The Two Poles of Discernment

From the outstanding collection of wisdom, An Ignatian Book of Days:

How does God call us to the right path? Usually this awareness comes through a process of discerning both the interior and the worldly poles of vocation. God’s Spirit works in the depths of our humanity to help us become aware of our gifts and aspirations, and the same Spirit works through our experience to point out what the world needs from us. Often the Spirit helps us notice those problems that our talents are uniquely suited to address. Grace connects these two poles like a spark that arcs between them.

—William Spohn, SJ, “The Chosen Path,” America magazine

Two Books to Inspire You throughout 2015

This year we are providing several options for daily reading, reflection, and meditation. Whether you’re a mom of young children or a retiree wanting to delve more into Ignatian wisdom, these books provide high-quality material in voices you will recognize.

Wholehearted Living: Five-Minute Reflections for Modern Moms by Jennifer Grant

Wholehearted Living: Five-Minute Reflections for Modern Moms

Wholehearted Living is a smart, accessible, and inspiring book for moms who don’t have much time, but long to connect deeply with their own selves, their families, friends, and with God. “Doing it all” and “having it all” have become barriers for women, barbed judgments for moms especially. At a time when it seems that moms should be everything to everyone—and failing at one implies failing at all!—Wholehearted Living cuts through the uncertainty and self-shame and confidently proclaims: You’re doing great, just as you are.

Designed to be a daily moment of peace and reflection, Wholehearted Living addresses the authentic concerns, fears, and joys that women experience as they strive against the imperfect “have it all” mentality. Every month presents its own practice relating to reflection, risk, or rest, and each page echoes the needs of modern moms. Wholehearted Living doesn’t try to change who you are; it helps you thrive where you are.

Author: Jennifer Grant is the author of three previous works of nonfiction: Love You More, MOMumental, and Disquiet Time. A former health and parenting columnist for the Chicago Tribune and Sun Times Media newspapers, Grant contributes to her.meneutics, Fullfill, and other publications. Grant graduated from Wheaton College (BA) and Southern Methodist University (MA), and lives with her husband and four children in the suburbs of Chicago. Find her online at jennifergrant.com.

An Ignatian Book of Days by Jim Manney

An Ignatian Book of Days

Filled with insights and reflections from favorite Ignatian leaders, An Ignatian Book of Days sees God as actively involved in the world and intimately involved with us in every moment and place. Ignatian spirituality is a way to pray, an approach to making decisions, a point of view about God, and a practical guide to everyday life. An Ignatian Book of Days is the only 365-daily reading book written explicitly from the point of view of Ignatian spirituality; it is an invitation to help attune ourselves to the Ignatian conviction that we can find God in all things, that our personal experience can provide authentic knowledge of God, and that we can clearly see, feel, and experience God’s presence through an Ignatian lens in our daily lives.

Accessible, inviting, richly rewarding, and filled with insights and reflections from favorite Ignatian leaders, including James Martin, SJ, Pedro Arrupe, SJ, Margaret Silf, and of course, St. Ignatius, An Ignatian Book of Days sees God as actively involved in the world and intimately involved with us in every moment and place.

Author: Jim Manney is a popular writer on Ignatian topics (What’s Your Decision?, A Simple, Life-Changing Prayer, God Finds Us) as well as the editor of many books on Ignatian spirituality, including What Is Ignatian Spirituality?

Other Fall books by Loyola Press:

Grace-Filled Days for 2015

It’s that time of year—when our new fall books are coming out. Loyola Press is a Jesuit ministry, and we’re quite choosy about the books we publish. So by the time I have books to talk about, I have likely edited them and I believe they can help in the great mercy of healing this world.

2015: A Book of Grace-Filled Days

2015: A Book of Grace-Filled Days

At times we’re overwhelmed by life’s hectic pace. When it’s time for meditation and prayer, we’re too tired or distracted to concentrate. A Book of Grace-Filled Days offers an approach to Scripture and personal meditation that opens up a window of grace every day of the year.

  • Lectionary-based Scripture readings are matched with daily meditations.
  • Page-a-day calendar format begins with Advent 2014 and runs through the end of calendar year 2015.
  • Notes major feast days, solemnities, and holidays.

Prayer doesn’t always have to take a lot of time—we can spend a few quiet moments with God and be united with our church community in prayer through the lectionary-based meditations.

Author: Nancy Jo Sullivan is the author of five books and is a frequent speaker at both the local and national levels. She is a columnist for two popular websites: Catholic Exchange and Catholic Mom. Sullivan lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

We also have 2015: A Book of Grace-Filled Days in Spanish, written especially for that audience.

2015: Un año lleno de gracia

2015: Un año lleno de gracia comienza con el inicio del año litúrgico en Adviento de 2014 y continua durante todo el año 2015. Las lecturas y meditaciones tienen en cuenta los días santos más importantes, especialmente las solemnidades, los días festivos y las conmemoraciones de santos destacados.

Author: Santiago Cortés-Sjöberg has 18 years of pastoral ministry, teaching, and writing experience. He is managing editor of curricula at Loyola Press, a master catechist, a faculty member at the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Liturgical Hispanic Institute, and an adjunct professor at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary.

Worry and Prayer Aren’t the Same Thing

Love Will Steer Me True: A Mother and Daughter’s Conversations on Life, Love, and God

I’m going to let Jane Knuth speak for herself today. Here’s an excerpt from Love Will Steer Me True: A Mother and Daughter’s Conversations on Life, Love, and God.

Both Ellen and I are seeking answers, but we are not asking each other. At this moment, a world apart, the parent-child relationship is no longer the sweet sharing of victories, losses, and endless questions. The questions have stopped somewhere in the middle of my valuable advice, my thoroughly reasoned apologetics, and my avalanche of nagging. I have spent decades glimpsing Jesus in the writings of saints, in the mystery of forgiveness, in the ancient dialogue of liturgy, and in people who are suffering. This sheep-herding carpenter shows up when I need his strength, and waits patiently by when I muddle around with my unhelpful schemes for making myself and everyone else perfect.

Ellen doesn’t read the books I give her, she doesn’t attend Mass or go to confession. She is still the loving, giving person who will bend over backwards to cheer a person who is glum, who will make each new acquaintance into a friend, and who never clings to a grudge. She talks to Jesus, she acts like Jesus, but she doesn’t often want to come to his house. Jesus seems to be telling me not to worry about that too much, but I ignore his advice because he never worries enough for my taste.

There are no more chances to brace Ellen for a universe created of troubles and difficulties. I can no longer warn her against the creeping disaster of a hardened heart. She refuses to hear me telling her to guard against too much wanting and getting. Dean and I are left watching from a distance as she pulls away from us and—our biggest worry—away from God.

“Do you remember when I told you,” I begin slowly [talking to Dean], “how Ellen has been restoring that Buddhist shrine on the school grounds?” [Ellen is teaching school in Japan.]

“Uh huh.”

“What do you think is going on with that?”

“I think she grew up with St. Francis in the backyard.”

I glance sharply at him. “But St. Francis and Buddha are not the same thing.”

“Shrines are a place to pray. . . . It doesn’t seem that different to me.”

“Sure it’s different: Mary and Francis are Christian, and Buddha is . . . Buddhist. Plus, the trees around the jizo have some kind of Shinto spirits attached to them.”

He nods. “You know what? You’re right. We need to create some balance on our side of the planet. One Francis is not enough to counter a jizo and several Shinto tree spirits. I’ve been thinking that it’s long past time for me to nail some theses to the front door—that should help.”

He grins at me sympathetically. “Don’t worry, Jane. Pray. Worry and prayer aren’t the same thing.”

“Okay, I’m trying. Anyway, I don’t like the way worry makes me feel.” For the next few miles, while Hail Marys chant through my head, I ponder the differences between worry and prayer. One thing I know for sure: I like the way prayer makes me feel. I like it a lot.

  • When have you felt uneasy about the endeavors of an adult “child” in your life?
  • Where have you found support as you pray—and try not to worry—about young people you care about?