Monday, October 7, 2013


Fr. Michael Gaitley teaches an Ignatian form of the Daily Examination of Conscience in the book Consoling the Heart of Jesus, that follows the acronym BAKER.  Where B is Blessings . . . and blessings can be positive or they can also be trials.  When I heard him discuss this on Catholic Bookmark he mentioned how important it is to not skip over this part of the Daily Examen.  To spend some time here.  Fr. Gaitley describes in the book how St. Ignatius became so attune to the blessings of God throughout his day that many times during the day he would realize God's loving action and be brought to tears.  This presumably developed through his practice of recalling blessings and thanking God for them.

It is so easy for me to get caught up in the negative sometimes.  I could write a post three-times a day, that understandably no one would want to read, because it would just be me ranting, probably self-righteously and with rash judgment on whatever I was dissatisfied about and wanted to end or change.  This would probably be self-destructive as well as nothing destroys peace more than indulging in the negative and critical and then what happens when I am a little too descriptive and those from my real life find my little posts?  Unemployment and social shunning I suppose . . .

This post is simply to thank God for some recent blessings.
  • Friends that prayed for me to find a job
  • Friends that sent me emails with possible leads to jobs
  • Friends that offered suffering for my intentions
  • Getting a job after a long time off, due to wanting to be home with the children this summer, but then an extended search period versus any time earlier in my 9 years as an independent consultant.  I interviewed Friday morning, 9/30/13 at 8:15 a.m., then began work the following Monday, 10/2/13 at 8:15 a.m.  Believe me after being off all summer, really most of last Spring too, and then having medical bills from three of the six of us over the summer, our checking account was in the red, for the first time since early after graduating college. 
  • Attending a Mass offered by a priest and friend at a nursing home with my 4 children, and having them not want to leave as they loved visiting with the patients and playing piano for them afterward; one wants to volunteer there now, my oldest, and the two girls want to take up piano again so they can play better next time.  They had quit over a year ago.
  • Finding a job within 2 blocks of a beautiful church, Old St. Patrick's on the west side of the Chicago Loop, and having a view of it, unblocked by any skyscrapers in downtown Chicago; this means that at any point in my day I can look out and be reminded of Christ's gift to us of the Blessed Sacrament; prior to this I was happy to be within 5-7 minute ride of a church.  
    Inside Old St. Patrick's looking toward the Choir Loft
  • My youngest son making me lunch:  ham and shredded cheese roll-ups with a sprinkling of dill.  No bread, just cheese, dill rolled in sliced ham.  He emphasized that they were made with love.  This is just too precious!
  • Scripture reading, even the single verses I receive in daily email from KLove's "Encouraging Word" or the verses provided for meditation in the Scriptural Rosary are also a source of blessing to me.  I have time riding the Metra train into the Chicago Loop each morning to pray the Scriptural Rosary using those provided at the this link that I have bookmarked on my phone.
    Rainbow over Chicago taken through Metra Train window on evening commute
  • Finding out a friend, who battled against diagnosed infertility, is pregnant
  • Attending Mass today at Mundelein Seminary celebrated by Fr. Barron, and concelebrated by the priest that married my husband and I in the log chapel at Notre Dame 23 years ago.  Visiting with this priest and friend for an hour or so after Mass, and having him meet my youngest son.
  • My daughter doing well on the ACT and seeming to be qualified for 1/2 off tuition at many schools because of this and with option of attending local community/junior college for free as well.
  • Finding out that after our last month's witness for life visit at an abortuary in the Chicago Loop, that after we left a woman, to whom one of our girls had given a gift bag, came out in tears and told the sidewalk counselor that she was going to keep her baby.
  • My husband taking a subset of our children to Mass for two weeks in a row.  I am keeping quiet, and will delete this bullet from my blog after 3 days as I don't want this to end!
  • Getting a new laptop for work . . . I had to because my 7 year old one was costing me serious sleep and efficiency at my new job.  Still minor geek that I am, it is a blessing.
Yes, some of the blessings are huge, and some are just God smiling at me and answering my prayer to help me to grow in recollection - attention to the presence of God in my soul.  I really believe that I cannot be holy, cannot be transformed into the handmaiden of the Lord I want to be if I don't first learn to dwell in the Holy Trinity's love for me.  Great that St. Ignatius left us with a method to cultivate that . . . making a daily habit of recalling to mind the blessings of God.  I am not consistent in doing this nightly, but I do start any scripture meditation time with the BAKER method that Fr. Gaitley taught me in his book.  If you aren't doing this, I recommend it, as I do his book.


  1. Beauitful sharing of gratitude, Colleen! Thank you for sharing the goodness of God in your life recently. So many varied and interesting blessings. I just love the one about your son making your lunch ""with love." Too cute! You do indeed have much to be thankful for. Thanks for reminding me....I need to do some thanking too. God is so good! Hope your blessings continue and increase as you practice your thanksgiving to our gracious God. So happy for all the good things in your life! Blessings and love.....xoxo

  2. Thank you so much for stopping by to comment Patricia. I don't know how I will manage to do more than 1 post a week and at least some commenting on our friends' blogs with the new job! Blessings and love to you too!