgrimage of discerning his identity, vocation and purpose in life.

—-→Who and whose are we?

Our fundamental identity as God’s beloved children, made in the image of our Creator, is our simplest most profound identity in life. From this place we recognize that all other gifts and identities we are to later be given, while important, are lesser than our calling and love experienced as a child of God.  In what is described as a “convergence of heaven and earth”, Fr. Casey finds the words and experience of Maya Angelou resonate deep within his soul reminding him of this infinitely divine love. This is to set the stage in his own journey of transformation and acceptance of God’s plan for him.

—-→The notion of a pilgrimage..

While often we think of a pilgrimage as a journey to a place, it implicitly involves in our humanity a relational connection, compelling a response from us and deeper meaning. The idea of making a pilgrimage acquiesces itself to our identity as a people of God on the move towards both accompaniment and relationship. Though Fr. Casey feels that his pilgrimage is to lead him to a chance meeting with Maya Angelou, he is unsure of how that is to happen or how well he is to be received. Meanwhile, all that he is given to begin the journey is $30 and a bus ticket.

—-→Discerning our path

Fr. Casey’s own pilgrimage leads him first to the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee, where he bonds with fellow pilgrims on the trail, and then to the Wake Forrest Campus where he encounters it seems everyone else but Maya Angelou. Dejected and feeling as if he had failed, he then heads to Washington DC. Where again, he meets others with whom he shares commonalities in service and who seem to be directing him back again to an encounter with the poet. Yet, he recognizes that he has a choice does he stay where he is to be of service or let go and let God lead him the rest of the way. To do this requires an unconditional trust in God’s provision and a vulnerability to ask others for help.

—-→How do we meet and traverse the crossroads in life?

Fr. Casey suggests and indeed illustrates that an indelible part of the journey is to continually move forward. Our timing and God’s timing are seldom the same, and while we might not understand the diversions from our perceived destination, this too is important. Learning that none of us are perfect but are perfectly loved, and faithfully provided for, is the start of finding our purpose with hope and joy.

“All my conscious life and energies have been dedicated to the most noble cause: the liberation of the human mind and spirit, beginning with my own”    Maya Angelou

*Find your Inner Iggy and celebrate #31DayswithIgnatius this month at Loyola Press!

Peace,

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With Gratitude

Gratitude today, much like the word love, can so often be taken lightly and without the depth of sincerity it truly deserves. Rather than a heartfelt recognition of the daily gifts and love bestowed on us by a loving Father, we can be tempted to reduce the sentiment to an occasionalthank you. Why is this? Does God only love us sometimes? Or do we instead fail to recognize where all good gifts come from? Perhaps in truth it is a bit of the both.

St. Ignatius stresses that gratitude is to be a constant response to the continual love and care that God shows for each one of us in each and every day.

“It seems to me, in light of the divine Goodness, though others may think differently, that ingratitude is one of the things most worthy of detestation… For it is a failure
to recognize the good things,the graces, and the gifts received. As such, it is the cause,
beginning, and origin of all evils and sins. On the contrary, recognition and gratitude for the good things and gifts received is greatly loved and esteemed both in heaven and earth.”

From Ingratitude to Gratitude

So, just how do we get from a place of ingratitude to embracing an “attitude of gratitude”? First, it is important to know that gratitude isn’t just to be expressed, but lived. If we can change our understanding of gratitude from a thing given to an entire way of being then we are practicing gratitude in the right way. The Examen prayer is a beautiful way of becoming aware of God’s presence and blessings in our day and moving to a response of gratitude.

Get away for gratitude

Though it would be nice to say that I live the attitude of gratitude 24-7, I would be remiss in noting the numerous hours of an ordinary day that I neglect to offer God my loving praise. Recently,  I went away for a 5 day silent Ignatian retreat at Campion Retreat House in Weston, MA to recharge, renew and reconnect . This Father-daughter (/son) time is an essential part of  our spiritual formation for the roots of gratitude and love are always to be found in this foundational relationship. Once this has been nourished, the fruits of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) become more visible in our lives.

What does gratitude look like?

In a spirit of openness, the following is a glimpse of day 3 of my time away with my Father. Transitioning back and forth between an outer awareness of God’s movement in my day and the presence of grace, to an inner reflection and response of praise and love I could not contain my joy.

“Today, I lovingly receive this time to rest body, spirit and mind. I noticed your presence in the stillness of the morning and the smiles of those I encountered in my walks with you by my side. I see you in the beauty that surrounds me, both natural and man-made. I welcome the time and ability to pray for others, as it allows me a chance to respond even in a small way, to the great mercy and love that you have shown me. For, in my concerns and need for discernment you have always been there for me. For those times when I have failed to act less than I should, you have never rejected me.

Oh, the immense gratitude I have for your love for me in my quiet times- when I find myself busy with other things.  For you are patient and willing to wait a lifetime. Yet, how wonderful that it need not be a lifetime and that I have awoken from my slumber sooner than that. I praise you Father for the gift of my family and friends, for those solid and lasting ones as well as those which have come only for a season. Each has taught me something about myself and about your love for each one of us.

For the roof over my head, clothes, and the nourishing food in my belly, clean water, and soft pillow under my head I give you praise. I pray for those who lack any of these and are without proper medical care, and reliable transportation or employment. Thank you for a means of work that uses the talents that you have given me and which also enables me to serve others including my own family.

And of course, I offer you my profound gratitude to the Jesuit family who have adopted me, whose faith and values I hope to carry for the remainder of my days on this earth. I long to see so many who I have come to know in this life, one day in the next. Let my life always give witness and praise to You!”

Ad majorem Dei gloriam (For the greater glory of God),

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Worth Revisiting: 31 Days of St. Ignatius

This month Loyola Press is inviting each of us to “explore ways of encountering God through using the five senses, inspired by the new book, Taste and See by Ginny Kubitz Moyer”. This celebration culminates on July 31st on the feast day of St. Ignatius. So please  join me along with other Catholic bloggers and authors these 31 days of St. Ignatius,for a month long Ignatian feast of the senses!

Today’s challenge:

Read the excerpt below and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and inner movements of gratitude for the gifts God has given. Afterwards ask yourself, Were there people or things that I had previously overlooked or even taken for granted in my day?

The First Principle and Foundation
(St. Ignatius of Loyola, as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.)

“All the things in this world are gifts from God,
Presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
Insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
They displace God
And so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
Before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
And are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
Wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
A deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
To God’s deepening his life in me.”

Peace,

Signature

Worth Revisiting: A Purposeful Path

How Far Can You Go With $30, A Bus Ticket, and a Dream?

Ever wonder where God is leading you and yearn to discover or explore your own vocation in life more fully? In Fr. Casey’s A Purposeful Path (Loyola Press), we are invited to do exactly that. By opening ourselves up to being vulnerable and embracing uncertainty we are then able to give way to trust. As a Jesuit novice, Fr. Casey takes us with him on a journey of a lifetime, on his pilgrimage of discerning his identity, vocation and purpose in life.

—-→Who and whose are we?

Our fundamental identity as God’s beloved children, made in the image of our Creator, is our simplest most profound identity in life. From this place we recognize that all other gifts and identities we are to later be given, while important, are lesser than our calling and love experienced as a child of God.  In what is described as a “convergence of heaven and earth”, Fr. Casey finds the words and experience of Maya Angelou resonate deep within his soul reminding him of this infinitely divine love. This is to set the stage in his own journey of transformation and acceptance of God’s plan for him.

—-→The notion of a pilgrimage..

While often we think of a pilgrimage as a journey to a place, it implicitly involves in our humanity a relational connection, compelling a response from us and deeper meaning. The idea of making a pilgrimage acquiesces itself to our identity as a people of God on the move towards both accompaniment and relationship. Though Fr. Casey feels that his pilgrimage is to lead him to a chance meeting with Maya Angelou, he is unsure of how that is to happen or how well he is to be received. Meanwhile, all that he is given to begin the journey is $30 and a bus ticket.

—-→Discerning our path

Fr. Casey’s own pilgrimage leads him first to the Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee, where he bonds with fellow pilgrims on the trail, and then to the Wake Forrest Campus where he encounters it seems everyone else but Maya Angelou. Dejected and feeling as if he had failed, he then heads to Washington DC. Where again, he meets others with whom he shares commonalities in service and who seem to be directing him back again to an encounter with the poet. Yet, he recognizes that he has a choice does he stay where he is to be of service or let go and let God lead him the rest of the way. To do this requires an unconditional trust in God’s provision and a vulnerability to ask others for help.

—-→How do we meet and traverse the crossroads in life?

Fr. Casey suggests and indeed illustrates that an indelible part of the journey is to continually move forward. Our timing and God’s timing are seldom the same, and while we might not understand the diversions from our perceived destination, this too is important. Learning that none of us are perfect but are perfectly loved, and faithfully provided for, is the start of finding our purpose with hope and joy.

“All my conscious life and energies have been dedicated to the most noble cause: the liberation of the human mind and spirit, beginning with my own”    Maya Angelou

*Find your Inner Iggy and celebrate #31DayswithIgnatius this month at Loyola Press!

 Peace,

Signature

Worth Revisiting: Still Waters

In the past year since this post was written, I have received such grace and strength from this moment in prayer. Now, during the periods when I thirst for true fulfillment, I find comfort to return to this resting place beside the still living waters.

Anyone close to me knows that despite sometimes bemoaning my busy schedule, I am indeed blessed and appear to thrive on chaos. On my already full plate there’s been ample room to take another helping of “Would you be able to join us?” , “Oh, and another thing”, or “I cannot be there.”  Yet over the last few weeks ,   I have felt the pressing need for a break -a respite to  gather my thoughts and silence to find my peace in the midst of the all that I am being asked to do. With my head swimming with service commitments, recordings, preparations, and conversations, the question of just when I would take this break was weighing on me too. That is until the answer came to me in prayer once again.

What began quite simply as a bodily sigh, gave way to a petition, and then to a surrendering of my very self.

“Lord, I need you… You have graced my life with so many wondrous opportunities to love and serve you. And while I cannot believe that you have called me, and given me the gifts necessary to answer that call, I am in need of some time with you alone. I want to be joyful in all that I do, not just simply go through the motions. I want to be close to you, so that others can come to know you through me. Come Holy Spirit..”

Then closing my eyes, I sat in silence in recognition of  that which had kept me busy, my deep desire to serve  and God’s ever presence through it all. Suddenly, I became aware too of the missed moments I had failed to take advantage of, glimpses of God inviting me to sit a spell and simply be.  No sooner was this acknowledgment expressed, than was God’s beautiful gift to me revealed. The vision that now lay before my still closed eyes was that sanctuary that I had pleaded for. Waters so tranquil and glassy that they could not help but reflect the beauty of the heavens that stretched across the bright blue sky.  There was truly no separation between the two, and I understood that this was his lesson as well.

You are my vision..

As St. Ignatius of Loyola’s own experience has shown, if we are to reflect God’s love, joy and beauty in our world this time of contemplation with our Creator and loving Father is essential.  In our surrender, the ripples of fear and doubt are dispelled , and our self reliance gives way to a peace that can only come from the One who has created and ordered it all. So, yes the One who set the sun and stars in motion also set aside for rest and serenity. And, this time need not always be extensive but as was the case here, just a cursory foretaste of what awaits when our time here on earth is done.

For the remainder of this week, whenever I have needed a short break, I have returned in prayer to find God ‘s invitation still present. So much so, I know that the smile and joy that breaks forth has been more than visible to others.  If this were not enough, God whose generosity is not to be outdone, has spoken to me again in Word and song. No surprise here, the responsorial psalm that I led with the children for this Sunday’s liturgy  was …

The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
In green pastures he makes me lie down;
to still waters he leads me;
he restores my soul… (Psalm 23:1-6)

The invitation is there for you as well..to be led beside still waters. Are you in true need of a break in your life? Have you found God calling you to spend some quality time with Him today? He’s there..already waiting for you!

Peace,

Signature

Worth Revisiting: Spiritual Friendship- Love & Salt

“You and I are here and I hope that Christ is between us as a third. Yes most beloved open your heart now and pour whatever you please into the ears of a friend. Gratefully, let us welcome the time, place and leisure” 

Aelred of Rivaulx, Spiritual Friendship.

What is Spiritual Friendship?

It is a bond between souls – one that cannot be created or induced but is the very knitting together by our Creator from whom all love flows.  This is a friendship that mirrors the love that God has for each of us, a give and take of our very selves, without thought of risk or gain. It is an opening of our hearts to one another, willing to share difficult truths and sorrows as well as joys.  Challenging us to grow, it inspires us to be more like Christ in crossing into one another’s lives through and for the sheer reason of love.

In Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship in Letters we are welcomed into the lives of Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith. Two women from very different backgrounds each felt led to take  a creative writing class that would truly be the beginning of an incredible spiritual friendship. While initially there would be a concealment of their own admittance to and searching for faith, their paths with one another would lead to a true discovery of self. Through letter writing they spanned the distance apart, and like Ruth and Naomi realized that they indeed could walk this path together.

For Jessica it was the faith of her childhood which “brought religion to life in a way that theology never could” , through a visible lived faith experience that seemed to permeate everything.  Battling doubts as to Amy’s choosing of her as Confirmation sponsor, Jessica was hopeful that she could help guide Amy into the faith in her own return as well. Meanwhile, continually unfolding the layers of grief of her mother’s death and father’s alienation, Jessica sought to understand her own new vocation as mother.

For Amy, her path from a secular upbringing to conversion was more of a “long crescendo”, an accumulation of experience that spoke to this decision that felt called to make to become a Catholic. Approaching faith initially from a position of trying to prove its truth, she conceded that there was in fact a “leap of faith” beyond reason that was required. When Amy encountered the initial joy of pregnancy to the experience of delivering Claire as stillborn their spiritual friendship was what carried Amy through this difficult time.

Through the sharing of these daily struggles, small and large, and their profound moments of deep questioning they experienced a connection that went beyond a simple exchange of friendship. They had found the freedom and friendship of faith and love that bound them  together like Ruth and Naomi.  Unraveling what it is to have faith, in the midst of grief and through the ups and downs of life, buoyed by the God given companionship in one another.

Have you experienced a friendship like this? Is there someone in your life whom you feel privileged to carry their burdens as well as their joys? If so, take a moment today to say “Thank you” to God for this priceless gift of love.

Peace,

Signature

31 Days of St. Ignatius: Feast of the Senses

This month Loyola Press is inviting each of us to “explore ways of encountering God through using the five senses, inspired by the new book, Taste and See by Ginny Kubitz Moyer”. This celebration culminates on July 31st on the feast day of St. Ignatius. So please  join me along with other Catholic bloggers and authors these 31 days of St. Ignatius,for a month long Ignatian feast of the senses!

Today’s challenge:

Read the excerpt below and immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and inner movements of gratitude for the gifts God has given. Afterwards ask yourself, Were there people or things that I had previously overlooked or even taken for granted in my day?

The First Principle and Foundation
(St. Ignatius of Loyola, as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J.)

“All the things in this world are gifts from God,
Presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
Insofar as they help us to develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives,
They displace God
And so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
Before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
And are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
Wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
A deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:
I want and I choose what better leads
To God’s deepening his life in me.”

Peace,

Signature

An Engaging Faith: 11/16-11/20

You are invited to join me this week for An Engaging Faith on Breadbox Media daily at 4pm EST.

Enter To Win a Copy of
Befriending Silence: Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality by Carl McColman (Ave Maria Press), 
Drawing runs 11/16-11/22 Click to enter..

Finding God within, and encountering the world without!

Carl McColman of Befriending Silence:Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality , Teresa of Avila: An Interior CastleTony Agnesi with Finding God’s Grace in the Everyday , Encore of Mark Hart, aka The Bible Geek and  John Zmirak with Disorientation: How to Go to College Without Losing Your Mind

Monday:Carl McColman, is the author of The Big Book of Christian Mysticism and Answering the Contemplative Call, and his latest Befriending Silence:Discovering the Gifts of Cistercian Spirituality. Carl also writes for Patheos, Huffington Post, and Contemplative Journal. He also has his own popular website and blog devoted to Christian and world mysticism. McColman is a member of the Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit, a contemplative community under the spiritual guidance of Trappist monks. A Catholic in full-time ministry as a retreat leader and speaker, McColman frequently leads workshops and retreats on contemplative spirituality at churches, seminaries, monasteries and retreat centers. He was trained in the practice of Christian contemplation through the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Washington, DC. He received training in spiritual direction from the Institute for Pastoral Studies in Atlanta. He lives in Stone Mountain, Georgia.

Tuesday: Teresa of Avila: An Interior Castle,  Yearn to take an inner pilgrimage, or encounter God in a life changing way? Then, I invite you to join my friend and companion, saint and mystic Teresa of Avila for a time of intimate discovery. Join me for a walk through Carmelite spirituality and a discussion on how this young 16th c.nun still speaks to us today.

Wednesday: Tony Agnesi, who is Finding God’s Grace in Everyday Life is the Senior Vice President of Rubber City Radio Group, WQMX, WONE, and WAKR in Akron and WNWV in Cleveland and member of Radio and Television Hall of Fame. A relentless storyteller, his Sunday blog and Wednesday podcast have an International audience in over 70 counties and has been translated in over 40 languages. Tony and his wife Diane have two adult sons and are members of the Sacred Heart of Jesus parish in Wadsworth, Ohio.

Thursday:Mark Hart serves as Executive Vice President for Life Teen International. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a twenty-year veteran of youth ministry, Mark Hart is one of the most sought-after speakers serving in the Catholic Church, today. The author (or co-author) of over a dozen books, including best-sellers “Blessed are the Bored in Spirit”, “Behold the Mystery”, “Ask the Bible Geek”, “100 Things Every Catholic Teen Should Know” and “The “R” Father”, Mark’s writing style is humorous yet deep, accessible to and enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Friday: John Zmirak a composition teacher at LSU and screenwriting at Tulane University, John has written screenplays for and with director Ronald Maxwell (Gods & Generals and Gettysburg). He was elected alternate delegate to the 1996 Republican Convention and been Press Secretary to Louisiana Governor Mike Foster. His essays, poems, and other works have appeared in many publications including ” “USA Today,” “”The Atlantic,” “The Intercollegiate Review,” and “The National Catholic Register”. From 2000-2004 he served as Senior Editor of “Faith & Family Magazine” and a reporter at “The National Catholic Register.” He works now as an editor for several publishing companies. He joins us today to discuss his latest book, Disorientation: How to Go to College Without Losing Your Mind

Worth Revisiting: Examen-ing My day

Today, I wanted to share with you one of my own personal spiritual reflections, through the Ignatian practice of the Examen. Much like it sounds, the Examen is a prayerful way of looking at our day- examining our feelings, emotions, joys and challenges while being aware of God’s presence and guidance.
Where is God waiting to be discovered in the busyness of my day today?  Don’t forget now through July 31st you can share your thoughts, and pictures on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Vine)  using #FindIggy through Loyola Press.


EXAMEN-ing My Day

“Receive, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your divine will, that you dispose of me. Give me only your love and your grace. With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.” St. Ignatius

On July 31st we celebrate the feast day of St. Ignatius, a former Spanish soldier, who experiencing a profound conversion to the centrality of Christ, much like St. Paul, answered the call to follow. The moment for Iñigo came- that decisive moment when Iñigo’s life would take a radically different turn. In the spring of 1521, a French cannonball would shatter his leg and he would not only physically limp but spiritually be forever changed. After reading the life of Christ and discovering the lives of the saints he began to understand that God was drawing him toward an entirely new way of life. St. Ignatius recognized that putting Christ first, means also discovering anew God’s presence and the Holy Spirit at work in the midst of our daily lives. It is a seeking and then an awareness to God within and without- in all that we see, hear, feel and do. So, in a simple, modified form of the Examen I wish to share with you my day.

1. Become aware of God’s presence.

This morning, before I opened my eyes, I felt You there God. Not ready yet to leave my restful state, I said “thank you” for the day to come, and “yes” to what gifts I might be shown to see and do. I saw your beauty in the sunrise, in the dew on the flowers, and in the little white butterfly family that returns each Summer. I heard your joy in the laughter, albeit giggles, of my children. And I felt your peace as joined in the “Our Father” and prepared my heart to receive such blessed communion at mass.  You are here with me now as I enter into this time of contemplation, Spirit lead me.

2. Review the day with gratitude. 

My heavenly Father, I thank you for both the ups and downs of this day, for you were present in every moment. How I praise you for the gift of friendship with you, for those you have placed in my path, and those opportunities for others to see and know you through me. I give praise also for those who you have given to guide me, who listen, support and advise, who reflect your indescribable love. For those moments that were difficult-oh, the strength you have given me, you never let go. You are amazing God!

3. Pay attention to your emotions. 

Initially, I felt reluctance at starting my day so early, for it is the summer and as I had rationalized I had been so busy the last few weeks.  Yet, I realize that I was in fact procrastinating my pressing “to do” lists, and seeing them as tasks rather than invitations to see You at your best. I was also hesitant to answer the phone from  someone who I have felt continually attempts to  confront peace with frustration and aggravation. However, while I still have much to learn, you gave me courage to stand firm in your grace.

4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. 

Please Lord, be persistent with me and help me to always be loving and forgiving, even when I feel tempted to be less than what you have shown to me.  You see me as I truly am, you know my thoughts and my heart…and you love and forgive. Lord, please strengthen my steps, embolden my spirit, and help me approach each new day with faith, love, peace, and joy.

5. Look toward tomorrow.

The seeds of hope exist today in trusting that tomorrow provides a newness, a desire to cooperate with God in his will for my life. Ask for God’s grace in gratitude for all that God has given, to encounter the joys and challenges of the next day with the help of the Holy Spirit. Finish your Examen by praying the Our Father.

Book Review: Love & Salt, A Spiritual Friendship

“You and I are here and I hope that Christ is between us as a third. Yes most beloved open your heart now and pour whatever you please into the ears of a friend. Gratefully, let us welcome the time, place and leisure” 

Aelred of Rivaulx, Spiritual Friendship.

What is Spiritual Friendship?

It is a bond between souls – one that cannot be created or induced but is the very knitting together by our Creator from whom all love flows.  This is a friendship that mirrors the love that God has for each of us, a give and take of our very selves, without thought of risk or gain. It is an opening of our hearts to one another, willing to share difficult truths and sorrows as well as joys.  Challenging us to grow, it inspires us to be more like Christ in crossing into one another’s lives through and for the sheer reason of love.

In Love and Salt: A Spiritual Friendship in Letters we are welcomed into the lives of Amy Andrews and Jessica Mesman Griffith. Two women from very different backgrounds each felt led to take  a creative writing class that would truly be the beginning of an incredible spiritual friendship. While initially there would be a concealment of their own admittance to and searching for faith, their paths with one another would lead to a true discovery of self. Through letter writing they spanned the distance apart, and like Ruth and Naomi realized that they indeed could walk this path together.

For Jessica it was the faith of her childhood which “brought religion to life in a way that theology never could” , through a visible lived faith experience that seemed to permeate everything.  Battling doubts as to Amy’s choosing of her as Confirmation sponsor, Jessica was hopeful that she could help guide Amy into the faith in her own return as well. Meanwhile, continually unfolding the layers of grief of her mother’s death and father’s alienation, Jessica sought to understand her own new vocation as mother.

For Amy, her path from a secular upbringing to conversion was more of a “long crescendo”, an accumulation of experience that spoke to this decision that felt called to make to become a Catholic. Approaching faith initially from a position of trying to prove its truth, she conceded that there was in fact a “leap of faith” beyond reason that was required. When Amy encountered the initial joy of pregnancy to the experience of delivering Claire as stillborn their spiritual friendship was what carried Amy through this difficult time.

Through the sharing of these daily struggles, small and large, and their profound moments of deep questioning they experienced a connection that went beyond a simple exchange of friendship. They had found the freedom and friendship of faith and love that bound them  together like Ruth and Naomi.  Unraveling what it is to have faith, in the midst of grief and through the ups and downs of life, buoyed by the God given companionship in one another.

Have you experienced a friendship like this? Is there someone in your life whom you feel privileged to carry their burdens as well as their joys? If so, take a moment today to say “Thank you” to God for this priceless gift of love.

Peace,

Signature