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Jesus’ Resurrection

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

My former religious superior, Fr. Bob Lab, loved dessert. Toward the end of each meal he would hold his fork high, smile, and say: “The best is yet to come!”

He also used to preach his retreats on the Resurrection. Holding his fork high he encouraged us to rejoice for… “The best is yet to come!”

In the meditations on Christ’s resurrection, St. Ignatius invites us to pray for that gift of joy – a joy is not based on some naive optimism but rooted in the deep belief that Christ has been raised from the dead. And one day we, too, will be raised, and the fullness of his victory over sin and death will be fully realized. For indeed “ The best is yet to come!”

Pope Francis has written that too often we walk around like we live in a perpetual Lent or like we’ve just come back from a funeral. We are an Easter people. St Ignatius invites us to meditate on these stories of Christ’s resurrection and pray for the grace to live that joy. So…

Let us bid goodbye to a sourpuss faith,
Living stoic of soul with a vinegar face,
Mourning each evening in funereal processions,
Grabbing and grasping our precious possessions.

Let us rejoice in the joy of the resurrection!

Let us bid goodbye to a pickle-faced fast,
Feast on His mercy with a joy that will last.
Grace grows within us when Good News is shared,
When hearts spring open and sorrows are bared.

Let us rejoice in the joy of the resurrection!

Our joy grows with us like a mustard seed,
Conceived in secret in hearts that believe.
For we reap so much more, so much more, than we’ve sown
Thru a power so much greater, always greater, than our own.

Let us rejoice in the joy of the resurrection!

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Jesus’ Passion

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

“Were you there?” This heart-piercing African-American spiritual asks the inescapable question. Were you there?

The answer is emphatically: “Yes! We were there. ” For Jesus’ journey to Calvary is the journey of every human heart. But St. Ignatius asks an implicit, deeper question: Not “Whether“ but “Who.” Who are you in this story?”

This is not just an historical drama about Jesus suffering then, but a Paschal mystery enacted today on our world stage. We are actors in this story, and like it or not, we all play a role. What are values are and how we live our lives determine the role we play.

Are you a faithful yet clueless slumbering disciple invited to pray with Jesus in the agony of the Garden, but too tired to keep your eyes open?

Are you the betraying Judas – acting out of fear or greed or ambition – despairing that you could ever be forgiven?

Are you Pilate shirking your responsibility, washing your guilty hands, and acquiescing to the mob?

Are you standing with the mocking soldiers – feeling your power while mercilessly beating an unarmed king?

Or are you just another curious bystanders, standing at a distance, not wanting to get involved?

Perhaps your prayer taking you to another place…

Were you there beside Mother Mary, John, and Mary Magdalene as another Beloved disciple?

Or do you stand with the courageous Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus who are no longer ashamed to be seen as followers of Jesus.

Yes, we’re all there in this divine love story. Ignatius would have us ponder not only “Were you there?” but “Where were you there?” in this divine love story?

Oh, sometime it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Where were YOU there when they crucified my Lord?

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Please share the Good Word with your friends!

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Public Ministry of Jesus

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

I know about Tom Brady. I watched him throw the touch down passes that cinched the last Super Bowl championship. But I’ve never met him.

I I know about Meryl Streep. I’ve seen her movies, and went to the same drama school she attended, but I’ve never met her.

I know about President Trump. I’ve seen him on television and read his tweets, but I’ve never met him.

I know about Jesus — and I’ve met him. St. Ignatius introduced us.

I don’t mean that I’m a 2,000 year old man. I do mean that because of His resurrection, Jesus is alive and wants a personal, life-changing relationship with me and with you.

Francis Xavier knew about Jesus, but it was only when he met Jesus intimately in the Spiritual Exercises that his life was forever changed.

The stories about Jesus are familiar to many of us, perhaps too familiar – which is part of the problem. Ignatius teaches us to picture ourselves as a wedding guest at Cana. To witness the exorcism of the Geresene demoniac, the cleansing of the ten lepers, and the healing of the man born blind.

Imagine yourself on the boat in the middle of the storm when Jesus walk across the waters. Witness his fury at the hypocrisy of the self righteous and his angers at the money changers in the temple.

Sit with Jesus weaving parables about mustard seeds and yeast, lost and found sheep and children, beaten up travelers cared for by strangers, and wedding banquets thrown by a king.

Who wouldn’t want to meet this king, this storyteller, this healer, this lover of our soul.

Let St Ignatius do the introduction. But you have to do the Exercises yourself.

Jesus is knocking on the door of our heart, waiting to be invited in.

Amen? Amen!

See all videos

Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

##

Call of the King

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

Who are the heroes in your life? People you admire greatly…

Maybe it’s a sports figure?

A political figure?

A Hollywood star?

Or perhaps it’s a religious figure?

Well, imagine if that hero came up, looked you right in the eye, and asked YOU to join them on a mission of great importance. They told you that this mission would change the world, and they needed your help. Would you join them?

And what if they told you that there would be great hardship and suffering involved, but they wouldn’t ask you to do anything that they themselves wouldn’t experience. Would you still join them?

And if they assured you that the outcome was guaranteed to be successful – 100 % guaranteed – but it may cost you your life. Would you still join them?

St Ignatius believed this meditation isn’t just an exercise in imagination – because Christ is, in fact, calling you, calling me, calling each of us to come and to follow him on His Mission — of saving the world.

We’re not all called to do the same task or to labor in the same way, but all of us are called to join Jesus in his mission. It’s a call to work for peace and justice, and it’s a call to real holiness – not just for the few, but for all of us.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “No, not me, I’m not good enough!”

Or maybe it’s “Hey, why me? Go call somebody else. I’ve got plans for my life!”

And you know what. It’s an invitation. Not a command. It’s not “I got an offer you can’t refuse…”

The king of mercy never forces us to do anything. He just invites us – to join him – on His Mission. It’s literally “A Mission from God.”

So… what do you say?

See all videos

Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

##

Praying with the Imagination

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

Have you ever started thinking of a delicious meal when you were hungry?

Have you ever had a sexual fantasy?

Have you ever pictured yourself relaxing in some ideal vacation spot?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then know that you have a vivid imagination.

Imagination is a gift from God. But like all gifts, it needs to be properly ordered. It can get us into a lot of trouble – witness the terrible scourge of pornography – or, as Ignatius taught us, we can use this gift to bring us closer to God.

Recent studies of the human brain have shown that an imagined reality can have as powerful an impact on our lives as a real life event. Ignatius discovered this for himself over 480 years ago. What this means for us spiritually is that if we imagine ourselves into a gospel scene, it can impact our lives as much as if we were physically there with Jesus two thousand years ago! That’s amazing!

Ignatius taught us to visualize the setting, sense the smells, and listen in on the dialogue. It’s like a focused, waking daydream. For some it’s easy to visualize a gospel scene. For others, the feeling of the text is what’s dominant. For others, it’s easy to imagine the dialogue that might have been spoken.

However your imagination works, the key is to relax and not try to control it. Praying with our imagination is giving permission for thoughts, memories, and feelings to bubble up from our sub-conscious. Those of us who are control freaks may have a hard time with this kind of prayer. Don’t become discouraged!

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.

And if your prayer seems disjointed, confusing or frightening, takes some notes and bring them to your spiritual director, confessor, therapist, or a trusted friend to discuss and decipher.

The prayer of imagination can lead to some of the most powerful prayer experiences you’ll ever have!

Amen? Amen!

See all videos

Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

##

Praying with the Examen

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

In his poem The 4 Quartets, T.S. Eliot wrote: “We had the experience, but missed the meaning.“ Isn’t that us?

Our lives have so sped up that we run from one activity to another. We’re moving on our digital devices from one web page or email or message to another. It’s an endless balancing act between work, family, friends, and – oh yea, did I mention God?

It’s exhausting!

Over 2400 years ago, Socrates wrote: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

St Ignatius to the rescue!

He believed the most important personal prayer we could pray each day was THE EXAMEN – taking 15 minutes at least once a day to stop and reflect with the Lord on our day.

If you’re not familiar with The Examen, click the link at the end of this video that teaches one method of praying it. There’s no one right way to do it. What’s important is that we do it.

Sports teams review video recordings of their games, the Military holds an After Action Review, and businesses regularly review their strategic plans. So why don’t we practice a daily Examen? Lots of reasons, but here are three:

#1. We put it off until the very end of the day

The Examen is a quality prayer that requires some attentiveness. Falling asleep while reflecting on your day will yield poor returns.

#2. We never fit it into the daily rhythm of our schedule.

Try to find a daily time that works for you – morning, noon, or night. Make it as automatic as brushing your teeth in the morning, talking a coffee break in the afternoon, or walking the dog at night.

#3. We experience the Examen to be like going to the woodshed to get yelled at.

Imagine instead a loving conversation with your very best friend – talking over your successes and your failures – your joys and your sorrows.

Remember, praying the Examen is not just praying another prayer. It’s turning our lives into a prayer.

Amen? Amen!

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Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

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First Sunday: We Are Loved Sinners

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for previous videos.

Click for Video Transcript

We are Loved Sinners
by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ

Nobody I know enjoys going to the dentist. But what’s the alternative?

When our teeth are rotting away with cavities, if they’re not taken care of, that decay spreads throughout more and more of our teeth. We experience great pain and our teeth are damaged.

For St. Ignatius, it’s a grace to see our sin, to know the ways that we’re blocking God’s love, the ways that sin is decaying our souls!

The more aware we are of God’s great love for us. The more aware we are of our sin. The less aware we are of God’s love, the less we are able to see our sin.

It’s like looking at a dirty window. The further away you get, the cleaner it looks. The closer you get, the more aware you are of the dirt. And when the sun comes out, the dirt and streaks become all the more apparent.

So it is with our souls. The closer we come to God, the more aware we are of sin. The farther we move from God, the less aware we are of our sin. The saints knew themselves to be sinners. Sinners think themselves to be living saints.

Just as the sun is always shining, so God never stops loving us.

But the clouds can hide the sun, and our sin can make it feel like God has forgotten us, no longer cares for us.

This is exactly the opposite of what Jesus came to reveal – that God loves us and wants to free us from our sin.

Pray for the grace to know how deeply you are loved.

Pray for the grace to know the way you block that love through sin.

Amen? Amen.


Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

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Lenten Video: Ash Wednesday
The Principle and Foundation

 

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Click for Video Transcript

Lenten Video: Ash Wednesday
The Principle and Foundation
by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ

Part of the American dream is to become rich. And even though we know that riches don’t bring happiness, we’d like to give it a try!

Well St. Ignatius knew from his own experience, that being well connected politically, being good looking and healthy, traveling in the circles of the rich and powerful, didn’t bring him happiness. They brought him sinful pleasure. And an inner emptiness in his spirit.

All of us want to healthy. And health is a good thing. But it’s doesn’t necessarily bring us closer to God. Up to the age of 30, Ignatius was healthy, but when a cannon ball shattered both his legs, he spent 9 months back at the Loyola castle healing.

During that time he was spiritually reborn. He fell in love with God. Or a better way to say it, he felt God’s overwhelming love for him in a new and profound way. Sickness had brought a radically new perspective on his life. His goals had changed.

He wasn’t pursuing fame, fortune, and beautiful women. He sought a life that would bring him closer to God. He began to see that every good gift from God is ordered to that end – to bring us closer to our Lord.

This is the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises – a workout for our souls. Begin with the end in mind – we come from God and we journey back to God. Use whatever God gives you or set it aside — in so far as it helps us – or distracts us – toward the goal.

Sounds simple?

Simple to understand. Difficult to live. So we pray for the grace to know how deeply we are loved. And to fall in love with God who is loving us.

Amen? Amen.


Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

Welcome to JesuitPrayer.org

Ignatian spirituality reminds us that God pursues us in the routines of our home and work life, and in the hopes and fears of life's challenges. The founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, created the Spiritual Exercises to deepen our relationship with Christ and to move our contemplation into service. May this prayer site anchor your day and strengthen your resolve to remember what truly matters.

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Jesus’ Resurrection

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

My former religious superior, Fr. Bob Lab, loved dessert. Toward the end of each meal he would hold his fork high, smile, and say: “The best is yet to come!”

He also used to preach his retreats on the Resurrection. Holding his fork high he encouraged us to rejoice for… “The best is yet to come!”

In the meditations on Christ’s resurrection, St. Ignatius invites us to pray for that gift of joy – a joy is not based on some naive optimism but rooted in the deep belief that Christ has been raised from the dead. And one day we, too, will be raised, and the fullness of his victory over sin and death will be fully realized. For indeed “ The best is yet to come!”

Pope Francis has written that too often we walk around like we live in a perpetual Lent or like we’ve just come back from a funeral. We are an Easter people. St Ignatius invites us to meditate on these stories of Christ’s resurrection and pray for the grace to live that joy. So…

Let us bid goodbye to a sourpuss faith,
Living stoic of soul with a vinegar face,
Mourning each evening in funereal processions,
Grabbing and grasping our precious possessions.

Let us rejoice in the joy of the resurrection!

Let us bid goodbye to a pickle-faced fast,
Feast on His mercy with a joy that will last.
Grace grows within us when Good News is shared,
When hearts spring open and sorrows are bared.

Let us rejoice in the joy of the resurrection!

Our joy grows with us like a mustard seed,
Conceived in secret in hearts that believe.
For we reap so much more, so much more, than we’ve sown
Thru a power so much greater, always greater, than our own.

Let us rejoice in the joy of the resurrection!

See all videos

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

##

Jesus’ Passion

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

“Were you there?” This heart-piercing African-American spiritual asks the inescapable question. Were you there?

The answer is emphatically: “Yes! We were there. ” For Jesus’ journey to Calvary is the journey of every human heart. But St. Ignatius asks an implicit, deeper question: Not “Whether“ but “Who.” Who are you in this story?”

This is not just an historical drama about Jesus suffering then, but a Paschal mystery enacted today on our world stage. We are actors in this story, and like it or not, we all play a role. What are values are and how we live our lives determine the role we play.

Are you a faithful yet clueless slumbering disciple invited to pray with Jesus in the agony of the Garden, but too tired to keep your eyes open?

Are you the betraying Judas – acting out of fear or greed or ambition – despairing that you could ever be forgiven?

Are you Pilate shirking your responsibility, washing your guilty hands, and acquiescing to the mob?

Are you standing with the mocking soldiers – feeling your power while mercilessly beating an unarmed king?

Or are you just another curious bystanders, standing at a distance, not wanting to get involved?

Perhaps your prayer taking you to another place…

Were you there beside Mother Mary, John, and Mary Magdalene as another Beloved disciple?

Or do you stand with the courageous Joseph of Arimathea or Nicodemus who are no longer ashamed to be seen as followers of Jesus.

Yes, we’re all there in this divine love story. Ignatius would have us ponder not only “Were you there?” but “Where were you there?” in this divine love story?

Oh, sometime it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Where were YOU there when they crucified my Lord?

See all videos

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

##

Public Ministry of Jesus

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

I know about Tom Brady. I watched him throw the touch down passes that cinched the last Super Bowl championship. But I’ve never met him.

I I know about Meryl Streep. I’ve seen her movies, and went to the same drama school she attended, but I’ve never met her.

I know about President Trump. I’ve seen him on television and read his tweets, but I’ve never met him.

I know about Jesus — and I’ve met him. St. Ignatius introduced us.

I don’t mean that I’m a 2,000 year old man. I do mean that because of His resurrection, Jesus is alive and wants a personal, life-changing relationship with me and with you.

Francis Xavier knew about Jesus, but it was only when he met Jesus intimately in the Spiritual Exercises that his life was forever changed.

The stories about Jesus are familiar to many of us, perhaps too familiar – which is part of the problem. Ignatius teaches us to picture ourselves as a wedding guest at Cana. To witness the exorcism of the Geresene demoniac, the cleansing of the ten lepers, and the healing of the man born blind.

Imagine yourself on the boat in the middle of the storm when Jesus walk across the waters. Witness his fury at the hypocrisy of the self righteous and his angers at the money changers in the temple.

Sit with Jesus weaving parables about mustard seeds and yeast, lost and found sheep and children, beaten up travelers cared for by strangers, and wedding banquets thrown by a king.

Who wouldn’t want to meet this king, this storyteller, this healer, this lover of our soul.

Let St Ignatius do the introduction. But you have to do the Exercises yourself.

Jesus is knocking on the door of our heart, waiting to be invited in.

Amen? Amen!

See all videos

Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

##

Call of the King

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

Who are the heroes in your life? People you admire greatly…

Maybe it’s a sports figure?

A political figure?

A Hollywood star?

Or perhaps it’s a religious figure?

Well, imagine if that hero came up, looked you right in the eye, and asked YOU to join them on a mission of great importance. They told you that this mission would change the world, and they needed your help. Would you join them?

And what if they told you that there would be great hardship and suffering involved, but they wouldn’t ask you to do anything that they themselves wouldn’t experience. Would you still join them?

And if they assured you that the outcome was guaranteed to be successful – 100 % guaranteed – but it may cost you your life. Would you still join them?

St Ignatius believed this meditation isn’t just an exercise in imagination – because Christ is, in fact, calling you, calling me, calling each of us to come and to follow him on His Mission — of saving the world.

We’re not all called to do the same task or to labor in the same way, but all of us are called to join Jesus in his mission. It’s a call to work for peace and justice, and it’s a call to real holiness – not just for the few, but for all of us.

Perhaps you’re thinking, “No, not me, I’m not good enough!”

Or maybe it’s “Hey, why me? Go call somebody else. I’ve got plans for my life!”

And you know what. It’s an invitation. Not a command. It’s not “I got an offer you can’t refuse…”

The king of mercy never forces us to do anything. He just invites us – to join him – on His Mission. It’s literally “A Mission from God.”

So… what do you say?

See all videos

Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

##

Praying with the Imagination

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

Have you ever started thinking of a delicious meal when you were hungry?

Have you ever had a sexual fantasy?

Have you ever pictured yourself relaxing in some ideal vacation spot?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then know that you have a vivid imagination.

Imagination is a gift from God. But like all gifts, it needs to be properly ordered. It can get us into a lot of trouble – witness the terrible scourge of pornography – or, as Ignatius taught us, we can use this gift to bring us closer to God.

Recent studies of the human brain have shown that an imagined reality can have as powerful an impact on our lives as a real life event. Ignatius discovered this for himself over 480 years ago. What this means for us spiritually is that if we imagine ourselves into a gospel scene, it can impact our lives as much as if we were physically there with Jesus two thousand years ago! That’s amazing!

Ignatius taught us to visualize the setting, sense the smells, and listen in on the dialogue. It’s like a focused, waking daydream. For some it’s easy to visualize a gospel scene. For others, the feeling of the text is what’s dominant. For others, it’s easy to imagine the dialogue that might have been spoken.

However your imagination works, the key is to relax and not try to control it. Praying with our imagination is giving permission for thoughts, memories, and feelings to bubble up from our sub-conscious. Those of us who are control freaks may have a hard time with this kind of prayer. Don’t become discouraged!

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you.

And if your prayer seems disjointed, confusing or frightening, takes some notes and bring them to your spiritual director, confessor, therapist, or a trusted friend to discuss and decipher.

The prayer of imagination can lead to some of the most powerful prayer experiences you’ll ever have!

Amen? Amen!

See all videos

Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

Please share the Good Word with your friends!

##

Praying with the Examen

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Video Transcript

In his poem The 4 Quartets, T.S. Eliot wrote: “We had the experience, but missed the meaning.“ Isn’t that us?

Our lives have so sped up that we run from one activity to another. We’re moving on our digital devices from one web page or email or message to another. It’s an endless balancing act between work, family, friends, and – oh yea, did I mention God?

It’s exhausting!

Over 2400 years ago, Socrates wrote: “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

St Ignatius to the rescue!

He believed the most important personal prayer we could pray each day was THE EXAMEN – taking 15 minutes at least once a day to stop and reflect with the Lord on our day.

If you’re not familiar with The Examen, click the link at the end of this video that teaches one method of praying it. There’s no one right way to do it. What’s important is that we do it.

Sports teams review video recordings of their games, the Military holds an After Action Review, and businesses regularly review their strategic plans. So why don’t we practice a daily Examen? Lots of reasons, but here are three:

#1. We put it off until the very end of the day

The Examen is a quality prayer that requires some attentiveness. Falling asleep while reflecting on your day will yield poor returns.

#2. We never fit it into the daily rhythm of our schedule.

Try to find a daily time that works for you – morning, noon, or night. Make it as automatic as brushing your teeth in the morning, talking a coffee break in the afternoon, or walking the dog at night.

#3. We experience the Examen to be like going to the woodshed to get yelled at.

Imagine instead a loving conversation with your very best friend – talking over your successes and your failures – your joys and your sorrows.

Remember, praying the Examen is not just praying another prayer. It’s turning our lives into a prayer.

Amen? Amen!

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Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

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First Sunday: We Are Loved Sinners

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for previous videos.

Click for Video Transcript

We are Loved Sinners
by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ

Nobody I know enjoys going to the dentist. But what’s the alternative?

When our teeth are rotting away with cavities, if they’re not taken care of, that decay spreads throughout more and more of our teeth. We experience great pain and our teeth are damaged.

For St. Ignatius, it’s a grace to see our sin, to know the ways that we’re blocking God’s love, the ways that sin is decaying our souls!

The more aware we are of God’s great love for us. The more aware we are of our sin. The less aware we are of God’s love, the less we are able to see our sin.

It’s like looking at a dirty window. The further away you get, the cleaner it looks. The closer you get, the more aware you are of the dirt. And when the sun comes out, the dirt and streaks become all the more apparent.

So it is with our souls. The closer we come to God, the more aware we are of sin. The farther we move from God, the less aware we are of our sin. The saints knew themselves to be sinners. Sinners think themselves to be living saints.

Just as the sun is always shining, so God never stops loving us.

But the clouds can hide the sun, and our sin can make it feel like God has forgotten us, no longer cares for us.

This is exactly the opposite of what Jesus came to reveal – that God loves us and wants to free us from our sin.

Pray for the grace to know how deeply you are loved.

Pray for the grace to know the way you block that love through sin.

Amen? Amen.


Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

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Lenten Video: Ash Wednesday
The Principle and Foundation

 

During Lent, JesuitPrayer invites you to reflect on some of the major themes of the Spiritual Exercises. Our featured presenter, Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ, offers nine short video reflections, beginning Ash Wednesday. New videos will be posted each Sunday through the Feast of the Divine Mercy, April 28, 2019.
Click here for all videos.

Click for Video Transcript

Lenten Video: Ash Wednesday
The Principle and Foundation
by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ

Part of the American dream is to become rich. And even though we know that riches don’t bring happiness, we’d like to give it a try!

Well St. Ignatius knew from his own experience, that being well connected politically, being good looking and healthy, traveling in the circles of the rich and powerful, didn’t bring him happiness. They brought him sinful pleasure. And an inner emptiness in his spirit.

All of us want to healthy. And health is a good thing. But it’s doesn’t necessarily bring us closer to God. Up to the age of 30, Ignatius was healthy, but when a cannon ball shattered both his legs, he spent 9 months back at the Loyola castle healing.

During that time he was spiritually reborn. He fell in love with God. Or a better way to say it, he felt God’s overwhelming love for him in a new and profound way. Sickness had brought a radically new perspective on his life. His goals had changed.

He wasn’t pursuing fame, fortune, and beautiful women. He sought a life that would bring him closer to God. He began to see that every good gift from God is ordered to that end – to bring us closer to our Lord.

This is the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises – a workout for our souls. Begin with the end in mind – we come from God and we journey back to God. Use whatever God gives you or set it aside — in so far as it helps us – or distracts us – toward the goal.

Sounds simple?

Simple to understand. Difficult to live. So we pray for the grace to know how deeply we are loved. And to fall in love with God who is loving us.

Amen? Amen.


Text and video Copyright 2019 by Fr. Michael Sparough, SJ and JesuitPrayer.org##

Please share the Good Word with your friends!