Worth Revisiting: Doorway Into Our Souls III

Other posts on Teresa of Avila’s, An Interior Castle can be found here: Part 1 and Part 2

Persevering in our journey through the Interior Castle with Teresa of Avila we reflect on the 4th dwelling place..

Finally willing to submit and surrender to God’s working within, we have recognized that the life giving water which suddenly floods our soul is a gratuitous gift. Far greater than we could have imagined, this wellspring of grace inspires, renews and strengthens us to endure with greater patience any trial to come. It is such a gift that we desire to experience this over those things which formerly brought us joy and satisfaction. With the heart we now are drawn toward the shepherd’s voice, a soft gentle whistle that invites us further inward promising peace and love.

The Fifth Dwelling Place

As we progress in our spiritual journey, Teresa observes that we are drawn further inward to a “prayer of union”[1] with God, a ‘cocoon in which we experience a brief dying of self to reemerge reborn in Christ’[2]. In doing so, our transformed soul, like a little butterfly, is “restless” in the things of this world and unable to “recognize itself”. [3] This we see clearly in Teresa’s life experience as she sought to reconcile her contemplative life with the necessary affairs of the world. She describes this experience within the fifth dwelling place as an initial trial or a cross that is carried, when all we desire is to be in union with God again[4] Still, we are humbled when we imagine the smallness of our trials in comparison with the Passion of Christ and His suffering at seeing our offenses. [5] It is here that she also begins to speak of this time in union as courting, or brief glimpses where God grants mercy so that they might get to know the other more, and ultimately desire sole union.[6]

What is it to recognize my soul’s inner transformation in the world? Does my love for God find its intrinsic connection and outer expression with the love of neighbor?

Yet, our desire for union alone is not enough, as we discover a time of still greater trials in preparation for a spiritual engagement in the sixth dwelling place. In this time, Teresa vividly describes pages from her own journey in which she faced disbelief, jealousy, fear, illness, praise and persecution, towards the intimate spiritual favors that she received.  Praise, she notes, is perhaps a greater trial since we know that all good things come from God and our soul, aware of its faults, feels completely undeserving of such favor.[7] Even so, we are given moments of merciful “sunlight” that dispel the trials and awaken us with a resounding “thunderclap” to hear His call again.[8] Thus, when God so desires he pursues further in choosing to silence our outer senses and move our soul into eruptions of ecstasy and intense awakening.[9] Our soul is swept away in the grandeur of God, privy to the mysteries of heaven, and chosen in betrothal as God’s own.[10] This experience is so profound that it leaves a certainty in our soul, deep humility in our hearts, and abundant praise on our lips for the One who has called us into such intimacy.[11] Still, Teresa realized from her own error, that we cannot remain absorbed in anticipation of rapture that we neglect contemplation of Christ and the practice of virtues.[12]

Take a moment: Have there been intense moments of sunlight, rays of mercy in my life when the trials or challenges seemed to be the greatest?   Have I experienced an awakening to God’s intimate presence within- so profoundly that I embrace the encounter, am drawn into wonder and compelled to praise?

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Worth Revisiting: The Gift of Retreat

 :

For the last two years, I have been given the gift of an Ignatian silent directed retreat at Campion Retreat House in Weston, MA . Just the thought of an unhurried, unscheduled day and release of self-imposed expectations is enough to fill my heart with joy. Teeming with insights and brimming with grace, my soul longs to soak up every moment and respond in gratitude.

Reciprocity

The word gift used here is a very full word as it implies not only what is received by the retreatant but what each person brings to the retreat as well.It is a reciprocal relationship, for truly you are only able to receive when you are willing to offer and surrender all.

Sucipe      ~St. Ignatius of Loyola

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

When there is response and surrender, there is an openness and an emptying, brokenness and renewal, discernment and clarity.

Silence

“In nature we find silence – the trees, flowers, and grass grow in silence. The stars, the moon, and the sun move in silence. Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere—in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals. ”
–Mother Teresa,  At Play in God’s Creation

A weekend in pure silence..my family playfully remarked might be difficult for someone, like myself, who loved a good conversation. Yet, as the days drew nearer to retreat I was almost giddy with anticipation of this alone time with my heavenly Father. Oh how we fill our days with “noise”, and clatter our prayer with the unnecessary that it’s a wonder we hear his voice at all sometimes! Silence is, for me, not nothingness, but an absence of the commotion and turbulence we are so accustomed to.

Thus, silence came to me like a wave of His hand, gently clearing away the seemingly immovable objects I had placed in my path. And with each difficulty surrendered to His care, I could once again discern the sound of His voice calling me home to where I belong. No longer a desire to fill the space, I breathed- taking in the fresh and all encompassing movement of the Holy Spirit. Complete and resting in the grace of His presence.

“Oh God, you are my God in and through it all. My heart is free to love you and I long for nothing more”

Encounter

This experience of God is one of encounter, of discovering anew who our Creator is but also who he intends each of us to be. And since we never travel alone in our journey of faith, it is an encounter of Christ in others. While exchanging  only prayerful glances, and smiles my soul did exactly this amidst complete silence. From the elderly Jesuit priests in respite, and those preparing and serving  our meals,  to those also with me on retreat- I encountered both Christ and community.

Even still, there was one whom God especially drew me to. One evening in prayer, I heard the prompting to not sleep yet, but to gather my rosary and the young woman next door and take a rosary walk. Without questioning and gently tapping on her door, I held up my rosary and moved my fingers on the other hand to signal a walk.  Met with the biggest smile, I heard her unspoken yes. Unknowingly, she had just been praying  for a prayer group. There we were joyfully moving the beads on our rosaries and lifting one another in prayer. Every step had purpose and together we embraced the grace of community. Having explored our surroundings previously, our steps quickened as we neared Our Lady in the small grotto. Looking at one another, we couldn’t hide the pure delight and recognition that this place was special to each of us.

– “Lord, I am so overcome by your generosity. You are the answer to our prayers.You call us beyond ourselves to witness your transforming love.You lead us to walk with one another, to share the journey and see your love magnified in the lives of others.”

Perhaps you find it difficult to go away on retreat right now. If so, try to carve instead some time in your day to consider and embrace these fruits of retreat found in reciprocity, silence and encounter.

Peace,

Signature

Worth Revisiting: Praying with Teresa of Avila Part III

Persevering in our journey through the Interior Castle with Teresa of Avila we reflect on the 4th dwelling place..

Finally willing to submit and surrender to God’s working within, we have recognized that the life giving water which suddenly floods our soul is a gratuitous gift. Far greater than we could have imagined, this wellspring of grace inspires, renews and strengthens us to endure with greater patience any trial to come. It is such a gift that we desire to experience this over those things which formerly brought us joy and satisfaction. With the heart we now are drawn toward the shepherd’s voice, a soft gentle whistle that invites us further inward promising peace and love.

The Fifth Dwelling Place

As we progress in our spiritual journey, Teresa observes that we are drawn further inward to a “prayer of union”[1] with God, a ‘cocoon in which we experience a brief dying of self to reemerge reborn in Christ’[2]. In doing so, our transformed soul, like a little butterfly, is “restless” in the things of this world and unable to “recognize itself”. [3] This we see clearly in Teresa’s life experience as she sought to reconcile her contemplative life with the necessary affairs of the world. She describes this experience within the fifth dwelling place as an initial trial or a cross that is carried, when all we desire is to be in union with God again[4] Still, we are humbled when we imagine the smallness of our trials in comparison with the Passion of Christ and His suffering at seeing our offenses. [5] It is here that she also begins to speak of this time in union as courting, or brief glimpses where God grants mercy so that they might get to know the other more, and ultimately desire sole union.[6]

What is it to recognize my soul’s inner transformation in the world? Does my love for God find its intrinsic connection and outer expression with the love of neighbor?

Yet, our desire for union alone is not enough, as we discover a time of still greater trials in preparation for a spiritual engagement in the sixth dwelling place. In this time, Teresa vividly describes pages from her own journey in which she faced disbelief, jealousy, fear, illness, praise and persecution, towards the intimate spiritual favors that she received.  Praise, she notes, is perhaps a greater trial since we know that all good things come from God and our soul, aware of its faults, feels completely undeserving of such favor.[7] Even so, we are given moments of merciful “sunlight” that dispel the trials and awaken us with a resounding “thunderclap” to hear His call again.[8] Thus, when God so desires he pursues further in choosing to silence our outer senses and move our soul into eruptions of ecstasy and intense awakening.[9] Our soul is swept away in the grandeur of God, privy to the mysteries of heaven, and chosen in betrothal as God’s own.[10] This experience is so profound that it leaves a certainty in our soul, deep humility in our hearts, and abundant praise on our lips for the One who has called us into such intimacy.[11] Still, Teresa realized from her own error, that we cannot remain absorbed in anticipation of rapture that we neglect contemplation of Christ and the practice of virtues.[12]

Take a moment: Have there been intense moments of sunlight, rays of mercy in my life when the trials or challenges seemed to be the greatest?   Have I experienced an awakening to God’s intimate presence within- so profoundly that I embrace the encounter, am drawn into wonder and compelled to praise?

Signature


[1] Ibid., p. 92.
[2] Ibid., p. 93.
[3] Ibid., p. 94.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid., p. 96.
[6] Ibid., p. 103.
[7] Ibid., p. 110.
[8] Ibid., pp. 113, 115.
[9] Ibid., p. 127.
[10] Ibid., pp.127-130.
[11] Ibid., p. 132.
[12] Ibid., p. 150.

The Gift of Retreat

 :

 

Last weekend I experienced the gift of an Ignatian silent directed retreat at Campion Retreat House in Weston, MA . Just the thought of an unhurried, unscheduled day and release of self-imposed expectations was enough to fill my heart with joy. Teeming with insights and brimming with grace, my soul longed to soak up every moment and respond in gratitude.

Reciprocity

The word gift used here is a very full word as it implies not only what is received by the retreatant but what each person brings to the retreat as well.It is a reciprocal relationship, for truly you are only able to receive when you are willing to offer and surrender all.

Sucipe      ~St. Ignatius of Loyola

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

When there is response and surrender, there is an openness and an emptying, brokenness and renewal, discernment and clarity.

Silence

“In nature we find silence – the trees, flowers, and grass grow in silence. The stars, the moon, and the sun move in silence. Silence of the heart is necessary so you can hear God everywhere—in the closing of a door, in the person who needs you, in the birds that sing, in the flowers, in the animals. ”
–Mother Teresa,  At Play in God’s Creation

A weekend in pure silence..my family playfully remarked might be difficult for someone, like myself, who loved a good conversation. Yet, as the days drew nearer to retreat I was almost giddy with anticipation of this alone time with my heavenly Father. Oh how we fill our days with “noise”, and clatter our prayer with the unnecessary that it’s a wonder we hear his voice at all sometimes! Silence is, for me, not nothingness, but an absence of the commotion and turbulence we are so accustomed to.

Thus, silence came to me like a wave of His hand, gently clearing away the seemingly immovable objects I had placed in my path. And with each difficulty surrendered to His care, I could once again discern the sound of His voice calling me home to where I belong. No longer a desire to fill the space, I breathed- taking in the fresh and all encompassing movement of the Holy Spirit. Complete and resting in the grace of His presence.

“Oh God, you are my God in and through it all. My heart is free to love you and I long for nothing more”

Encounter

This experience of God is one of encounter, of discovering anew who our Creator is but also who he intends each of us to be. And since we never travel alone in our journey of faith, it is an encounter of Christ in others. While exchanging  only prayerful glances, and smiles my soul did exactly this amidst complete silence. From the elderly Jesuit priests in respite, and those preparing and serving  our meals,  to those also with me on retreat- I encountered both Christ and community.

Even still, there was one whom God especially drew me to. One evening in prayer, I heard the prompting to not sleep yet, but to gather my rosary and the young woman next door and take a rosary walk. Without questioning and gently tapping on her door, I held up my rosary and moved my fingers on the other hand to signal a walk.  Met with the biggest smile, I heard her unspoken yes. Unknowingly, she had just been praying  for a prayer group. There we were joyfully moving the beads on our rosaries and lifting one another in prayer. Every step had purpose and together we embraced the grace of community. Having explored our surroundings previously, our steps quickened as we neared Our Lady in the small grotto. Looking at one another, we couldn’t hide the pure delight and recognition that this place was special to each of us.

– “Lord, I am so overcome by your generosity. You are the answer to our prayers.You call us beyond ourselves to witness your transforming love.You lead us to walk with one another, to share the journey and see your love magnified in the lives of others.”

Perhaps you find it difficult to go away on retreat right now. If so, try to carve instead some time in your day to consider and embrace these fruits of retreat found in reciprocity, silence and encounter.

Peace,

Signature

The Sound of Silence

 :

At the mountain of God, Horeb,
Elijah came to a cave, where he took shelter.
But the word of the LORD came to him,
“Go outside and stand on the mountain before the LORD;
the LORD will be passing by.”
A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains
and crushing rocks before the LORD—
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake—
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.
After the earthquake there was fire—
but the LORD was not in the fire.
After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.

(1 KGS 19:9A; 11-12)

This reading is certainly one of my favorites from the Old Testament, not because of the thundering noise, or the overwhelming displays of nature but because of a whisper. A small nondescript sound, undetectable on one’s own, but always there over, under and amidst a world of noise and chaos. It’s presence reminds us of small everyday ways that God moves and speaks in our lives. So too is the reminder that if we do not stop to listen, get distracted by the things that vie for our attention , or fail to seek the Lord we very well miss the Almighty altogether.

Image may contain: 1 person, tree, grass, plant, outdoor and natureYesterday, I opted to bring my lunch outside to simply sit and share a few uninterrupted moments with the Lord. Like Elijah, I felt the cool breeze, and the sun on my face. I heard the birds and the children at play in the schoolyard. And, while all of this was quite beautiful and pleasing, it wasn’t where I had discovered God.Responding to an inner prompting, I closed my eyes..I quieted the sounds around me till all I could hear was silence.

Yet, this wasn’t the first time I had done so. Many years ago I had been given my 1st penance as a new convert, to go and spend some quiet time alone with God for one week. An unusual penance you say? True, I had been all ready to say a Hail Mary or an Our Father and move on along with my walk as a disciple. However, my very spiritually astute confessor recognized that surrounded by midterms, the law school exam and wedding planning what I was missing. That behind my words and sins of impatience and pride..was a need for silence.

Seemingly nothing, silence is not an absence of anything but a overwhelming abundance of a peaceful state of being. A stillness of body and soul, at rest with one’s self and the world. Unable to be at peace with one’s self or others, then an appreciation of silence will forever evade. For, silence demands a responsiveness and reciprocity to shed restlessness and concerns to simply receive what is there. This is why so many contemplative saints speak of an intimacy with God,because they had been ready to hear and respond to the whisper in their hearts.

If I may encourage,albeit challenge you- take time today to spend alone with God. It need not be a lengthy unbearable stay but a time set aside just to be open and present. What you may receive in doing so is beyond measure.

Peace,

Signature

An Engaging Faith: 2/22-2/26

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

Breaking into your ordinary
with the extraordinary …

We start off our week with Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter with Laura Alary , then Jonathan Montaldo joins us to discuss Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton, Lent & Holy Week  published by Ave Maria Press, Susan Vogt with Blessed By Less: Clearing Your Life of Clutter by Living Lightly.

…an Encore of Monsignor John Enzler with the classic Lenten devotional Way of the Cross.


Laura AlaryMonday:
 Laura Alary
 is a writer, storyteller, and religious educator. She has a B.A. from Dalhousie, an M.Div. from the University of Toronto, and a Ph.D. from University of St. Michael’s College. Laura has three creative and curious children. She leads workshops, teaches university courses, and works with children at a local congregation. Laura lives in Toronto, Canada.She joinsus today to discuss Make Room: A Child’s Guide to Lent and Easter.

 

Tuesday: Jonathan Montaldo has served as the associate director of the Merton Institute for Contemplative Living, the director of the Thomas Merton Center, and as president of the International Thomas Merton Society. He edited or coedited many volumes of Merton’s writing, including The Intimate Merton, Dialogues with Silence, and A Year with Thomas Merton. He presents retreats Lent and Holy Weekinternationally based on Merton’s witness to contemplative living. Montaldo will join us to discuss one of the ten-volume series for small group dialogue, Bridges to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton, Lent & Holy Week  published by Ave Maria Press.

Wednesday: Susan Vogt is a speaker, author of five books, and former editor of the Journal of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers. For over 30 years, Susan has worked in familyBlessed By Less  ministry for the Catholic Church. Susan and her husband have worked with ecumenical and social justice organizations including Parenting for Peace and Justice. Susan is married, has four children, and lives in Covington, Kentucky. She joins us to discuss Blessed By Less: Clearing Your Life of Clutter by Living Lightly.

 

Thursday: Fr. John Julian OJN, has practiced contemplative prayer daily since 1985 as a semi-enclosed monk. He is an Episcopal priest and the author of thirteen books. He has been an actor, a professor, a Letters to Jacob: Mostly about Contemplative Prayerparish priest, a TV commentator, a camp director, a bookseller, the dean of an experimental seminary, the director of social worker training, and has read and studied the work of Julian of Norwich daily for over a quarter century. We will be discussing his book Letters to Jacob: Mostly About Contemplative Prayer.

Felice Fridays!: Margaret Felice, Boston College alumnae and faculty member of Religion and Performing Arts at BC High in Boston MA, Opera Singer and blogger joins us for a fun an engaging talk about all things Catholic! 

Margaret Felice has been praised for her dynamic stage presence, artistic versatility, and “drop-dead gorgeous voice” (Boston Musical Intelligencer). Her repertoire ranges from classical opera to modern musical theater, from early music to the Great American Songbook, but all of her performances have one thing in common: a commitment to entertaining her audience with musical integrity and creative presentation. MargaretFelice.com

 

An Engaging Faith: 11/9-11/13

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 When Trees Say Nothing by Kathleen Deignan (Ave Maria Press) , The Teresa of Avila Prayer Book by Vinita Hampton (Paraclete Press), or Pondering Tidbits of Truth, Vol 1 &2 by Michael Seagriff .
Drawing runs 11/9-11/16 Click to enter..

Seeking out the sacred and embracing its discovery!

Kathleen Deignan  joins us with When Trees Say Nothing, also Vinita Hampton of The Teresa of Avila Prayer Book, an Encore with William Barry, SJ, and Michael Seagriff  returns to talk about  

And Margaret Felice rounds off our week with a Catholic round table of discussion with Felice Fridays!

Monday: Kathleen Deignan CND, A theologian and sacred song writer engaged in liturgical musicianship for four decades, Sister Kathleen Deignan received her masters degree in Spirituality Studies and her doctorate in Historical Theology from Fordham University in New York, where she studied with her mentor, the late theologian, Father Thomas Berry, one of the great inspirations of her life and ministry.Under his direction she began work on her first book, Christ Spirit: The Eschatology of Shaker Christianity. Her later work has focused on
the wisdom legacy of Thomas Merton, whose Writings on Nature she edited – When the Trees Say Nothing (Sorin 2003), and Thomas Merton: A Book of Hours (Sorin 2007) now in its 7th printing having sold 44,000 copies.

Tuesday: Vinita Hampton Wright is a Loyola Press editor and writer of many books, including Days of Deepening Friendship and Simple Acts of Moving Forward, and she blogs for DeepeningFriendship.com. She has been practicing Ignatian spirituality for a decade and writing about it for nearly as long. She leads workshops around the country on the creative-spiritual process–The Soul Tells a Story grew out of this work. Of her full-length novels, Velma Still Cooks in Leeway won a Logos Book-of-the-Year award, and Dwelling Places was selected by Christianity Today as Best Fiction of 2007. She lives in Chicago, IL, with her husband, two dogs, and two cats. Vinita will be sharing her latest book The St. Teresa of Avila Prayer Book.

Wednesday-Encore: William Barry, SJ.,a veteran spiritual director and author who is currently serving as tertian director for the New England Province of the Society of Jesus at the Campion Center in Weston, MA. A native of Worcester, MA, Fr. Barry entered the Society in 1950 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1962. After earning a  Ph.D. in clinical psychology, he taught at the University of Michigan, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and Boston College.  Fr. Barry served the New England Province in a variety of leadership roles including provincial.  Fr. Barry is the author and co-author 15 books. He currently resides at Campion Center where he continues to write and direct retreats. His many works include Letting God Come Close, A Friendship Like No Other, Here’s My Heart, Here’s My Hand, Seek My Face, and God’s Passionate Desire (Loyola Press), and God and You.

Thursday: Michael Seagriff a former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney and Administrative Law Judge for 30 years, Michael now retired is able to more fully pursue his vocation as a Lay Dominican. This vocation created an insatiable desire to learn, study, live and share his Faith. For more ten years he led a Prison Ministry program and has spent the last decade promoting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, serving as coordinator of that devotion in his former parish. Michael blogs at Harvesting the Fruits of Contemplation and is also the author of several books Pondering Tidbits of Truth
(Volume 1&2), I Thirst For Your Love
, and Forgotten Truths To Set Faith Afire! Words to Challenge, Inspire and Instruct.

Felice Fridays!: Margaret Felice, Boston College alumnae and faculty member of Religion and Performing Arts at BC High in Boston MA, Opera Singer and blogger joins us for a fun an engaging talk about all things Catholic!

An Engaging Faith: 11/2-11/6

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 The Fransciscan Heart Of Thomas Merton by Fr. Dan Horan, O.F.M(Ave Maria Press) , Trusting God with St. Terese by Connie Rossini 
Drawing runs 10/19-10/25 Click to enter..

How important are contemplation and dialogue in our daily lives?

Jordan Denari  with Interfaith Dialogue and Islamophobia,  Dan Horan, O.F.M joins us with The Fransciscan Heart Of Thomas Merton, Connie Rossini with The Contemplative Family, An Encore of The Ignatian Solidarity Network(ISN)

And Karee Santos to discuss closing thoughts on the Synod of Bishops On The Family 2015.

Monday: Jordan Denari, is a writer, speaker, and Research Fellow for the Bridge Initiative, a project of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. A voice on interfaith issues, Jordan writes about Islam, Christianity, the Middle East, and Islamophobia. Jordan has published articles in TIME, America, Commonweal, Sojourners, Huffington Post, On Faith, Busted Halo, and other outlets.


Tuesday: Fr. Dan Horan, O.F.M
is a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province (New York) and is currently a Ph.D. student in systematic theology at Boston College. Fr. Dan has previously taught at Siena College and St. Bonaventure University and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the International Thomas Merton Society. The author of many scholarly and popular articles, Fr. Dan received a 2011 Catholic Press Association first-place award for his writing on spirituality. He is the author of several books, including Dating God: Live and Love in the Way of St. Francis, Francis of Assisi and the Future of Faith: Exploring Franciscan Spirituality and Theology in the Modern World, and The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton. In addition to his column in America, Fr. Dan is a regular contributor to Give Us This Day, The Huffington Post and blogs at DatingGod.org. 

Wednesday: Connie RossiniConnie Rossini gives whole families practical help to grow in holiness. She is the author of Trusting God with St. Therese, A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child, and the free ebook Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life. She writes a spirituality column for The Prairie Catholic of the Diocese of New Ulm, Minnesota, and blogs at Contemplative Homeschool. She is also a columnist for SpiritualDirection.com. Her posts have appeared on Catholic Lane and elsewhere. She administers the Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network and owns the Google+ Community Indie Catholic Authors. Connie and her husband Dan have four young sons.

Thursday: The Ignatian Solidarity Network(ISN): a national social justice education and advocacy network inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola will be discussing the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice to be held November 7-9 in Washington D.C. ISN was founded in 2004 and is a lay-led 501(c)3 organization working in partnership with Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners. Executive Director, Chris Kerr and intern Grace Donnelly will be joining us to share their passion for social justice at work in our communities today.

Friday: Karee Santos, will be joining  us again this time to talk about the Synod of Bishops On The Family 2015.. Karee and husband, Manuel P. Santos, M.D., a psychiatrist, began teaching marriage preparation and enrichment classes in New York City in 2003. Their Catholic marriage advice book The Four Keys to Everlasting Love will be published by Ave Maria Press in 2016. She also blogs at Can We Cana? a community to support Catholic Marriages.

Worth Revisiting: Where Imagination is Key..My Ignatian Contemplation

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

What is it to pray with our imagination? Rather than seeing our imagination as problematic, St Ignatius encourages us to invite ourselves into the scripture scene using all our senses. Can I see myself as one of those in the biblical passage? If not why? What might I be feeling if I were? Praying in this way may seem strange at first, but allows us to wholly engage with scripture in a meaningful way all our own!


Where Imagination is Key: My Ignatian Contemplation

As I sat in mass this morning, I was pulled into imagining the scenes that would accompany this scripture. What followed was an afternoon of playful visual creations and ongoing reflection!

Luke 12:1-7

The corruption around us is often pervasive, difficult to see and more difficult to avoid. Following Jesus, there is trust involved, a leaving of the known to embrace the unknown. Yet, I cannot seek to have a foot on both paths, but I am being asked to make a choice.

Just as we cannot keep our light hidden in the darkness..so too will our thoughts and words spoken in darkness be brought into the light. Are there moments, thoughts or words spoken that I wish would remain hidden?  Am I courageous enough to follow Christ without fear and to speak truth in the face of persecution? Listening to Jesus, it hits me..no room for duplicity..it just got real.

Being present here, I begin to feel the excitement of being able to share the beauty of the Gospel openly. On housetops? When have I felt so impassioned of the love of Christ that I desired to live it “out loud” to the world?

I matter to God. So much so, that he is aware of even the most minute detail about me. Are my fellow disciples thinking the same thing as I am now? I am not alone but have the protection of the One who knows and loves me best…better than I know myself.

Wait..do not be afraid? Again, Jesus is reminding me that I need not fear of witnessing the faith. Though most certainly here in this moment it could hold the promise of death. Am I ready to die for the faith? Can I see God’s continual loving protection and grace in the challenges, obstacles and crises in life..big and small?

Peace,

Signature

An Engaging Faith: 10/5-10/9

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 A Friendship Like No Other  by William Barry, SJ(Loyola Press) or Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena by Marge Fenlon
Drawing runs 10/4-10/11 Click to enter..

Discover a well rounded spirituality of contemplation and action-

William Barry, SJ joins us with A Friendship Like No Other, also Michael Seagriff of Harvesting the Fruits of Contemplation, Mary Amore of Mayslake Ministries 

And The Ignatian Solidarity Network to speak on the Ignatian Family Teach-in for Justice on November 7-9th.

Update:Fr. Barry will be joining us on 10/19-Encore w/ Fr. Kevin O’Brien
Monday
: William Barry, SJ.
, is a veteran spiritual director and author who is currently serving as tertian director for the New England Province of the Society of Jesus at the Campion Center in Weston, MA. A native of Worcester, MA, Fr. Barry entered the Society in 1950 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1962. After earning a  Ph.D. in clinical psychology, he taught at the University of Michigan, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and Boston College.  Fr. Barry served the New England Province in a variety of leadership roles including provincial.  Fr. Barry is the author and co-author 15 books. He currently resides at Campion Center where he continues to write and direct retreats. His many works include Letting God Come Close, A Friendship Like No Other, Here’s My Heart, Here’s My Hand, Seek My Face, and God’s Passionate Desire (Loyola Press), and God and You.

Tuesday: Michael Seagriff a former prosecutor, criminal defense attorney and Administrative Law Judge for 30 years, Michael now retired is able to more fully pursue his vocation as a Lay Dominican. This vocation created an insatiable desire to learn, study, live and share his Faith. For more ten years he led a Prison Ministry program and has spent the last decade promoting Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration, serving as coordinator of that devotion in his former parish. Michael blogs at Harvesting the Fruits of Contemplation and is also the author of several books Pondering Tidbits of Truth (Volume 1&2), I Thirst For Your Love, and Forgotten Truths To Set Faith Afire! Words to Challenge, Inspire and Instruct.

Wednesday: Dr. Mary Amore,Executive Director holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Liturgy and Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies from Catholic Theological Union. Dr. Amore is the author of Primary Symbols of Worship and the Call to Participation, as well as the creator of the DVD Series: Eucharist: Pathway of Transformation, Healing and Discipleship published by Pauline Media.  A Cardinal Bernardin Scholar and distinguished member of the North American Academy of Liturgy, Mary has been a presenter at the RE Congress, University of Dallas Ministry Conference, Diocese of New Hampshire Ministry Conference, as well as conducting parish missions, retreats, and adult faith formation programs.  A monthly blogger for CatholicMom.com, and a columnist for Ministry and Liturgy magazine, Dr. Amore  serves as the Executive Director of Mayslake Ministries. 

Thursday: Marge Fenelon is a Catholic author, blogger, speaker, and longtime contributor to a variety of Catholic and secular publications and websites, including Our Sunday Visitor, National Catholic Register, Catholic Digest, and Catholic News Service. Her column, The Whirl, appears in the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, and her blog, Catholic to the Core, is on Patheos. Fenelon is the author of a number of books related to Marian devotion and Catholic family life, includingImitating Mary.Fenelon is a regular guest on Catholic radio, including Relevant Radio’s Morning Air and EWTN’s Son Rise Morning Show. Marge will be joining us to discuss her latest book Our Lady, Undoer of Knots: A Living Novena . 

Friday: The Ignatian Solidarity Network (ISN): a national social justice education and advocacy network inspired by the spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola will be discussing the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice to be held November 7-9 in Washington D.C. ISN was founded in 2004 and is a lay-led 501(c)3 organization working in partnership with Jesuit universities, high schools, and parishes, along with many other Catholic institutions and social justice partners. Executive Director, Chris Kerr and intern Grace Donnelly will be joining us to share their passion for social justice at work in our communities today.