Making meaning

Reading Teresa of Avila (Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc., 1979) was like eating that exploding candy popular some years ago.  Couldn’t get enough, couldn’t stop the ricocheting, couldn’t describe the experience.

Then I reread the book off and on: In the usual sequence, back to front, front to middle, middle to either end, skipping around, revisiting parts with relish, reviewing my notes in the margins, comparing and contrasting with what I know, figuratively adding the book to my friends list.

Clear message

With all the mental pingbacks I’ve received since reading the book, the ol’ pea brain’s been so full that sharing has been delayed for lack of knowing where to start.  Still, words and phrases from the book persist, and the message is clear.

Through prayer, humility, and perseverance one can embrace the cross, surrender to God’s will, and receive God’s favors.


Teresa of Avila reminds me of St. Dominic, whose prayerful ways centered on God— mind, body, heart, and soul— and St. Anthony, whose chaplet is based on the Miraculous Responsory.   On a more personal level, too, the book provides illumination for my evolving spirituality.


Days prior to finding Teresa of Avila on the hallway shelf, I’d been praying St. Anthony’s chaplet when, quite unexpectedly, I was filled with great awe and understanding.

Oh, my, gosh!  I get it!  I finally get it!  I know what prayer is!

I love my Franciscan Crown, and I’m greatly appreciative of the Child Jesus chaplet that Sister sent me from Australia; but my St. Anthony chaplet is so powerful that I can’t get through the prayers without tearful emotion.

While my Franciscan Crown and my Child Jesus chaplet are alike in that they commemorate special times in the lives of the Blessed Mother and the Holy Infant— some of the mysteries are even the same— St. Anthony’s chaplet is quite different.

Based on the thirteen favors of the Miraculous Responsory, the chaplet builds commitment to God with St. Anthony’s help and requires not my passive recollection, but my proactive engagement.  Its purpose is to help me become a better person, centered on God as the ultimate prize, as
St. Dominic would say.


Timely lesson

What a revelation to be enlightened by the power of prayer!

Was this God’s perfect timing yet again?  Did he, in his infinite wisdom as teacher extraordinaire, prepare me for Teresa of Avila?

Based on prior knowledge and experience, God’s sense of humor is too weird and too timely for me to think otherwise.

What is prayer then?

St. Dominic planted the seed.  St. Anthony nurtured it.  And St. Teresa harvested the crop.

Prayer isn’t asking God for something.  Prayer is embracing the cross.  Prayer is loving God and doing for God without giving thought to what he can do for us in return.

God grants graces to ease the pain, manage the suffering, address the injustices.  He also grants favors to whomever he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants.  But not because we ask. 

This is why St. Dominic believed that we should center on God alone, not on petitioning for ourselves and others.

God knows what we need, and he provides accordingly.  In his own time.

Making meaning 

Think about it.  How many times have we asked for something and never received it?  Or we received it but not right away?  Or we received something totally different?  Or we received everything beyond our wildest imaginings along with heavily weighted crosses to bear?

I can think of one prayer I carried in my heart for more than two years.  And, oh, the agony I endured until I finally gave it up.  Completely.

Dear God, you know what’s in my heart.  You know the pain I feel.  But I love you more.  You know best.  I give it up to you.  You know what to do.

It took a lot to let go but, little by little, I was okay again.  Then, within less than a year, I received God’s wonderful surprise.  I was so happy that I couldn’t even remember the misery I’d inflicted on myself for worrying all that time before.

Sadly, I know that I can easily revert to wanting my way again.  Only now I understand better than I did before.  Prayer is loving God unconditionally, entrusting our all to his care no matter what.


I beg you, O Lord, give me the fidelity I need to persevere with humility and constancy in this path of continual adherence to your will.  With your help I will make this practice the center of my interior life.

O my God, shall I ever fall again?  Yes, for I am frailty itself; but I know that you will be even more eager to help me rise again than I shall be prone to fall.  My firm resolution and my perseverance will be to “begin again” every day, every instant, humbling myself profoundly for my weakness, but having utter confidence in your will to sanctify my soul (Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD in Divine Intimacy, 2013, p. 19).

St. Dominic’s blessing

May God the Father who made us bless us.  May God the Son send his healing among us.  May God the Holy Spirit move within us and give us eyes to see with, ears to hear with, and hands that your work might be done.  May we walk and preach the word of God to all.  May the angel of peace watch over us and lead us at last by God’s grace to the kingdom.  Amen.

April 30, 2011

Father Robert, OP at the Dominican Shrine of Saint Jude Thaddeus in Chicago shares his Daily Inspiration.

“My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me” (Psalm 63:8).

Jesus said over and over again: “Be not afraid.”  Ambivalence can make life difficult.  [Being] irresolute, uncertain, indecisive… can create… anxiety.  Knowing what to do, how to judge, when to decide are all questions that can be the source of much concern and doubt.  Fears can be immobilizing to needed action.  Often our hearts are ambivalent.  In examining and evaluating one’s lifestyle, we can easily perceive that changes are in order.  This certainly is true in our relationship with God.  Spiritual writers tell us that to grow in the spirit we must let go, abandon things with which we feel most in control.  We need to break free and simplify our lives.  We are advised not to cling to things and patterns of behavior but to “let go” and cling to God.  As we move freely forward in life, trust helps us venture out, holding on tightly to God’s hand.  Trust and confidence in God’s loving care and protection are the assurance we need to move ahead in the new and exciting adventure of loving him more.

June 25, 2011

Jesus, I surrender.  I give you all of my sickness, all of my wounds, all of my grief.  You are my only hope, Lord.  Stretch out your hand and touch me with your love (the Word among us, June 2011, p. 44).

July 5, 2011

Father Robert, OP adds this Daily Inspiration.

One of his disciples said; “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1-4).

Sometime when you want to find new meaning in saying the Lord’s Prayer consider the advice of St. Teresa of Avila by saying “The Our Father” backwards.  Start from the end verse.  Mediate on each line and thought as you move toward the beginning.  It starts simply by asking God to help us fight against evil, then proceeds to asking for the needs we have to sustain our lives each day— our daily bread— this is “all that keeps us going,” physically and spiritually and then ends with the grand praise of praise, seeking God’s kingdom on earth in our hearts and in all we do.  It closes with the loving title addressed to God the Father, Abba, calling God our loving, “darling” father.

July 10, 2011

Welcome, Master of the harvest!  Sow your word in every part of me.  Grow whatever crop you desire.  I want to know you and love you more each day (the Word among us, July/August 2011, p. 31).

August 3, 2012

“The value of persistent prayer is not that God will hear us, but that we will finally hear God” (William McGill).

August 17, 2012

“Pray for the grace” is an excerpt from The Ignatian Adventure (Kevin O’Brien, SJ;

Ignatian spirituality taps into our deepest desires.  In them we can discern God’s noble desires for us.

Thus, at the beginning of each prayer period, Ignatius advises that we pray for a certain grace, or gift from God: “Ask God our Lord for what I want and desire” (SE 48).  Simply naming what we deeply desire opens us to receive the gift God wants to give us.  Moreover, praying for a grace helps us to notice when we actually receive that gift later on.  In this way, we realize that the grace is not of our own making but is the result of God’s generosity to us.  Finally, praying out of our desires grounds us in the present, keeping our prayer “real.”

August 12, 2014

“If we patiently accept through love all that God allows to happen, then we will begin to taste even here on earth something of the delights the saints experience in heaven”
(St. Jane Frances de Chantal).

October 16, 2014

“Prayer is ‘a conscious turning to the invisible friend who is always near'” (St. Teresa of Avila).

March 20, 2015

“It is essential to begin the practice of prayer with a firm resolution of persevering in it” (St. Teresa of Avila).

April 22, 2015

Faith believes, hope prays, and charity begs in order to give to others.  Humility of heart forms the prayer, confidence speaks it, and perseverance triumphs over God himself (St. Peter Julian Eymard).

May 19, 2015

“To speak heart to heart with God, you must love to be with him alone” (St. Peter Celestine).

May 22, 2015

Just as God, by the ministry of nature, gives to each animal instincts needed for its preservation and the exercise of its natural properties, so too, if we do not resist God’s grace, he gives to each of us the inspirations needed to live, work, and preserve ourselves in the spiritual life (St. Francis de Sales in Finding God’s will for you).

June 5, 2015

When praying to God, we can only ask for God since he is everything and, in giving himself, he gives us all.  In asking for him, we ask for all.  When we possess him, we can wish and ask for nothing more (Dom Augustin Guillerand in The Prayer of the Presence of God).

August 8, 2015

“We must sow the seed, not hoard it” (St. Dominic).

August 29, 2015

“No one can receive anything except what is given him from heaven” (John 3:27).

August 30, 2015

Jesus is waiting for you in the chapel.  Go and find him when your strength and patience are giving out, when you feel lonely and helpless.  Say to him: “You know well what is happening, my dear Jesus.  I have only you.  Come to my aid….”  And then go your way.  And don’t worry about knowing how you are going to manage.  It is enough to have told our good Lord.  He has an excellent memory (St. Jeanne Jugan).

November 13, 2015

If God seems slow in responding, it is because he is preparing a better gift.  He will not deny us.  God withholds what you are not yet ready for.  He wants you to have a lively desire for his greatest gifts.  All of which is to say, pray always and do not lose heart (St. Augustine).

November 18, 2015

“We cultivate a very small field for Christ; but we love it, knowing that God does not require great achievements but a heart that holds back nothing for self” (St. Rose Philippine Duchesne).

June 16, 2016

“To love God is something greater than to know him” (St. Thomas Aquinas).

August 20, 2016

There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge; that is curiosity.  There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others; that is vanity.  There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve; that is love (St. Bernard).

September 19, 2016

God answers every prayer, but sometimes the answer is no.  And, if it is no, we’re better off— if we love God.  That’s why Jesus wants us to say “thy will be done” in the Our Father.  That is the sure way to happiness— the will of God (Fr. T. G. Morrow in Overcoming Sinful Anger).

January 22, 2017

God is my longing.  In whatever way God comes.  In every form, through every experience and circumstance, painful or otherwise.  God.  Only God (Paula D’Arcy in The Divine Spark).

June 15, 2017

Jesus wants us to trust him to take care of all our yesterdays and tomorrows.  He looks for souls who are willing to see the Father in every happening, then give that circumstance to him to solve, justify, make right, or straighten out.  It is not easy but it is peaceful, for we are bearing good fruit.  God is bearing fruit within us (Mother Angelica on Suffering and Burnout).

June 28, 2017

The only thing that matters in life is doing the will of God.  Once you are doing the will of God, then everything else matters (Hubert van Zeller in Holiness for Housewives).

June 30, 2017

I will attempt, day by day, to break my will into pieces. I want to do God’s holy will, not my own (St. Gabriel Possenti).

July 11, 2018

We must not gauge our devotion by what we feel, but rather by what we are ready to endure.  Indeed, it often happens that God tries the most advanced by letting them experience a coldness and deadness in prayer such as ordinary people seldom experience and none could endure in such times if their love for God were not very deep and strong, ruling and sustaining the will (Fr. Basil W. Maturin in Spiritual Guidelines for Souls Seeking God).


Links of interest…  Carmelites…  Dominican heart from the beginning…  Fight or flight & the wings of prayer…  Focus on holiness: Rejoice & be glad…  Hidden grace of unanswered prayers…  Humble French priest is teaching me to find peace & growth in suffering…  Jesus asks a question…  Letting go…  Love is a call to action (homily)…  Meditations (book review)…  Prayer: petition / six things necessary…  Simple five-step strategy to figure out what you really want…  St. Dominic: about (more) / & the living word (seed) / contemplation / prayer: biographical documentsblessing (song) – feast day – for various virtues – for vocation – litany – nine ways (more) – novena…  St. Jeanne Jugan: 1792-1879 / about / beacon / blog / books / canonization (video; 2009) / contact / Little Sisters of the Poor / memorial (YouTube) / sayings…  Teresa of Avila: 1515-1582 / about / author / biography / bookmark / books / bread recipe / chaplet prayers / convent (Avila) / doctor (1970) / feast (Oct 15) / history / interior castle (1921 book online) / patron / poems / prayer / profile / reformer / quotes / saint / timeline / works…  Teresian Carmel…  Wisdom from a 93-year-old singing nun…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Bearing one’s crosses…  Dear God…  Gift of love…  Growing pains…  In good time…  Mary’s miraculous medal…  Mary’s seven joys…  My Franciscan Crown…  One prayer…  Prayerful ways…  Seven dwelling places…  Si quaeris miracula…  Sweet Jesus…  Teresa of Avila…  Venerable Margaret

Prayerful ways


On Ash Wednesday, Fr. Xaviour shared his thoughts.

Lent is a time of prayer and living in God’s world.  No matter where we are, God is there.

The three pieties— prayer, fasting, and almsgiving— are the means to increase our righteousness.  Nothing in the world can give us self-worth, self-esteem, except goodness and righteousness.  [Therefore,] Jesus invites us to undertake this journey.

The ashes signify life as St. Paul’s “blink of an eye.”  Our life on earth is brief.  We need to convert, to reconcile with God; so Lent is an invitation to join in a faith journey.

Let’s participate honestly with a full heart.

Giving of oneself

Last year around this time, I attended one of Sr. Teresita’s talks at St. Paul’s.

Sister said that Lent is especially significant because it’s a time for true almsgiving.  “Self-denial, forgiveness, and generosity become works of charity.”  She added that giving perfects love, which is why almsgiving occurs during Lent.

Think of the widow’s true [sacrificial] gift.  She gave all she had, unlike those who give only what they have left over.

That made me think back to the bulletin board caption in my CCE classroom: Lent is… doing for God. 

My first graders had pasted pictures cut from magazines onto the big crosses they’d drawn to show what Lent meant to them.  Remembering made me smile.  Kids have such a simple way of expressing what adults sometimes can’t.  Their prayerful ways— short, sweet— can be so profound.

I focused back on Sister’s talk.

Lent is the only time that forgiveness is part of a church season.  Our presence is our gift to each other.  God gives all without changing, unlike those of us who change without giving.  This makes us lose a lot in the process.

Dominic’s thoughts

Prayer card from Luz P. Garcia, OP

Sr. Teresita shared Dominic’s insight: God wants us centered on him alone.

When we place our trust and devotion in God, he takes care of all our needs.  Dominic believed that the only way we can truly be focused on God is through one’s mind, body, heart, and soul.

Sister then introduced Dominic’s nine prayerful ways (orientations).

First is the profound inclination,  a silent prayer which suggests that we are nothing before God.  Bending forward more and more, one says, “Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”  Then, straightening back up, one says, “As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen.”

Second is the veñia, the heartfelt promise to God.

It’s kissing the scapular or the joy of commitment in the nuns’ voices when they take their vows.  This is similar to celebrating World Marriage Day nowadays.

Third is discipline.  Dominic’s daily practice was to make amends through flagellation to make amends on behalf of heretics in need of conversion.

Sister teased that we might not want to do that but could make amends in other ways instead.  Lenten practices come to mind at the moment.

Fourth is genuflection, or signing oneself with holy water, on entering and leaving the church.

Fifth is contemplation, which is different from meditation.  The eyes are concentrated on the cross, which to Catholics represents Jesus Christ.

Sr. Teresita asked Sr. Guada to tell us the story she heard as a novice.

A man complained about the size of his cross, so he cut it bit by bit to lighten his load.  On reaching the river, his cross was too short.  The man couldn’t reach his destination because he couldn’t walk safely across to the other side.  The lesson is that we all have burdens in life which we must bear.  When we trust God, he provides the graces we need to endure difficult times.

Sr. Teresita continued with Dominic’s prayerful ways.

Sixth is arms outstretched so that the body resembles a cross.

Where does it hurt?  How do the palms feel?  This is a supplication prayer.

Sister said that Sr. Catalina, the Mother General who’s now eighty-seven, prays the entire rosary with outstretched arms while on her knees.  She’s so focused that she’s oblivious to the discomfort of her posturing.

Seventh is hands clasped like an arrow pointing to heaven. 

Eighth is meditation of the Word, which includes not only reading the letters of St. Paul, the gospel of St. Matthew, and other church works for Bible study, Bible sharing, or lectura divina; but also “the contemplation of waiting and gazing.”

Ninth is praying on the journey.

St. Dominic, an aesthetic, a mystic, spoke to and about God only.  He purposely walked on sharp rocks to feel the pain.

Then Sr. Teresita concluded with this thought:

Life is like renting a hotel room.  Once the trip’s over, one leaves it behind.  All we earn is enjoyed in this life, but we don’t take any of it with us.  Ours is a pilgrim journey during which true prayer makes us lovable to others and to God.

Struggles and choices

On the first Sunday of Lent, Father said that Lent is a time when we contemplate Jesus’s suffering in the desert.  Although we’re not in the wilderness, we, too, experience many internal struggles.  Nevertheless, through prayer and self-denial we can overcome temptations, make better choices in life, and improve our relationship with God and with those around us.  


Having reached this point in my writing I was stumped.

How can I reconcile Dominic’s nine prayerful ways and Father’s thoughts on Lent with ideas I don’t yet have?  I don’t think I can finish this. 

Feeling frustrated with no quick answer in mind I walked away from my thoughtful spot to ruminate the dilemma further.  The Holy Spirit will figure it out for me.

Sure enough, I was inspired.  The solution is to make a connection to what I know and love!

Immediately, Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences Theory (1983) came to mind.

Proactive engagement

In the classroom, I employed diverse teaching methods to propel the learner into active participation within and beyond the school environment.

Students experienced seriously discomforting disequilibrium with my thinking outside the box lessons.  Most of my kids were complacent toward learning; unreceptive to new ideas; and, certainly, unaccustomed to creative problem solving.  They thought they had to sit still to work in a quiet environment! 

I offered the freedom of movement in a collaborative setting.

Give it a try.  See what you think.

With encouragement and patience, students adjusted to a very different classroom environment.  By mixing and matching teaching and learning styles, I addressed their socioemotional and kinesthetic needs as well as their intellect.

My kids found that it was okay to explore learning style possibilities— at their tables, on the floor, in the corner, standing, sitting, walking around, alone, and/or with others— as long as they focused on student achievement.

My kids also discovered that productivity is fun!  Tackling challenges became intuitive, and student achievement skyrocketed.  Through holistic engagement my students achieved greatness!


Prayer, like the classroom, is wonderful for experimentation.  It’s an ongoing science fair project requiring purposeful tending, ownership, responsibility, and acceptance regardless of the outcome.  Its unique contribution is the ultimate goal; its usefulness to others, its overall success.

Although spirituality and classroom activity may seem different, both require a concerted effort of one’s mind, body, heart, and soul in pursuing a life-altering goal.  In education, it’s preparing for life in the real world; in religion, it’s striving for heaven in the afterlife.  To achieve one must remain focused on the ultimate prize.

Choosing God

To Dominic that meant centering on God alone.  He believed that, while it’s good to pray (petition) for others and for ourselves, there’s no need to do so.  God knows what’s good and right for us.  He longs to be near us, to take care of us, to love us.  But we first have to let him in! 

Years ago I read that God is always with us.  Yet we choose not to be with him! 

Sr. Margaret told us,

God waits patiently.  He chose us before we were born, so he knows who and what we are.  It’s just a matter of time before we return to him.

With Dominic there was no hesitation.  He immersed himself in purposeful prayer and posturing so that God was always sure of his fidelity.  He focused on God alone.

Treasuring God

Pondering what Fr. Xaviour and Sr. Teresita said I understand that Lent is a very special time of reflection and prayer.

Because God revealed his love for us through his son we remember Jesus suffering in the desert, his self-denial, his dying on the cross for us, and his resurrection.  Above all, however, we remember that the way Jesus gave his all to and for us is the way God avails himself to us daily.

Moreover, to take a lesson from St. Dominic is to invite God into one’s life; so give wholeheartedly without hesitation, pray with earnest resolve, remember that God is always present, and aim for God’s listening ear as a year ’round commitment.  “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Matthew. 6:21).


God. our Father, in your infinite love and goodness you have shown us that prayer, fasting, and almsgiving are remedies for sin.  Accept the humble admission of our guilt, and when our conscience weighs us down let your unfailing mercy raise us up.  Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

February 25, 2012

What you are now isn’t an obstacle to what you can become— not to the Lord.  He has had a vision for your life from the moment you were conceived.  And that vision is one of blessing, not of curse.  It’s a vision of fullness, not emptiness.  It’s a vision in which every part of your personality
— all of your talents, your character traits, and even your unique quirks— is filled with his life and is used to build his kingdom (the Word among us, Lent 2012, p. 31).

August 1, 2012

God [is] the merchant, and each of us [is] the treasure.  Our heavenly Father is [dedicated] to winning our hearts.  He longs for us and will stop at nothing to find us and possess us as his very own.

Relentless in his pursuit of us, God woos us tirelessly.  He speaks to us in a thousand different ways, trying to capture our attention and our imagination.  He even [sent] his own Son, who sacrificed his life, in order to obtain us as his treasure.  It was a costly sacrifice indeed, but this only shows how valuable we are to him (the Word among us, July/August 2012, p. 52).

April 6, 2013

Jesus, thank you for inviting me to become your companion.  Show me how to share your love with those around me (the Word among us, April 2013,
p. 26).

July 31, 2013

Lord, you are the greatest treasure I could ever find.  Help me wake up with your cross on my mind and your praises on my lips, for the treasure that you have given me will last for eternity! (the Word among us, July/August 2013, p. 50).

 August 20, 2013

God sent an angel to let Gideon know the great call on his life and his great potential.  What must Gideon have thought when the angel called him a “champion?”

SJC3313-17The fact is, the Lord is looking for you, too.  That’s true whether you are like Gideon, with a calling that you’re not yet aware of, or whether you are already doing his will. He is looking “over the whole earth” to encourage those who want to serve him and to help them move to the next level of discipleship (2 Chronicles 16:9).  He knows your real name. He sees who you are and who you can become.  If you consider yourself insignificant, he will tell you how important you really are.  If you have become convinced that you’re finished, let him tell you about the new beginnings he has in mind for you (the Word among us, July/August 2013, p. 70).

September 17, 2013

“It is… necessary for us to get into the way of always and instinctively turning to God” (St. Robert Bellarmine).

September 20, 2013

“Hold fast to the will of God, and with all your heart fight the good fight under the leadership of Jesus” (St. Andrew Kim Tae-gŏn).

October 3, 2013

Thank you, Father, for inviting me to spend time talking with you as a friend.  Open my heart to listen attentively to what you are saying today (the Word among us, October 2013, p. 23).

November 4, 2013

Lord, I want to know you more.  Help me to know your ways.  Teach me, Lord, and lead me (the Word among us, November 2013, p. 25).

December 4, 2013

“Lord, do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left, but let your good Spirit guide me along the straight path” (St. John Damascene, c. 676-749).

September 9, 2014

To love God as he ought to be loved, we must be detached from all temporal love.  We must love nothing but him, or if we love anything else, we must love it only for his sake (St. Peter Claver).

February 18, 2015

There is only one thing to do here below: to love Jesus, to win souls for him so that he may be loved.  Let us seize with jealous care every least opportunity of self-sacrifice.  Let us refuse him nothing— he does so want our love! (St. Thérèse of Lisieux).

March 12, 2015

“God wishes to be asked, he wishes to be forced; he wishes, in a certain manner, to be overcome by our prayer” (St. Gregory the Great).

April 1, 2015

When we began this foray into the desert, we looked at the temptations that faced Jesus and, by extension, all of us.  The desert represents a stripping away so as to make the fundamental things appear.  In the desert, there are no distractions or diversions or secondary matters.  Everything is basic, necessary, simple.  One survives or one doesn’t.  One discovers in the desert strengths and weaknesses he didn’t know he had (Fr. Robert Barron).

April 5, 2015

What does it mean that Jesus is risen?  It means that the love of God is stronger than evil and death itself; it means that the love of God can transform our lives and let those desert places in our hearts bloom.  The love of God can do this! (Pope Francis).

June 30, 2015

Dominic’s times, like our own, were marked with strife, turmoil, and lack of solidarity among people.  Dominic did not despair; he did not stand idly by.  He prayed to know God’s will and for the strength to do it (Aquinas College).

June 13, 2016

When praying to God, we can only ask for God, since he is everything; and, in giving himself, he gives us all.  In asking for him, we ask for all.  When we possess him, we can wish and ask for nothing more (Dom Augustin Guillerand in The Prayer of the Presence of God).

April 3, 2017

Lent calls us back to seeing that God loves us as we are and wants to heal us.  We do the right things for the wrong reasons and sometimes do the wrong things with the best of intentions.  Even something objectively wrong can become, through God’s grace, a sign of something holy and healing, a marker along our path that leads us home to God (Diane M. Houdek in The Hope of Lent).

June 19, 2017

“Jesus revealed to us the divinity of God, making it possible for us to enter into a profound relationship with him” (Fr. Maurice Emelu in Our Journey to God: An African Priest Explores the Power of Faith).

October 21, 2017

Saint Francis spent almost half of his life on and in the mountains, and the other half he spent on the road entering and leaving cities.  As Jesus walked up the mountain to pray, then descended and moved among the people, so did Francis and the early brothers, discovering, contemplating, and sanctifying new places, as they continued to walk beyond their own history, as do we if we learn to walk into and out of our own Assisi as pilgrims.

To be a pilgrim means to let go of the need to be attached to one place only.  Space, in turn, then becomes the place that home usually is.  It requires traveling lightly, open to and expecting surprises and blessings from those we meet along the way— a foretaste of journey’s end (Murray Bodo, OFM in Enter Assisi: An Invitation to Franciscan Spirituality).

January 13, 2018

It’s easy to become discouraged that we do not pray as often or with the intensity that Saint Francis had.  Yet prayer is the last place where we should compare ourselves to others.  We don’t know if another person’s prayer reflects a life already turned over to God’s grace or a life with much to be relinquished to God’s grace.  Long prayers are not necessarily better.  What matters is the integrity of prayer, the openness the person praying shows to conversion to the Lord’s ways (Pat McCloskey, OFM in Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of Assisi).

January 3, 2020

“If our Lord, who is the head of the body to which we belong, prayed so often, then we, the members of that body, must follow his lead” (Dom Hubert van Zeller in Prayer and the Will of God).


Links of interest…  Ash Wednesday in two minutes (YouTube)…  Boredom: Stir it up…  Catholic: culture / digest / mom…  Come pray the rosary (virtual)…  Dominican: four pillars (more) / heart from the beginninglitanies / nine ways of prayer (more) / order of preachers / prayer / principles & practice (book) / religious missionaries (more – nun run) / saints (litanies – more) / spirituality (pdf) / venia & kissing the scapular…  Five types of crosses…  Gardner’s multiple intelligences…  How to pray like a child at play…  I might just be like the scientists who studied prayer & concluded it didn’t work…  Imagination in prayer…  In what posture did the early Christians pray…  Laity: background (rule) / becoming / Southern…  Lent: call to conversion / called to be saints / cross (glory) / customs / days of penance / ecospirituality resources (downloads; blog) / fasting / first four days / history / Ignatian workout / journey (more) / overview / passages / prayers (praying – serenity) / seven penitential psalms (6, 31, 37, 50, 101, 129, 142) / this time / this year / toward the light (videos) / what is…  Our bodies were designed by God to move…  Prayer & petition…  Scapular: brown (St. Simon Stock) / how to use / origin / prophecy / white (St. Dominic)…  She’s a tertiary…  St. Dominic: about / astronomers / card / hour / mission: to pray, to preach, to blessposturing (more) / prayers / rosary (history – more) / success (& failures)…  Who do you see…  the Word among us

WP posts…  Concrete abstraction…  Familiar yet new…  Forever grateful…  Growing pains…  Lady of sorrows…  Making meaning…  Santo Niño…  Simple yet profound…  St. Anthony Claret…  St. Jude novena