The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola are best suited for prayer during a silent retreat. However, Ignatius knew that they could also be effective when employed in a less isolated environment. It is the hope of the authors of this blog that you, the reader, find the meditations that we offer here useful in your own search to encounter Christ in prayer in your daily life. The meditations are intended to be prayed in order, from as close to the beginning as possible, perhaps over the course of a dedicated time such as the season of Lent. (more…)
Grace: To be glad and rejoice intensely because of the great joy and the glory of Christ our Lord
Reflection: We enter the Resurrection through the eyes of Mary. Is it not fitting that the woman who has trusted more than any other person should be the first one consoled? For more than thirty years, Mary has loved and trusted through the bewildering events of her son’s life. In a sense, Mary’s Calvary began from the first moments of the pregnancy which opened her to the scorn and ridicule of her neighbors. She has “kept all these things in her heart,” meditating upon the bizarre working of God, who blesses her with a glorious Son, yet progressively takes that Son away from her. Simeon had told her that a sword would pierce her heart, and did she not feel that sting running into Egyptian exile? Did she not feel it as Jesus told the crowds that the one who does the will of the Father was His real mother? Did she not feel abandoned as Jesus died upon the cross leaving her a defenseless widow without a single living child? Yes, trust in God is good, even commendable, but at some point, doesn’t a person have to admit that enough is enough? What more does God want, and if He does want more, why should she give it? He has taken away her only Son.
Grace: That I may feel intense joy and gladness for the great glory and joy of Christ our Lord risen from the dead.
Reflection: We now come to the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises and shift our focus to the Resurrection and Ascension of Jesus Christ our Lord. In this week our goal is to arrive at an intense and lasting joy and gladness characteristic of true consolation.
The basic dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises is that in the First Week we take a brutally honest look at sin and this humbles us. From this point forward we recognize that it is foolish to try set up any rival good to God. We see clearly that if we try to live by our own lights rather than God’s will, we are bound to failure. Therefore, we look to Christ in order that we might imitate Him and model our lives after His: this is the only way out of the abyss. Then, in the Third Week of the Exercises, we try to accompany Christ in His suffering, staying near Him as long as we can bear.
Grace: To know the joy of the resurrection as Mary knows it.
Reading: John 20:1-9
Reflection: Christ is not dead. He has risen. He is alive.
Go ahead, ask Mary of Magdela, or Peter, or the beloved disciple, or the Mother of Jesus. They will tell you the story. Ask them what they saw while in the soft darkness before daybreak. You’ll hardly believe it.
Just imagine . . .
Nothing remained in that cold tomb except a folded up piece of cloth. Friends of theirs had laid Jesus there just a few days earlier after he was given a betrayer’s death. And now, that tomb was empty. The body gone. (more…)
Grace: to be glad and rejoice intensely because of the great joy and the glory of Christ our Lord.
Reflection: Today we begin celebrating the Resurrection of Christ Our Lord. In fact, liturgically the Church considers the entire week that follows, called the Octave of Easter, to be one prolonged Sunday. We ought to ask the Lord that our rejoicing in Him today be deep and full. His victory is final and utterly complete.
St. Ignatius had the sense that the first person to share in the joys of the Resurrection would be the one who had most loved, trusted, and served God in her earthly life – Mary. So St. Ignatius encourages us in the Spiritual Exercises to consider Jesus meeting His Mother on the Resurrection morning.