March 22, 2014
We have now moved into the Second Week of the Exercises, a time when St. Ignatius invites us to stand upon the graces of the First Week—to know ourselves as beloved sinners—and look towards how our life with God will continue to grow and deepen as we follow Jesus through his life up until his entry into Jerusalem. This is a time for us to receive instruction on how to live out the fact that we have now seen the mercy of God in our own life. Out of gratitude for that mercy and desiring to make some return gift to God for how he has loved us in the midst of our own sinfulness, we will now move through the events of Jesus’s ministerial life, largely in Galilee.
It is true that the First Week spans the great depths of our depravity, the distance we place between ourselves and God’s love for us. We soar from the depths of Hell to the heights of realizing that, no matter how dark our lives have been, Jesus Christ comes to us and sets us free. That freedom is meant to lead us to a change of heart and a change of how we live our lives, and so this next part of the retreat is meant to give us a chance to see how this new life with God might play itself out. It is perhaps a less dramatic time, where we are no longer dwelling in the Garden of Eden and the realm of Satan. No, now we travel with Jesus to the common and unremarkable land of Jesus’s adolescence and young adulthood, to spend ordinary days with him as he does extraordinary things in us. Let us be open, then, to the graces that God wishes to give us during this Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises: to know Jesus as a friend who walks with me everyday of my life.
For this weekend’s prayer, go back over something from the previous five days and savor the grace that you found to be most life-giving. In savoring and deepening that grace, you will once again show yourself ready to journey with Jesus to Galilee.
- Monday: Hell: Missing Forever the End
- Lord, you desire for all sinners to come to see you face-to-face in Heaven, but Hell is a real option for those who choose to reject your mercy and forgiveness. Help me—even in my worst moments—never to lose sight of the joy of Heaven and the pain of Hell, for then I can hope to reach the end for which you created me: yourself.
- Tuesday: The Triple Colloquy: The Grace of Conversion
- Lord, help me to confidently ask Mary for the graces I desire, that she might intercede for me on my behalf. Mary, help me to bring all my needs and concerns to Jesus, your Son, that He might hear my prayer and bring it to His Heavenly Father. God the Father, you sent your Son to save us and to make us sons like Him, hear my petition and grant it in His name.
- Wednesday: The Prodigal Son: Discovering Mercy
- Lord, you rush out to greet us when we first turn away from the depths to which we have fallen through sin. You not only welcome us back but give us honors and a place by your side that we can never hope to be worthy of receiving. Help me to accept your mercy with gratitude, that I might then be all the more eager to return to you in the future.
- Thursday: The Call of Christ the King
- Lord, you are the perfect King, and you invite me to follow you as a faithful companion, that I might fight for you and live for you. Lord, if it be your will that I should also die for love of you, lose all that I have for you, and be thought a fool for you, grant me the grace to accept these things as gifts from you, too, that I might ultimately please you most fully as your loyal subject.
- Friday: The Small, Quiet Kingdom
- Lord, your ways are so often mysterious and foreign to the ways of the world, for you begin small and grow slowly, almost imperceptibly, until you seem to have been in the world since the very beginning, ever so gently breaking forth and renewing all that you embrace with your Incarnation. Help me to be patient with the gradual unfolding of that Kingdom which is your very Self, that I might participate in some small way in the sanctification of the whole of Creation.
March 22nd, 2014 | Second Week