We set sail from Troas and took a straight course to Samothrace, the following day to Neapolis, and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city for some days. On the sabbath day we went outside the gate by the river, where we supposed there was a place of prayer; and we sat down and spoke to the women who had gathered there.
A certain woman named Lydia, a worshiper of God, was listening to us; she was from the city of Thyatira and a dealer in purple cloth. The Lord opened her heart to listen eagerly to what was said by Paul. When she and her household were baptized, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come and stay at my home.” And she prevailed upon us.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
The holy women in my life are good at noticing things:
Our five-year- old Maeve: “Daddy, Tess wiped her yogurt cereal on your pants.”
Our two-year- old Tess: “Daddy, your pants dirty.”
My wife Megan: “That’s okay. Daddy doesn’t mind, really.”
Noticing things is at the heart of Ignatian Spirituality. St. Ignatius tells us at the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises to savor our experiences for quality of meaning that only the heart can know.
I wonder what quality of character drew Paul to recognize that being in Lydia’s and the other women’s presence would be a “place of prayer.” We know that she “listened” and “paid attention” and that she generously opened her home. Perhaps our own prayer and our evangelization of the Gospel today can be to similarly “pay attention” to whom in our life offers us this gift and to whom we might offer it in return.
—Jordan Skarr works in the Office of Pastoral Ministries for the Midwest Jesuits.
Lord, open our eyes to notice the people in our lives who offer us the space to foster a deeper relationship with God. May we seek them out for ourselves, and provide that space for others.
—The Jesuit prayer team