April 10, 2012 | XL.
Grace: Gratitude for the many graces and blessings received, and the desire to reciprocate God’s generosity in loving service to Christ the Risen King.
Text for Prayer: Spiritual Exercises no. 230-237
Reflection: At the conclusion of Lent and the Spiritual Exercises, we have so much to be grateful for. Let us recall with gratitude the ways we have experienced the Trinity’s Love for us throughout the Four Weeks:
- How did the Spirit reveal to you your God-given uniqueness, especially how you have been wonderfully made by God?
- What bondage did you find yourself trapped in during the First Week, and how did Jesus set you free?
- Where and when did you find Jesus speaking to you most powerfully during the Second Week? What instance particularly drew you to desire to know, love and follow Christ?
- At what point during the Third Week did you feel most free to enter into Jesus’ Passion and receive intimate knowledge that Christ suffered this all for you?
- Where did you encounter the Risen Jesus during the Fourth Week? In what ways did you experience Christ as the Consoler (and more specifically, your Consoler)? What point during this week did you feel your heart most moved to follow Jesus?
We haven’t even gotten to the meat of the Contemplatio. Ignatius has two points of consideration before we begin:
- Love ought to manifest itself in deeds more than in words.
- Love consists in a mutual sharing of goods, where the lover shares everything with the beloved, just as every good is shared between the Father and the Son in the Holy Spirit.
There is much fruit with these two considerations. Ignatius is preparing us to grow in deeper awareness of all that God has given and done for us. He is calling us to be open to an appropriate response to God’s generosity. Let us consider the following, mindful that we are in the presence of the Trinity, the Virgin Mary and the Heavenly Court:
- Love is a gift, a continuous mutual exchange of all that one has and is. Consider the blessings of creation and redemption, how God has called me into being and how Christ has suffered and died, so I might be reconciled to the Father. When I reflect upon the gifts of creation and then redemption, what sort of offering should I make? End with the Suscipe (Take Lord, Receive).
- Love is a reciprocation of being present to the other at each moment. Consider how God dwells in all creatures, in plants, in animals and in humans. Indeed, He makes a temple of me, since I have been created in His image and likeness. When I reflect upon this marvelous honor bestowed upon me, what sort of offering should I make? End with the Suscipe.
- Love is a total sharing in every activity. Consider how God is laboring for me in all the creatures on the earth. He is not content simply to set things in motion, but toils for my benefit. He makes trees bear fruit for us, He makes the sun shine upon us, and never ceases to work on my behalf. When I see the Lord laboring without rest for my good, what sort of offering should I make? End with the Suscipe.
- In love we belong to each other; we partake of what is ours. Finally, consider how all blessings and gifts come from heaven, like water from a fountain. All the power, justice, goodness and mercy that I possess come from God, who rains them into my soul. When I see all the gifts God has showered upon me, what sort of offering should I make? End with the Suscipe.
At the conclusion of the Contemplatio, feel free to speak with the Father, Jesus or Mary about what you have experienced at any point during this prayer period. You might be drawn to an experience from a previous week or to something related to the four points of the Contemplatio.
How did you experience love shown in deeds more than words, and how are you being called to go and do likewise? In what way(s) are you called to the mutual sharing of all goods and one’s entirety with the one you love?
Give thanks to God for not only giving you every gift and blessing but being the gift, laboring on your behalf and being with you at every moment. A growing awareness of these points will help us become able to begin contemplating God’s Love in our every action and to discover that God truly dwells in His creatures and can be found in all things.
April 10th, 2012 | XL.
| Fourth Week