Friday, July 30, 2010

Live the Magis

Tomorrow, July 31, is the feast day of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits. There are lots of great resources on Ignatian Spirituality and info on St. Ignatius, but one that you may not have run across is the dotMagis blog. St. Ignatius always strove for the magis in everything he did. Magis literally means "more" and refers to the ways that we can serve and follow Jesus more deeply. has a blog inspired by this desire for excellence: dotMagis.

In honor of St. Ignatius, check out the blog, and ask yourself where you can live out the magis in your life.


A Look at Film & TV through a Jesuit Lens

Charis board member, Jake Martin, SJ, is a contributing writer for America Magazine. As a young adult Jesuit, Jake always offers an insightful and relevant opinion informed by Ignatian values. Check out his latest articles reviewing the film "Breathless" and the sitcom "Community"!

-Mary Ellen

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

31 days of St. Ignatius

Friday is the Feast day of St. Ignatius. Check out Loyola Press' resource: 31 Days of St. Ignatius.
It is full of ideas for prayer, for reading, and for reflection.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Shrimp Boats

Two weekends ago we went to Tybee Island. As we sat on the beach, we were blessed with the gift of watching shrimp boats about 50 yards away from us. The boats would be out there as soon as we woke up, and they would be out there long after we left the beach in the late afternoon. For two days, I sat and watched not only the boats but the crews of these shrimping boats. It is in rare moments like this, where I get a brief glimpse into someone's life, that I cannot help but pause and reflect on what I had the opportunity to witness.

First of all, it made me thankful, for the shrimpers who were out there catching the shrimp. I rarely give a second thought to where the shrimp I eat came from or who caught it. After watching the long hours of shrimpers and after watching them stay put when the rest of us hurried inside during a severe thunderstorm, I have a new appreciation for the shrimp I love to eat. Little do those men and women know that the work of their typical day helps provide for my family an ingredient to meals that are often celebratory--finishing a project, an anniversary meal, a birthday. Finding fresh seafood where we live now is hard, and we relish the seafood from Louisiana in our freezer. I am thankful for their work!

During the severe thunderstorm, I watched these boats get rocked and tossed around from the comfort of my condo. The wind gusts were so strong and lightening so bad that I found my nerves on edge. I could not help but offer a silent prayer to protect them. My mind turned also to the wives, husbands, and children back home, who knew there mom or dad was out on that boat in that storm. I kept thinking...all of that for shrimp? Why? It is the same reason we all do our make a living, to provide for our families. I am thankful for the risk they take to survive.

Finally, my mind continued to turn to the Gulf Coast right now and the oil spill. I know there are so many people that cannot get out on their boats right now and make a living for their families. They posses the same heart, the same drive, and the same perseverance that these shrimpers showed me this weekend. I am saddened for them, for their loss, and for the worry they must be carrying trying to figure out how to provide for their families. We must continue to pray for them and offer them support.

I am left in awe. In awe of the beauty of the surroundings where these men and women work. In awe of the fact that there is no "rain-delay" for their work. In awe of how long it takes for their days work. In awe of how they use their God given talent and their education. In awe of how I can take something as simple as shrimp for granted.

There are men and women all over this world doing jobs where we reap the benefits. Do we ever stop and slow down enough to really see them and acknowledge their hard work?
How many pieces of our days and our lives are affected because of someone's work?
How does stopping to realize that our lives are daily touched by someone we do now know make us feel?

~Becky Eldredge, Everything Is Holy Now

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Spiritual Health

The below list of questions comes from Kathy Hendricks's book: A Parent's Guide to Prayer. Kathy suggests that we need to take our pulse on a daily basis by posing questions that test our spiritual health:

1 Am I snapping at those closest to me?
2. Am I growing resentful about all I have to do at home, in the workplace, at church, or with my child's school?
3. When was the last time I was still?
4. Am I letting my spiritual needs go unmet while taking care of other details in my life and my home?
5. What effort have I put into praying?
6. Do I still have the heart for my faith? my family? my life?

I find that these questions are challenging and thought-provoking. When we neglect our spiritual needs, we often find our lives off balance. As we answer and reflect on these questions, we may find that our spiritual health is in need of some attention. It may mean needing some alone time to just be or pray. We may need time to rest and play so that our spirits can be renewed. We may need to engage in a period of discernment to see if our "yeses" need to change. Are we saying "yes" to too many things? Are we not saying "yes" to the things that matter most? Maybe, we just need to spend some daily time in prayer. Perhaps, we may find that we are in need of our own retreat-- a few days of quiet, prayer, and reflection- to feed our spiritual life.

The answers to why our spiritual health may be off are necessary and sometimes challenging questions. All of these questions are questions that we can take to prayer. We can ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in discerning why we feel "off".

What is the current health of our spiritual life? Thriving, barely surviving, non-exisitent?
What are we feeling nudged to pay attention to right now in terms of our spiritual health?
What do we need to feed our spiritual life?

~Becky Eldredge