Tuesday of Holy Week
In the second week of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius Loyola invites us to do a meditation of Two Standards. In the meditation, he would like us to imagine Christ Jesus as our Commander-in-chief and Lord; the other is Lucifer, the mortal enemy of human nature. In the next step meditation, we have to imagine a great field of all that region of Jerusalem, where Jesus as the supreme Commander in-chief is commanding his armies; another field in the region of Babylon, where the chief of the enemy, Lucifer is commanding his armies.
In the Gospel reading, John wrote, “after Judas took the morsel, Satan entered him.” Judas did not betray Jesus because he was under the control of Satan, but rather he let Satan control him. Judas has submitted himself to the standard of the Lucifer, and, therefore he joined the army of Lucifer. Peter will also betray Jesus despite his promise that he will day down his life for Jesus.
At the end of the day, we have to choose between two standards: the standards of Christ and the standards of Lucifer. The Lucifer has offered his armies with the standard of riches, honor, and pride. Jesus, however, has promised his armies the standard of poverty against riches; contempt against worldly honor; humility against pride. Can you imagine yourself standing between Christ as the Commander in Chief and the Lucifer as the Lord of Darkness? Which standard that you will chose?
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.