A consummate news hound and political commentator discovers something about God... and herself
You said in your initial note to your readers that you would dedicate all your time to prayer. Didn’t that start to get boring?
I’m the first person to let the world and my self-centeredness distract me from prayer. But, goodness, when I go to Him in prayer, I can’t imagine it ever being boring. Even when the Devil’s on the prowl or God’s training me to love more in dryness, the Creator of the universe is in communication with you; you’re giving Him just a little of your time. I can’t imagine the word “boring” every applying.
Reentry was harder than entry. Ignatius is all about the Word and encounter, as Pope Francis might put it. So you’re praying with Scripture and in many ways the world—and in a particular way your life and God’s hand in it—is being revealed to you on a whole different level than you’ve been aware.
What are some of the effects you noticed this experience having on you?
I think it’s harder to be indifferent to injustices you contribute to by your indifference or worse. And the paradox of Christ’s peace leading to an insatiable restlessness becomes more normal. I’m such the sinner and work in progress but I know hope in a more life-giving way. You see the possibilities rather than the obstacles. You want to try rather than come up with lists of reasons to justify a “no” to a seemingly crazy idea you know probably wasn’t your own so it might just work because it might just be God’s idea.
You also talked, in your note to readers, about your empathizing with Andrew Sullivan’s reaction to social media and the kind of person he had become. Did you go cold turkey on this retreat, leaving home your laptop and phone? How did it go? Did the retreat help you find a healthy way to use digital technology and social media? Do you find yourself falling back into your old ways?
I aspired to be a purist and find a wind-up clock and only use a watch (I even bought a $15 big red watch at JFK airport before I boarded the plane) but those things were with me (I had a few deadlines I was meeting as I was flying over and before shutting down). In the end I always had my phone around, in large part because I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, and forgot to bring the book version along. Which, frankly, made it all feel less artificial. The phone praying is a part of my every day and I could continue to do that while choosing not to check in on Donald Trump’s Cabinet choices and all the rest. I accidentally found out Fidel Castro died one day, but then figured there might have been a reason for that, too.