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Examining your own experience might sound like a process of which you ought to be in control, but doing so in the Examen is not about trying to tell your own story. Instead, says Rob Marsh SJ, ‘we ask to hear a little of God’s story being woven from the fabric of our life.’ In third next stage of our Advent Examen, we take up St Ignatius’s invitation ‘to ask an account of my soul’.  Read the guide to the Examen on which the format of our Advent Examen is based.Advent Examen: 1. ...
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The second stage of our Advent Examen is ‘Prayer for the Light’, in which we ask to be able to see what is truly important in our own lives, says Dushan Croos SJ. That prayer can have a particular feel to it in a season that asks us to look backward and forwards. ‘The light for which we wait in Advent illuminates not only the past of the chosen people with their Saving Lord, but also illuminates the new way by which he is about to offer salvation to all women and men as well as to all of...
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St Ignatius of Loyola, in his Spiritual Exercises, encouraged a form of prayerful reflection on our experiences and feelings, known as the Examen, as a way of discovering how God is at work in our lives. Thinking Faith invites you to let this Ignatian way of praying guide you in this season of preparation, as we undertake an Advent Examen. Ruth Holgate helps us to take the first step of the Examen, ‘Thanksgiving’. Why is it important for us to say ‘thank you’ to God?  Read the guide to the...
St Ignatius, Lethem (Photo: James Conway SJ)
This week, the Jesuit parish of St Ignatius, Lethem, in the interior of Guyana, is hosting part of the consultation process ahead of next year’s meeting of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region. Joel Thompson SJ outlines the context in which the synod will take place and reflects on Pope Francis’ objectives for the meeting. ‘As an invitation to discern the “signs of the times”, it comes at a critical moment.’ On 15 October 2017, Pope Francis announced his intention to convene a...
Vietnam War Memorial
Jesus’s words to the daughters of Jerusalem, ‘who were beating their breasts and wailing for him’, can help us think about what we are doing on Remembrance Sunday, suggests James Crampsey SJ. The names of those who have lost their lives in conflict have the power to demand something of us: ‘There is a whole way of seeing and remembering that creates an image of war that summons us to peace.’ At the end of the First World War, whose centenary we commemorate at this time, a list was compiled...
'The Great Amen' by Peter Bridgman
On 14 October, Pope Francis will declare Archbishop Oscar Romero a saint, along with Pope Paul VI and several other beati. Martin Maier SJ, who has a longstanding connection with El Salvador, traces Romero’s personal transformation up to the moment of his martyr’s death in the middle of a sermon. It has been a beatification and canonisation process dogged with obstacles and delays. In El Salvador, the vast majority of the population began venerating Archbishop Oscar Romero as a saint a...
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In October 2018, bishops of the Catholic Church will gather in the Vatican to discuss ‘Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment’. Fr Giacomo Costa SJ, Special Secretary for the Synod of Bishops, describes the unique preparation for this meeting and says that the renewal of solidarity between the generations must be a priority for the Church and the whole of society. The Church is preparing for another synod: the XVth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will be held...
Pope Francis refused to answer reporters’ questions about a letter released on Sunday by Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, instead urging reporters to draw their own conclusions about the former papal nuncio’s accusations. Austen Ivereigh explains that the roots of Francis’ response might be found in an article that Jorge Mario Bergoglio wrote in 1990, in which he claims silence is sometimes the only way to let the spirits reveal themselves. ‘When it’s our turn to live through a difficult...
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In a letter ‘To the People of God’ this week, Pope Francis addressed the suffering caused by clerical abuse, expressing deep sorrow for the ‘heart-wrenching pain’ of victims and giving voice to the shame of the Church. James Hanvey SJ believes that, in trying to be attentive to the Spirit’s voice and presence, the pope’s letter marks a definitive moment from which there can be no turning back. Pope Francis’ letter ‘To the People of God’ marks a definitive moment in the Church’s life. When...
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The collective mind-set in Ireland as the country prepares for Pope Francis’ visit to the World Meeting of Families is a fragile one. The consequences of a momentous vote in favour of repealing the 8th Amendment are being worked out, and the recent revelations about abuse in the USA have caused much discontent. Irish Jesuit Gerry O’Hanlon surveys the religious and political landscape in Ireland, and wonders how recent events might shape the future of the Church. How lies Ireland in the...

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