Author: Lauren Miller

Reimagining the Ignatian Examen by Mark E. Thibodeaux

The Specs: Title: Reimagining the Ignatian Examen: Fresh Ways to Pray from Your Day Author: Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ Published: 2014 by Loyola Press Length: 123 pages Amazon Categories: Meditations Source: Overdrive (free); Kindle price: $8.79  Every time I talk about Mark Thibodeaux’s book, I always get the title wrong but when I explain, I think you’ll understand why. While it’s true that the author reimagines the original examen of St. Ignatius of Loyola in a fresh way, after immersing in this book and its devotional exercises for prayer and meditation, I think you will find that it reignites your faith and prayer life. So, I wish on some level that the title was Reigniting the Ignatian Examen, because I think that the contents of this simple prayer has the potential to stir those coals in our hearts and reawaken the embers of our prayer lives. It certainly is rekindling mine. The book isn’t terribly long for the price and that may be my biggest negative critique. I like a chunky book when I’m paying …

The Book of Sirach

For a complete list of blog posts in the Journey Through The Word series, please click here. Where Am I? Following the book of Wisdom is the book of Sirach, and then we move into the prophets, with the book of Isaiah. In the Catholic Bible, there are a couple more book sin the OT that is mixed in with the prophets, the book of Baruch, and also a couple of chapters in the book of Daniel, which will be reviewed in a future post. Initial Impressions The book of Sirach feels like a conversation between someone sitting down with their mentor for some thoughtful wisdom on how to live. It reminds me of an etiquette manual in part, breaking down different life situations by category and detailing the writer’s advice for those circumstances.  It’s potentially the closest book (so far) in my readings that reminds me of a NT letter from Paul, as Paul was fond of giving the early church instructions on how to live, just as a father to his beloved children. My …

Letting Go: Loss and the Lesson of Suffering

“Let go.” For two small words, they sure pack a lot of meaning. To let go implies that we’ve obtained something and that we are actively holding on to it, with a fierce grip, determined. To let go requires our free will to cease the act of holding, to release, to let something be no longer in our thrall of control. To let go implies that there is a danger present, that once a thing is loosened, it may not return to us. I’m thinking of various examples over the years where I’ve heard the phrase, “let go” and the versatility of its application. Different Ways Life Calls Us To “Let Go” The earliest memory I have of hearing these words, and perhaps also for you, was of two siblings or friends fighting over the same thing. Maybe a cookie or a toy. In my case, I remember fighting over the wishbone in a turkey one Thanksgiving with someone else my own age (a cousin, probably). We each wanted the other to ‘let go’ first, …

Browsing the Stacks: Hygge at Home

In a time of growing instability and a vastly mobile, technology-driven society, I think a lot can be learned by the current public fascination with hygge. Hygge (pronounced “hoo-gah”) is a Danish term with no exact English translation, but when you look at the sum of its parts, it conveys the warm, bright, cozy atmosphere that can almost, on a psychological level, be mistaken for love and being present in the moment. Hygge may appeal to two separate camps, the first being a selection of people who desire the external trappings of a homey feel without the essentials, and these will flit from one self-help/home design trend to the next, like a hummingbird flitting from flower to flower, but never returning home. The second group will be those who already have the fundamentals (love, stability) but don’t know how to add those little touches to round out home life — perhaps, because they never had experienced it themselves. It is to the latter group that I address this post. I’ve read a number of books …

The Book of Wisdom

For a complete list of blog posts in the Journey Through The Word series, please click here. Where Am I? Wisdom is the next book after the Song of Songs, and is followed by the book of Sirach. Wisdom. Solomon calls her more precious than rubies, more desirable than gold (Proverbs 3). The source of wisdom is the Lord and in the fear of God, we set ourselves on the path towards gaining God’s understanding to help us make good life decisions and avoid evil. But what is the ‘fear of the Lord’? My Bible footnotes* define it as a “reverential fear and respect for God on account of His sovereignty, goodness and justice toward men. This is the foundation of religion.”   I’d like to think that this means that God is willing to impart of Himself divine guidance to anyone who wholeheartedly pursues Him. Initial Impressions In its nineteen chapters, the book of Wisdom speaks in the voice of Solomon but it was authored long after the Bablyonian exile, written a century or so …

20 + C + M + B + 18

It sounds like a mathematical equation, doesn’t it? In fact, this is a house blessing, one of many traditions in the Catholic Church, and one of the earliest memories I have of my family. I remember early trips to see my grandparents and arriving to their door and in stark white chalk, these symbols (the numbers were different) blazed against the dark wood grain of their front door. But for the uninitiated, like I once was, what does it actually mean? Saturday, January 6th 2018 marked the Feast Day of the Epiphany, the time in the Church when we celebrate the arrival of the Three Magi to the manger, and their gifts for Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. The feast day, also known as Twelfth Night, was observed on Sunday and marks the close of the Christmas season and the return to Ordinary Time in the Church. This is why, for many Catholics (or for folks behind schedule), you may see the decorations and holiday lights lingering after the New Year. The 20 and the …

Walk It Out by Tricia Goyer

The Specs: Title: Walk It Out: The Radical Result of Living God’s Word One Step at a Time Author: Tricia Goyer Published: 2017 by David C Cook Length: 224 pages Amazon Categories: Religion & Spirituality; Women’s Issues Source: Kindle purchase, $2.99 Tricia Goyer has one of those personal stories that inspires from the pulpit and in print, and is ironically, the exact kind of story that I’d avoid reading, let alone purchasing. Attempting a just and fair description of a lifetime of pain and brokenness might cheapen the redemptive story of a life radically transformed by God. And that is certainly Tricia’s story, and the subheading which drew my attention one frosty January morning, idly browsing the bestsellers when the Holy Spirit prompted me to ‘read this one next’. If I knew this would be the story of a teenage mother struggling with an unplanned pregnancy, a mother who had already terminated a pregnancy before, I’m not sure that I ever would’ve cracked the cover. As I am writing this, it is January and that …