The Spiritual Exercises
Photo by  Aaron Burden  on  Unsplash

I was at a critical juncture in my faith journey — and not a particularly tidy one — when I learned of the extended Ignatian retreat offered at my parish. My conversion into the Catholic Church five years earlier had been propelled by disillusionment with the emotionalism that marked my experience in evangelical Protestant spheres. Eventually, a personal crisis had driven me to seek an expression of faith grounded in ancient tradition rather than in my unreliable ability to feel God’s presence.

It was an appropriate and necessary step of faith for me at the time, but the years that followed found me more reliant upon collective rituals and prayers and less sure of how to trust my own experience of the divine. By the time I saw the Ignatian retreat advertised in the parish bulletin, I’d realized I no longer had a personal relationship with God at all — what’s more, if I was honest, I wasn’t sure I believed such a thing really existed.

Read the whole essay at Jesuits.org!

Shannon Evans
Seeking Integrity in Justice Work
Photo by  Nina Strehl  on  Unsplash

Photo by Nina Strehl on Unsplash

Each month, the pope sets a universal intention for the Church to rally around in prayer. Pope Francis has declared that the prayer intention for this July is the integrity of justice — that “those who administer justice may work with integrity, and that the injustice which prevails in the world may not have the last word.”

There are many layers to unpack here — after all, the political administration of justice alone varies dramatically from country to country. Beyond that are the social, religious, and non-profit sectors as well. As individuals, how much impact can we have on “the integrity of justice”? Is justice simply too big a concept for any one of us to tackle?

There is an African proverb that, translated, says, “When you pray, move your feet.” Saying a prayer is relatively easy. Moving your feet to take personal responsibility in seeing the prayer fulfilled requires more from us — that’s where the rubber meets the road. Do we really care about the issue at hand, or are we just saying a prayer to alleviate ourselves of any real sense of accountability?

If we’re sincere about wanting to see justice administered with integrity, there are things we can and should do in our own lives to move toward that goal. Most of us have the power to vote for our elected officials, in which case we have the grave responsibility of choosing the candidate with the most holistic view of human life — not simply the candidate who is loudest about one single issue. After an election, we then have the privilege of being able to contact our representatives and express our support for laws that affirm the dignity and human rights of all people, especially the marginalized. In simple ways, we regular old citizens can play a big part in seeing justice administered with integrity.

But surely there is more we can do. Beyond the political sphere, how else are we called to put proverbial feet to this prayer?

Read the rest at Grotto Network!

Shannon Evans
"Befriending Mary" Interview
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"Blessed Mother... To me those words feel so expansive, as though she holds and encompasses all of the nurture and strength of the sacred feminine in the world (which I believe she does!). Calling out to a great, universal Blessed Mother reminds me that I am never alone—always upheld and always guided..."

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I recently had the opportunity to be interviewed over at The Catholic Woman about my journey of befriending Mary, and had so much fun answering their questions. What a journey it has been (and continues to be) to make sense of the place this Mother holds in my spiritual life.

Read the full interview at The Catholic Woman!

Shannon Evans