Grace: An intimate knowledge of our Lord, Who has become man for me, that I may love Him more and follow Him more closely.
Reflection: We begin the Exercises by contemplating our sins, and how God’s love calls us to reform our ways. But the call does not stop there. From the start of the Second Week, with the call of Christ the King, we have been considering and mulling over in our hearts and minds what more the Father calls us to in the context of Jesus’ example of continually responding to the Father. Now, we see the call of the apostles, the first citizens of the kingdom that Christ is establishing “on earth as it is in heaven.”
As C.S. Lewis was fond of saying about Christianity, “it’s a religion you couldn’t have guessed.” This is certainly true with the call of the apostles. No theological training beyond whatever catechesis any Jew of the day would have gotten, no special eloquence, not even a high success rate at being disciples once they were called. It seems as though half the stories in the gospels about the apostles are about how they were getting things wrong. But with every failure they got back up and continued to follow Christ; eventually even Peter, who out of fear denied knowing Jesus at all, asked out of love for Jesus not to be crucified in the same way Jesus was, as he was not worthy to die in the same manner as the Lord.
Our own calls may likewise not be in ways that we would guess beforehand; the seminarian who once expected an angelic choir to announce that God is calling him to the priesthood may find instead that it was a quiet, continuous nudge from the Lord that got him to the door. So too with any other calling; we may expect it to happen one way, and it turns out another. The apostles only gradually got to know the Lord. St. Ignatius notes that in Luke 5, Peter already knew Jesus as “Master” by the time Jesus finally called him to be a “fisher of men,” and Peter “left everything and followed Him” (Lk. 5:10-11). As with the apostles, we experience the call to repentance, come to know Jesus in a general way, and then find out what He is calling us as individuals to, perhaps to something we never would have guessed.
Questions: So far, we have been praying for the grace to know Jesus more clearly, that we may love Him more dearly and follow Him more closely. With that in mind ask yourself this: How have I gotten to know the Lord lately? How is our relationship with one another? What is the Lord asking of me that would truly help this relationship flourish? (Note that this could be either a call to do something totally new in your life, or finding a new way of living out your life as it is.