Grace: A growing intense sorrow and, if God so wishes, even tears for my sins.
Text for Prayer: the Third Exercise of the First Week, Spiritual Exercises no. 62-63
Reflection: In the Gospel of St. Luke, Our Lord tells the story of the persistent widow who won consideration from the judge because of her perseverance. Here in the colloquy we are called to persistence in prayer to obtain in a most particular way that grace which we desire in this First Week – to know our sins so as to reject them entirely and no longer offend God. In this prayer it is especially good to focus clearly on the grace we have been so earnestly seeking in our prayers to this point.
Certainly, prayer to Mary, Christ, or the God the Father is effective on its own; however, in combination and succession, this way of speaking with those who can most help us achieve our eternal good is especially efficacious. This is St. Ignatius’s genius.
Imagine a situation in which you are seeking either important advice or significant favor from someone. You would seek every possible way to access or plead with this person. Then someone tells you can speak with the one person who most loves the one with whom you desire to speak. And still more, that you can then speak with the one person who can actually win for you from this person what you seek. And finally, they enable you to speak directly with the person who is the source of the good thing you desire. You could not ask for better chances of success with this kind of deeply helpful arrangement! This is the prayer of the triple colloquy – speaking with Mary, Jesus, and the Father – in seeking grace from God.
In Mary, we speak not only with Jesus’ Mother, but our Mother as well. She is the one (non-divine) human who has perfectly loved God in her life. She can obtain graces for us with her intercession that others cannot. She also cares for each of us with personal maternal love. Remember this as you speak to Mary about your sins and desire to turn away from them.
In Jesus, we encounter the Savior who has loved us with everlasting love and, yet, Whom we have pierced with our sins. He loves us, and we must convert to Him.
In speaking with the Father, we address the One whom ultimately we have offended, and to Whom we owe everything we have. We ask Him for the grace only He can give.
Questions: As I consider myself against the whole history of sin – Satan, Adam and Eve, believers who went to hell for one mortal sin – what is it that I most desire from God in seeking to turn away from sin with decisiveness?