Spirituality and Catholic Life

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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...
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The images of natural growth that are so prevalent in the Bible opened for Christopher Chapman a new way of thinking about spirituality, which he writes about in the July 2018 issue of The Way. ‘Rather than a movement towards perfection that is individual, self-generated and has overtones of personal achievement, rooting and grounding in God moves us into fruitfulness that is generous and expressive of mutual interdependence.’ Language and imagery have their own potency. They not only...
Pope Francis
13 March 2013 was the date of the historic election of the first Jesuit pope. Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ took the name of Francis and in the five years since, he has captured headlines, imaginations and hearts worldwide. Nicholas Austin SJ looks at one of the foundation stones of Francis’ papacy and, indeed, his life as a Jesuit: discernment. What, according to Pope Francis, does it mean to be a discerning Christian? When Pope Francis was asked, in the famous interview published by Thinking...
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A new audio resource, Women of God, Women of the Cross, from the Jesuits in Britain introduces you to the women who encountered Jesus during his passion. Using our senses to enter into their stories as we listen to them is not an end in itself, says Gemma Simmonds CJ. The application of the senses, as Ignatius calls it, is an instrument of prayer and discernment, and one that extols faculties that have been – and, too often, still are – associated with women and disparaged. Of all the ways...
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The writings of Ignatius of Loyola are not the only texts to which we can turn as we seek to understand and practise discernment. The authors of the New Testament, as they sought to explore what it meant for God to have revealed himself in Christ, had plenty to say about how we can discover where God is, and is not, at work in our lives. Nicholas King SJ identifies certain passages that can aid our Lenten study of discernment. The pope is currently asking the Church to do something at...
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It was precisely an exercise in discernment of spirits that enabled Rob Marsh SJ to offer this Ignatian introduction to the practice that will be the focus of our attention this Lent. Join him in a careful consideration of ‘one particular microsecond of one particular life, and one paragraph of many where Ignatius catalogues the way the good and bad spirit work’, and see an example of Ignatian discernment at work. Just a microsecond of my day:I am looking at my computer and hesitating to...
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Are you familiar with The Way, another journal published by the Jesuits in Britain? Since 1961, The Way has been publishing articles about Christian spirituality, such as this piece by Tom Shufflebotham SJ on the place of the prayer of faith in the Ignatian tradition. Thinking Faith will be offering you one article from each future issue of The Way - why not explore the journal further? When I was 27, my Provincial inflicted me as a teacher – untrained – on schoolboys in Rhodesia/...
birds in flight
Defining the qualities of an Ignatian leader is an all but impossible task, says Sarah Broscombe, and so it should be, because Ignatian leadership cannot be reduced to, ‘a tidy theory with accompanying tools and practices. It is a disposition of mind, heart and will.’ There are, however, certain traits that can usefully act as ‘compass bearings’ for those who want to understand what leadership means in the Ignatian tradition. What is your gut reaction when you hear the word ‘leadership’?...
Woman on bench
Whether you are looking forward to putting your feet up or preparing for an action-packed adventure, the benefits of a good holiday are invaluable, says Gerald O’Mahony SJ. Slowing down and gearing up can both be ways of following God’s will if they lead us towards consolation. I have been asked to explore the biblical, Ignatian and other foundations of a healthy and positive approach to rest and holidays, encouraging readers to really make the most of whatever break they may be intending...

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