Spirituality and Catholic Life

From the Wilton Diptych
The rededication of England as Mary’s Dowry on 29 March 2020 will happen in circumstances that could not have been envisaged when the act was first proposed some two and a half years ago – Before Corona. However, if it calls us to re-imagine and better understand gratitude and our desire for communion, particularly in light of a pandemic that is keeping us apart, then it can be an unexpected gift, writes Michael Kirwan SJ. There is a lovely mistake on the Crux website concerning the...
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Adjusting to life without their usual access to the sacraments is a huge challenge for many Catholics. Perhaps we can use this moment in the life of the Church to ask ourselves how the sacrament of reconciliation in particular can and does permeate our everyday lives, says Gemma Simmonds CJ. ‘The definition of a sacrament is that it is a sign which makes real what it signifies. What is made real by the signs of forgiveness that we offer one another in the ordinary unfolding of our daily lives...
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‘Thy will be done’ or ‘follow your bliss’? Writing about ‘the anthropology of the Spiritual Exercises and contemporary spiritual narcissism’ in the latest issue of The Way, Helen Orchard compares St Ignatius Loyola’s approach in the Spiritual Exercises with that of modern spiritualities that can mask a self-indulgent individualism. Human beings are created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this to save their souls. The other things on the face of the earth...
First Man (Universal Pictures)
Fifty years after the Moon landing, does humanity understand itself and its place in the cosmos differently? Mark Aloysius SJ thinks that Damien Chazelle’s film First Man helps us to reflect on that question, as it tells the story of ‘the furthest a human being has ever journeyed in order to be at home with their own self.’ After fifty years, we are perhaps finally in a position to examine if those words uttered by the first man on the surface of the Moon have become a reality. After six...
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At the beginning of Lent, Pope Francis asked us in his Ash Wednesday homily to think about where we are heading on the journey of life. Formed by our Lenten discipline and with Easter eyes, we now hope to be able to see more clearly the contours of that journey, for ourselves and others, says Joseph Simmons SJ. ‘No matter where we are in life, we are always somewhere on the Easter path.’ My childhood had many grand traditions. One of them was that every year on our birthdays, Grandma...
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‘Gratitude, being nearly the greatest of human duties, is also nearly the most difficult,’ wrote G.K. Chesterton. Luckily, St Ignatius is on hand to help us to cultivate gratitude, so that our hearts may be disposed ‘to receive more, to appreciate more, to love and be loved more.’ Sarah Broscombe views gratitude through psychological, spiritual and Ignatian lenses, helping us to see how and why growing in gratitude is a priority as well as a joy. Virtually every language has words for it,...
In the final stage of the Examen, having reviewed the recent events of our lives to see how God has already moved us, we imagine, with increased hope, how we might move with God and for God in the time to come. Frances Murphy concludes our Advent Examen by reflecting on how this mirrors our Advent experience.  Read the guide to the Examen on which the format of our Advent Examen is based.Advent Examen: 1. ThanksgivingAdvent Examen: 2. Prayer for the lightAdvent Examen:...
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As we reach the fourth stage of our Advent Examen, the focus is on sorrow, but it is not about wallowing or self-condemnation, as Stephen Hoyland emphasises. The preceding steps of the Examen have created a context of gratitude in which our sorrow, when we engage with it properly, can create space for us to receive God’s love and can lead us to new ways of loving.  Read the guide to the Examen on which the format of our Advent Examen is based.Advent Examen: 1. ThanksgivingAdvent...
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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 stage of our Advent Examen, take up St Ignatius’s invitation to ask an account of your 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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