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The Principle & Foundation: Ignatian Spirituality in a Nutshell

Ignatian spirituality can be summed up in the few paragraphs at the beginning of the Exercises: sharing life with God and responding in gratitude to God's gifts in freedom.

The Danger of Blind Guides

Our Gospel for this weekend comes from the end of the Sermon on the Plain, which is St. Luke’s version, more or less, of the Sermon on the Mount in St. Matthew’s account. Jesus has been operating as the definitive spiritual teacher here, and at the end of his address, he has some strong things to say about false spiritual teachers. Every spiritual teacher and guru is eager to tell you what’s wrong with you. But unless they’ve surrendered to Christ and found salvation in him themselves, they are absolutely in no position to help you.

Grace and the Aporia of the Gift

The philosopher Jacques Derrida reflected on what he called the aporia or dilemma of the gift. The upshot seems to be that it is virtually impossible truly to give a gift, for gift-giving always locks us into an economy of exchange and obligation. But there is one great exception to the Derridean dilemma, and that is the Lord God. Jesus’ recommendations in the magnificent Gospel for today are not for the natural person, but the supernatural person, who loves with the very love of God.

Love Doesn’t Make Sense

The way Jesus radically loves doesn't make sense if you use the criteria of this world.

A Salt and Empty Earth

I would like to focus on the brief but extremely powerful passage from the book of the prophet Jeremiah, which is our first reading for this weekend. It is taken from the seventeenth chapter of the prophet’s book, and the context is a fierce upbraiding that Jeremiah is giving for the idolatry of the people. What we have here is the pithy formula, the simple program, that ought to govern our spiritual lives at the most fundamental level.

Invasion of Grace, Confession of Sin, Acceptance of Mission

There is a wonderful parallel between our first reading and the Gospel this week. The first reading is taken from the sixth chapter of the book of the prophet Isaiah, and it has to do with the call of Isaiah; and the Gospel is from the fifth chapter of Luke, and it deals with the call of the first disciples of Jesus. Both stories, in remarkably similar ways, lay out the essential dynamics of the spiritual life.

Partial Knowing

Take, Lord, my understanding. Ignatius' prayer calls us to mystery and unknowing.

The Primacy of Love

This week we hear from St. Paul’s brilliant meditation on love. Everything in religion and theology revolves around love. It is at the heart of everything. Nothing matters without love, because God is love. Putting love at the center is the best way to organize and prioritize our entire lives.

Learning Who We Are

The dramatic scene presented in the Book of Nehemiah presents a people who had forgotten their identity and learned, as if for the first time, who they really are. It is the mission of all those who remain invested in the faith of the Church to give testimony to their brothers and sisters in Christ, reminding all that in Christ, we have received a unique and wonderful identity—and it is only when we know who we are that will be able to find our purpose and accomplish the mission that Christ has given to us.

Change! The Kingdom is Near!

What does Jesus mean when he talks about God's "kingdom"? He spends a lot of time offering many metaphors for it.