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After ten months praying in a cave in Manresa, St. Ignatius received a vision that permitted him “to see God in all things” — the stated goal of his Spiritual Exercises, which are part of each Jesuit’s novitiate. This doesn’t innately appeal to me. Despite my conversion, I don’t care to see God in all things. I prefer to find God in circumstances I think up in advance, at home in my spare time — circumstances God will fulfill for me like a gumball machine when I put the penny of my prayer into it. It’s not virtue that leads me to the Exercises but pain. Only a flamethrower on my ass ever drives me to knock-knock-knock on heaven’s door. Pain, in my case, is the stole stimulus for righteous action. — from Lit, “The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.”


Mary Karr (b. 1955) is an American writer best known for her poetry and helping to start the renewed popular interest in memoirs with the publication in 1995 of
The Liars’ Club. Remaining on the New York Times’ bestseller list for more than a year, the book recounts her tough childhood spent in rural Southeast Texas in the 1960s. In 2000, she wrote a follow-up, Cherry, about her adolescence and early womanhood, and Lit in 2009, chronicling her complicated conversion to Catholicism.

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