Before the late 1960's, when the full Spiritual Exercises began to be individually directed (as they were first intended by St. Ignatius), the retreat was preached in a 30-day format, using the outline of the Spiritual Exercises.
This retreat is the text of a 30-day preached retreat given by Fr. John Sheet, S.J., the Novice Director at Jesuit College, the Jesuit Novitiate near St. Bonifacius, Minnesota. It was given in 1966, to the First Year Novices.
Each meditation below includes the introductory "preludes" which Ignatius offers and then Fr. Sheets' reflections for prayer for that period. The retreat makes for good spiritual reading, but might also be used to make an indivisual or group retreat - in a variety of formats: praying with a meditation a day or with one a week.
Also included are the "Instructions" which Fr. Sheets offered along the way.
The Index of the Retreat meditations and instructions contain links to each one.
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
by John R. Sheets, S.J.
A Thirty – Day Preached Retreat
To the First Year Novices
at St. Bonifacius, Minnesota
The First Week
Meditation #1 “Come and See”
Meditation #2 “The Unknown God”
Instruction #1 Introductory Observations
Meditation #3 The Mystery of God
Meditation #4 “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts”
Meditation #5 The Majesty of God
Meditation #6 God the Creator
Instruction #2 On Prayer
Meditation #7 The Design of God
Meditation #8 “To Love is to Create, To Create is to Unify!”
Meditation #9 “The Meaning of Man”
Meditation #10“Division and Death”
Meditation #11 “The Tantum Quantum”
Meditation #13 “The Pathology of Love”
Meditation #14 “The Angelic Sin”
Instruction #3 On Prayer
Meditation #15“The Sin of Adam”
Meditation #16 The Meaning of Sin in the Scripture
Meditation #17 “This Is My Life!”
Meditation #18 “Where are You?”
Instruction #4 On Penance
Meditation #19 Examination of Conscience
Meditation #20 “You Are The Man!”
Meditation #21 Anima Christi
Meditation #22 Hell
Instruction #5 The General Confession
Meditation #23 On Hell
Meditation #24 “The Mercy of Christ”
Meditation #25“The Infinite Mercy of God”
Meditation #26 Birth – Death /Alpha – Omega/The Two Facts
Instruction # 6 Rules For the Discernment of Spirits
Meditation #27 “Death”
Meditation #28 “The Confrontation”
Meditation #29 “The Kiss of Peace”
Meditation #30 “The Meaning of Conversion”
Instruction #7 Rules for the Discernment of Spirits
Meditation #32 “On Gratitude”
The Second Week
Meditation #33 “WHAT WILL THIS CHILD TURN OUT TO BE?”
Meditation #34 THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
Meditation #35 CHRIST THE KING AND THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
Meditation #36 “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”
Meditation #37 ETERNAL LORD OF ALL THINGS
Meditation #38 THE INCARNATION
Instruction #8 THE MEANING OF THE CHURCH FOR A JESUIT
Meditation #39 THE MEANING OF THE INCARNATION
Meditation #40 THE NATIVITY
Meditation #41 THE INITIAL ENTRANCE OF CHRIST INTO HIS APOSTOLATE
Meditation #42 THE CIRCUMCISION AND NAME OF JESUS
Instruction #9 THE CHURCH AS FELLOWSHIP
Meditation #43 THE PRESENTATION OF THE CHILD JESUS
Meditation #44 REPETITIVE REVIEW
Meditation #45 JESUS GOES UP TO THE TEMPLE AT THE AGE OF TWELVE /THE HIDDEN LIFE OF JESUS
Meditation #46 THE TWO STANDARDS
Meditation #47 ONE SOURCE OF THE TWO STANDARDS
Meditation #48 THE THREE CLASSES OF MEN
Meditation #49 BAPTISM AND TEMPTATION OF JESUS
Instruction #10 RULES FOR DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS II
Meditation #50 SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Meditation #51 REPETITION OF PREVIOUS MEDITATION
Meditation #52 “THE OUR FATHER”
Meditation #53 THREE KINDS OF HUMILITY
Instruction #11 THE ELECTION
Meditation #54“COME TO ME” (Matthew 11:28)
Meditation #55 LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS
Meditation #56 “THE SAMARITAN WOMEN”
Meditation #57 ANOTHER PASSOVER, THE BREAD OF LIFE
Instruction #12 THE NORM OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
Meditation #58 THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Meditation #59 CHRIST AS THE LIGHT
Meditation #60 CHRIST: THE LIFE OF THE WORLD
Meditation #61 ST. PAUL: THE GREATEST IMITATOR OF CHRIST
Meditation #62 CHRIST: WHAT DO I THINK OF HIM?
Meditation #63 CHRIST: WHO IS HE?
The Third Week
Meditation #64 “PASSION OF CHRIST STRENGTHEN ME!”
Meditation #65 CHRIST’S LAST WEEK
Instruction #13 210. RULES WITH REGARD TO EATING
Meditation #66 LAST WORDS
Meditation #67 CHRISTS FAILURE
Meditation #68 THE WASHING OF FEET
Meditation #69 INSTITUTION OF THE EUCHARIST
Meditation #70 THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES
Meditation #71 THE HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER
Meditation #72 FROM THE LAST SUPPER TO THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN
Meditation #73 THE ARREST OF JESUS AND THE SANHEDRIN
Instruction #14 RULES FOR THINKING WITH THE CHURCH
Meditation #74 PETER’S DENIALS /THE DEATH OF JUDAS
Meditation #75 JESUS BEFORE PILATE /JESUS BEFORE HEROD
Meditation #76 JESUS BEFORE PILATE AGAIN
Instruction #15 DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART
Meditation #77 ECCE HOMO
Meditation #78 THE WAY OF THE CROSS
Meditation #79 THE LAST WORDS
Instruction #16 THE MEANING OF THE CROSS (SUFFERING)
Meditation #80 THE LAST WORDS (CONT.)
Meditation #81 THE LAST WORDS (CONT.)
Meditation #82 LOVERS OF THE CROSS /WAY OF THE CROSS
Meditation #83 STABAT MATER
Meditation #84 JESUS IS PIERCED
Meditation #85 THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
The Fourth Week
Meditation #86 THE FIRST APPARITION OF JESUS TO MARY
Meditation #87 CHRISTIAN JOY
Meditation #88 THE APPEARANCE TO MARY MAGDALA
Instruction #17 DEVOTION TO MARY
Meditation #89 THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
Meditation #90 THE APPARITION TO THE DISCIPLES
Meditation #91 THE APPARITION TO THOMAS
Meditation #92 THE APPEARANCE ON THE SHORE OF TIBERIAS
Meditation #93 ON MT. THABOR
Meditation #94 THE MEANING OF THE APPARITIONS
Meditation #95 THE ASCENSION
Instruction #18 Universal Call to Holiness
Meditation #96 PENTECOST
Meditation #97 THE MEANING OF PENTECOST
Meditation #98 CHRIST: HIGH PRIEST
Meditation #99 PROMISES
Meditation #100 EVERLASTING LIFE
Meditation #101 CONTEMPLATION TO ATTAIN THE LOVE OF GOD
Meditation #102 THE MEANING OF THE RISEN CHRIST.
Meditation #103 THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
The First Week
“Come and See”
The atmosphere of the retreat should be indicated in St. John’s Account of the Gospel. : 2:35-51. “Behold the Lam of God” and “where do you live?” The words of St. John the Baptist when he saw Jesus pass by.
“Come and “See” are the words of Jesus in answering the disciples of John when they asked where do you live?
Like Simon Peter and the other disciples Jesus called, we too must respond to his call, if only to see where he is. Moreover we should ask God what do you want of me? What are we looking for? More specifically what do I want?
If we look at newspapers, magazines, T.V., etc. there are opinions expressed in the advertisements concerning what we should do, look, think, say, dress, etc. But these are only opinions and so many of them contradict one another. There is however, one person in this world who has no opinion, namely, Christ. Christ does not have any opinion of what and how we should be and do, but rather he expresses a fact – the truth of how and what we should do. This is most explicitly pointed out in the Sermon on the Mount. “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my word will never pass away.”
The point of all this is, why do we listen more to the opinions of others and not to the truth of Christ? During this retreat we must be open and listen but in doing so, I must give myself actively in order to grow in the truth which Christ expressed. I must now obediently listen to Christ.
I must ask myself, What in my life am I afraid of? I must develop a self-knowledge – the kind of knowledge that will lead us to LOVE. Now in order for me to do this I must undergo a conversion. I must want and desire to love and be loved with all my being.
In this retreat I must pray that I may enter into the Risen Christ, here and now present. In doing this I am seeking His peace – the peace of a real friend. I do want to see Him and dwell in Him.
I hope in Christ because I am loved more than I can possibly love, and I am wanted even more than I want to be wanted. Christ therefore is really more interested in making me this retreat than I am, although I give my all to this task.
O God allow us to put our hearts where Christ’s is. We beg that we may be open to Christ; to be more loving and even more loveable.
Examination and Additional Thoughts:
1. In this Joyful meditation it is very fitting to recall the Joyful Mysteries of the Holy Rosary.
a. The Annunciation is God’s call to me. God is calling me to make this retreat and I must respond by,
b. The presentation of myself to the Father through Christ.
c. It is the Nativity in which I am born in Christ. It is my rebirth in which Christ lives in me. The Apostle once said: “I live not I but Christ lives in me.”
“The Unknown God”
In this meditation we are going to ask ourselves who God is. What is He? And what does he mean to me.
Cf. Acts 17:16-33 It is here that St. Paul had his greatest trial and humiliation. When Paul arrived in Athens he began to preach; and it happened that several Greek scholars approached Paul with questions concerning his new teachings. Paul approached the matter by citing the Greek inscription: To the Unknown God. This Paul said was the God of Abraham, etc. And he taught Christ and his resurrection. But when the Greeks heard the word resurrection they left Paul in despair.
It is the “Unknown God” whom we desire to know. And so we pray that this Unknown God make Himself known to us.
T.S. Elliot said of today’s society that in no time in the history of man have men left God for no god at all. Today God is dead.
Pope Paul VI’s address to the Thirty-Second General Congregation of the Society of Jesus stated and commanded the society to wage a war against Atheism. But in order to do this we must know God. And so I ask myself, What is my image of God? Is God the unknown God to me. Do I simply talk about God or do I talk directly to Him? How, then, can I grow in the Knowledge of God?
I can only know a person as a friend, only when I realize that his life is involved in mine and mine in his. And so it is with God: I know God only when I begin to realize that He is involved in me; I must then respond to his involvement. It is at this point when I can honestly say, My God and My All. Not only is God involved in me, but I in Him – an involvement which is manifested through Creation – through my Creation.
It is important for me to understand what I am saying when I dare say, “My God!” I must realize what I am doing when I place the possessive “My” before God. But I can say My God, because God owns as it were all of creation. He therefore owns me and I in turn recognize his ownership.
And so in beginning to know who the real unknown God is, I must recognize an involvement – an involvement which culminates in the Incarnation which draws me into Him – the Creator.
I pray therefore, to Love God with a passion. Cf. Psalms 62, and 42. I pray that God may become known to me so that I may claim his as My God.
Explanation and Additional Thoughts:
1. Although I belong to God nece4ssarily through Creation, nevertheless, if I want to say “My God” I must want to belong to Him. I must choose God as He chose me.
Ref.: The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, by Louis J. Puhl, S.J., The Newman Press, 1963.
St. Ignatius defines “Spiritual Exercises” as an activity. It is a mode of activity. All happiness comes from activity – from doing something. Activity is a sign of Life. However, there are two different kinds of Activity:
1. Physical Activity
- Physical Activity is that type which is directe4d toward activating the body. (i.e. games, sports, work, etc.). The more active we are the more recreated we become. And so Activity is refreshing precisely because it is a fuller participation in creativity.
2. Spiritual Activity
- Knowing and Loving constitute what is called Spiritual Activity. It is an action of the intellect and will. This is the deepest kind of Activity, for it is only Spiritual Activity that Physical Activity is creative and refreshing.
As an individual increases in age so too should he increase in wisdom. In other words the more mature a person is so too should he mature in Spiritual Activity. Thre is a twofold purpose of Spiritual Activity.
1. I must rid myself of an attachment to inordinate things, places, events, etc. This, then, is a liberation – a process of freeing.
2. Through Spiritual Activity I am able to open myself to life’s inner depths. I must therefore, develop an asceticism in my life.
And so, in any personal relationship with another , our whole mind and body must be involved in manifesting our activity – this active relationship. For example, if I am going to manifest my relationship to God I will meditate in a manner indicative of that relationship. I will manifest that activity by kneeling.
During this retreat St. Ignatius warns us against the enemy. What we do or don’t do during this retreat may someday affect the lives of thousands. And so Ignatius warns us against two specific dangers:
1. The danger of “self centeredness”. I should always keep in mind that I am wanted even more than I want to be wanted. I must realize that I am being acted upon by the force of God. I am being drawn by Him.
2. The second danger is that of “Discouragement”. I must not look at the negative sides of things only. I must not fall into the trap of only considering my faults, the ability I do not have, nor the past which I have left.
It is a knowledge of being wanted and the power of one wanting me to be wanted.
Cf. Observation #2. Pray to understand the Truth. Knowledge will naturally fall in. Love and relish the Truth. The object of Prayer is for an intimate understanding of the truth. “Taste and see how good the Lord is.”
We must be generous to our Lord and creator – we must be open to him. I must offer myself, that God may mold me, so that He will imprint his image in me. Yet we fear a total offering. We fear the past and future. But to overcome this fear recall the words of Mary: “Behold the handmaid of our Lord, be it done unto me according to His Word.” Let us Trust God completely.
4. Openness to the Spiritual Director:
a. I must remember to be patient in striving for the heights. I must learn to depend upon the Spiritual Director to give me that initial life.
b. Reflection on what and how much I have to give up will only serve to hinder the benefits I might be gaining. This type of a reflection is only but a temptation.
c. I must remember that what we are doing is a Community project. Cf. Luke 3:34. Just as Simeon said of the Child Jesus, “Behold , this child is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be contradicted and thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that the thoughts of many hearts shall be revealed.” We too are for the rise and fall of many because of our profession in Him who called us.
Orthodoxy, by G.K. Chesterton
“The sun rises every morning. I do not rise every morning; but the variation is due not to my activity, but to my inaction. Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. His routine might be due, not to a lifelessness, but to a rush of life. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially like. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grownup person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grownup people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God make every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that he has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore. Heaven may encore the bird who laid an egg. If the human being conceives and brings forth a human child instead of bringing forth a fish, or a bat or a griffin, the reason may not be that we are fixed in an animal fate without life or purpose. It may be that our little tragedy has touched the gods, that they admire it from their starry galleries, and that at the end of every human drama man is called again and again before the curtain. Repetition may go on for millions of years, be mere choice, and at any instant it may stop. Man may stand on the earth generation after generation, and yet each birth be his positively last appearance.
The Mystery of God
The meaning of God in my life and our witness to Him. My words and deeds manifest this witness.
I place myself in God’s presence and recall: Cf. John 14:19, “Yet a little while and the world no longer sees me. But you see me, for I live and you shall live.”
I pray and beg to give witness to this God who is alive with Life.
If we look around us we will see the mystery of Life and Death enacted, yet so few of us recognize or are aware of this. And so if we are barely aware of life around us, how can we come to the grips with a God who is Living. And so I come to the realization that God does not have to be questioned, rather it is I who am to be questioned. It is my relationship to the living God which is in question and not his relationship to me.
In Salvation History God is pictured as the Living God. But God is also living today. I must be aware of this fact. But what does it mean when I say that God is alive with a life giving Live? What is meant is that God is completely immersed in His activity. Because of this complete immersion, God has no beginning, nor end. Being alive means that He has the fullest personality. He is completely attentive to all of creation, even in our sub-conscience.
But God is more than a Living God. God is a Life giving God. God not only gives Life but also is capable of restoring it. (Cf. Ezechiel 37:1-14) The ultimate conclusion is that God is actually the breath of my own life. My life is but his breath. And so He is not only the source of life, but the source of my life. And so God is present creatively in a loving way.
I pray to realize how completely alive God is, and how completely He gives Himself to me; especially in creation and the Gift of the Holy Spirit.
Examination and Additional Thoughts:
1. How tremendous is it to meditate, realizing the presence of an active Being – a Being who is the source of my Life – Yes! , my Life.
“Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts”
Lord grant that I may enter into the inner sanctum of God! Allow and permit us to enter the Holy of Holies.
God appears to Moses in the fiery bush. Cf. Exodus 3:13-14. It is here when God revealed himself to Moses: “I am Who Am.”
To realize the mystery of God as a Holy God and how we realize the notion of Holiness in our own life.
Why is it that in defining the meaning of Holiness, most people will consider it as a lack of personality, dullness, effeminate, abnormal, etc.? In Scripture Holy means a Concentration of the Life of God. It is the inner sanctum of God. It is not an attribute, but rather the aliveness of God – the living God. In the O.T. it is the “set apart-ness” of God from His creation, but not in terms of distance rather set apart in terms of depth. In the OT holiness is an overwhelming attraction. We look upon God in awe and wonderment and at the same time we are drawn or attracted to His life.
The notion of Holiness is difficult to understand because, (1) it is considered as a caricature by society; (2) the penetration into God is and cannot possibly be exhausted. This is precisely the nature of Holiness, that it cannot be completely comprehended; and (3) the loss of mystery in the world. We think that nothing is bigger than us and so we loose a sense of reverence.
Reverence means a penetration into the depth of reality, that is, the mystery of God. And so I must be reverent so that I may enter more profoundly into the inner sanctum of the Holy of Holies.
To understand the meaning of Holiness in the O.T. our attention must first be concentrated on the scene where god tells Moses to remove his sandals from his feet “for the place where you stand is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)
In other words, what god is telling Moses is that that ground is set aside by the Presence of the Living God. Secondly, in revealing His name God made his secret of Holiness available to all. According to Hebrew tradition the revealation of one’s name was likely giving away one’s inner thoughts and was not, therefore looked upon lightly.
A second notion of Holiness found in the O.T. is seen in the Vision of Isaiah 6: 1-7. Here Isaiah sees the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne. Seraphim are surrounding Him and with one continuous voice sing: “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts! All earth is filled with his Glory.” Despite his unworthiness, God chose Isaiah, but after he was cleansed with a burning coal.
We pray to enter into the vision of Isaiah and ask ourselves what our reaction would be to such a vision. I pray to realize the Mystery of God – to begin to understand what the Holy God is. By revealing His name to me He draws me to Himself as He did with Moses. Lord grant me a sense of awe and attraction, so that I may dare to say “Blessed be God, Blessed be His holy name.” And so must I realize that I have been called to enter into this Holiness of God by God Himself. Cf. Psalm #139
Examination and Additional Thoughts:
1. God is actually interested in me more than I can hope to be in Him. He revealed Himself to me. He chose me. God has attracted me with His awe and wonderment. I must respond.
2. Psalm 139 Illustrates just how present God is – to me and to all of Creation.
The Majesty of God
God is a Majestic God. In this meditation I hope and pray to come in contact, to feel the Majesty of God.
To enter into the Vision which St. John portrays in the Apocalypse, 4.
Second Prelude: To realize through John’s vision, the real Majesty of God.
1. The seer is invited to enter into heaven.
2. He is caught up in ecstasy, and sees the throne in heaven with God sitting on the throne but he avoids any description which would reduce the mystery of God, “One . . . etc.”
3. In order to guard against presenting some human figure he describes God in terms of Light – translucent like a jasper stone; fiery red like a sardius; and a rainbow around the throne, sign of covenant with Noah.
4. The Church of the O.T. and the N.T. : white is a symbol of victory; crowns symbol of ruling power.
5. Thunderstorm is O.T. way of describing the powerful presence of God; the number 7 is symbol for perfection; the completion of the spirit = the seven spirits of God.
6. The one on the throne is both distant and near – separated by a sea of glass, but like light which is present in every part of sphere of glass. Four living creatures is the whole of nature.
7. To bring out the fact that the whole of creatures enter into worship, what is most noble (lion), strongest (ox), most wise (human), swiftest (eagle).
8. To bring out their unceasing activity; and presence of God in them.
9. They do not sleep, worship continuously. Acclaim the holiness of God, and his life with no beginning or end.
10. The church synchronizes its worship with the activity of the living creatures; by casting their crowns before the throne, they acknowledge that their victory is from the One on the throne. Created life therefore adores uncreated life.
Although nothing is said directly about the One enthroned nevertheless the whole of creation is centered on Him. He is therefore the Center of all, the Lord and Ruler, Eternal and True.
There are many in today’s society who would immediately reject that passage because they consider themselves to be the center of the universe. They have set themselves up upon the throne. They have overthrown the One God.
But, to, there are others, others like myself who will strive to make their lives live in God. But this is indeed a privilege.
O Lord, I pray that we may understand and praise God as the center of all activity. I too pray that I may join in the grand chorus and say, “Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God almighty, who was, who is, and who is coming. Finally, I pray to realize God as the center of my life, and all of creation. Amen.
Examination and Additional Thoughts:
In this meditation I saw, I think, for the first time how inadequate man really is when compared to the glory and splendor of the One Enthroned. Even when blessed St. John cannot find words to express the One enthroned in a high and lofty place.
The second thought and probably the most inspiring of all was the revelation of Christ in St. John’s Vision. It is Christ who is the crystal engulfing as it were the One enthroned, giving and adding dimension of depth. It is Christ who is the jeweled jasper stone, the Light of the Father and of Creation. It is only through the penetration of Christ that we can dare to approach the Most High God.
“O Lord hear my prayer and let my cry come unto You!”
God the Creator
With the Sacred Writer let us try to visualize the Activity of God’s Creativeness. Let us stand by his side and watch God create.
Let us pray for a realization of the meaning of God as My creator and the creator of the whole universe.
A. The Descriptions in the Book of Genesis
1. In Genesis 1, we see god stepping out into the chaos, bringing it into being, into order. This is the beginning of creation a creation which lasts for six successive days, the seventh day being the day of rest.
2. God Created in the following manner:
a. First Day ----- Separation of Light from Darkness
b. Second Day --- Separation of the waters, those in the sky from those in the earth.
c. Third day ------ Separation of land from the waters, the earth with vegetation.
d. Fourth Day ---- Lights, (i.e. Sun, Moon, and Stars).
e. Fifth Day ----- Life and the animals.
f. Sixth Day --- God rested.
3. It should be noted that in the first three days Creation involves separation and division; while in the second three days Creation takes on the characteristic of Ornimentation.
It should also be noted that the principle behind Genesis 1, is that all of God’s Activity is Good and Sacred. The whole of creation is Good; all that comes from God is Good.
And so, we should try to realize that the present state of God’s creative activity is also good and sacred – that without his creative breath, I would cease to be.
4. Man’s refusal to accept and recognize God as Creator is the result of Original Sin. Original Sin, contradicts, as it were all of God’s Creative Activity. And because of it we became strangers to Him who made us. No matter who it may be, the only way I can really know them is through their Creative Activity, but what happens if we shun their activity and disregard it?
Why, then, do we recognize other human persons and yet, fail to recognize their maker, their originator. No human person is his own source of existence, yet we recognize them.
5. God should not be considered as the one who “takes away”. If we think this way the whole of creation is a contradiction. Yet there are many who will say that God demands and takes away. No, God only gives, He creates.
B. Cf. Genesis 2, Although this is a much earlier writing than Genesis 1, is appears second because it depicts the creation of man and women. Furthermore it sets the scene for the most tragic event in the whole of Human History.
Let us reflect on God’s wonderful Creation by considering Psalm 104. Let us also pray with the Psalmist: “May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord be glad in his works! He who looks upon the earth, and it trembles; who touches the mountains, and they smoke! I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live. Pleasing to him be my theme; I will be glad in the Lord. May sinners cease from the earth, and may the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul! Alleluia.
Examination and Additional Thoughts:
In this Meditation I have seen God as a Creator – the creator of all Creation. I marvel at this thought, but I ask why, why is it that in today’s world and at a time when creation is being penetrated into more than at any other time in the History of creation, why is it that today the creator is being lost sight of. The more we penetrate Creation the more obscure becomes the Creator.
O Lord I love the beauty of your house and the dwelling place of your glory. Amen.
To be a Christian is to pray. Prayer, therefore, should not be considered as optional if we are to be Christians, especially Religious. For as a Religious we are professionally being a Christian, therefore we should be professionally prayerful. We must know how to pray if we are going to teach others to pray.
Our prayer should be considered as a family activity. God is the Father of our family. In the O.T. prayer is directed to God “our kinsman.” Similarly, in the N.T. prayer is directed as are the branches to the vine. I, therefore, must place myself in the presence of God my Father and enter into a family activity.
At times I forget that this prayer is a family activity – that it is an activity in this life which approaches as close as possible to the beatific vision. Prayer, then, is the closest contact with God.
However, we may have many difficulties with prayer and praying , such as:
1. I do not consider myself being a member of a family. I forget that we are a family of prayer.
2. There is an instinctive fear to place ourselves in front of the One who wants us to change. It is like a student who is afraid of the teacher because the teacher may give an assignment which could possibly change the student’s attitude, etc.
3. We fail to realize that prayer is an expression of how we live during the day. It is the expression of everything that has gone into it throughout the day. During the day I ask was there a spirit of recollection?
4. Problem of Memory, Imagination, and Emotions. We are ontologically Christians but not psychologically Christian. For example, although I am a member of a family, nevertheless, it is not being expressed. And so I am a stranger, a foreigner, and even an enemy. And so, sanctity basically means to become psychologically what I am ontologically.
Thus, our basic problem in prayer is that I am not yet Christian. This is so because of our psychological weakness. This, then, is the reason for the Spiritual Exercises. Here Ignatius concretizes our prayer through the stimulation of our senses, Memory and Imagination. We should therefore, follow Ignatius advice: Make use of a picture, a crucifix, etc. for we go where our imagination leads us.
5. Finally, our preparation of prayer is not carried out. We must have a remote and immediate preparation.
The Design of God
God acts with a design, with a purpose. In other words, He has a plan; and as Scripture mention He takes counsel with himself.
The Vision of God creating Man: Cf. Genesis 1:26. God said, “Let us make mankind in our image and likeness.”
Let us pray to realize that the Living God, the Holy God, the Lord of History is the dominant force of our existence.
1. In the course of our lives we tend to make God as though He were in our image and likeness. And yet the fact remains that I am in His Image and likeness; and it is here where we begin to see God as a planner, a designer, a purposeful creator. But to see God in this way I must view the whole of History as a Drama. I must be conscious of the fact that things don’t just happen by chance. And so what we do does make a difference.
2. What I do makes a difference. I must, therefore, if I am a re-presentative of God, render His intention. God gave man a certain kind of dignity and it is only in Christianity where that dignity makes a difference. And so my dignity consists in saying “yes” to God’s purposes and intentions.
3. The more a person is a person the more he is able to bring out himself. The whole of History is actually contained in “Let us make man in our own image and likeness.” But it is the “Make” which makes a difference. The make is the key for it is precisely Christ’s passion and death – it is the re-creation. The “re-making.”
4. In the O.T. God’s intention was manifested in three successive ways:
a. Calling, that is, a vocation – creation itself is a kind of vocation. It is a calling of disorder into order.
b. Election, in that God chooses us here and now.
c. Typology, that is, past events point beyond themselves to another future event. E.g. The exodus pointed to Christ, it is a kind of eschatology. Typology brings out the notion of God’s purpose through his promises.
Let us pray to understand more fully the Design of God. Let us reflect on the epistle to the Ephesians 1:3-6
“Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in his sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ and his sons, according to the purpose of his will, unto the praise of the glory of his grace, with which he has favored us in his beloved Son.”
Cf. Ephesians 3:7-13
Examination and Additional thoughts:
1. God certainly did have a design with me. I now realize His Providence and Design more than I ever did. I must have been like a pagan to think that all my actions were only my doing.
“To Love is to Create, To Create is to Unify!”
In the previous meditations we studied and pondered the mystery of God. Not only did we try to unveil God but also to establish a line of communication with Him.
I picture Christ speaking to me as one of His apostles: “To you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God.” (Mk. 4:11)
Grant me the Grace O Lord that I may enter into the mystery of the Kingdom; that through you I may know the Father more intimately. I pray for the grace to be in constant communion with HIM who IS.
A. What is meant by Communion?
- Since the result of God’s Activity is to Create God, so to speak, must come out of Himself and enter into a communication with His Creation. In other words, God enters into a communion with his Creatures. This is made very clear in the Gospel Account of St. John 1:14; “And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” And so we can clearly see that the only way we may enter into communion with God is through the Incarnation of Jesus Christ, His Son. It is, then, a union with the Father as sons in and through His creation – the Creative Word.
B. The Realization of God
- If there is one theme that is most predominate in St. John’s Account it is precisely that of Union. The final Realization of this union in Christ is the ultimate unveiling of the mystery of God. – Although at the outset God seems but a far and unfathomable mystery, but now we begin to realize that He can and is seen in and through Christ. And so Christ himself is the but the mirror of the Father. – he is the crystal, the jasper stone with its radiant light and it is he that gives depth and meaning to the Trinitarian Mystery. Christ, therefore is the Creator (Word) and the New Creation. He is Holy.
C. The Nearness of God
-Finally, let us realize that the God who seems so far and distant is in all actually closer than my best friend. For it is impossible to eat the body and drink the blood of my best friend – not so with Christ, though. For it is through the Sacrifices of the Mass that I am able to enter into a union so intimate that words cannot describe. It is here then, where the mystery of God is “concretized” or localized. For it is only in the Mass where the Mystery of God is summed up and stated and restated.
O Mary my Queen and my Mother give me the Grace to understand that in you (in your womb) is the whole of creation – Creator and Creature. “Blessed be the womb of Creation – Blessed by thy Womb, Jesus.”
I also pray to the Creator, Jesus Christ, to help me to enter into eternal union with the Eternal God. Amen.
“The Meaning of Man”
(This and the subsequent three meditations will be concerned with the meaning of man in the light of St. Ignatius’ “First Principle and Foundation,” paragraph 23, The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, by Louis J. Puhl, S.J.)
“Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.”
Christ is looking at me and asks, “For what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world at the loss of his soul?”
We beg to put on the mind of Christ in order to see what He thinks man is.
A. The Meaning of Man
- Throughout the ages many people have tried to define man and the mystery of his being. And so what follows is their basic summation of the meaning of man:
1. There are those who say that man has no meaning, that life is completely absurd. They say that man is a contradiction – that he contradicts his very nature and purpose. This is the atheistic existentialist definition of man.
2. Some say that man is a pleasure seeking animal, that his only purpose in life is for its enjoyment – eat, drink, and be merry.
3. Others hold that the meaning of man is to know and be known -- to be well liked.
4. Again there are those who say that possession is the key word in the meaning of man. In other words man should get all he can while the grabbing is good.
5. And there are those good intentioned people who say that the purpose of man is to make a service of themselves to others. Although, this is by far the best these people have come up with, it is however sad to say not enough. But it is a beginning. I said that it was not enough because they forget the dignity of the persons whom they are helping. Things are unimportant! The person and his dignity is what is important, and yet it is precisely this fact that is often times over looked.
B. Christ’s Answer concerning the Meaning of Man
- In order to know and understand the meaning of man I must go to the one who made man. I must go, therefore, to Christ – THE MAN. In other words, it is man’s soul which is incomparable: Christ said what will it be?, your soul or the world. And so I must take care of myself. It is I, I must remember, who is created in the image and likeness of God.
-“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his great mercy has begotten us again through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead unto asn incorruptible inheritance – undefiled and unfading, reserved for you in heaven.” Cf. 1 St. Peter 1:3-4ff.
- And so the real error of the humanists is that they fail to see and appreciate the dignity and at the same time the tragedy of man.
- But the real dignity of man is truly expressed by the Psalmist, “You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet . . . etc . . . Psalm 8. And so the true expression of man is precisely that he is only somewhat less than angelic. This, then, is my meaning and worth.
- St. Agustin once expressed man’s restlessness when he wrote, “You have made us restless O Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”
-This, though, is only one side of the coin. Although man is only less than Angelic a closer examination of his manifestations will place him only a little higher than demonic.
C. The Consideration of the Misery of Man
- Cf. Imitation of Christ, Chapter 22
- If it is a principle of reason to take care of that which is more valuable, than that which is less valuable, why do I not put more care on my soul and my salvation and less attention on the things around me? This, then, is man’s greatest contradiction, and yet how ironic can we be? Think of the time that we put in on an automobile. What happened to the designer, manufacturer, the salesman, the driver (who was probably killed in that same automobile)? What happened to those people and more importantly where is their soul? Where is the dead man’s soul? The soul of a human person? And yet how much time we place on things.
- We ask then, Is man a “ship of fools” acting with no direction, Is he still polishing the brass of a sinking ship, Is he still fighting the battle while he already lost the war? Where is man’s dignity? Cf. Thomas, Wolf, You Can’t Go Home Again. This is the tragedy of man as seen from the outside. And yet from the inside gushes forth a dignity worth more than the whole universe. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his only begotten soul?”
In my colloquy I pray to put on the mind of Christ to see that I am made for only one purpose – for Him; for my salvation.
Let me look into myself to see if I hold values which Christ holds, or do I place more on things. Do I value things more than persons, knowledge, and love; or body over soul, time over eternity, that what is passing to what is permanent?
I pray therefore to put on Christ and through His Holy Mother reflect on the words, “He who is not with me is against me.”
For what is man?
First, a child, soft-boned, unable to support itself on its rubbery legs, befouled with its excrement, that howls and laughs by turns; a sleeper, eater, guzzler, howler, laughter, idiot, and a chew of its toe; a little tender thing all blubbered with its spit, a reacher into fires, a beloved fool.
After that, a boy, hoarse and loud before his companions, but afraid of the dark; will beat the weaker and avoid the stronger; worships strength and savagery, loves tales of war and murder, and violence done to others; joins gangs and hates to be alone; makes heroes out of soldiers, sailors, prizefighters, football players, cowboys, gunmen, and detectives; would rather die than not out-try and out-dare his companions, wants to beat them and always to win, shows his muscle and demands that it be felt, boasts of his victories and will never own defeat.
Then the youth: goes after girls, is foul behind their backs among the drugstore boys, hints at a hundred seductions, but gets pimples on his face; begins to think about his clothes, becomes a fop, greases his hair, smokes cigarettes with a dissipated air, reads novels, and writes poetry on the sly. He sees the world now as a pair of legs and breasts; he knows hate, love, and jealousy; he is cowardly and foolish, he cannot endure to be alone; he lives in a crowd, thinks with the crowd, is afraid to be marked off from his fellows by an eccentricity. He joins clubs and is afraid of ridicule; he is bored and unhappy and wretched most of the time. There is a great cavity in him, he is dull.
Then the man: he is busy, he is full of plans and reasons, he has work. He gets children, buys and sells small packets of everlasting earth, intrigues against his rivals, is exultant when he cheats them. He wastes his little three score years and ten in spendthrift and inglorious living; from his cradle to his grave he scarcely sees the sun or moon of stars; he is unconscious of the immortal sea and earth; he talks of the future and he wastes it as it comes. If he is lucky, he saves money. At the end his fat purse buys him flunkeys to carry him where his shanks no longer can; he consumes rich food and golden wine that his wretched stomach has no hunger for; his weary and lifeless eyes look out upon the scenery of strange lands for which in youth his heart was panting.
Then the slow death, prolonged by costly doctors and finally graduate undertakers, the perfumed carrion, the suave ushers with palms outspread to leftwards, the fast motor hearses, and the earth again.
This is man: a writer of books, a putter-down of words, a painter of pictures, a maker of ten thousand philosophies. He grows passionate over ideas, he hurls scorn and mockery at another’s work, he finds the one way, the true way, for himself, and calls all others false – yet in the billion boos upon the shelves there is not one that can tell him how to draw a single fleeting breath in peace and comfort. He makes histories of the universe, he directs the destiny of nations, but he does not know his own history, and he cannot direct his own destiny with dignity or wisdom for ten consecutive minutes.
This is man: forth most part a foul, wretched, abominable creature, a packet of decay, a bundle of degenerating tissues, a creature that get sold and hairless and has a foul breath, a hater of his kind, a cheater, a scorner, a mocker, a reviler, a thing that kills and murders in a mob or in the dark, loud and full of brag surrounded by his fellows, but without the courage of a rat alone. He will cringe for a coin, and show his snarling fangs behind the giver’s back; he will cheat for two sous, and kill for forty dollars, and weep copiously in court to keep another scoundrel out of jail.
This is man, who swears he will live only for beauty, for art, for the spirit, but will live only for fashion, and will change his faith and his convictions as soon as fashion changes. This is man, the great warrior with the flaccid gut, the great romantic with the barren loins, the eternal knave devouring the eternal fool, the most glorious of all the animals, who uses his brain for the most part to make himself a stench in the nostrils of the Bull, the Fox, the Dog, the Tiger, and the Goat.
Yes, this is man, and it is impossible to say the worst of him, for the record of this obscene existence, his baseness, lust, cruelty, and treachery, is illimitable. His life is also full of toil, tumult, and suffering. His days are mainly composed of a million idiot repetitions – in goings and comings along hot streets, in sweatings and freezings, in the senseless accumulation of fruitless tasks, in decaying and being patched, in grinding out his life so that he may buy bad food, in eating food so that he may grind his life out in distressful defecations. He is the dweller in that ruined tenement who, from one moment’s breathing to another, can hardly forget the bitter weight of his uneasy flesh, the thousand of his corruption. This is man, who, if he can remember ten golden moments of joy and happiness out of all his years, ten moments unmarked by care, unseamed by aches or itches, has power to lift himself with his expiring breath and say: “I have lived upon this earth and known glory!”
This is man, and one wonders why he wants to live at all. A third of his life is lost and deadened under sleep; another third is given to a sterile labor; a sixth is spent in all his goings and his comings, in the moil and shuffle of the streets, in thrusting, shoving, pawing. How much of him is left, then for a vision of the tragic stars? How much of him is left to look upon the everlasting earth? How much of him is left for glory and the making of great songs? A few snatched moments only from the barren glut and suck of living.
Here, then, is man, this moth of time, this dupe of brevity and numbered hours, this travesty of waste and sterile breath.
You Can’t Go Home Again, by Thomas Wolfe. Book Four, the end of the “Locusts Have No King”
“Division and Death”
“The other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created.” (The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, para., 23, “First Principle and Foundation.)
What Ignatius is telling us in this quotation is that Man is in a sense the center of all creation – that all other things are subordinate to him; but serve to draw man to the Creator.
I now visualize the Father speaking to me of His Son, Jesus. “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For in him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, of Powers. All things have been created through and unto him and he is before all creatures, and in him all things hold together.
I ask, therefore, for the grace to realize our union and growth in Christ, our God. I pray to make use of the loving things which he has given to me. In other words, I ask for a sense of responsibility to see things as a son. And so I pray to respond as a Son. This responsibility is really “answerability.”
A. The Difference between Persons and Things
- While things are made to unite, Persons are made for union. In other words, only the dignity of a Person can come into a Union with Christ. We are , therefore, made for the permanence of this union – for possession.
- But in order for Union to occur I must develop a sense of: (1) courtship – that is a courtship of Christ, with him in time. It is during this courtship that I pass on to the second sense of Union – that being (2) its consummation. In other words, the courtship now passes into all eternity. This is, death, the passage from time to eternity. How contradictory man really is. At one moment we speak of him as Thomas Wolf, (i.e. very pretty, etc.) and the next as a person with a dignity uniquely his own and who is destined for eternal union with Christ.
B. The Use of Things
- All given things serve the purpose of unification – to unite us to the father. But when we speak of things we do not necessarily mean those apart from me rather for example consider those which are a part of me, indeed a very important part, namely, my own bodily senses. Bodily senses are but corridors to Life – to unite me to Christ. They are like tree branches which reach out for more life and growth – they bring food and nourishment to the tree.
1. Sight – The power to see is but a channel to life. Sight is the reflection of God’s own beauty. Sight is also a pleasure. In other words, we like to see sun sets, beautiful persons, etc.
Yet on the other hand, our sight can be a perversion. We can use it to kill – to separate me from God and from other men. E.g. Magazines, books, pictures, etc., all lend a sense of curiosity which can tear us apart – apart from God and apart from man. This can be seen every day and is not just fantasy. And so not only does this separation occur but it also entails the loss of freedom. In other words, we develop our own prisons.
2. Taste – Taste should also be the source of Life as it is intended to taste life; to feel as it were life’s nourishment. But it too can enslave us. Drink is but one example of this unrelenting slavery. Although it was intended to taste life; to feel as it were life’s nourishment. But it too can enslave us. Drink is but one example of this unrelenting slavery. Although it was intended to be a source of life it becomes for many the source of their own enslavement; their own death.
3. Hearing – This too is meant to be a source of Life. Listen to the joy and happiness the sound of a grand chorus can bring. And yet consider how hearing, too is the source of death of enslavement. Consider for example, dirty stories, gossip, undue criticism, etc. Not only do we bring about our own death but it is the means by which we can be the cause of another’s downfall.
4. Sex – This is the most culminating means to unification by means of creation, and yet consider how misused it is. Consider the very instrument of Life and how it is turned into the instrument – the deadly instrument of death. Its primary existence is to give to procreate life, yet it most tragically results in death, in enslavement. Consider for example, broken homes, abortions, prostitution, etc. Consider how enslaved a prostitute really becomes, how lonely and how destitute she must be, how rejected, how dead.
5. The Intellect – The greatest gift that man and for the fact I possess is that of my mind, my own intellect. In other words, I have the gift of the power to know and to love. While these are the most treasured and powerful of all our being, consider how deadly they may become. It is the intellect which commits that first sin of pride.
6. Finally, consider all of our gifts and abilities and how we misuse them. How we turn from the source of life to the bloodstream of death and enslavement.
In our colloquy we beg God for the ability to use his creation as a Son would; as Christ did. Let us make our whole meditation on the words of St. Paul in his letter to the Romans 7:13ff. “Did then that which is good become death to me?” And so let us ask ourselves this very same question.
“The Tantum Quantum”
(This meditation is still on what St. Ignatius considered as the First Principle and Foundation of the Society of Jesus.)
Cf. Colossians 3:2. “Mind that things that are above, not the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
Also Cf. Philippians 3:7-16. What Paul is saying is that our whole being, body and soul should be with Christ in word, action, and deed, and thought.
In our second prelude we ask and pray for the grace of detachment.
A. “Man is to make use of them (things) in as far as them help him in the attainment of his end, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.”
- What is essentially being expressed by St. Ignatius is called the tantum quantum, in other words, “use me but don’t abuse me.” Things, therefore, should be used only in so far as they help me to attain union with God, and they should be rid of when they become but a hindrance to that movement of unification.
- Another way of expressing this idea is to use things only in so far as they give me life and to abstain from them when they lead me to death. It is only logical that the more things rule and dominate me the more passive and dominated I become.
- If we look around us it becomes obvious that man in some peculiar way has an inclination to death; he is attracted toward the deadly; the evilness in the world. Furthermore man seems to pervert that which is actually good in itself, as was seen in the previous meditation.
- And so Ignatius stresses an ordered use of things. An order that frees and liberates. This order that frees and liberates or as Ignatius expresses it as being an “ordering use” is Penance.
B. “Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition. Consequently, as far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. The same holds for all other things.
- The meaning of “indifference” according to Ignatius is firstly approached negatively. How, we ask ourselves, do we fail to be indifferent? Is it the way our child acts? – In other words, does my subjective reaction to things become the norm of my action? ; of my doing? Is it where myself becomes the norm? In other words, is indifference the norm of my action? It is good because I want it, or I want it because it is good? To sum up this negative aspect of indifference we can say that a lack of indifference can be manifested when the things in themselves become for us the norm. For example: If a painter liked the color red to such an extent that everything he painted, he did so with that color.
- But on the other hand Ignatius shows that indifference can take on a positive meaning.
1. A positive meaning of indifference is a singlemindedness in regards to things. This is to say, by being single minded is to direct and use things only in so far as they have a goal in mind. They are the means and not the end. The end is an “otherness” which things help us to achieve.
2. Indifference means a detachment only where there is attachment. In other words, one “yes” involves a thousand “no’s”. Cf. marriage: One “I do” means an indifference to a thousand others.
3. Ignatian Indifference involves a process of mortification.
4. Ignatian Indifference means to seek first the kingdom of God and all other things will be given accordingly.
5. Indifference means to be the steward of God’s gifts. To use them as the master desires.
6. Indifference means a grateful use of things; it is an expression of gratitude. In other words, things should be used in that they were intended “to use and not abuse”.
7. Ignatian indifference means to use things as a Son. I must act as a Son would; an adopted Son of God.
8. Finally, Ignatian indifference means to use and make use of things in such a way as a friend would, so that “our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.
In our colloquy we beseech Blessed Virgin Mary to veil us with a disposition of indifference as St. Ignatius intended and as Christ pre-ordained. We ask the Father in the name of Christ to grant us true indifference with regard to his creation: i.e. to be single minded, grateful, a steward, a Son, etc.
In the previous meditations (i.e. #’s 9,10, &11) we studied and probed into the meaning of man and his relationship to the things which surround him and their total relationship to the Creator. They were based on what Ignatius calls the First Principle and Foundation.
I look around me, at the things of the world; and I look at myself and ask: What does it mean when we say that “man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.”?
I pray to come to a deeper understanding of myself and my relationship to “things” and their total relation to God. I also pray to realize that I am destined to god through Christ our Lord; that the “things” which help me to achieve this goal be used to the fullest capacity and the things which bring about a hindrance may be cast into the eternal fires of damnation.
A. The meaning of Man
- In this meditation we have discovered that in order to come to a knowledge of man we must “extrapolate”. In other words, we must go to the source of man; the creator of man. That being God.
- Secondly, I must learn man’s meaning through THE MAN, the Incarnate God, who as was pointed out, re-created man. It is here where the true dignity of man is really brought to an understanding. It is here where man takes on a meaning. Man is not the depraved animal which Thomas Wolf portrays, although there are some men who act as such.
B. Man and Things
- In this exercise we saw how things were to be regarded in man’s ultimate achievement of his goals.
C. Man, Things, and God.
“The Pathology of Love”
In this meditation we will be reflecting on what Ignatius calls the First Exercise. It is concerned with the Triple Sin.
“To see in imagination my soul as a prisoner in this corruptible body, and to consider my whole composite being as an exile here on earth, cast out to live among brute beasts. I said my whole composite being, body and soul.” (para. 47).
“I will ask God for shame and confusion, because I see how many have been lost on account of a single mortal sin, and how many times I have deserved eternal damnation, because of the many grievous sins that I have committed.” (para 48).
A. The Pathology of Love
- Sin is really the pathology of Love. In other words love becomes full of disease; a cancer; disordered and sick; and filled with hate. When we meditate on the pathology of love it is to see just how sick we really are; and then again to hope to attain or regain our health in the Love of Christ. And so Christ is the medicinal cure of our pathology of love.
- The Raising of Lazarus, Cf. John 22:2-44. We too should realize the power of Christ’s love. Jesus loved Lazarus very much and desired to express his love for his dead friend. Thus Jesus gave him his love. Let us pray that Christ instill such love for us.
- Today in the world that no one can possibly commit sin and yet it is as common as death and cancer. And so we must look at ourselves as we really are. Although I am alive; I may be deceiving myself and really be dead – dead to Christ. Yet we say that we are alive and that God is dead.
B. My Soul is a Prisoner
- I ask myself, Am I a prisoner of my body by abusing it? According to St. Ignatius it is sin which enslaves us within our bodies. Through Sin Man is an abortion and it is sin which corrupts the body. Consider the many people in hospitals, old age homes, and even our own Infirmary? And so we see that sin not only affects the soul but “my whole composite Being.” That is, through my imagination I become resentful and senile. Sin affects my memory, remembering only the dead and unpleasant things of our life and the lives of others. Cf. St. Anthony’s Speech at Caesar’s Funeral: The good that one does is interred with his bones but the bad lives on forever. Sin also affects my understanding; my actions towards others, especially when they do not what we require of them.
Finally consider how sin affects the body; how it makes us enslaved; how dead we really become! In essence sin makes us an exile from the family of the communion of Saints. And so to be alive without the grace of God is to be like a brute beast.
- Consider Mark 5:1-20; it is in this scene where sin is most poiegntly directed. The expulsion of the Devils in Gerasa certainly indicates what spiritual and corporeal harm sin can do.
I pray with true contrition to know the meaning of sin in my own life; and to realize how Christ liberates me as he liberated the man in Gerasa.
“The Angelic Sin”
Here it is our desire to visualize the tremendous existential effect that sin really has. We also try to visualize how the effect of sin can literally change the whole created structure.
I now ask God for “confusion and shame”; that is to see what I should be doing but am not. I should never be overwhelmed and confused over God’s love and my refusal to accept God’s love. I pray therefore, to have the grace to respond to His love always.
A. The Angelic Sin
- Here according to St. Ignatius, I consider the one sin of the angels with the many sins I have committed. I will consider that they went to hell for one sin, and the number of times I have deserved to be condemned forever because of my numerous sins.
- Secondly, the angelic sin points out the fact that the body is not the source of our sinning, rather it comes from a deliberate choice to do malice. In other words, sin is an aversion from God and a conversion to something less than God. And so the source of sin is spiritual. St. Ignatius says that Pride is really the root of all sin. It is pride because in it we make ourselves the center of all things, rather than attributing God as the Center. Since pride is immaterial and is of the spirit it is the sin of pure intention; malice.
- Consider for a moment the angelic being. An angel is a person, unlimited by a body. And so in the order of being it is plausible that there be a spiritual person – in other words, an un-incarnate person. It is important at this point to take warning: for in the world today there are those theologians who are beginning to reject the spiritual things, that is they are denying spiritual existents. So we must take heed and fight this because it is spreading like cancer. If not checked in time they will deny the spiritual existence of God and really proclaim his death.
- And so an angelic being is a perfect reflection of God. Angels are not something in outer space, rather they are in this world; they are related to us as we ae related to a lesser society known as animals. But an angel is completely a person; thus being so the angelic sin is really a sin of pure malice. Consider that their sin was really directed against Christ. Cf. Colossians 1:15-20 “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature. For in him were created all things in the heavens and on the earth, things, visible and things, invisible, whether Thrones, or Dominations, or Principalities, or Powers. All things have been created through and unto him, and he is before all creatures, and in him all things hold together. Again, he is the head of his body, the Church; he, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things, he may have the first place. For it has pleased God the Father that in him all his fullness should dwell, and that through him he should reconcile himself to all things, whether on the earth or in the heavens, making peace through the blood of his cross.”
- But the angels refused to insert themselves into the design of God the Creator. Cf. 2 St. Peter 2:1-10. It is in this passage in which Peter is showing and describing the design of God. He is asking that we accept God’s design.
- As a result of the angelic sin, we read that they were cast into hell fire! But Hell was not created by God, rather we create hell because without God is Hell. And so the Angels created their own hell. All this is indicative that the “perfection of Sin” is pride. The sin of the angels is an emptying of god. And so immediately their world was changed into a Hell. Cf. John 8:42-47 “Jesus therefore said to them, ‘If God were your Father you would surely love me. For from God I came forth and have come; for neither I come of myself but he sent me. Why do you not understand my speech? Because you cannot listen to my word. The father from whom you are is the devil, and the desires of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has not stood in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he tells a lie he speaks from his very nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth you do not believe me. Which of you can convict me of sin? If I speak the truth, why do you not believe me? He who is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear is that you are not of God.’”
- Finally, I think that it would be good to reflect on this final point: It is death which reduces man to dust, but it is sin which reduces him to hell; and even spirits are capable of being reduced thusly.
I pray not that I may understand sin as I never did before. Sin is actually the cause of death; it brings about the reduction of man to dust. I also must consider my own potential to do intended malice. Finally, I pray to Christ to give me his judgment on sin. I pray to Mary: “Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our own death. Amen.”
When we are baptized we become adopted sons of God and so our knowledge of God is in a sense adopted. And so too it is with prayer.
Prayer is an adopted communication which should become like Christ’s even to the extent of His prayer in the Garden. It is precisely at this point where my prayer becomes sacrificial.
Sometimes it will be with Christ in the desert, sometimes in groups; but no matter how it is enacted all prayer is rooted in the Our Father – which is the true expression of our sonship with Him.
As in knowledge there are different degrees of prayer also:
1. The Discursive prayer is the type in which we are getting acquainted with the person to whom we are addressing our self. It is the getting to know you type of prayer.
2. The Affective prayer is the type where there flows an expression of common desires. After we get acquainted with a person we begin to express our common interests and desires. So too in prayer.
3. Prayer of Quiet is a resting type of expression. It is deeply affective and penetrates the hidden thoughts of our hearts.
4. Prayer of Aridity is the “passion” type of prayer It is here where I can say “Not my will but your will be done!” This degree of prayer is all inclusive in that it takes in all the other types and degrees of prayer which precede it. And so not only is this level Discursive, Affective, Quiet, and Arid, but it is also “redemptive.”
Essentially prayer is a “will to union”. The will to union is always a Constant intention; it means that when we pray consciously, that which is intended is “attended”. And so our prayer always means intending our will to union; it is a “tension” between me and god. This tension must always be attended to if our intentions are to remain strong. The intention, therefore is always constant.
Note: Cf. The Spiritual Exercises paragraphs 238-260.
“The Sin of Adam”
Let us try to visualize in this meditation how the whole composite being becomes dead as the result of sin. Consider how we really resist Love as our First Parents did.
I will ask God, our Lord for the grace to see my own sinfulness. In other words, I pray to see my own sin of pride and at the same time to beg Christ’s forgiveness.
A. Cf. Spiritual Exercises, paragraph 51, ff.
B. Cf. Spiritual Exercises, paragraph 52, ff.
-Consider for a moment how sentimental we really are. To most people Hell doesn’t even exist. In other words, most people today do not believe in the existence of Hell. Yet let us also ponder how lucky we really are in that we just escaped from the reaches of the flames. Consider how many people have died in the act of sin. I said consider this point: the murders, adulterers, the thieves, etc. I should bend my knees and bow my head in thanksgiving for the fact that I am not in Hell today – I should really consider myself as an escapee.
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, paragraph #53. “Imagine Christ our Lord present before you upon the cross, and begin to speak with him, asking how it is that though He is the Creator, He has stooped to become man, and to pass from eternal life to death here in time, that thus He might die for our sins. I shall also reflect upon myself and ask:
“What have I done for Christ?”
“What am I doing for Christ?”
“What ought I to do for Christ?”
As I behold Christ in this plight, nailed to the cross, I shall ponder upon what presents itself to my mind.
The Meaning of Sin in the Scripture
I will consider my soul as a prisoner in this corruptible body, and my whole composite being as an exile here on earth, cast out to live among brute beasts. My whole composite being, body and soul.
I will ask for shame and confusion, because I see how many have been lost on account of a single mortal sin, and how many times I have deserved eternal damnation, because of the many grievous sins that I have committed.
A. Old Testament Notion of Sin
- The prevailing theme contained throughout scripture is that God is a pursuing God. Despite man’s constant rejections, God is ever present seeking the one who turned on Him.
- Cf. “The Hound of Heaven”, by Francis Thompson. And so in this meditation we will consider God’s infinite power to love and my almost infinite power to refuse.
- If Adam and Israel were compared the results would be strikingly similar: Like Adam Israel is unworthy of the abundant generosity of God – a God who Loves.
- Basically the Old Testament notion of sin is likened to that of adultery:
1. Osee 11:1-4. “When Israel was a child I loved him, out of Egypt I called my son. The more I called them, the farther they went from me, sacrificing to the Baals and burning incense to idols. Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, who took them in my arms; I drew with them human cords, with bands of love; I fostered them like one who raises an infant to his cheeks; yet, though I stooped to feed my child, they did not know that I was their healer.”
2. Cf. Isaiah, 62:2-5. “As a young man marries a virgin, your builder shall marry you; and as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall your God rejoice in you.
3. Cf. Isaiah 54. Again the notion of the bridegroom who is seeking his adulterous bride, Israel.
-And so it is sin which is the very obstacle between me and My god. The prophets see sin as an attempt to throw the world back into chaos. For it is sin which kills the “Image of God” in his creatures. Now if we are created and even “recreated” through the redemptive incarnation, consider how sin is a direct attack on the Incarnate Creator.
B. Description of Sin:
- Sin is described as adultery, ingratitude, folly, treachery, etc.
-Cf. Jeremiah, 2:12-13, Here the prophet is absolutely amazed that a nation chosen by God has changed to another god. “Be amazed at this, O heavens, and shudder with sheer horror, says the Lord. Two evils have my people done: they have forsaken me, the source of living waters; they have dug themselves cisterns, broken cisterns, that hold no water.”
C. Sin In the New Testament
- In the epistles of Paul he puts forth the question which was concerned with the effects of sin; “Would you crucify Christ again?”
- Only in the New Testament is the complete revelation revealed concerning not only the communion of Saints but also the communion of sinners. Cf. 1 St. John, 3:10, “Whoever is born of God does not commit sin, because his seed abides in him and he cannot sin, because he is born of god. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are made known.
In my colloquy I place myself beneath the Cross upon which hangs the Savior. I pray for true shame and confusion, that I a sinner am responsible for what His love cost.
“This Is My Life!”
This will be the same as in #16.
I pray for true sorrow, for true tears, and true repentance for my sins. I desire to weep the tears of Peter – bitter tears for the loss of Christ’s friendship.
A. Examination of Conscience
- I now want to recall everything; every place, incident, persons, circumstances, etc. I want to realize how much I lost and Who I lost.
B. The Seriousness of My Sins
- I now want to weigh the gravity of my sinfulness. Even if I consider sin in itself I can see how detestable it really is – just in themselves they are a step toward eternal damnation.
C. Self Knowledge
- I now ask myself: Who am I? What am I? What is my true dignity? I reflect that so often we seek our glory in what we refuse to be. I must accept myself.
D. The offended
- If I am going to pride myself of something why not make it worthwhile? And so I am going to consider the God whom I have sinned against. Is He some kind of Tyrant? Someone who only “takes and hinders my freedom”? Is he a dictator? An Oppressor? Or Is He My Loving Father?
I must consider my ingratitude especially when I use created, God given things, to turn against Him.
E. The Contradiction – Sin
- If my body does not tolerate things that are hostile or even repugnant to it why does God tolerate me? Why does Creation tolerate me when I go against its growth? Why do we hinder – digress instead of progress?
In my colloquy I beg for God’s mercy and His pardon. As I kneel and realize my sense of loss I must also give thanks and adoration to Christ Crucified. For it is only through Him that my loss is replenished.
“Where are You?”
In this meditation I will ask God to grant me a true disposition, knowledge, and a sense of sorry in reconsidering the Triple Sin.
First I envision the Angelic Sin – the Sin of intentional malice which is Pride the deadliest of Sins.
Secondly, I am walking with God in the Garden of Eden when he is looking for Adam after his sin was committed.
Finally, I must answer the same question which God asked of Adam, “Where are you?”
Once again I ask God for true tears of sorrow. I ask to be truly confused and shamed. But I never lose sight of Christ crucified when I pray, “My Jesus Mercy!”
A. The Angelic Sin
B. The Sin of Adam
C. My own sins – an examination of conscience.
In this question of penance attention should first be drawn to the Spiritual Exercises, paragraph #82ff.
Basically penance means interior sorrow. It is not the same thing as regret. In other words I can only do penance for something that involves responsibility.
External Penance, on the other hand, is an expression of internal sorrow. It is sacrificial – a giving up. In other words, Penance is a restoration of which the first object is to make a repair – reparation. We give up in order to make up. But in order to be moved to penance I must first recognize and admit that I am a Sinner. For if I am not a sinner then I am not even redeemed.
There are three modes of Penance:
The Second object of Penance is an expression of desire – that of petition. By performing a certain penance I am at the same time requesting something or some grace from God.
Thirdly, our penance becomes a way of ordering our disorderly inclinations. In this way Penance becomes a healing process.
Fourthly, our Penance becomes a way of expression my Union with Christ as Sacrifice. In other words, as Lam of God who take away the sins of the world – my sins.
And so Penance is really an indication of my own Christian Personality – a redeemed Christian who is a sinner.
Examination of Conscience
This meditation is found in the Spiritual Exercises, paragraph #62.
Here I seek to gain a vision of my own sins and to develop a sense of utter abhorrence for them.
Here I pray for the light of faith – a faith which enlightens me and enkindles my soul with deep sorrow. I also pray for restoration to the order of creation.
A. A consideration of the Powers of Light
1. Superficial light is the kind of light which only illumins the surface – only manifesting the scab of sin.
2. The light of reason is the kind of light which serves to explain the whyness of the sin – the scab. It is understanding which necessarily has to point to a remedy. It foresees restoration; healing.
3. The Light of Faith is the inner depths of reality – it is as it were the third dimension of reality. It is here where I begin to develop a real genuine abhorrence for my sins. It is here where the healing process begins to permeate the whole sore. And so I am now converted from my avertedness from God.
B. I now try to realize the repercussions of my sins and how they affected the lives of others. Here we may consider not only those sins which we committed but also those of omission.
C. Venial sin
- In the Our Father we pray, “and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…” which is pertaining precisely to venial sin.
- In his first letter to the Corinthians, 11:30-34, St. Paul is calling attention to sinning venially.
- St. Paul is probably referring to an element of disorder which is related to venial sin, namely, our attitude. It is not necessarily how many times I do or commit a sin rather the “why” – the how of my thinking. What is my attitude? And so it is when my actions manifest my attitude that I really become culpable to sin.
I will use the three colloquies as given in the Spiritual Exercises, paragraph #63.
“You Are The Man!”
Read: 2 Samuel, 11: 12:1-25 The account of David’s sin and the words of Nathan the prophet.
I pray for true contrition according to “The Miserere”, Psalm 50(51).
I see Christ hanging on the Cross for me! I say to Him, “Yes, Lord, I am the Man.” I am the one responsible for this, but I am sorry, Oh, so sorry! Please forgive me! Jesus, please wash me with the blood which is spilling out for me; draining the Life out of you, My Sacred Vessel.
- I now say “The Miserere” only changing the tense to the past.
NB: An explanatory sheet was handed out.
“And bearing the cross for himself, he went forth to the place called the Skull in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified him,” John 19:17-18
I see Jesus, a disfigurement of all that is human, and yet containing within himself the whole of humanity – the whole of creation. What more can I do but pray quietly.
SOUL OF CHRIST, SANCTIFY ME
Sanctification is the concentration of Life; And so what I am saying is that it is my earnest desire to be filled with the ebbing Life of Jesus. He gave his life that I may possess Life – his Life. I ask, then, that I become magnanimous, in other words, “great souled” with the very Soul of Christ.
BODY OF CHRIST, SAVE ME
As I look at Jesus nailed to the Cross I begin to realize that I am saved through Flesh. Flesh saves flesh by the impregnation of the Holy Spirit. With this realization I beg Jesus for a deep reverence for flesh. It is not an instrument of pleasure, but rather one of sanctification. Consider the high regard Christ had for the flesh – to the extent that he called it a temple wherein dwells the Holy Spirit. Christ’s Spirit. I pray now for the Christification of my own body, so that I may become, “bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh.”
BLOOD OF CHRIST, INEBRIATE ME
Life is contained within the blood – and we are asking to be made drunk with the Life of Christ. I want to become drunk with love – with the Life of Christ. It will be, then, a suffering love; life.
WATER FROM THE SIDE OF CHRIST, WASH ME
Here I pray to be thoroughly washed from my guilt and of my sin. Cleanse me. Wash me with hyssop. Wash me yet more.
PASSION OF CHRIST, STRENGTHEN ME
God’s love is a strong love, penetrating, impregnating and creative. And so I place all my hope in the Passion of Christ, for it is there and only there where real strength can be obtained.
O GOOD JESUS, HEAR ME
“Good” means that Jesus is desirable; and so I am desiring that Jesus give me full attention. Hear my prayer and let my cry come unto you.
WITHIN THE WOUNDS HIDE ME
I now desire to enter into the most sacred wounds of Jesus. I want to put on compassion – to enter into the Passion “with” Christ. I want to share his misery; to hide in his very wounds. I also desire to develop a compassionate love for others in Christ.
PERMIT ME NOT TO BE SEPARATED FROM THEE
Nothing can separate me from Christ –nothing, except myself. Furthermore, to be separated from others is to be separated from Christ. Note: Markings, Dag Ham .. p. 124.
FROM THE WICKED FOE DEFEND ME
Here I pray for defense – a defense from satan and all his pomps. Only the power of love is capable of defeating the evilness of sin and al it entails.
AT THE HOUR OF MY DEATH CALL ME
This will be THE moment of Communion in and unto Christ. This is when we will be two persons sharing in the single life of the Trinity and only through Christ.
AND BID ME COME TO THEE
And so all of creation is calling me to the Creator. It is my moment of final re-creation, re-freshed in the Life of Christ. “Then the king will say to those on his right hand, ‘Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world…. (Mat. 25:34).
THAT WITH THY SAINTS I MAY PRAISE THEE FOREVER AND EVER. AMEN.
We are made to be possessed in the very same Body of Christ, for all eternity So be it.
I simply pray, “Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinner snow and the Hour of our death. Amen.”
This meditation is in the manner according to what St. Ignatius recommends as the Second Method of Prayer. Cf. Spiritual Exercises, paragraph 249 ff.
“And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, ‘If thou hadst known, in this thy day, even thou, the things that are for thy peace! But now they are hidden from thy eyes. For days will come upon thee when thy enemies will throw up a rampart about thee, and surround thee and shut thee in on every side, and will dash thee to the ground and thy children within thee, and will not leave in thee one stone upon another, because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation.’” Luke 19:41-44. This scene described actually portrays Christ weeping over man’s rejection of God’s love. The consequence of this rejection is Hell.
This is a representation of the place. Here it will be to see in imagination the length, breath, and depth of hell. Cf. Apoc. 20:14-15. “And hell and death were cast into the pool of fire. This is the second death, the pool of fire.”
I will beg for a deep sense of pain which the lost suffer, that if because of my faults I forget the love of the eternal Lord, at least the fear of these punishments will keep me from falling into sin.
Cf. Spiritual Exercises: para. 65ff
A. The Meaning of Hell and Its Relationship to man and History:
- Hell is not an isolated element of Christianity. Heaven and Hell form the whole revelation – either eternal life or eternal death form revelation.
- Man tends to create his own death and his own hell. Hell, is not meant to frighten anyone to love; although it is very frightening.
- Hell is the ultimate vindication of my dignity.
- Creation contains within itself two basic powers:
1. the power to “pro-create”
2. the power to “kill”
- There exist today three basic characteristics of our time:
- This is the reduction and outright elimination of true emotion; it is superficial reactionism; it lacks in depth.
2. Fear of Freedom
- Man today is afraid; he is afraid to be free because freedom demands responsibility. Man is afraid to respond.
- This is a tendency to see all things on a plan. That is, man is afraid of tragedy and even comedy; saints and sinners; heroes and even villains.
- Basically, then, the meaning of Hell i9s to love no more! There is nothing more to be shared with anyone – God included. Cf. Diary of a Country Priest p. 143, “Hell is not to love any more… not to love anymore!”
B. Hell and the Attributes of God
- Hell is a necessary corollary to the Living, Holy, and Life-giving god. Hell is being closed to the Holy and Living God – the Lord of human History.
C. The Description of Hell
- Christ spoke more on Hell than any other doctrine. Over 30 different times does he mention hell.
- Cf. Luke 16:19-31 The Richman and Lazarus
- Cf. Apocalypse 20:1-15
The General Confession
Cf. Spiritual Exercises para . 44.
What is sorrow? It certainly does not change the past and yet sorrow is one of the most mysterious acts of our being. Basically sorrow is an act of Love directed toward the past. This is called contrite love. Although it doesn’t change the past; reflection on the past serves to lighten the present and future course of progress.
And so I must know how I have failed in the past, and my love, then, becomes re-creative. Unless I know and am aware that I am a sinner I cannot be redeemed. In Christianity there are two poles of centrality: Christ as Savior and me, the sinner as saved. Sorrow, then, is the experiencing of my failure to love and the detestation it carries with it. One aspect of sorrow is amendment.
We must take this the most meaningful of my sorrow for my sinfulness. I must confess my past to the extent that it expresses my very deep sorrow!
Cf. Spiritual Exercises para., 65 ff.
Cf. Apocalypse 20:11-15; also, Matthew 21, The parable of the Vine-dressers.
“The Mercy of Christ”
There is still hope – Christ is on the Cross for me.
We pray to realize the abundant mercy Christ has for each of us. I pray that I may realize Christ’s mercy for me.
- To create cost God nothing – to re-create cost God His only begotten Son. This is truly the mystery of redemption.
- Our emptiness seems to draw out God’s fullness.
- If people really realized who I am along with what I am, would they still remain friendly towards me?
- Christ’s life was one of Savior. He was always in the company of sinners (those who needed his salvation). “Now the publicans and sinners were drawing near to him … and the Pharisees and the Scribes murmured, saying, ‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.’” Luke 15:1ff
- I must thank God that I am not judged by my fellow men. Men are without mercy – God is a merciful God. For there is not one single level or class of men that Christ neglected or failed to forgive. “This saying is true and worthy of entire acceptance, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the chief.” (1 Timothy, 1:12-17).
- Christ is God, because He can love – love in a forgiving way:
Cf. Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.”
Cf. Luke 23:43 “And Jesus said to him, ‘Amen I say to thee, this day thou shall be with me in paradise.’”
Cf. And many other incidents in Christ’s life are exemplary of his great mercy.
- I thank Christ our Lord for having sought me out.
I’m the presence of Christ Our Lord, I ask for the grace which Paul experienced; that is, to realize Christ as being My savior. Christ is my Savior. Lord have mercy on us – Christ have mercy on us. Amen.
“The Infinite Mercy of God”
Christ on the Cross
To pray to realize the goodness of God to me for having shown His mercy to me.
Cf. Psalm 103
Birth – Death
Alpha – Omega
The Two Facts
To see my own funeral Mass with my Jesuit brethren offering the sacrifice of thanksgiving.
To see the meaning of the “first death” – a mystery occurring here and now.
To realize that these two facts (i.e. Birth and Death) are believed by all men, no matter who and what they are.
A. Death – A process which is a Sign of Something – In some way, to be a person is to be in the world and yet at the same time to transcend it. The fact that I was not and now am, and am able to say “I” is indeed a mystery. But the fact that I am going to die is still a greater and profounder mystery. While my whole being yearns for permanence, yet I must face the fact: I must die! We are indeed a contradiction.
1. Is there an answer to the mystery of death? No! , it is something we just accept – in 1966 caskets were placed on display in a retail store on Wells Street, in Milwaukee. The business was forced to close down.
2. There are those who say that we should just live for the day: eat, drink, and be merry.
3. In the O.T. death is the “outside of sin”. Sin is the inside of death; and so death is the result of sin. If I die inside I must manifest it on the outside, that is, physical death.
4. Death becomes a vacuum which somehow intices the Life of God. In other words it becomes the means of our life. In physics we see that nature abhors a vacuum – it rushes in to fill it up.
By dying we intice God to replenish us (the vacuum) with His life. This is accomplished through the Resurrection. This very fact indicates that we – man was not made for time.
B. Old Age
- The preliminary mystery of old age which proceeds death is indeed the greatest tragedy of man. Man’s physical powers leave him; he becomes useless and dependent; he no longer has his former friends – they have already died.
- Either death is absurd or it is a sign of a deeper mystery. In being a sign of a deeper mystery it begins to explain the very mystery of Christ’s own passion and death.
- Cf. Teilhard de Chardin speaks of the permanence of man – something must go on – to live as it were.
- We must ask ourselves where our importance lies – even the things we do turn into dust – lost and forgotten. What does this all mean to eternity?
“Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our own death. Amen.
“Man’s days are like those of grass; like a flower in the field of blooms; The wind sweeps over him and he is gone, and his place knows him no more!” Psalm 102-103
Cf. Thomas Kempis Book I, 23
Instruction # 6
Rules For the Discernment of Spirits
Cf. Spiritual Exercises para. 313ff
The Discernment of Spirits is the realization of my life as a religious. Discernment determines whether a living thing is life-giving or not. The more alive a person is the more automatic is it to discern what kind of life I am or intend to live. It makes life grow with meaning and understanding.
“It is not every spirit, my dear people, that you can trust; test them, to see if they come from God, there are many false prophets, now in the world. You can tell the spirits that come from God by this: every spirit which acknowledges that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh is from God; but any spirit which will not say this of Jesus is not from God, but from the Antichrist, whose coming you were warned about. Well now he is here, in the world. Children, you have already overcome these false prophets, because you are from God and you have in you one who is greater than anyone in this world; as for them, they are of the world; and the world listens to them. But we are children of God, and those who know God listen to us; those who are not of God refuse to listen to us. This is how we can tell the spirit of truth from the spirit of falsehood. (1 St. John, 4:1-6)”
Cf. Galatians 1:6-10
It is always the activity of the Good Spirit if one is lead to a deeper union with Christ. This union is characterized by Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Fidelity, Gentleness and Self Control, etc. Cf. Galatians 5:16-26
To visualize God Our Lord saying to me: “Blessed are they who die in the Lord.”
We pray for the grace that our own death may be the climax of our Union with Christ. I especially pray that the redemptive death of Christ will even take over my dying. To embrace it with His most loving Heart.
A. The Meaning of Death in Scripture
- Our death is a sign of our temporality and points to a “beyond.” – beyond to a mystery. Just as our birth is a witness to an act of God, so is our death.
- “Sin entered the world through one man, and through sin death, and thus death has spread through the whole human race because everyone has sinned. Sin existed in the world long before the Law was given. There was no law and so no one could be accused of the sin of ‘law-breaking’, yet death reigned over all from Adam to Moses, even though their sin, unlike that of Adam, was not a matter of breaking the law.” (Romans 5:12-14)
- Cf. Romans 6: 1ff
- In the New Testament death is seen as the means which God has entered into us. It becomes a way by which we enter into our redemption.
- Death has come into the world because of our rejection of life. Even I ratify the sin of Adam.
B. Consideration of Self
- I do not know when or where I will die – but I shall. The “how” is all that I am able to determine. This will be the great Amen to my life. It is only in this sense that death is able to become a Sacrament.
“You have been taught that when we were baptized in Christ Jesus we were baptized in his death; in other words, when we were baptized we went into the tomb with him and joined him in death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the Father’s glory, we too might live a new life.” (Romans 6:3ff)
- Cf. 2 Corinthians, 4:7ff. The true meaning of our death is that we indeed become swallowed up by Life Everlasting.
Colloquy: Preface for the Dead
It is truly fitting and proper, right and profitable to salvation, that we should act all times and in all places give thanks to You, Lord, holy Father, Almighty and everlasting God. Through Christ our Lord.
In whom has shone upon us the hope of a blessed resurrection, so that those who are saddened by the certainty of dying, may be consoled by the promise of future immortality. For Your faithful, Lord, life is changed, not taken away; and when the abode of this earthly sojourn is dissolved, an eternal dwelling is prepared in heaven.
And therefore with the Angels and Archangels, the Thrones and Dominions, and with all the heavenly hosts, we sing a hymn to your glory, saying without ceasing: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of hosts … etc.
To visualize our meeting with Christ our Lord – face to face. This is our judgment. Cf. Matthew 25:31-46
I ask myself how will I answer to Christ our Judge?
I pray that my first encounter with Christ will be preceded by the kiss of peace.
A. The Particular Judgment
- Here we desire to be dissolved into Christ our Lord – this is the moment of Truth and revelation. We pray that this will be our homecoming!
B. The General Judgment
- Cf. Matthew 25
The particular judgment reveals my personal sins while the general judgment reveals my social sins. This is the last revelation – the unveiling of History. But the ultimate act of revelation is that we – I am saved by Christ’s compassion. But in order for us to reap the fruits of his compassionate love and mercy, we must firstly enter into his passion!
I pray that I may realize Christ’s abundant compassion here in this life. I pray to be numbered among his flock; that he will be my king.
“The Kiss of Peace”
To visualize the dwelling of God and man in the Holy City of God. “I love the beauty of Your house, O Lord, and the dwelling place of your Glory.”
I pray to enter into a deep union with Christ our Lord.
Cf. Chapter 21, Apocalypse – “The Consummation of Eternal Life”
“The Meaning of Conversion”
(The Culmination of the First Week)
I visualize Christ our Lord saying to me: “Unless you become converted and become like little children you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
We beg God our Heavenly Father for a true conversion – a turning away from so that we may turn to Him!
A. Scriptural Meaning of Conversion
- Basically conversion means a “returning” – a reverting to Christ our Lord and Creator. The Old Testament is filled with the refrain of “return” especially the prophetic era.
Cf. Hosea, 14:2ff “Israel, come back to Yahweh your God; etc. etc.”
- The opening lines of the New Testament restate the idea of returning through repentance. “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2). The whole activity of Christ is a converting one. Cf. Luke, 19:1-10 Zacchaeus becomes the convert but it was Christ who sought him out. “The Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost”.
- And so conversion means that I must change direction – instead of going away from God I must go to Him with Him. I must be consciously aware of this change. Conversion means reorientation of my whole life; which can only be accomplished through the inspiration of love. This consists in opening myself up to God that he may fill me with the Spirit of His divine love. Cf. Ezekiel, 33:10-20 Convert and you will live. Conversion then is a real kind of resurrection – it is a new recreated life in and through Christ.
- The real climax of revelation is that God really converts himself to us. This is the mystery of the Incarnation; Christ entering into us. And so to be converted is to allow for the entrance of Christ in me. God converts us to Himself by breathing the Spirit of Christ into us.
B. The Meaning of Conversion in my own Life
- I can only be converted because I am made to be in Christ. Our conversion means to turn to the very source of life, the Holy God, the Creating God, the all Loving God.
- In our own sinfulness we saw an aversion from God and a conversion toward things. This was a disorder; a step backwards; a stooping. But in our conversion we do not descend anymore, rather it is an ascending movement – a movement toward God. The first requirement for ascension is recognition for my own sinfulness and helplessness.
- There are three stages of aversion from God (1) venial sin, (2) mortal sin, (3) the particular judgment and temporal separation and the general judgment and eternal separation. However, in conversion there are corresponding steps of ascension. Our conversion must be seen in light of our Baptism. At that moment I was truly converted toward God. Now it is up to my will to manifest my sonship with God. In other words, I must be converted constantly – psychologically. Only then is conversion a dynamic process. To be converted is to allow Christ to be my King, my Prophet, and my Priest. In the initial prayers to the Mass I acknowledge the necessity of conversion.
- Finally, conversion is an expression of the Sacrament of Confirmation. It is to strengthen us, centering us more and more on Christ our Lord.
- It is here and now where our own conversion will convert others.
Come Holy Spirit and Convert me – Purify and center me on Christ. I pray to be turned from all and to Christ – to allow myself to be loved; to be converted.
Rules for the Discernment of Spirits
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para 316ff.
The basic notion of consolation is a “felt consolation” or an experienced union with Christ. Furthermore there are three basic stages of “felt consolation”: (1) love, (2) external manifestation, (3) an increase of union. In addition we can insert a fourth consolation and that is a “constant awareness of doing God’s will.”
A spiritual desolation is not a lack of consolation but rather an opposition to consolation; it’s a feeling of what is opposed; a repugnance toward God. This is described by St. John of the Cross as “The Dark Night of the Soul.”
The reasons for suffering from desolation: First we must consider our mood or spirit and that which is outside of us, i.e. the Good and Evil Spirits. It is important to make the distinction between my Mood or Temperament (the inside) and the Good or Evil Spirits (the outside). My mood or temperament could be used by either the Good and Evil Spirit.
Specific reasons for Desolation:
(1) By resisting grace the more repugnant I become.
(2) Trials imposed by God: It is here that I find out whether or not I love god or the things God gave me. God or the Things of God?; the Giver or the Gifts?
(3) God wishes to give us a depth of self-knowledge. Desolation can become the moment of truth.
Suggestions for Combating Desolation:
Never change but hold firm to original plan and goals. Never change from a previously made commitment while in the mood of desolation.
Always fight against desolation. Increase in prayer and practice penance.
Desolation can be an occasion for great merit. Cf. John 15, “The True Vine” “and every branch that does bear fruit he (the Father) prunes to make it bear even more.” In other words, desolation may be a pruning exercise by the Father.
Perseverance in Patience. We must develop a patience with and suited to our temperament. We must practice patience in our defects. God grant me the serenity to accept that which cannot be changed, courage to change that which can be change and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
How to benefit from Consolation:
Our consolation should be the realization that God loves us in consolation as well as in desolation. We should become aware of our dependence on our consolations. Remember always, I am the object of God’s constant love.
The Ways of the Evil Spirit
Never make a concession – it only results in the growth of desolation. Furthermore, it is an invitation to another and larger concession sometime in the future. Never lose courage in times of temptation.
326 We must be open with our Spiritual Director and even talk to another “spiritual person.”
The Evil Spirit seeks our weakness, so, “Watch and Pray!”
“This is a repetition of the first and second exercises with three colloquies.” Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para., 62ff
I shall try to imagine myself as an outsider looking in at a story. This story, though, is no ordinary story, for it is of a God and a person named Dennis.
I address my prayer to God our heavenly Father, through Christ His only begotten Son, to send forth their Spirit, that I may be recreated in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of Creation. I pray therefore for self-knowledge.
A. An Invitation and Revelation
- At the beginning of my life, an invitation was sent to me and on it was printed, “To you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God. (Mark 4:11).” And so from my infancy on, I reached out for the hand of God and together we began to travel the untraveled road of my life. And behold the kingdom of God was before us waiting to be unveiled. What we have seen and what we are about to see if the summation of complexis.
B. The First Revelation
- As I walked with Christ our Lord a sign appeared along the road. On the sign was inscribed:
“To the unknown God.” I asked what that meant and this is what I saw. And behold the heavens opened and all was brighter than brightness; and there stood a person imbued with all of life. It was this Person to whom belongs life – who is life. This was MY GOD. My God because He is my life. Without his life I could not be. This is the Life-giving God to whom belongs all aliveness.
- Upon entering the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum, I beheld One enthroned in a high and lofty place. It was really the Holiness of God manifesting His glorious Majesty.
- Finally, I saw God as The Creator and Designer. It was here that Jesus and I concentrated our attention. We looked at creation and in it saw the true image of God.
C. The Appearance of Man
- The meaning of man is more profound than the meaning of God. God created and there is some element of perversity in this creature called man.
- Now Christ and I looked at myself to see if I have been reflecting the true and clear Image of God. Here I saw my created dignity and at the same time my misery!
What actually happened was that I have been shown God and am beginning to see myself. I have come to see, but must let Christ complete that vision by ever renewing it.
Cf. Luke 17:11-19 – Thanking Christ our Lord for the cleansing and purgation.
I thank God for all His mercy shown and given freely to me.
A. The Meaning of Gratitude
- In the Principle and Foundation Ignatius implicitly stresses the notion of Gratitude. I must be grateful for my own centeredness in relation to things, and yet at the same time place all emphasis to the centeredness of Christ. I am the only who can give grateful witness and response to the Love of God. I also am honored to be able to praise and serve and reverence God our Lord.
Cf. Exercises #’s 61 and 71 – making those Colloquy’s my whole meditation. I must be thankful that I was chosen – saved from eternal damnation.
- Basically, Gratitude is to acknowledge the Gift of another internally and externally. It is a disposition to acknowledge “Giveness”. Although I recognize “given-ness” I do it HONESTLY through JUSTICE. For “it is truly right and Just that we give thanks always and everywhere to you Father Almighty and Eternal God.” Gratitude is Right and Justice because of the nobility of the Grateful person. This idea of gratitude is basically an attitude – an attitude simply of the giveness of gentleness that I am given Things. And so my Attitude is a kind of echo that my whole existence is a “Given Existence.”
- For a deep appreciation of Gratitude one only need to observe the lack of appreciation in another. This is the one who thinks that everything is owed him; a person who has closed himself off, making himself like a reservoir. It seems that those who have received the most are the most ungrateful, the most ignoble. And so gratitude can only be learned through learning.
B. Growth in Gratitude
- The more I see how unmerited the gift is, the more grateful I become. Really – how undeserved a gift is.
- When I see how things are directed directly to me.
- When I see that the gift is but a small token of what He really wants to give me.
C. Thanksgiving and Gratitude in Scripture
- O.T. The Psalms are expressions of Thanksgiving. “Thanks” in the Psalms and general in the O.T. thought mean “Blessed be God.”
- N.T. It is here that I see how utterly undeserved Christ is for me. “He loved me!” says Paul. The Gift of Christ is a token of what God really wants to give. “Has he not with Him given us all things?”
D. My Own Gratitude
- This first week I meditated on the Mind of God – not something abstract but something very real especially for me. I really did escape from Hell.
I really fall on my knees in loving gratitude and thanks.
The Second Week
“What will this Child turn out to be?”
Cf. Luke 1:57-80 – on John the Baptist
I pray to be like John – to be liberators in the world.
The Prophecy of Zechariah
A. The Promise in the Past vv. 68-75
- In the first part of the prophecy we see that God has turned toward us, setting us “free from fear.” Cf. 23 First Principle and Foundation: “… we are … free … and not under any prohibition.” The whole nature of God is a freeing activity – to be made free in Christ. Christ is our heroic deliverer. Christ is our freedom – He is the freedom which the prophets echoed throughout the ages. We should notice God’s infinite patience in freeing us from our fears; the fear of self. Christ brings forth freedom from fear. “Peace be with you.” And again, Peace be with you – be not afraid, It is I.
- The true Peace of Christ today is in the Eucharist to which is directed all of History in Holy worship.
B. The Present Promise vv. 76-77
- Not only is the Prophecy directed to the Baptist child but to all imitators of the Christ child – the children of God. In other words, it is us. We are the prophets, the forerunners who are sent to prepare the way for his coming. We are not the lights, but rather the lamps through which the light shines forth. We are the John the Baptists.
C. The Future Liberation vv. 78-79
- Here is the tender compassion of God, “who on the high will bring the rising Sun to visit us in the way of peace.” We are called to be representatives of the tender compassion of Christ. We are the points of reflection – the lamps.
We pray to be faithful to our vocation, to understand sin, and to help those who live in sin, the unnatural condition of man. We ask our Blessed Mother to protect us from the snares of the enemy. We pray then, “to give light to those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
This meditation is the heart of the Society’s Spirit. Herein lies the whole meaning of the Exercises. It is the Turning Point.
Cf. Exercises, para. 91. The place. The synagogues, villages, and towns where Christ our Lord preached.
To ask for the Grace not to be deaf to the Call of Christ. Here I wish to reflect on the meaning of deafness, that is, to hear but not to pay attention. Our very power to hear is where our heart is. And so we pray to hear.
First Part: THE CALL OF AN EARTHLY KING
A. Cf. Para. 91. Visualize a human King. A human being is pictured as King, chosen especially by God, not by man.
B. Cf. Para. 93. The call of this human, earthly King. Actually we are the conquered. But by being conquered we become the victors. We are asked to live as the King lives. I must therefore, be content “with the same food, drink, clothing, etc. I must work by day and watch by night, etc.”
C. Cf. Para. 94. Here is the whole point of the Exercises. It is here that St. Ignatius asks for true, selfless, generosity. This is the way a true noble knight ought to respond to a good and noble King. Refusal means condemnation. The question is, Do I want to become a true and noble knight? Cf. Matthew, 19:16, Let me not be a rich young man who really wants to follow Christ, but cannot because of attachments to the world.
Second Part: THE CALL OF A HEAVENLY KING
A. Cf. Para. 95. Here I must reflect on my calling, a call above and beyond the ordinary. I must consider the Love and Self-sacrifice which this call involves. I must realize that this call is not fictional – it is a call to a noble enterprise. Christ asks that I not remain deaf, but that I join him, to labor, to suffer, and to enter into glory with Him. I must remember when answering the call, that Christ’s enemies are mine, that is, sin death, etc. And what are his weapons? The cleansing waters of Baptism. “Wash me yet more.” Christ washes the feet of man, He washes my feet.
B. Consider all who have preceded me in answering Christ’s call. Consider the whole litany of Saints, Consider the faithful departed.
C. The “Greater” or “More”
Cf. para. 97. Here is where I not only follow Christ our Heavenly King, but where I follow Him by fighting against my own sensuality and carnal and worldly love, and order to make offering of greater value and of more importance.
Eternal Lord of All Things Cf. Para. 98.
I pray that the way in which I will go to Him is the way in which He will come to me.
CHRIST THE KING AND THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
Cf. Exercises, para. 91.
Same as previous meditation
A. The Church as the Extension of Christ the King!
- Recall The Soul of Christ, “Blood of Christ Inebriate me.” The Church’s history is certainly an inebriation of the Blood of Christ. It is Christ who really makes the difference. How much does this mean to me? How much does Christ mean to me? How much does any person really mean to me? Does he or doesn’t he make a difference?
- In the history of the Church Christ does and did make a difference to thousands. All the saints shout with joy: Long Live Christ The King. And so it is Christ who really makes a difference – the difference, especially for me. But what is it, what is there about Christ that does make the difference? If we can understand the mystery of love, we will be able to understand the difference. For it is Christ’s loving loving love that makes the difference. The difference for all eternity. The power for all eternity. The power of love is the inebriating blood circulating life ni the Church, the Kingdom of Christ.
- Consider how Christians die for Christ, a Person, NOT an idea, or a slogan, or a philosophy. Christians die for the Risen Christ I too must die for the Risen Christ.
B. The Jesuit’s Role in the Kingdom.
- A Jesuit is to fight for Christ the King under the banner of the Cross. This is the Heart of the Society of Jesus. The Society, as St. Ignatius saw it was the Hands, Feet, and Body of Christ; under the direction of the Supreme Pontiff. All of this, because Christ does make the difference. But all this, too, depends on how much we love and how much we accept the love of others.
C. What makes the Difference in my Life?
- What people?
- What things?
- What do I like to hear most?
- What do I not like to hear?
- What do I like to listen to?
- Who am I most deaf to?
- Where am I most eager and prompt?
- Where am I most lazy and Lax?
- Where am I most through, industrious, and a prompter of,?
C. Christ’s Appeal to Me.
- Who is Christ for me?
- What does He want from me?
- What do I have to gain or loose?
- It is to become the leaven of the World; to raise it.
It is to be the light of the world; to illumine.
It is to be the slat of the world; to give it tang and flavor.
Eternal Lord of All Things, Para, 98.
“KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”
“Look, I am standing at the door, knocking. If one of you hears me calling and opens the door, I will come in to share his meal, side by side with him. Those who prove victorious I will allow to share my throne just as I was victorious myself and took my place with my Father on His throne. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen with what the spirit is saying to them.” (Revelation 3:20ff)
I pray for the grace of “openness”
- “White” is the symbol of victory.
- “Faith and True” – this is an expression of God’s fidelity. Christ’s name is Faithful and Truth! “I am the Truth!”
- “Flaming Fire” – Christ is seeking us, he is as brilliant as fire. Consider how the eyes of a person communicate his love, hate, joy, sorrows, wants, etc.
- “many diadems” – many crowns, King of Kings.
- “he has a name written which no man knows except himself” – we will never be able to exhaust the greatness of god. God can only be known to himself, and by himself.
- “his garment is sprinkled with blood” – victory can be achieved only through blood shed.
- “He is the Word of God” – the complete revelation is the Word, Christ is the word made Flesh. Created.
- “From his mouth goes forth a sharp sword” -- it is the word of God.
- “with a rod” – Christ is Shepherd.
- “threads out” – the other side of His love! – destruction! Either I am greater because of Christ is love or I am small and petty.
- Where is Christ in the world today? By looking back through history can we realize that Christ is the King of Kings.
Placing myself in the presence of My King, I beg to open my heart – that I may eat together, celebrating His eternal glory.
ETERNAL LORD OF ALL THINGS
(Second Method of Prayer)
“Eternal Lord of All Things;” Here I am concentrating on MY GOD.
“In the presence of Thy infinite Goodness,” Here I am concerned with God’s goodness, how all creation is infinitely good! Only god can pour out his whole being.
“and of Thy glorious mother, and of all the Saints of Thy Heavenly Court,” Mary is the refelction of the Merciful God! She answered the invitation to the enterprise, “Behold the Handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Your Word.” She identifies herself with the King – closer and closer yearning for complete Union! “The Moon in heaven is the one Witness” Just as the moon gives witness to the presence of the sun at night, so too does Mary give complete witness to her Son. We pray also to the presence of the assumed Mary.
“this is the offering of myself which I make with thy favor and Help.” The favor is the friendship Christ gives.
“I protest … and praise.” AMDG in other words it is the sensitivity of Love will dictate.
“to imitate Thee” – without this all would be in vain. We want to choose the path in the way that Christ came to us!
“in bearing … and all poverty.” This is the mystery behind it all – this is how Easter came into the world. Paul said, “be imitators of me as I am of Christ”
“both actual and spiritual”
“should thy … way of life.” A state is a purpose. It is a constant! We are called to be companions with Jesus
Cf. Exercises, para. 102.
Cf. Exercises, para. 103
Cf. Exercises, para. 104
Cf. Exercises, para. 102.
Cf. Exercises, para. 103
Cf. Exercises, para. 104
Cf. Exercises, para. 106.
This will be to see the different persons.
- those in the world
- The Three Divine Persons
- Our Lady and the Angel. Here we have before our very eyes the only time in history where an angel of the Lord bows down before a human being. In our Blessed Mother we see the real radiance of God, completely human, completely free.
Cf. Exercises, para. 107.
1. listen to the perversities of mankind.
2. I will listen for the plans of redemption. Cf. Ephesians 3:7-13.
3. I will listen to Marty’s response. Cf. Luke 1:26-38
Cf. Exercises, para. 108.
1. See the actions of man. Cf. Romans, 1:18-32.
2. See the all-embracing Trinity through the Incarnation! This the supreme action of God’s love for man.
3. See Mary and the Angel. The docility and ease of the Incarnation.
Cf. Exercises, para. 109.
THE MEANING OF THE CHURCH FOR A JESUIT
We as Jesuits have a special devotion to the Church, teaching; but what is the image we have when the word “Church” is mentioned? This is our questioned, What does the church mean for and to the Society of Jesus?
The Church first of all is a mystery of fellowship. “What we have seen and heard we are telling you so that you too may be in union (that is, have fellowship) with us, as we are in union with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1:3” In other words, the Church is a mystery of created love. It is a love which is continuously creating new fellowship. Fellowship is an expression of our whole being, therefore it takes on social dimensions.
Creative love includes two aspects:
1. The Structural. The structure of the Church is what gives it its permanence and also enlivens it. The structure consists of the hierarchy.
2. The Element of Life. This is the aspect which is the Union, the fellowship.
In a fellowship both aspects are essential and in fact inseparable. The structure of the Church is the vehical of transmission of what is in Christ. Transmission is described in three ways:
- The prophetic aspect includes teaching, and infallibility of the Church. Here the Church cannot fail in transmitting the design of redemption.
- The whole sacrificial gift of Christ is the priestly characteristic. Here the Church is sanctifying, that is, transmitting the Sacramental life of Christ.
- By Kingly the Church is functioning in the service of a King. Christ the King. It is also to rule in law. Here the Law, the law of charity transmits Holiness.
The Relationship between Structure and Life:
Basically, the relationship is a reciprocal one. Its whole function is to transmit life and yet the Life must serve to enliven the structure.
(Today there is an attempt to split the Church into two parts: structure, and Life. It can’t be done! Some try to split the life and structural elements by having them contradict one other by the same spirit! Finally, we must not confuse the structure of the Church with the way in which some of the authority live their life.)
And so, there is only one fellowship with the two aspects. Cf. Chapter 1, Constitution of The Church. For a Jesuit, to love the Church is to love Christ in His Fellowship. Am I loving the Risen Christian Person, and in and through His fellowship (other persons of the mystical body)?
THE MEANING OF THE INCARNATION
Recall the History.
Pray for the grace of interior knowledge of the Incarnation.
Descriptions of the Incarnation in Scripture
A. Cf. Prologue to St. John’s gospel.
Here is described how the Son of God becomes “Black like Me” by being black for me.
B. Cf. Luke 1:26-38.
The Annunciation. Here Luke describes how the Incarnation is to come to be: it is through an act of communion! The Holy Spirit effects a union from which the Son of God takes flesh.
C. Cf. Paul, Letter to Philippians 2:5-11.
“In your Minds you must be the same as Christ Jesus:
His state was divine, yet he did not cling to his equality with God but emptied himself to assume the condition of a slave, AND BECAME AS MEN ARE; and being as all men are, he was humbler yet, even to accepting death, death on a cross. But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names and so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend at the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue should acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
And so through the Incarnation Christ empties himself for us.
Pray to know the tremendous Gift of God: that Christ became Black Like Me so that I may become White Like Him.
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para. #111
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para. #112
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para. #113
The Points Consist of the Given: para. #114, #115, and #116.
Cf. Luke 2:1-20 . The whole atmosphere is one of fulfillment.
Cf. Matthew 1:1-25. It is interesting to note the genealogy of Jesus who comes from a line of prostitutes, thieves, etc. This is his pedigree!
THE INITIAL ENTRANCE OF CHRIST INTO HIS APOSTOLATE
Cf. Matthew 2:1-12. The visit of the Magi
Cf. Luke 2:8-20. The Visit of the Shepherds
Placing ourselves among the Magi going and following the Savior’s Star. Or place ourselves in the fields with the shepherds when suddenly the angelic choir appeared.
Pray for the grace of adoration and a knowledge of the catholic-ticity of Christ’s apostolate.
A. The Magi. (The Apostolate to the Gentiles)
What we know about the Magi is little except that they were foreigners who were well versed in Jewish history. Notice the violence of Herod and how he lived. And then consider the singlemindedness of the Magi – they saw THE SIGN and understood. This only shows how Christ came not only to his own but for all men. And even things, the star, bore witness to his comping.
Cf. a poem by Br. Antoninas.
B. The Shepherds.
According to Jewish mentality, Shepherds are nomads and outcasts. They live outside of civilization tending flocks. And yet it was to this very type of people that the good news was first proclaimed. This proclamation is contrary to all O.T. notions of the Messiah and his entrance into the people. The crib was supposed to be a sign. But a sign of what? Paul says that by His poverty we become rich! This is an entirely new kind of sign language – a language containing a message of sacrificial love.
Pray for the graces of giving gifts of praises to God by the Gift of our-selves
THE CIRCUMCISION AND NAME OF JESUS
Recall the History. Cf. Luke 2:21. Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para. #266.
Consider the festivities which mark the bestowal of a Jewish name.
We pray for the grace to know and understand the name of Jesus.
A. The Meaning of The Circumcision.
- Although this practice was quite common in the middle east, for the Jew it became a religious rite which incorporated a person of Jewish blood into the society – heirs to the promises of the first Covenant.
- At this particular time, Jesus too, is identified with the Jews in a full sense. Consider what this must have meant to him! For not only is he an heir to the promises of the first Covenant, but He also effects those promises.
- The second time Jesus sheds his blood, he effects the promises into the new and eternal covenant reaching out to all humanity.
- And so it is, that the Circumcision is the first step in the identification. This is what Jesus means – Savior.
B. The Meaning of the Name of Jesus.
- The name, Jesus, was given by God through the angel. In other words, the Father names his Son. This signified the mission and whole personality of the Son. When God gives a name it designates the whole purpose, vocation, etc. of the named person. Consider Abraham, Jacob to Israel; even Christ named Simon to Peter. And so Jesus has no other meaning than to be “Savior”. In this is contained the compassion and Mercy of God!
- Reflect on the name of Jesus! Consider the manner in which it is used; the importance it carries in the hearts of all men whether they realize it or not. “For of all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved.” Acts 4:12
- When I say Jesus I am expressing my faith in the Savior – from the one who is saved. I can only say Jesus because I am saved by Jesus the Savior. It is here that I express my faith and hope in the name of Jesus. It is a name of Power, the power to Give; it is charged with the Power of God.
-Cf. Paul, Philippians 2:9-11
“But God raised him high and gave him the name which is above all other names so that all beings in the heavens, on earth and in the underworld, should bend the knee at the name of Jesus and that every tongue would acclaim Jesus Christ as Lord, to give glory of God the Father.”
- And so we have the name of Jesus, a name which expresses the totality of the Love of God.
We pray that we may become signed with the name of Jesus. That we may become “Jesused!” We also beg to become companions of the name with which we sign ourselves: S.J.
THE CHURCH AS FELLOWSHIP
To be charitable means to be in love. It means to be a friend; a friend in and with Christ. Charity is a new power to love; a new power to give! The power of love is a “foreverness.” This is most explicitly expressed in Christian Marriage; in Christian virginity; and in Christian martyrdom.
The First degree of friendship avoids what would threaten of cause disorder; or even separate the friendship between two persons.
The Second degree of friendship is of a higher order; counsel. This avoids most venial signs. This love has no type of limitation. It brings about a deeper and higher friendship.
Our friendship with God (Christ) is the gift of Christ to us. Christ’s friendship consists in the Holy Spirit. Christ’s love is creative to the point where it brings in the whole People of God. The mark of true fellowship is, therefore, charity – love for one another.
“If we live our lives in the light, as he is in the light, we are in union with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 1 John 1:7 –
“But if you refuse to love, you must remain dead; to hate your brother is to be a murderer, and murderers, as you know, do not have eternal life in them..
“This has taught us love – that he gave us his life for us; and we, too, ought to give up our lives for our brothers….” 1 John 3:15ff.
In our own practice of charity let us show it in action. For “faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.” James 2:17. And so let us be generous with our time and help one another. We must all contribute to another’s burdens. However, a feeling of dislike is not uncharitable, but when it is manifested it can become so.
Where there is real charity, there is the Holy Spirit. This charity can be expressed here and now in this house.
THE PRESENTATION OF THE CHILD JESUS
Cf. Luke 2:22-38. Recall the History.
Place myself in the picture as a temple curator. Now watch the persons and listen to what they say. Consider this is the first Pentecost.
Pray for the grace to enter into the Heart of Jesus and try to see things as he did.
A. The People
- Observe Simeon, an old man, and Anna, one specially devoted to God. Observe Mary and Joseph, humble parents – peasants. Then look at the child being offered up as an oblation for the sins of man.
- “Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, ‘You see this child: he is destined for the fall and for the rising of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is rejected – and a sword will pierce your own soul too – so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.’” Luke 234-35
- The Child is a sign – the sign of God’s mercy. The sign of God’s love for mankind to become black like me. Yet this sign will be opposed; will be contradicted. The refusal of His love by the crucifixion. Consider how the world really treated Christ as a stranger. And so the love of Christ is a critical love: either it is accepted wholly or rejected entirely. There can be no neutralizing.
- The Contradiction against Christ is also a contradiction against Mary.
- The sign cannot be read unless we love it; Christ is the sign which can only be read by the Heart – not an I.Q. Those opposed to the sign are opposed to Christ.
We beg our Lord to be a part of His sign. A part of Christ.
JESUS GOES UP TO THE TEMPLE AT THE AGE OF TWELVE
THE HIDDEN LIFE OF JESUS
Cf. Luke 2:41-50, 2:39-40, and 2:51-52.
Recall the History.
Observe Jesus in the Temple as he instructs the doctors of law.
We pray for the grace of a single-minded love; a centered love directed towards the Person of Christ.
A. THE FINDING OF JESUS.
- Notice that this is the only incident singled out in the life of Christ during his childhood. Therefore, there must be an important significance.
- Recall the O.T. idea of “wisdom”. It was thought of as almost being a Person. Wisdom was something between God and Creation; an intermediary! Wisdom looked and settled in Israel.
- However, in this scene it is Christ who is Wisdom Incarnate. He is wisdom, then, who is in the temple questioning and answering.
- The arrival of Mary and Joseph stimulated the boy Jesus to acknowledge his own self-awareness that he is of the Father. This is an early indication of Christ’s vocation and His uniqueness.
- Paralleled to this is the scene of Transfiguration where again Christ stands apart.
- And so Jesus in the Temple is really a parable in action, indicating that of all our obligations; obedience to the will of the Father supersedes all other obligations. This is what is meant by a single-minded obligation to God our Heavenly Father.
- And so the whole point is not to be worldly renowned, but rather humble in all our actions. We are taught that there are hidden underground rivers which nourish the body of Christ.
B. The Hidden Life.
- “When they had done everything the Law of the Lord required, they went back to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. Meanwhile the child grew to maturity, and he was filled with wisdom; and God’s favour was with him.”
“He then went down with them and came to Nazareth and lived under their authority. His mother stored up all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom, in stature, and in favour with God and men.” Luke 2:39-40, 51-52.
- The hidden life of our Lord is really the mysteries of mysteries. Cf. Mark 6:1-6. “Where did the man get all this? What is the wisdom that has been granted him, and these miracles that are worked through him? This is the carpenter, surely, the son of Mary, the brother of James and Joset and Jude and Simon? His sisters, too, are they not here with us? And they would not accept Him.
- The people of Nazareth only knew Jesus as a laboring man. For thirty years he labored among them. The Son of God was a working man! Yet His whole mission was to be a “light to enlighten the pagans and the glory of the people of Israel.” Luke 2:32.
- The point of this is to show that Wisdom is the servant; the Savior of the World.
- It seems that as though Christ’s whole life was a “hidden life”. Even his public life is obscured – his death being in the darkness of the world. “A darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour … then Jesus cried out in a loud voice: ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!’ With these words he breathed his last.” Luke 23:44-46.
- From this we can learn that hiddenness is the quiet that comes from the possession of love; hiddenness is not ignorance, because Christ himself is wisdom.
We pray to understand and live the lesson of Christ is hidden life – to do the work of the Father.
THE TWO STANDARDS
“Christ vs. Satan”
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para., 137. Recall the History.
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para., 138. This is a mental representation of the place: Jerusalem and Babylon. Cf. for description Paradise Lost, by Milton.
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para., 139. This is to ask for what I desire: Christ or Satan.
THE STANDARD OF SATAN
A. Cf Exercises, #140.
- The wiser I become the more I will see the activity of the Devil. The Devil is an existential reality. Consider for example how man actually oppose the Good: the Roman Empire fought the early Christians, Communism vs. Religion (the opium of the people), etc. Even today all human forces are pitted against the Sacramental Church. The activity is more subtle. Why is it that people are willing to discuss religion to the hilt? But at the same time refuse to pray or receive the sacraments? This is real concerted activity directed against the Incarnate God.
- One of the highest signs of the Devil’s subtitles is the very refusal of man to acknowledge the Devil himself.
- St. Ignatius called the Devil the enemy of our human nature – the very nature which is the extension of the Incarnation.
- Confusion characterizes the Devil. He is constantly confusing issues. Recall the first temptation: Genesis 3:1-7. “No! you will not die!”
It is only when the heart and love begin to die that we are able to understand the ambiguity of the Devil.
- A person loses his faith not because of intellectual confusion but rather because of his refusal to approach the sacramental encounter with Christ. The heart becomes confused. And so, only in Christ is real clarity exhibited – radiantly he shines like a jasper stone.
B. Cf. Exercises, para. #141.
- “Be calm but vigilant, because your enemy the devil is prowling round like a roaring lion, looking for someone to eat.” 1 Peter 5:8-9.
C. Cf. Exercises, para. #142
- Recall the world in which Ignatius lived: an age of grandeur, corruption, a wealthy Papacy, etc. In other words there was a general movement away from the Sacramental life of the Church. The Spiritual Exercises however, brought the Church back to Christ. And so we too are obliged to carry on this same renewal.
- Cf. the Parable of the Camel passing through the eye of a needle in order to get into heaven.
- Cf. Letter of John Steinbach to Adali Stevenson. “Oh Shallow Love!”
- We must learn to conquer all things even ourselves – our selfish selves. We must also ponder what it really means to “have”, to have a “reputation”, to bring ourselves up as being the “center”.
THE STANDARD OF CHRIST
A. Cf. Exercises, para. #143-44.
“And we saw his glory, the glory tht is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14.
B. Cf. Exercises, para. #145.
- Here we must underscore the whole idea of being called and being sent: Mission. “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I gave you. And you know that I am with you always; yes, to the end of time.” Matthew 28:18-20.
The explanation for Christ’s brevity in his public life, then, is because he wants members to work for their salvation. God, in other words, has placed salvation into our hands; into the hands of the church; a “sent” Church.
C. Cf. Exercises, para. #146.
- Here we might pray: “Eternal Lord of All Things” for this is again a restatement of the Frist Principle and Foundation, also of the Kingdom.
Cf. Exercises, para. 147. This will be a triple colloquy. We ask the Father to be attracted to the same path as that which the Son was attracted to.
ONE SOURCE OF THE TWO STANDARDS
Recall the History. Cf. Matthew 13:4-23. The Parable of the Sower. A parable is to be seen and understood with the heart.
Visualize Christ directing this parable to us.
We ask to make a generous response to God our Lord.
A. Explanation of the Parable: “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom without understanding, the evil one comes and carries off what was sown in his heart: this is the man who received the seed on the edge of the path.” vv. 19.
- By this understanding we do not mean intellectual understanding, rather it is understanding by the “heart”. It is heartfelt. The devil is the one who “comes and carries off what was sown in the heart.”
- We ask, why is virtue always on the offensive? Why does it have to prove a point that it has a right to be here? Why is it considered less than human; effeminate; etc.? Yet, sin is manly; daring, etc. Why do we so easily accept the word of Man and reject the Word of God.
- We must become acutely aware of the presence of opposition to God. Vice, sin, filth, etc are very much alive in the world today that at times we really begin to think that God is Dead. Evil, therefore, is not just a lack of good, but a real thing; a real opposition.
- And so this all comes down to a lack of true understanding in that which we do not love.
B. “The one who received it on patches of rock is the man who hears the word and welcomes it at once with joy. But he has no root in him, he does not last; let some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, and he falls away at once.” vv. 20-21.
- This explanation is that of superficiality and infatuation (love with love). It is mere romanticism about the spiritual life. This type of person has no staying power.
C. “The one who received the seed in thorns is the man who hears the word, but worries of this world and the lure of riches choke the word and so he produces nothing.” vv. 22.
- This is what Ignatius means by “the decitfulness of riches.” One simply does not live on the faith; other concerns choke his life! Having things, being someone, being independent are more important than listening to the Word of God.
- We must be especially careful as religious not to fall into these traps. “Watch and Pray” for our needs are the Devil’s opportunities.
D. “And the one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundredfold, now sixty, now thirty.” vv. 23.
- This is the real meaningof friendship which effects the openness of our heart. Consider Mary’s openness: “Behold the handmaid of the lord… etc.” It certainly yielded one hundredfold.
Repeat the triple colloquy in order to come to a better understanding of the Two Standards.
THE THREE CLASSES OF MEN
This meditation is on the same level as the Kingdom and Two Standards. Its purpose is to examen our sincerity and facility of our movement to do the will of God. Compare. Inordinate attachment is basically a disorder, which must be corrected in order to be free and easy and even calm. There are, according to Ignatius three ways of responding, that is, the Three Classes of Men.
Review of Contemplations: the king and subject: there is a descendency of the King to the role of subject. King becomes subject and subject becomes King. In the Standards there is a war waging for and between the subjects: the Devil and Christ. Here develops our subjection: what are we subject to? Things, Honor, or Myself?
And so the whole question is to whom am I subject to and what degree? In Christ’s Standard subjection means contemplation! The question in this contemplation is to whom will we be subject to?
Cf. Exercises, 150.
Cf. Exercises, 151.
Cf. Exercises, 152.
By glory we mean brilliance – Light. By using a mirror that is polished the more brilliant is the light able to radiate.
- Cf. Exercises, 153.
Note the subjunctive “would like.” These people put off decisions, yet by this procrastination they become more deeply attached. For example: There are those who like to discuss religion but refuse to commit themselves to its sacramental life. They say, “not now” leaving themselves open. They want the end but do not want the means.
- Cf. Exercises, 154.
This class responds but it does not meet the issue. They are the compromisers. They build half a rock and half on sand. Consider for a moment Pilate: three times he was going to release Jesus but compromised until he finally killed him. Pilate proved himself a friend of Ceasar.
The Third Class
- Cf. Exercises, 155.
This type of person desires facility of movement. For them it is not a question of giving anything up or keeping it; but their whole attitude is one of indifference. They desire to be detached from the world in order to be attached to Christ. This is the real meaning of indifference. Truer indifference is liberating. An indifferent person sees things in a triangular way: God, Things, and Self. He is free even though he didn’t give it up or retain it. Nothing can affect this man’s determination to do the will of God.
- It is at this point where we must ask ourselves whether or not things rule us or do we rule things. Are we ruled or do we rule?
Cf. Exercises, 156 and 157.
BAPTISM AND TEMPTATION OF JESUS
Cf. Exercises, 273, and 274.
Recall the History
Cf. Fourth Song of the Servant of Yahweh. Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12.
Pray for the grace to realize the ramifications of Christ’s Baptism and Temptation and how we through our Baptism enter into his Life.
A. The Baptism of Christ.
- Cf. Matthew 3:13-17.
The Baptism of Christ is really his Passion and Death! Christ symbolically enters into suffering and salvation by entering into the waters of Baptism. And so the Passion and Death become the channel of Life.
B. The Temptation of Christ.
- Cf. Luke 4:1-13; Matthew 4:1-11.
- Here the Devil wants Jesus to establish the kingdom by some sort of miracle. In other words, Jesus was tempted to treat the Heart of Man as a Thing. It is directed against the activity of the Servant.
- Secondly, the devil is tempting the “suffering Servant” through Sensationalism! Be a sensation; seek for yourself a name, honor, position, reputation, etc.
- The third temptation is an attempt to turn Jesus into himself, where he is the “be all and end-all of all things”.
We pray to guard against temptations of discouragements. We would rather be identified with Christ the Suffering Servant.
RULES FOR DISCERNMENT OF SPIRITS II
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, #328ff.
A. Characteristics of the Activity of Good and Evil.
- Union is happiness and spiritual joy. The problem is one of being possessed or in possession of. Good Spirits results in possession; evil in being possessed.
B. Causes and Cause of Consolation.
- Creator moves to creature.
- Good spirit consoles for the progress of the Soul.
- Evil spirits consoles for contrary purpose.
C. How to Discern Good and Evil Spirits.
- Purpose and intention. I must somehow get some of the situation – that is, to view beginning, middle and end.
D. Resolutions of Consolations.
SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, #278.
The whole of Christian perfection is derived from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. However a truism is expressed by Kierkegaard when he said, “The only thing wrong with Christianity is that it has never been tried.” In other words, he is saying that the beatitudes are not lived, nor have they ever been. (?) And so the sermon should not be looked upon as an ideal, a golden rule, but rather as love on fire; it is sacrificial.
Cf. Matthew 5,6, & 7.
Recall the History. Matthew actually portrays Jesus as the “new” Moses. Jesus as Moses is on a mountain. But unlike Moses who received the word of God, it is Jesus himself who speaks and presents the Word of God.
Here we will place ourselves with Jesus who was “joined by his disciples.”
Here we will pray for the grace to become completely Christian. In other words we want to put on the interior life of Christ.
A. The Beatitudes
B. Consider the “Beatitudes” that Satan would Give.
We pray to the Risen Christ to fill us with his blessedness and happiness. We ask to be filed with a real hunger and thirst for him.
REPETITION OF PREVIOUS MEDITATION
A. To see from the Sermon on the Mount how God the Father is revealed to me.
B. To see my relationship to God.
C. To see how Christ is related to me and secondly, how I am related to Christ.
D. To see how I relate to one another and how they relate to me.
E. To see how I relate to things and how I allow things to be related to me.
“THE OUR FATHER”
Second Method or Prayer
Cf. Matthew 6:9-13
Recall the History. Jesus summons the disciples and begins to teach them how and where to pray.
To place ourselves among the disciples present with our Lord. Listen to His voice: up lifted to the Father in Prayer.
To ask for the grace to pray only as a Son would pray. To pray as Christ prayed.
A. Preparation for Prayer.
- Cf. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. Para. 12.
“The spiritual life, however, is not confined to participation in the liturgy. The Christian is assuredly called to pray with his brethren, but he must also enter into his chamber to pray to the Father in secret. ‘When you pray, go to your private room and, when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in that secret place, and your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you.’ Mat. 6:6; indeed, ‘pray constantly,’ 1 Thessalonians 5:17; We learn from the same Apostle that we must always carry about in our body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus too may be made manifest in our bodily frame (Cf. 2 Cor. 4:10-11). This is why we ask the lord in the sacrifice in the Mass that, ‘receiving the offering of the spiritual victim’ He may fashion us for Himself ‘as an eternal gift.’”
B. The Prayer
- Every prayer which is directed toward the Sonship is answered. It is the heart which changes. This is a secretive change. But the change is as subtle as the movement of the hands on a clock.
- Prayer, then, is a real communicative movement: from man to God and God to man. In prayer we become that what we contemplate. God is not won by the “style” of prayer but rather by its content. We pray to know what we need. Our prayer should keep us informed; informed to the will of God. We pray that our will will be conformed with His will.
D. The Lord’s Prayer
- The prayer consists of seven petitions. The first there are concerned with our Union with God; the fourth is concerned with our needs; and the last three are concerned with the things which could bring about a separation between God and us.
OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN
- The meaning of Fatherhood is essentially that of “life giving”; the goal of my own actions; the exemplar of my own actions. All fatherhood is the Father of our family – the communion of Saints. He is our Father because we are created by Him.
HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME
- Here we petition for a real acknowledgement of the Name of God. We pray that all of creation will give this same acknowledgement.
YOUR KINGDOM COME,
- God’s Kingdom is where God is, that is, in the Hearts of Men. The kingdom of God is in the hearts of men. His kingdom can only be realized through our activity.
Where does God reign for Me?
YOUR WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN
- We pray that God’s Will be fulfilled on earth and in Heaven. We are asking to do the will of God! , in us and by us. We pray to accept His will, eg.
His will is our limitations, gifts, intellectually, spiritually, and physically. His will is to accept my temperament, health, personality, my situation, my thoughts, my sins, etc. His will is to take what he has given me and return it all to Him through praise, reverence and service.
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD
- We pray for every physical need, spiritual needs, intellectual, social, etc. We pray to carry out his will. We pray for our benefactors, superiors, friends and relatives, parents, etc. Our daily bread is our life-giving bread. Christ himself is our daily bread – the bread of Life.
FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES
- When we fail to do the Will of God we are indebted to the God Head. Therefore we constantly pray for His forgiveness and mercy.
AS WE FORGIVE OUR TRESPASSERS
- I too must learn to forgive; in order to Give I must learn to Forgive. In other words to give for others, I must divest myself, even from the crevices of my Heart.
AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION
- This means that we petition for the grace which might continue to preserve our sonship. We must strive to remain a good “son of God.”
BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL
- Here we pray for preservation from physical, mental, and spiritual evil. We also pray to be preserved from the snares of the EVIL One.
- Again we accept the Will of God, no matter what. “so be it.”
We express sorry for not being a true and trusting son. We pray especially for trust in the Father – to be guided by His Will.
THREE KINDS OF HUMILITY
In the meditation on the KINGDOM we prayed to be identified with Christ our King as a soldier dedicated to an earthly King. In other words, we desired to be sent by Christ as he himself was sent by the Father.
In the TWO STANDARDS Satan lead from attachment to things, reputation, and finally to self. Christ moves from detachment from Self, Person, and Things. This is an attitude of Indifference as expressed in THE FIRST PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION.
THE THREE CLASSES OF MEN pointed out how noble man’s aspirations are, but what little he actually does. Cf. Spiritual Exercises, #157. Here we should seek and desire that what is repugnant to us. I must pray not only correct a particular disorder but even to like the person whom I don’t particularly care for. I must pray to want the person; even to want to want to like that person or anything which is really a prejudicious – either to a thing or from a thing. This is the real beauty of Love. Beauty is a high degree of order.
Recall the History. Consider the call of Christ; and the answers which He receives. “Jesus began to ask His disciples ‘Who do men say the Son of Man is?’ But they said: ‘Some say, John the Baptist; and others, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.’ Jesus said to them: ‘But who do you say that I am?’ Matthew 16:14-16.” Consider how Mary, Martha, etc. were close intimate friends of Jesus and the degree of their following. Also notice the Apostles and their following.
Cf. Acts 9:1-19. The Conversion of Paul. When the Lord called out to Ananias, he replied: “Here I am, Lord.” In speaking about Paul, the Lord said, “This man is my chosen instrument…whom I will show how much he will suffer for my sake.”
Here we will ask for the Third King of Humility: to belong to the highest order of Christ. Poverty with Christ Poor, and so on.
A. The First Kind of Humility.
Cf. Exercises, #165
- Humility brings out the aspect that I am a subject to my King, My Lord! This degree suggests an adherence to Christ and his Commandments. This degree is the most basic of love. Here I prefer Christ to all of creation. Here I actually choose Christ.
B. The Second Kind of Humility.
Cf. Exercises, #166
- The second kind of humility suggests that not only am I subject to Christ my Lord, but also that I would not even rupture our friendship through venial sin. In this way I can actually promote the service of God our Lord. Venial Sin is a threat to friendship and so despite frequent failures, our intention to service must be habitual.
C. The Third Kind of Humility.
Cf. Exercises, #167
- This degree represents the Highest order of Life; for her ewe choose the Beauty of Christ completely. I must in this stage identify not only with Christ but with the way he comes to me, that is, through His Passion, Death, and Resurrection. This kind of Beauty flesh and blood cannot reveal. Complete revelation involves a total surrender of self for the Imitation of Chri9st. And so we choose and desire “poverty with Christ poor, insults with Christ loaded with them, and a fool for Christ.” This is the beauty of Christ, the pinnacle of Recreation and Redemption.
We pray for the Third and most perfect kind of Humility: to become “ugly” like Christ.
Cf. Exercises, #135, #163, #164, #169, #170ff., and #175ff., #179ff., #189.
Cf. Romans 12
A. INTRODUCTION TO THE CONSIDERATIONS OF DIFFERENT STATES OF LIFE.
B. FOLLOWING CHRIST FROM NAZARETH TO THE JORDAN.
C. THE THREE KINDS OF HUMILITY.
D. INTRODUCTION TO MAKING A CHOICE OF A WAY OF LIFE.
E. MATTERS ABOUT WHICH A CHOICE SHOULD BE MADE.
F. THREE TIMES WHEN A CORRECT AND GOOD CHOICE OF A WAY A LIFE MAY BE MADE.
G. TWO WAYS OF MAKING A CHOICE OF A WAY OF LIFE IN THE THIRD TIME.
H. DIRECTIONS FOR THE AMENDMENT AND REFORMATION OF ONE’S WAY OF LIVING IN HIS STATE OF LIFE.
“COME TO ME” (Matthew 11:28)
Cf. Matthew 11:25-30.
Recall the History.
We place ourselves in His company: the company of sinners, poor people, the rejected, the sick, etc.
We pray to be identified with Christ poor, the insulted Christ, as a fool for Christ. Mocked and scorned by the World.
A. Knowledge of the Son Concerning the Father.
- “Everything has been entrusted to me by my Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father, just as no one knows the Father except the Son and Those to whom the Son Chooses to reveal him.” Mat 11:27.
- For revelation of the Son, Cf. Wisdom 7:15 – 8:8
B. Motives for Going to Jesus.
- Here and now Christ is saying to us: “Come to me.” Listen to his voice. What am I doing? If I am not laboring or burdened I cannot hear his call – I am not invited. The yoke of Christ is the Sermon on the Mount. The yoke of Christ is for two – He and me and so I must strive to become “con-yoked” with Him.
- Humility of the Third Degree is to take on the yoke of Christ. It is his meekness along with His firmness; his suffering with his joy; his passion with his resurrection.
I pray to go to Christ. I desire to be “con-yoked” in love; to the point of sacrificial imitation.
LOVE AND FRIENDSHIP WITH JESUS
Cf. Imitation of Christ, Book II, Chapters 7 and 8.
“THE SAMARITAN WOMEN”
Cf. John 4:1-42. Recall the History.
Here it will be to listen in on the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan Women. Let us thirst the thirst that Jesus must have felt when he said: “Give me a drink.”
- Let us also place ourselves beneath the cross when Jesus said again: “I am thirsty.” John 19:28
- Again the thirst of Christ is described by the psalmists: “My palate is drier than a potsherd and my tongue is stuck to my jaw.
We pray to know the gift of God: “If you only knew what God is offering.” Jn. 4:10
The Savior of the World Revealed to the Samaritan
- Jesus is thirsty and simply asks for a drink. By asking for a drink Jesus distinguishes the Old Testament with the New – His. He is the new Water.
- Notice who first it is Jesus who asks for the water but in vv. 15, the woman asks for the water. Her thirst becomes identified with the Thirst of Christ.
- Notice how the conversation gradually becomes more revealing: First Jesus is greater than Jacob, then he is a Prophet, then the Messiah, finally, the Savior of the World.
- The whole passage is a direct parallel with the Passion of the Christ. It even takes on Eucharistic dimensions.
B. The Gift of God.
- The gift of God is His Spirit. The Spirit of Love. And the gift of God “is here already… in spirit and in truth.
Here we pray for the grace of God: to know the Gift, in each of us. But the gift of God cannot be realized unless we are willing to suffer the Passion with Christ; to share his thirst in order to be quenched by his water – the water of eternal life.
ANOTHER PASSOVER, THE BREAD OF LIFE
Cf. John 6. The miracle of the Loaves. Jesus walks on Water, the Discourse in the Synagogue at Capernaum. Recall the History.
Place ourselves on the scene with the Apostles among the crowd. Listen to Jesus, watch Him. Respond to Him.
Here we ask to be open, to realize the Gift of God within us.
A. The Miracle of the Loaves.
- Cf. John 6:1-15.
Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para. 283.
- It is not simply a miracle of power, rather this is one which deals with the gift of life. This is a miracle of Love. The time of this miracle was around the Passover. Notice the number 7 which symbolizes perfection in Jewish literature. From seven there is enough to fulfill the 12 tribes of Israel. This miracle is an example of the abundance of the Life of Christ. It is also a sign that Christ is not going to save through Kingship but rather through his priesthood. It also expresses the multiplicity of Christ’s Presence.
B. The Eucharistic Discourse:
- Cf. John 6:48-60
This is the gift that Christ wants to give. “my flesh, for the life of the world.” This is the gift of His person and His Sacrifice.
- “As I, who am sent by the living Father, so whoever eats me will draw life from me.” And so this produces in us the same relationship to the Father as Christ is related to Him, the Result is Life Everlasting.
- St. Agustin once said, “Christ is not changed into me, but I am changed into Him!”
C. The Reaction
- Cf. John 6:61-70.
“Does this upset you?” The crowd could not accept Jesus’ Gift. Yet this and all things would be accomplished through the Spirit. “It is the Spirit that gives Life, the flesh has nothing to offer. The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.”
“After this many of his disciples left him and stopped going with him.”
We pray to become a part of the Total Christ: Priest, and Victim! We must clothe ourselves with the victimhood of Christ in the Third Degree of Humility.
THE NORM OF SPIRITUAL PROGRESS
A. What the Norm is Not.
1. Consolation, that is an attraction for spiritual things! Although it is good it is, nonetheless, not a norm of progress (in itself).
2. The same holds for desolation! In times of desolation no change is to be made.
3. The presence of temptation or its absence is not necessarily a sign of progress (or digression). Progress is determined by the handling of such temptations.
4. Success of failure in our work is not a norm.
B. What the Norm Is.
The only norm of progress in the spiritual life is doing the Will of God. This means embracing God completely; keeping the commandments, especially the command to love. It means that God’s love is extended into my life. I must go higher to attain and maintain the Lover – God. In other words, I must aim above and beyond the call of duty striving for the magis.
- The will of God means giving up so that we may give; renunciation for annunciation.
- “Be it done unto me according to your word.”
THE GOOD SHEPHERD
Cf. John 10:1-21. Recall the History. Christ is the GOOD Shepherd as compared with the wicked prophets and shepherds.
I pray to have what Christ came to give.
A. The Old Testament Notion of Shepherd.
- Cf. Ezekiel 34:1-16, and vv. To 34.
The Religious leaders of Israel are the false prophets and wicked shepherds. Israel itself may be compared to the bad shepherds, constantly wandering away from Yahweh. But Yahweh. After a warning to the bad shepherds, Yahweh, himself will look after his flock. Christ will be the new shepherd.
B. Christ, The Good Shepherd.
- Cf. John 10:1-5.
Here it is Christ himself who enters through the gate. But not only does Christ enter through the gate, but He Is the very Gate through which entrance is possible. He is at once Shepherd, and flock. The flock is a prophecy to his Mystical Body. He is the pasture from which the flock is fed with eternal life.
- “I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.” v. 10. This is Ignatius’ THIRD DEGREE OF HUMILITY.
C. “I am the Good Shepherd.” v. 11.
- The Good Shepherd does not mean the “Kind” Shepherd in a sort of sentimental way. Good in the O.T. means “giving.” This is the very meaning of Christ – giving – laying down his life for me.
- “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for my sheep.” vv. 14-15.
- “Life” is a life bond; a love bond which allows even me to enter into the life of the Trinity. He is laying down his life for us. He is giving us the Life of the Trinity. It is permanent and everlasting life.
- vv. 16. There is to be only one fold; one life; one love-bond; one door; and one shepherd.
- “The Father loves me, because I lay down my life in order to take it up again. No one takes it from me; I lay it down of my own free will, and as it is in my power to lay it down, so it is in my power to take it up again; this is the command I have been given by my Father.” V. 17, 18.
The power to give his life and the power to take it back. This is pure Gift, for no one can TAKE Christ’s life.
We pray to have life and have it more abundantly.
CHRIST AS THE LIGHT
Cf. John 9, The Cure Of The Man Born Blind. Recall the History.
To visualize the place. To Listen to the Words of Jesus. To feel him touching our eyes, our soul, so that we may see his Light. We are the man born Blind.
We pray for the sight – that our sight may be restored – that we may have insight to Christ. And so we pray not only for sight, but for insight.
A. Let There Be Light. (Gen. 1:3)
- Cf. Isaiah 49. Christ is the light of the World. Once in His Risen Life, the Church becomes the Life and Light of the World.
- “Go and wash in the pool of Siloam.” Christ himself is the pool of Siloam, that is, the sent one. The man should be washed in the Baptism of Christ.
- Because of sin in the world, insight is not totally revealed: “His neighbors and people who earlier had seen him begging said, ‘Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?’ Some said, ‘Yes, it is the same one’. Other said, ‘No, he only looks like him’. The man himself said, ‘I am the Man’.” vv. 8-9.
B. The Blind
- With the restoration of sight, that is, insight, everything temporal is lost. His sonship was questioned; His cure was questioned; His parents were frightened; He was ignored’ He was accused of being a sinner; He was driven away. Nevertheless he “believed and worshipped Him (Jesus).” vv. 38.
- And so we must always beware of temporal consequences which only confuse the major premises.
- Cf. Philippians 2:1-18. “Shine in the world like a bright star because you are offering it the word of life.” vv. 15.
“Try to discover what the lord wants of you, having nothing to do with the futile works of darkness but exposing them by contrast. The things which are done in secret are thigns that people are ashamed even to speak of; but any thing exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turned into light. That is why it is said:
‘Wake up from your sleep, rise from the Dead, and Christ will shine upon you.’
Ephesians 5, vv. 11-14.
CHRIST: THE LIFE OF THE WORLD
Cf. John 11:1-54 The Resurrection of Lazarus. Recall the History.
The place. I myself am there witnessing my own life, death, and resurrection.
I pray to completely alive, to be open to the whole creative life giving Word of Christ.
A. The Call for Help.
- “… yet when he heard that Lazarus was ill he stayed where he was for two more days before saying to the disciples, ‘Let us go to Judaea.’” vv. 5-6.
This delay was to bring about a greater gift; the gift of life, rather than a mere cure.
- “Then Thomas – known as the Twin – said to the other disciples, ‘Let us go too, and die with him.’” vv. 16.
The “Twin” is really the other self; the alter ego. Christian discipleship is to be the twin.
B. The Journey and Confession of Faith.
- “Martha said, ‘I know he will rise again at the resurrection on the last day.’ Jesus said: ‘I am the resurrection. If anyone believes in me, even though he dies he will live, and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ‘Yes, Lord,’ she said ‘I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, the one who was to come into this world.’” vv. 25-27.
Jesus first occasion for being crucified is exemplified in the Raising of Lazarus! He is the cause, therefore, of life and resurrection. He weeps over the whole diabolical mystery of death due to sin.
C. The Miracle
- “Lazarus, come forth!” Like the voice of creation: let there be light, and life was there.
- “Unbind him and let him go” in other words to free him; to free him from the chains of sin. The whole retreat is to become free and unbounded.
We pray to Jesus as our friend. I realize your delay is not a sign of absence but rather signifies a greater gift – the gift of your Life.
ST. PAUL: THE GREATEST IMITATOR OF CHRIST
Cf. Acts 22: 1-21. Paul’s conversion. Recall the History.
“Be imitators of me as I am of Christ.”
I pray to absorb this true sense of conviction; a real conversion in faith.
A. Paul’s Capacity for Love and Friendship, and the Meaning of Christ.
- Paul’s capacity for love became deeper; it made him more human. He became Man in the humanity of Christ.
The charity of Christ becomes his tenderness, therefore there is no sacrifice too great nor no journey too long.
- Cf. Romans 5:1-11.
- “Nothing therefore can come between us and the love of Christ, even if we are troubled or worried, or being persecuted, or lacking food or clothes, or being threatened or even attacked. As scripture promised: For your sake we are being massacred daily, and reckoned as sheep for the slaughter. These are the trials through which we triumph, by the power of him who loved us.
“For I am certain of this: neither death nor life, no angel, no prince, nothing that exists, nothing still to come, not any power, or height or depth, nor any created thing, can ever come between us and the love of God made visible in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35-39)
- For me life means Christ.
B. The Realization of How St. Paul Lived Out The Third Mode of Humility.
- Poverty: single-minded devotedness, the lowest and least of all. We are fools for Christ. “Take yourselves for instance, brothers, at the time when you were called: how many of you were wise in the ordinary sense of the word, how many were influential people, or came from noble families? No, it was to shame the wise that God chose what is foolish by human reckoning, and to shame what is strong that he chose what is weak by human reckoning; those whom the world thinks common and contemptible are the ones that God has chosen – those who are nothing at all to show up to those who are everything. The human race has nothing to boast about God, but you, God has made members of Christ Jesus and by God’s doing he has become our wisdom, and our virtue, and our holiness, and our freedom. As scripture says: if anyone wants to boast, let him boast about the Lord.” (1Cor. 1:26-31)/
This is what St. Ignatius describes as part of the sign which is contradicted.
I shall try to realize the love of Christ and to imitate Paul as he did Him.
CHRIST: WHAT DO I THINK OF HIM?
Cf. Matthew 22:42. “What is your opinion about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” “Not one could think of anything in reply.”
What does it mean for me to be a Christian. What, How, and Why, A Christian?
I pray that Christ grant me the grace to live a life dedicated to the principles and ideals he laid down! -- by laying down His life for me.
In other words I pray to live in the LOVE of Christ that I may be ONE WITH HIM.
A. “What is your (my) opinion about the Christ?”
- I believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God. Born of the Father before all ages. God of God, Light of Light, True God of True God. Begotten not made of one substance with the Father by whom all things are made. Who for us men and for our salvation came down from Heaven. And he became flesh by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary. And was made Man. He was also crucified for us, suffered under Pontius Pilate, died and was buried. On the Third Day he Rose again into according to the Scripture. He ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. He will come again to judge the living and the dead.”
- This is what I think of The Christ. This is what I believe.
- Cf. John 1:1-14.
B. Christ’s Message.
- Christ’s message, “the Word” is Love! To love is to Create, to Create is to Unify. And so this is what Christ means to me.
- Our way of living should be our way to Union. “… so all of us, in union with Christ, form one body…” vv. 5-6.
- Cf. Romans 12:3-21.
Cf. Exercises, para. #53.
What have I done For Christ?
What am I doing for Christ?
What ought I do for Christ?
CHRIST: WHO IS HE?
Cf. Mark 8:27-30. “‘Who do people say I am’ And they told him. ‘John the Baptist,’ they said ‘others Elijah; others again, one of the prophets.’ ‘BUT YOU’ he asked, ‘WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?’ Peter spoke up and said to him, ‘YOU ARE THE CHRIST.’”
“‘This is my Beloved. Listen to him.’” (Mk. 9:8). We pray to listen and follow Christ.
A. What other men thought of Christ.
- Cf. Mark 8:27. Though he was not one of the prophets mentioned, he was THE prophet. He is the one foretold by the prophets.
B. How Christ Described Himself.
- “‘The Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and to be put to death, and after three days to rise again;’” and he said this all quit openly. Mk. 8:31.
- When Peter tried to dissuade him from this Jesus told him that he was acting like Satan. Tempting again. “‘Because the way you (we) think is not God’s way but man’s.’” vv. 33.
- This description is the Third Degree of Humility. Cf. Exercises. 167.
C. Description of His Followers.
- Cf. Mark 8:34. “‘If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me …. Etc.
- Growth in maturity involves loss of transformation of a lower level. Rennunciation for announciation.
- For what does it profit a man if he gain the whole world, but suffer the loss of His own Soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for His Soul?
D. The Father’s Description of Christ.
- Cf. Mark 9:1 ff. The Transfiguration. This is the whole of salvation in history in a flash. Note Moses: the prophet of the Messiah.
- It shows the whole continuity of Salvation History imbued with the presence of the Tribume God.
- This is really the vision of glorified humanity.
Cf. 1 Peter 2:1-10. We are the living stones – the temple.
I pray to see Jesus, to listen to him so that I will begin to SEE and LOVE OTHER PEOPLE – as they are! This is single-mindedness.
The Third Week
“PASSION OF CHRIST STRENGTHEN ME!”
The History. John 11:45ff. The Jewish leaders decide on the death of Jesus.
“… it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.”
I place myself in the midst of the Jewish leaders. I see, and listen to their conversation.
I pray to enter into the Passion with Christ – to have compassion.
A. The Council.
- This is the time when the Jews actually planned without reserve to put Jesus to death..
- Christ was put to death for love – to love is to create unity.
B. The Last Days of Christ.
- John 11:54-56. “Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.
The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, ‘What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?’ The chief priests and Pharisees had by now given their orders: anyone who knew where he was must inform them so that they could arrest him.”
C. The Cleansing of the Temple.
- John 2:13ff. It is we who are the temple. We are being purified. This is the whole meaning of Christ’s Passion. This is the consummation of Love.
I pray that my own sins may be consumed – destroyed.
CHRIST’S LAST WEEK
The History. The anointing at Bethany. The Messiah enters Jerusalem.
We try to be in Christ’s company during this, his last week. We walk with him, listen to him, eat with him, talk to him, die with him, and love with him.
I pray to enter into the mystery: “for me.”
A. The anointing at Bethany.
- John 12:7ff.
The anointing symbolizes Christ’s role as King and Priest. Recall the anointing of Saul, David, and Solomon. The word “Christ’ Christos” means the anointed one.
- “Leave her alone; she had to keep this scent for the day of my burial.’” John 12:7 In other words, Christ was really referring to his own death! He is being set aside for his death and burial. So now the very anointing is seen as an embalming!
- The anointing is a very rare scene in the life of Christ because not often did someone else give and express their generosity toward Him.
- Look at Judas and the extent to which his love has died. He is even bitter to the love shown Jesus by others. How much of Judas is in us?
- “… the house was full of scent of the ointment.” This is the whole house, the house of the People of God. The scent of redemptive love fills the atmosphere.
B. The Messiah Enters Jerusalem.
- John 12:12ff.
- “Hosanna!” means “save now we pray.”
Christ’s entrance is a humble one on the “colt of an ass.” And yet look “the whole world is running after him.”
- Actually, Palm Sunday is Christ’s glorious procession to death. He is crowned priest and King. He is acclaimed Savior.
We pray to give the gift of ourselves to Christ – to share in His Kingdom and Priesthood, as Victim.
210. RULES WITH REGARD TO EATING
Our attitude should be regarded as a steward.
Dangers to be avoided:
- Do not let food be our master.
- It is wrong to hold that food is an evil. This is not Christian.
- Do not compare ourselves with others
- Distortion of quantity instead of quality.
- There must be a penitential attitude in order to obtain freedom, grace, and petitions for ourselves and others.
- Fasting must be done under direction. It must not interfere with our physical or mental health.
345. SOME NOTES CONCERNING SCRUPLES.
Recall Jesus’ last journey which probably ended at the temple. He “went up to worship.” John 12:20
Like the Greeks “we should like to see Jesus.” John 12:22
- Jesus foretells His Death and Subsequent Glorification.
-The gentiles came to the apostles and through them sought Jesus.
- The whole purpose of Christ is like a seed which falls into the ground only springing up in a community. It isn’t simply a question of following but one of togetherness. “’Unless a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies, it yields a rich harvest.’” V. 24
-“’My soul is troubled.’” V.27. Jesus feels down; the same way he suffered in “great distress, with a sigh that came straight from the heart” when he heard of Lazarus’ death. John 11:33.
-“’And when I am lifted up from earth, I shall draw all men to myself.’” John 12:32. This is the Mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption. Death, Resurrection, and Ascension.
I pray to understand Redemptive Love. I pray for the grace of “togetherness” that where He is I too may be.
Recall the History. John 12:37. The Unbelief of the Jews. “Though they had been present when he gave so many signs, they did not believe in him.”
We pray for the gift of sight; that we may see the signs of Christ---that we may see the SIGN (Christ).
- Conclusion of Christ’s work.
-Where did he fail? Among men? With the Father? With Himself? But where did he Fail?
-“They did not believe in him”.
They did not see Him.
They did not enter into Light.
They closed their ears to Him.
They rejected Him.
-The confrontation of God and Man results in a hardening of man’s love; a closure of mind and heart to LOVE.
-Christ’s failure is this: Men simply love the glory of men!
B: Faith in Christ.
-“And yet there were many who did believe in him, even among the leading men, they put honor from men before the honor that comes from God.” John 12:42-43.
-Where is my preference? Belief of unbelief?
We talk to our Lord and tell him how much we preferred the glory of men. We pray for the grace of faith; that our lives may not end in failure or in disbelief.
THE WASHING OF FEET
Recall the History. John 13:1-2 “…He got up from the table, removed his outer garment and, taking a towel, wrapped it round his waist; he then poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet.”
Second Prelude: We pray to be washed completely.
- The Washing
-It seems that when there is a significant change in Jesus’ life the symbol of water introduces it. At the beginning of his public life: Baptism, at the beginning of his teaching life: the miracle at Cana, at the beginning of the Passion: washing of feet.
-Water seems to have a revealing power as well as a cleansing power.
-“’Lord, are you going to wash my feet?’” “’…not only my feet, but my hands, and my head as well…’”
We pray to be washed by Christ. In our imitation of Christ we too desire to wash others.
INSTITUTION OF THE EUCHARIST
Recall the History. “Then he took some break, and when he had given thanks, broke it and gave it to them saying ‘This is my body which will be given for you; do this as a memorial of me’. He did the same with the cup after supper and said ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood which will be poured out for you.’” Luke 22:19ff.
Second Prelude: Place myself at Christ’s table.
Third Prelude: I pray to realize the tremendous gift of the Eucharist—the impanation.
- The Mind of Christ.
-Why is Christ so eager to eat this Passover? It is here that the whole of Salvation History culminates; the moment of Truth; God’s complete revelation in a concentrated moment. Obedience is Christ’s motivation; obedience to his Father; the kind of obedience expressed by Abraham in Gen. 22.
-Exodus 12 lays down the prescription for the Passover celebration.
-Exodus 24:1-11 indicates the first blood covenant made by God with Moses. Christ at the Supper is mindful of this.
-The entire Epistle to the Hebrews is directed toward the Eucharist.
-John 6:22ff. The Discourse in the synagogue at Capernaum.
B. The Immediate Future.
-The Moment of Truth has arrived and is still with us in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is the moment of Truth renewed—constantly pulsating the blood of eternal life through all humanity.
-Let us try to realize the meaning of the Eucharist in our own lives. It is my means to Passover to the Father with Christ. This is our Hope; our Salvation.
C. Vatican Council II
-Cf. Constitution of Liturgy. Chapter II para 47, 48.
-Consider the word “Institute”, the action which renders Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. The whole created universe is designed to culminate in the Eucharist. All is instituted to be transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ. This is the point in history where the force converges with force; all energies unify in Christ.
We pray to put on Christ mind and heart to see what he says: This is My Body.This is My Blood.
THE VINE AND THE BRANCHES
“’I am the vine, you are the branches.’” John 15:5 Cf. John 15:1-17. These words of Christ express our union with him in the Eucharist.
To listen attentively to the words of Jesus.
To pray to be open to the Gift of Love; that our Joy may be complete.
A. Christ the Vine.
-“Let me sing to my friend the song of his love for his vineyard.” Etc. Isaiah 5:1-7. Christ is the true vine which is symbolized in the O.T. He unites the People of God and all of mankind. He is the vine of the Universe.
-“’My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that bears no fruit he cuts away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes to make it bear even more.’” V. 2. Through this process Christ becomes the source of my life and I am able to enter into him.
-“’Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.’” V. 4. This is compenetration of life: togetherness, withness.
-“’As a branch cannot bear much fruit all by itself but must remain part of the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me.’” V. 4. Christ then is the source and mainspring of our activity. He draws all things to himself through his magnetic friendship; Christ is all in all. I can be drawn only because he is drawing.
-One who is united to Christ cannot be lonely. This would be hell; disintegration is no love, I say, no love; rather it is the death of love. PRAYER FOR FRIENDSHIP IS ALWAYS GRANTED!
-“As the Father has loved me, so I have (and do) love you.’” V. 9. It is impossible to fully comprehend what this means.
I pray to realize the friendship of Christ which is really Gift. I pray to become intimately united in the vine which enters into the death of the branches.
THE HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER
Cf. John 17. This is the history—the totality of Christ’s redemptive activity before the actual consumption. “’I have given them the glory you gave to me, that they may be as one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, may they be so complete that the world will realize that it was you who sent me and that I have loved them as much as you have loved me.’” John 17:22-23
We are surrounding Christ, surrendering ourselves to his consecration.
We pray to enter into Christ’s consecration; to be set aside with Him: to “choose poverty with Christ poor, rather than riches; insults with Christ loaded with them, rather than honors; to be accounted as worthless and a fool for Christ, rather than to be esteemed as wise and prudent in this world. So Christ was treated before me.” Exercises, #167 Third Kind of Humility.
A. Jesus’ Prayer for Glorification.
-vv. 1-5. Here Jesus prays for his own glorification. “’Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you.’” And it is here too that Christ empties himself so that “he may give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him.’”
B. Jesus’ Prayer for his Disciples.
-vv. 6-19. It is her that Christ’s prayer assumes the role of mediator. The disciples themselves are gifts to the Father: “’..they belong to you: all I have is yours and all you have is mine.’” The disciples are Christ’s own children. He prays that they remain in the world but free from evil. “’I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world. I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one.’”
-“Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth.” The truth is the Person; the Word is Truth. Christ prays that the disciples be set aside in the Father. He set himself apart that we also may be set aside for a function, not in time but in function—a sacrificial function. “’As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.’”
C. Jesus’ Prayer for the Church.
-vv. 20-26. Christ prays that the Church (we) become one with him—enfleshed in time. “’May they all be one. Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe..’”
-The unity of being drawn into the same Person sharing one life, one love and one will. The unity in the Church is the real manifestation of Christ’s presence, to be loved.
-Christ wills us to be with Him; this is what he prays for. “’I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may always see the glory you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.’”
I pray to enter into Christ’s act of consecration: the Passion and Death.
FROM THE LAST SUPPER TO THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN
Note: Exercises, #193.
“This is to ask for what I desire. Here it will be to ask for sorrow, compassion, and shame because the Lord is going to His suffering for my sins.”
Cf. Exercises #200, o1. This is the history of the Mystery.
Cf. Exercises #202. This is to see the place.
Cf. Exercises #203. This is to ask for what I desire. In the Passion it is proper to ask for sorrow with Christ in sorrow, anguish with Christ in anguish, tears and deep grief because of the great affliction Christ endures for me.”
A. Exercises, #194.
-This is to see the persons at the Garden, and to reflect upon myself, and strive to draw some profit from them.
B. Exercises, #194.
-This is to listen to their conversation, and likewise seek to draw fruit from it.
C. Exercises, #194.
-This is to see what they are doing, and to seek to draw some fruit from it.
D. Exercises, #195.
-This will be to consider what Christ our Lord suffers in his human nature, or according to the passion contemplated, what he desires to suffer. Then I will begin with great effort to strive to grieve, be sad, and weep. In this way I will labor through all points that follow.
E. Exercises, #196.
-This is to consider how the divinity hides itself; for example, it could destroy its enemies and does not do so, but leaves the most sacred humanity to suffer so cruelly.
F. Exercises, #197.
-This is to consider that Christ suffers all this for my sins, and what I ought to do and suffer for Him.
G. Cf. Mark 14:32-42 Gethsemane. 14:42-56 The Arrest.
Cf. Matthew 26:39-46 Gethsemane. 26:47-53 The Arrest.
Cf. Luke 22:39-46 The Mount of Olives 22:47-53 The Arrest.
Cf. John 18:1-11 The Arrest of Jesus
-John describes the collision of two glories: Men and God.
The meaning of the Agony:
-We will all have our hour of sorrow. The more sensitive we are, the more sorrowful will be our suffering. Each man will have his hour. Christ’s agony is his entrance into death while still living. His Passion is his compassion—for me.
Colloquy: Exercises, #198.
Close with a colloquy to Christ our Lord, and at the end, say the Our Father.
THE ARREST OF JESUS AND THE SANHEDRIN
Cf. Exercises #200, o1. This is the history of the Mystery.
Cf. Exercises #202. This is to see the place.
Cf. Exercises #203. This is to ask for what I desire. In the Passion it is proper to ask for sorrow with Christ in sorrow, anguish with Christ in anguish, tears and deep grief because of the great affliction Christ endures for me.
A. From the Garden to the House of Annas.
-Cf. Exercises, #291. Who is Judas? He was chosen by Christ. Yet there is something perverted in the heart of Judas: “He has attacked his friends; he has gone back on his word; though his mouth is smoother than butter, he has war in his heart; his words may soothe more than oil, but they are naked swords.” Psalm 54.
-In us betrayal begins with the little things, faults, venial sin, and mortal sin which is ultimate betrayal.
-“Whom do you seek?”
-Our confusion is not understandable but yet the confusion and diffusion of the apostles is.
B. The Sanhedrin.
-Cf. Exercises, #292. “The chort and its captain and the Jewish guards seized jesus and bound him. They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.” John 18:12-14. “Then Annas sent him, still bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.” John 18:24.
-“And the high priest said to him, ‘I put you on oath by the living God to tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.’ ‘The words are you own’ answered Jesus. ‘Moreover, I tell you that from this time onward you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of Heaven.’ At this, the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘He has blasphemed. What is your opinion?’” Matthew 26:63-68.
-“Thrones were set in place and one of great age took his seat. His robe was white as snow, the hair of his head was pure as wool. His throne was a blaze of flames; its heels were a burning fire. A stream of fire poured out, issuing from his presence. A thousand times ten thousand stood before him. A court was held and the books were opened.” “I gazed into the visions of the night. And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man. He came to the one of great age and was led into his presence. On him was conferred sovereignty, glory and kingship, and men of all peoples, nations and languages became his servants. His sovereignty is an eternal sovereignty which shall never pass away, nor will his empire ever be destroyed.” “But a court will be held and his power will be stripped from him, consumed, and utterly destroyed.” Daniel 7:9-10,13-14, 26.
Close with a colloquy to Christ our Lord, and at the end say the Our Father.
RULES FOR THINKING WITH THE CHURCH
353. Basically the Church is the spouse of Christ. These rules were written when the Church was suffering great internal disorder. Such questions still are heard today: “Why does the Church do this, or that, or the other?” We have no right to criticize the church unless we ourselves suffer for the Church. Then criticism becomes privileged and flows from the heart, from love. The Church’s meaning is to preach holiness.
354. The Sacramental life of the Church is the animating power, which is essentially esteemed.
355. Praise the Liturgy. Help in its development and propagation.
356. Praise the Religious Life which adheres to consecrated virginity.
357. Praise for evangelical perfection.
358. Praise for Sacramentals. The Sacramentals are those things in my life which are blessed by Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Cf. Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, para. 60: “Holy Mother Church has; more-over, instituted sacramentals. These are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments: they signify effects, particularly of a spiritual kind, which are obtained through the Church’s intercession. By them, men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy.”
359. Praise the penitential nature of religion.
360. Throughout the whole of the Rules the prevailing theme stresses the sanctification of the whole man: body and soul.
361. Praise the commandments—but not in the terms of legalism rather than in terms of our life.
362. Our attitude should be one of love.
363. Praise Theology: Positive—Scripture and Speculative—Scholastic.
364. Be on guard against making comparisons between those who are still living and the saints who have gone before us.
365. Here the Spirit of Christ cannot contradict Christ.
366. Observe modesty in speech, especially in disputed theological areas.
367. Expansion of above.
368. Again caution is proposed.
370. Praise for “fear”. Servile fear keeps a person alive to grow.
THE DEATH OF JUDAS
Cf. Exercises, #200-01. This is the history of the Mystery.
Cf. Exercise, #202. This is to see the place(s).
Cf. Exercises, #203. This is to ask for what I desire. In the Passion it is proper to ask for sorrow with Christ in sorrow, anguish with Christ in anguish, tears and deep grief because of the great affliction Christ endures for me.
A. Peter’s Denials
-Cf. Luke 22:54-62. Accusation is not being brought against Peter, but rather his association with Jesus is what the people question. Peter is not, therefore denying accusation but association (friendship).
-“They seized him then and led him away, and they took him to the high priest’s house. Peter followed at a distance. They had lit a fire in the middle of the courtyard and Peter sat down among them, and as he was sitting there by the blaze a servant-girl saw him, peered at him, and said, ‘This person was with him too’. But he denied it. ‘Woman,’ he said ‘I do not know him.’ Shortly afterwards someone else saw him and said, ‘You are another of them’. But Peter replied, ‘I am not, my friend’. About an hour later another man insisted, saying, ‘This fellow was certainly with him. Why, he is a Galilean.’ ‘My friend’, said Peter ‘I do not know what you are talking about.’ At that instant, while he was still speaking, the cock crew, and the Lord turned and looked straight at Peter, and Peter remembered what the Lord had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will disowned me three times’. And he went outside and wept bitterly”.
-“In the bust station lobby, I looked for signs indicating a colored waiting room, but saw none. I walked up to the ticket counter. When the lady ticket-seller saw me, her otherwise attractive face turned sour, violently so. This look was so unexpected and unprovoked I was taken aback.
“What do you want?” She snapped.
Taking care to pitch my voice to politeness, I asked about the next bus to Hattiesburg.
She answered rudely and glared at me with such loathing I knew I was receiving what the Negros call “the hate stare.” It was my first experience with it. It is far more than the look of disapproval one occasionally gets. This was so exaggeratedly hateful I would have been amused if I had not been so surprised.
I framed the words in my mind: ‘Pardon me, but have I done something to offend you?’ But I realized I had done nothing-my color offended her.
“I’d like a one-way ticket to Hattiesburg, please,’ “I can’t change that big a bill,’ she said abruptly and turned away, as though the matter were closed. I remained at the window, feeling strangely abandoned but not knowing what else to do. In a while she flew back at me, her face flushed, and fairly shouted: ‘I told you—I can’t change that big a bill.’ “’Surely,’ I said stiffly, ‘in the entire Greyhound system there must be some means of changing a ten-dollar bill. Perhaps the manager—‘”She jerked the bill furiously from my hand and stepped away from the window. In a moment she reappeared to hurl my change and the ticket on the counter with such force most of it fell on the floor at my feet. I was truly dumfounded by this deep fury that possessed her whenever she looked at me. Her performance was so venomous, I felt sorry for her. It must have shown in my expression, for her face congested to high pink. She undoubtedly considered it a supreme insolence for a Negro to dare to feel sorry for her.
“I stopped to pick up my change and ticket from the floor. I wondered how she would feel id she learned that the Negro before who she had behaved in such an unladylike manner was habitually a white man.
“With almost an hour before bus departure, I turned away and looked for a place to sit. The large, handsome room was almost empty. No other Negro was there and I dared not take a seat unless I saw some other Negro also seated.
“Once again a “hate stare” drew my attention like a magnet. It came from a middle-aged, heavy-set, well-dressed white man. He sat a few yards away, fixing his eyes on me. Nothing can describe the withering horror of this. You feel lost, sick at heart before such unmasked hatred, not so much because it threatens you as because it shows humans in such an inhuman light. You see a kind of insanity, something so obscene the very obscenity of it (rather than its threat) terrifies you. It was so new I could not take my eyes from the man’s face. I felt like saying: ‘What in God’s name are you doing to yourself?’
“A Negro porter sidled over to me. I glimpsed his white and communicated the sorrow, the understanding. “’Where am I supposed to go?’, I asked him. He touched my arm in that mute and reassuring way of men who share a moment of crisis. ‘Go outside and around the corner of the building. You’ll find the room.’ “The white man continued to stare, his mouth twisted with loathing as he turned his head to watch me move away. “…The room was crowded with glum faces, faces dead to all enthusiasm, faces of people waiting.”
BLACK LIKE ME, pp52-54, 1961. John Howard Griffen.
-How different, though, is Jesus’ look. Look at Jesus’ tear filled eyes which gaze into Peter’s soul; look at Jesus’ mouth, parched and dried; look at his swollen face bleeding with love—and all denied, rejected.
-“And Peter went outside and wept bitterly.” He wept tears of contrition, and it becomes a hunger and thirst for deeper friendship.
B. The Death of Judas.
-Cf. Matthew 27:3-10. “When he found that Jesus had been condemned, Judas his betrayer was filled with remorse and took the thirty silver pieces back to the chief priests and elders… And flinging down the silver pieces in the sanctuary he made off, and went and hanged himself.”
-Cf. Acts 1:18. “He fell headlong and burst open, and all his entrails poured out. Everybody in Jerusalem heard about it… Now in the Book of Psalms it says:
Let his camp be reduced to ruin, Let there be no one to live in it.”
-For Judas there was not an exit, only despair and ultimate destruction. But the greatest insult was against Christ: that his blood should buy a burial ground for strangers. “And they took the thirty silver pieces, the sum at which the precious One was priced by the children of Israel, and they gave them for the potter’s field, just as the Lord directed me.” Matthew 27:10.
Close with a colloquy to Christ our Lord, and at the end say the Our Father.
JESUS BEFORE PILATE
JESUS BEFORE HEROD
Cf. Exercises, #200,01. This is the history of the Mystery.
Cf. Exercises, #202. This is to see the place(s).
Cf. Exercises, #203. This is to ask for what I desire. In the Passion it is proper to ask for sorrow with Christ in sorrow, anguish with Christ in anguish, tears and deep grief because of the great affliction Christ endures for me.
A. Christ Before Pilate.
-Cf. Luke 22:2-7. John 18:29-38.
-“So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ he asked. Jesus replied, ‘Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew?’ ‘It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?’ Jesus replied, ‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.’ ‘So you are a king then?’ said Pilate. ‘It is you who say it’ answered Jesus. ‘Yes I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to me.’ ‘Truth?’ said Pilate ‘What is that?’
-Here the whole summation of Christ’s claim to kingship is displayed. To be King is Christ’s vocation. To be king means to be Servant—Suffering Servant.
-The test of conversion lies in how I listen to Christ’s witness to Truth—to him.
B. Jesus Before Herod.
-“Herod was delighted to see Jesus; he had heard about him and had been wanting for a long time to set eyes on him; moreover, he was hoping to see some miracle worked by him. So he questioned him at some length but without getting any reply. Meanwhile the chief priests and the scribes were there, violently pressing their accusations. Then Herod, together with his guards, treated him with contempt and made fun of him; he put a rich cloak on him and sent him back to Pilate. And though Herod and Pilate had been enemies before, there were reconciled that same day.” (Luke 22:8-12.)
-Herod thought Jesus was some sort of magician—one who performs tricks for entertainment. But Jesus does not answer. Jesus says more in his silence than if he had spoken a thousand words. His silence is filled with peace from his procession of the Will of the Father. This very silence is His accusation.
-Then Herod clothed Jesus with a robe of a simpleton. It was the sing of a fool. And yet Jesus remains ever silent.
Do I treat Jesus a fool in His Mystical Body? Our Father.
JESUS BEFORE PILATE AGAIN
Cf. Exercises, #202,01. This is the history of the Mystery.
Cf. Exercises, #202. This is to see the place(s).
Cf. Exercises, #203. This is to ask for what I desire. In the Passion it is proper to ask for sorrow with Christ in sorrow, anguish with Christ in aguish, tears and deep grief because of the great affliction Christ endures for me.
A. The Choice.
-Cf. Luke 22:13-25. John 18:39-40. “…according to a custom of yours I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me then, to release the king of the Jews?’ At this they shouted: ‘Not this man’, they said ‘but Barabbas.’” John 18:39-40.
-Again we are confronted with the mystery of choosing a robber and thief over a savior. We feel more at home with the murderer then with a liberator; with one who takes life, rather than the Giver of Life. Yet life was delivered over according to the mobs’ will.
-How often we too listen to the cries of the mob. How often do we play deaf to the of our Lord? How often it is I who cry out: “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
B. The Scourging.
-Cf. Mark 15:16-20. “The soldiers led him away to the inner part of the palace, called the Praetorium, and gathered the entire cohort. They dressed him up in purple, twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on him. And then they began saluting him, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed and spat on him; and they when they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple and dressed him in his clothes.”
Pray silently with the scourged Jesus. All for me. Look at Him bleeding love; gushing forth—for me. “For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away. I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face against insult and spittle.” Isaiah 50:5-6.
DEVOTION TO THE SACRED HEART
A preconceived idea of what devotion to the Sacred Heart consists may be favorable or unfavorable either from a lack of knowledge, presentation in art forms, etc. Positively, though, the devotion has been espoused and made law in the Society of Jesus. Father Karl Rahner describes devotion to the Sacred Heart as the perfect expression of Christianity.
Historically the devotion began with the apparitions to Margerate Mary. Actually, the essence of the devotion is to be found in Scripture, for therein lays the cause and not the occasion. The occasion begins during the period of Jansenism.
This is the only devotion that is co-extensive within the Society of Jesus.
The Heart is a symbol of love: the embodiement of eternal Divinity. It is symbolic of the Love of Christ in his Divine and Human Will. It is also symbolic of Christ’s sensible Love, that is, emotional. This, then, is involved love of the Heart. Devotion is directed to Love of the Incarnate God-man, Jesus the Christ. This is the perfect expression of Christian Religion.
By this we mean the involvement of the divine and eternal in the Human Heart of Christ. Love becomes Incarnate. To deny this would be to deny a part of Christ’s humanity. Emotionalism, though, is not the same as “sentimentality.” Finally, the Sacred Heart represents the Person in whom dwells the Heart.
Cf. Exercises, #200, 01. This is the history of the Mystery.
Cf. Exercises, #202. This is to see the sight—the scourged Jesus.
Cf. Exercises, #203. This is to ask for what I desire. In the Passion it is proper to ask for sorrow with Christ in sorrow, anguish with Christ in aguish, tears and deep grief because of the great affliction Christ endures for me.
A. Jesus is Condemned to Death.
-Cf. John 19:4-6. “Pilate then had come outside again and said to them, ‘Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case’. Jesus then came our wearing a crown of thorns and the purple robe.” “’Look there is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’” John 129.
-“See my servant: and the crowds were appalled on seeing him—so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human.” Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12.
-Cf. John 19:13,16. “Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated himself on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha. It was Passover Preparation Day, about the sixth hour. ‘Here is you king’ said Pilate to the Jews. ‘Take him away, take him away!’ they said. ‘Crucify him.’ ‘Do you want me to crucify your king?’ said Pilate. The chief priests answered, ‘We have no king except Caesar.’ So in the end Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.
-The law of man is upheld and the Law of God crucified. The law of love is made to carry a cross, but not of necessity, rather of freedom.
-We have no king but Caesar. The Jews repudiated their whole history. And yet the crucified one becomes savior and the king their crucifier. His blood is upon us in Baptism and mercy. The Cross is Christ’s Baptism—the symbol of how much God wants to give. The cross becomes a Sacrament with cleansing powers.
THE WAY OF THE CROSS
Cf. The way of the Cross Sheed and Ward 1955
THE LAST WORDS
Recall the History. The Crucifixion.
I am present witnessing the crime of humanity.
I pray that I may listen to Christ’s Words and Actions. I ask the question: What is He doing there, upon the Cross?
A. Father Forgive them for they know not what they are doing.
-This is the first word spoken by Christ on the Cross and it was the first spoken by God after Original Sin. The word of forgiveness hovers over the while of Salvation History. Jesus is looking for an excuse even as He dies for me. This is His meaning: mediator of forgiveness. He is the Sacrament of Mercy of forgiveness. Forgiveness is a giving for—a re-creation; a giving of life. He gives his life to the Father for us; me.
-Listen to the unspoken words. Consider how the cross could have become the pulpit of denunciation, etc. If anyone had a right to denounce the faults of others it is Christ, but yet He is silent.
B. Blessed are the Peace makers.
-Here hangs the Peace Maker. Christ is making our Peace. How open am I to the Peace of Christ? How capable am I of forgiving? ; To forgive and forget?
-It is in forgetting that we forgive. Our attitude should be one of seeking a way out for the transgressor, without clouding the reality.
C. Cf. Exercises, para. 297.
Cf. Exercises, #53.
What have I done for Christ?
What am I doing for Christ?
What ought I to do for Christ?
As I behold Christ in this plight, nailed to the Cross, I shall ponder upon what present itself to my mind.
THE MEANING OF THE CROSS (SUFFERING)
Suffering is really a limit problem. In the life of Christ it was a matter of free choice. In our life we have no choice but we do have the choice of acceptance. Christ had choice of the face. The “Why?” is where difficulty in understanding enters. Suffering and pain are signs of life’s absence. They are emptiness. Yet emptiness can become the very channels of life. Suffering and death are perhaps the most common characteristic of each person to the other. Christ did not bring the cross into the world but rather shouldered it. “Why this Waste?” It is the very waste product that is the mystery.
THE LAST WORDS (CONT.)
The History: the Crucifixion.
I am the present witnessing the crime of humanity.
I pray that I may listen to Christ’s Words and Actions. I ask the question: “What is He doing there upon the Cross?”
A. “This day thou shalt be with me in paradise.”
-The thief is the only one who says that he was guilty; that Christ was innocent. He acknowledged his own sinfulness. This was a confiteor from the Cross. A man who was rejected by men was accepted by Christ. He remembers us and we remember Him in the Eucharistic Sacrifice—it is a constant act of remembrance under the form of Bread and Wine.
B. “Woman, behold thy Son, Son behold thy Mother.”
-This is a symbolic action’ it does in a visible way what cannot be seen invisibly. In this case we have the birth of a new family—the People of God. And so Mary becomes the Church as Mother and the disciple becomes the Church as receiving son—compromising a new family. The begetter and begotten. This is an act of gathering together. “And the Disciple took her unto himself.”
C. “My God My God why has thou forsaken me?”
-This is a cry of the psychological abandonment not the ontological separation. This is really an expression of loneliness. This is death—loneliness.
-“My God, my God, why have you deserted me?” How far from saving me, the words I groan. I call all day, my God, but you never answer, all night long I call and cannot rest.” Psalm 21.
I ask that Christ say “Amen.” to me.
THE LAST WORDS (CONT.)
The History of The Crucifixion.
I am present witnessing the crime of humanity.
I pray that I may listen to Christ’s Words and Actions. I ask the question: “What is He doing there upon the Cross?”
A. “I thirst.”
-The Passion of Christ is simply the manifestation of Gods thirst for men. He thirsts for the Human Heart. “Blessed is he who hungers and thirsts…” Consider my own uninterested zeal in God. Do I thirst the thirst of Christ? When I meet someone do I consider his thirst for Christ? It is up to us to quench the thirst for Christ.
B. “It is finished.”
-It is the finish which is the beginning—a beginning for the members. Yet the completion of Christ’s work is the will of the Father. It is finished, there is nothing beyond—it is the superlative, it is love Beginning and End. The Life of Christ is now consummated, it is accomplished; it is done.
C. “Father Into Thy Hands I Commit My Spirit.”
-This is the Supreme Act of Trust: He then gave over his spirit. Therefore, his spirit was given over to the Church. A new spirit and power of Love has been given. A new power which allows for Christian Marriage, etc. And now the whole world is going after Him.
-Cf. Romans 8:14-17. “Abba, Father.” This is the final act of consecration. And now we have the consecrated spirit, power.
We pray to the Holy Spirit of Christ to conform us to the Son. We beg to be drawn.
LOVERS OF THE CROSS
WAY OF THE CROSS
Imitation of Christ, II, 11 & 12.
Recall the History. Mary at the foot of the Cross.
I am with Mary.
I pray to share with Mary her pain and compassion for Her Son.
AT THE CROSS HER STATION KEEPING, STOOD THE MOURNFUL MOTHER WEEPING, CLOSE TO JESUS TO THE LAST.
Mother, Son, and Cross set the scene.
THROUGH HER HEART, HIS SORROW SHARING, ALL HIS BITTER ANGUISH BERING, LO! THE PIERCING SWORD HAD PASSED.
The sword pierced not only her body, but her very being, and there it remains. Recall the words of Simeon. Consider my sorrow, contradiction, compassion, and Gods love.
O HOW SAD AND SORE DISTRESSED WAS THAT MOTHER, HIGHLY BLESSED, OF THE SOLE-BEGOTTEN ONE.
Consider how sad and sorrowful Mary is and yet how Blessed she is. “Blessed are those who mourn…” “Blessed are you among women…”
WOE-BEGONE, WITH HEARTS PROSTRATION, MOTHER MEEK, THE BITTER PASSION SAW SHE OF HER GLORIOUS SON.
Mary is really a loyal Mother. Consider Christs glory; of his hidden life in subjection, and now the glory of the Cross. The Third Degree of Humility is the glory of Christ. “Blessed is the womb that bore you…” Only Mary can fully appreciate and participate in the glory of Christ.
WHO ON CHRISTS DEAR MOTHER GAZING, IN HER TROUBLE SO AMAZING, BORN OF WOMAN, WOULD NOT WEEP?
Is there not a man who would weep with Mary?
WHO ON CHRISTS DEAR MOTHER THINKING SUCH A CUP OF SORROW DRINKING, WOULD NOT SHARE HER SORROW DEEP?
We are asked not just to be sorrowful, but to be sorrowful with Mary. If we cannot be compassionate then I am not man.
FOR HIS PEOPLES SINS REJECTED, SAW HER JESUS UNPROTECTED, SAW WITH THORNS, WITH SCOURGES RENT:
Mary’s own people crucified her son.
SAW HER SON FROM JUDGEMENT TAKEN, HER BELOVED IN DEATH FORSAKEN, TILL HIS SPIRIT FORTH HE SENT.
And so not a tender death—but a tender Son—the sweetness of life. He dies utterly desolate.
FONT OF LOVE AND HOLY SORROW, MOTHER! MAY MY SPIRIT BORROW SOMEWHAT OF THY WOE PROFOUND:
I pray Mother to be open to the Fount of Love. Make me do this—weep with you.
UNTO CHRIST, WITH PURE EMOTION, RAISE MY CONTRITE HEARTS DEVOTION, LOVE TO READ IN EVERY WOUND.
THOSE FIVE WOUNDS ON JESUS SMITTEN, MOTHER! IN MY HEART BE WRITTEN, DEEP AS IN THINE OWN THEY BE:
THOU, THY SAVIOR’S CROSS WHO BEAREST, THOU, THY SON’S REBUKE WHO SHAREST, LET ME SHARE THEM BOTH WITH THEE.
Here begin the petitions.
IN THE PASSION OF MY MAKER, BE MY SINFUL SOUL PARTAKER, WEEP TILL DEATH AND WEEP WITH THEE:
MINE WITH THEE BE THAT SAD STATION, THERE TO WATCH THE GREAT SALVATION, WROUGHT UPON THE ATONING TREE.
VIRGIN, THOU OF VIRGINS FAIREST, MAY THE BITTER WOE THOU BEAREST, MAKE ON ME IMPRESSION DEEP.
THUSE CHRISTS DYING MAY I CARRY, WITH HIM IN HIS PASSION TARRY, AND HIS WOUNDS IN MEMORY KEEP.
MAY HIS WOUND BOTH WOUND AND HEAL ME, HE ENKINDLE, CLEANSE, ANNEAL ME, BE HIS CROSS MY HOPE AND STAY.
MAY HE, WHEN THE MOUNTAINS QUIVER, FROM THAT FLAME WHICH BURNS FOR EVER, SHIELD ME ON THE JUDEMENT DAY.
JESUS, MAY THE CROSS DEFEND ME, AND THY MOTHER’S PRAYER BEFRIEND ME, LET ME DIE IN THY EMBRACE:
WHEN TO DUST MY DUST RETURNETH, GRANT A SOUL THAT TO THEE YEARNETH, IN THY PARADISE A PLACE. AMEN.
JESUS IS PIERCED
John 19:31-37. It was Preparation Day and to prevent the bodies remaining on the cross during the Sabbath—since the Sabbath was a day of special solemnity—the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away. Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then the other. When they came to Jesus, they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water. This is the evidence of one who saw it—trustworthy evidence, and he knows he speaks the truth—and he gives it so that you may believe as well. Because all this happened to fulfill the words of scripture: “Not one bone of his will be broken;” and again, in another place: “They shall look on the one whom they have pierced.”
I place myself in the presence of John who is witnessing this.
I pray that I be filled with all that Christ has to give: blood and water.
A. The Symbols of Blood and Water.
-Not only did Christ come in water but also in blood. His baptism is water impregnated with blood. The efficacy of the sacramental life of the Church is rooted in the Passion. This is the Church flowing from the side of Christ as Eve was taken from the Side of Adam. “At last there is one like me.” Genesis.
B. Johns Testimony.
-Christ fulfills the prophecy: “And they will look upon him whom they have pierced.” Recall that in 70 A.D. Rome looked upon Jerusalem whom they have pierced.
C. The Gift.
-The Perfect Gift of Christ to the Father: “It is finished.”
-The Gift of Father to Son: foreshadowing the Resurrection.
D. The Phenomenon Surrounding Christs Death.
-Darkness covered the Earth which is really the expression of Christs own interior darkness. His darkness was that before creation. This is the darkness before the New Creation.
-The Veil was torn: On this Day of Atonement the curtain is torn in two. The O.T. ended in the Day of Atonement.
-The Theophany: The manifestation of God—the earthquake.
-The tombs opened: In other words, this is a visible expression of what happened invisibly.
-The fact of the conversion of the Gentiles. “The centurion who pierced Jesus.”
E. The Burial.
-The Death of Christ is a vivication of Life and Faith in Christ. Note: Joseph and Nicodemus.
-Christ was buried in a garden: John 19:41 compared with paradise, the first Garden.
-Now God is resting.
-“And he descended into Hell” To the Jew hell was the abode of the Dead, the Bosom of Abraham and the fires of the damned. Christ went to the Bosom of Abraham. It is a union with God but an incomplete union. Christ descended there to tell the Just that their Union has been completed.
In Christ’s presence pray to be open to His Spirit.
THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
Recall the History. “When they came to Jesus they found he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.” (John 19:33ff.)
Place myself at the scene.
Third Prelude: Ask to be washed by the outpouring of Christ’s blood. Where there is one blood there is only one life.
A. The O.T. Notion of Blood.
-It was not considered as a thing, but rather signified the very person himself. It even takes on human characteristics: “’Listen to the sound of your brother’s blood, crying to me from the ground.’” (Gen. 4:10). The blood of Able was crying. This shows that the blood was the whole person. A Jew could not eat anything with blood, because he thought that he was consuming the very life of the creature.
-A Blood Offering is Life Giving to God. It was through the blood of the lamb that the Hebrews preserved their own life during the Exodus.
-Later Moses sprinkled the people to show the common life bond between God and man.
B. The Precious Blood.
-The Precious Blood is a Sacrament given to us and at the same time a Sacrifice given For us. Only God’s Blood can unite men to God. This is the very principle of life. Christ has drawn us first as Sacrifice and second as Sacrament. Christ’s blood, therefore is both Sacrifice and Sacrament.
-Consider now the intimate relationship between the Last Supper and Calvary. They are inseparable—one is the sacrament the other the sacrifice—a giving to and a giving for.
C. Redemption through the Precious Blood.
-“You have redeemed us, Lord, with your Blood, out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us for our God and a kingdom. The mercies of the Lord I will sing forever; through all generations my mouth shall proclaim your truth.” Introit for Feast of Precious Blood.
“…because they have washed their robes white again in the blood of the Lamb, they stand in front of Gods throne and serve him day and night in his sanctuary.” (Revelation 7:15).
The Fourth Week
THE FIRST APPARITION OF JESUS TO MARY
He appeared to the Virgin Mary. Though this is not mentioned explicitly in the Scripture it must be considered as stated when Scripture says that He appeared to many others. For Scripture supposes that we have understanding, as it is written, “Are you also without understanding?” Exercises, para 299.
Cf. Exercises, para 218ff.
For some reason men don’t associate Christian Joy with religion, probably because they see religion as regimentation or constriction. But we must remember the idea of Re-creation and relaxation. Living in the presence of the Living Christ is Christian Joy. We must, then be re-created in a Christian way, but it is not a way which calls for relaxation.
What does Joy mean? Its characteristics are:
(1) an intensified aliveness; (2) a sense of fulfillment; (3) it is more than happiness, but a happiness which makes me want to tell others. (4) It pertains to my inner self; (5) it has a sense of completion about it to the degree that my whole being has to say it—I cannot contain myself.
And so we must realize the vivaciousness of the Risen Christ—My God. This is how I can get into the inside of Christianity. This is Christian self-identity. So let us let Christ Easter in Us.
THE APPEARANCE TO MARY MAGDALA
The history of the Second Apparition. Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para 300. Cf. John 20:11-18.
“Mary stayed outside near the tomb, weeping.” (John 20:11).
To ask God for the grace to be glad and to rejoice intensely.
A. The Difference…
-Consider for a moment how the death of Christ made a difference for Mary. Though dead she wanted to be with him. She loved him so much that she drew strength that if necessary she would carry away his dead body.
-“Do not touch me” should read “do not cling to me.” In other words, Jesus is present but in a different way: not as one sent but as the One Sending. Go! Be the missionary.
-“Go and find the brothers, and tell them: I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ So Mary of Magdala went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord and that he had said these things to her.’” (John 20:18) Mary, from whom seven devils were cast out becomes the first missionary. Today the Church proclaims the message that Christ declared to Mary.
I cling to Christ to live in union of the Being Sent. I am indeed his brother.
DEVOTION TO MARY
Jesus’ apparition to Mary must go undisputed as being the first; by its very nature Mary made a difference to Jesus. Does she make a difference to me? Cf. The Church, Chapter VIII, The Role Of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother Of God, In the Mystery of Christ and the Church. The entire Church deliberately teaches devotion to Mary (para 67). Two extremes must be avoided: gross exaggeration and petty narrow mindedness. Today it seems that petty narrow mindedness is the prevailing extreme.
True devotion springs from true Love; True faith which is filial. It is only this way in which we can lead to the excellence of Mary.
In Mary is the expression of the extent of God’s love to a human person. Anyone who challenges Mary is actually challenging the profound Love of God. Take away Mary and Christ falls to Mary’s position: a great human being. This is what the Protestants have done. Mary in her holiness is the support to Christ—the key stone.
But what do I see in Mary? Moreover, what did God see in Mary? What does the Church see in Mary? Mary is the point of union between God and mankind as mother. Spiritually Mary is the Image of Christ—physically he is in Her Image.
Christ was brought into being through “intention” as Savior- but there is no savior without the saved- and so Mary is the mother of the whole Christ—Savior (head) and Saved (members).
The whole meaning of Mary is to relate; to mediate union of Head and members. She is the only one of the Human Race who can intend what Christ does because she is free—sinless. For this reason Mary is co-redemptorist. Her intention is Salvation.
Mary’s virginity means that she is completed through Christ. She did not need any other person. Virginity is a sign of completion. Christ is the Completion. Christian purity comes into Being here.
In Mary we see the one in whom Christ exercised the act of redemption perfectly. She is the moon—a faithful witness of the Sun (Son).
THE ROAD TO EMMAUS
History. Cf. Luke 24:13-35.
Let us walk with the disciples and the Lord. Let us recount the Life of Christ as he speaks.
“Stay with us” is my prayer.
Cf. Exercises: #303.
A. He appeared to his disciples who were going to Emmaus and were talking of Christ.
-The disciples see Jesus only as a good man who wanted to save Israel, but was frustrated. (Luke 24:19-21). They were unable to apprehend the notion of God’s design.
B. The Reprehend. “Ought Not Christ to have suffered these things and so to enter into his glory?”
-Jesus points out that God’s design was not frustrated but was brought to fruition. The revelation is that there are two stages of redemption: suffering and glory. Christ therefore ought to have suffered.
-What do we hope for—the difference between a hope and a dream? A hope can only be realized in suffering, in patience, and in patience; patience in my own self; in my limitations, etc. but so often what we thought was Hope turned out to be but a mere dream. One way Hope can be fulfilled is through Obedience. Even in the spiritual life Hope means patience; patience in growth and patience in time.
C. Recognition in the Eucharistic communion.
-“Now while he was with them at table, he took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened and they recognized him.” (Luke 24:30-31.)
-“Stay with Us” type of prayer is always answered. Here Christ revealed himself in action not word. He took Bread and broke it. Then their eyes were opened—at the source of Life.
-“And the day is now far spent” The O.T. came to a close and the Christian era dawned.
“Stay with Us” Stay with me Lord—with a staying influence. I ask that dreams be scattered and Hope be fulfilled.
THE APPARITION TO THE DISCIPLES
History. Cf. John 20:19-23. Cf. Exercises, para 304. Cf. Goodier, The Risen Jesus, p.97f.
I place myself in the upper room with the disciples. All of a sudden “peace” dispels my “fear”.
I pray for the gift of Faith, to see the penetrating vision the glorious Christ.
A. The disciples were gathered together “for fear of the Jews.”
-The door of our hearts are closed for fear of what men might think. We are enclosed in fear.
B. “Jesus came and stood among them.”
-Jesus comes and through his coming tears down the walls of fear. His coming is soothing, it is filled with contemplative peace.
C. “Peace Be With You.”
-The real gift of a person is the gift of peace. Peace is a giving which is glorified and exuberant. Peace is a movement: “As the Father sent me, so am I sending you.” (John 20:21)
-Christ bestows a share in his public life and so they too become public figures.
-After saying this “he breathed on them.” In other words, Christ breathed the spirit of life into the Apostles. Cf. (Gen. 2:7). Life then becomes absorbed by the Apostles. It’s a kind of explosion of Christ’s Joy; he cannot contain nor retain it—it bursts out.
I pray to be open to the Spirit (the breath of Christ) that I too may become the new man, a new Adam. Although clay has no freedom it cannot resist, but I with freedom must never resist.
THE APPARITION TO THOMAS
History. Cf. Spiritual Exercises, para. 305. Cf. Goodier, The Risen Jesus p. 115
Place. “Eight days later the disciples were in the house again and Thomas was with them. The doors were closed.” (John 20:26).
I pray for the gift of faith.
A. “’Unless I see the holes that the nails made in his hands and can put my finger into the holes they made, and unless I can put my hand into his side, I refuse to believe.” (John 20:25)
-This isn’t a case of doubt, but the news is just too good to be true.
B. “’Put your finger here…give me your hand.’”
-Again it is Jesus who takes the initiative and seeks out.
C. The Confession of Faith.
-“My Lord and My God.” Christ is the Lord and God. This Thomas could not see with his eyes, but only with and open Heart. This is the climax of John’s gospel. He wrote for those who believe but do not see.
D. My Notion of Faith.
-Faith is an act of knowledge that comes from life. It is not sentiment, guess work, or less than reason. The deeper power of knowledge is faith; and the power of faith is strengthened and rooted in the power of love. The power of love gives the power to see.
-Sight: loved provides the light in order to see. People who say their faith is dying are not right in this: true there is a dying but it is the death of the heart and not the eyes.
-Cf. 1 Peter 1:3-9.
Colloquy: I ask God for faith.
THE APPEARANCE ON THE SHORE OF TIBERIAS
The History. Cf. john 21: 1-17. Cf. Exercises, para. 306.
The Place. “..by the sea of Tiberias.”
Third Prelude: I pray to live in the presence of Christ.
A. The Scripture Passage.
-This passage is significant because it falls between two conclusions. Actually it is a picture of the Church, here and now. Dawn has broken but it is not high noon yet. It is the twilight Church.
B. The Meal.
-The fish is the symbol of Jesus. “Jesus Christ God Our Savior” signifies the word fish in greek.
-Here the Church is described in terms of a meal. Thus, the here and now is a time of constant nourishment. There are two gifts, but one meal.
C. “Feed My Lambs…”
-After the third time Peter confesses that Jesus knows all things—this is a confession of Christ’s divinity; it is a confession of Love—not sentimentality but a love that is giving. Peter then became the Shepherd of the flock he is to gather.
-Jesus rebukes Peter’s question. John is the Church symbolically—“What is it to thee?”
We pray to live in the presence of Christ in the Church, in the community.
ON MT. THABOR
History. Cf. Exercises, para 307. Cf. Goodier, The Risen Jesus p. 153.
Place. On the mountain in Galilee. “When they saw him they fell down before him…” Mat. 28:17.
I pray for the grace of realization of Christ who is risen.
A. The disciples at the command of Christ go to Mt. Thabor.
-Imagine the thoughts they carried while climbing the mountain. Consider their obedience to ascend the mountain.
B. Christ appears to them and says: “All power is given to me in heaven and on earth.”
-“I gazed into the visions of the night. And I saw, coming on the clouds of heaven, one like a son of man. He came to the one of the great age and was led into his presence.” Dan. 7:13.
-Christ has a power to draw all things to himself. In the consecration he draws the entire universe to him.
C. “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”
I pray to realize the presence of the risen Christ.
THE MEANING OF THE APPARITIONS
History. Cf. Luke 24:36-49. “’Why are you so agitated, and why are these doubts rising in your hearts?’”
Place. “…he himself stood among them and said to them ‘Peace be with you!’”
Ask for Joy. “Their joy was so great that they could not believe it, and they stood dumbfounded.”
A. The Meaning of the Apparitions.
-The basic and fundamental meaning of the apparitions is to insure that what has taken place in the Head is occurring in the members. The activity of Christ activates the members.
-Four motives for the Apparitions:
1. to act as counselor.
2. to prove that He is really risen.
3. to teach
4. to commission the apostles
B. ….As counselor
-As counselor Christ is acting as the Paraclete—to only those belonging to the fellowship. It is not, therefore, apologetic. He only appears to those who are “appearable” –to those who are united to Him. It is foretaste for Heaven—that is, possession.
C. ….as Proof.
-To show that he is really risen he asked them “’Have you anything here to eat?’ And they offered him a peace of grilled fish, which he took and ate before their eyes.”
-This is indicative of God’s approval—a seal or stamp of God’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice. His body is no longer subject to human nature. The law of friendship is the only thing that ties Christ to the world.
D. …to Teach.
-Nothing new is ever taught. But rather the meaning of what happened and what was taught previously. He showed them the meaning of the Church. Theology of the Church: (1) as forgiven, Magdala, that is, and exorcised Church; (2) as forgiving, “whose sins…etc.; (3) which is made up of ourselves; e.g. Thomas the Twin, of those who believe; (4) as fellowship, that is the catch of fish—gift fellowship that is grace. Peter is the gift of fellowship.
E. ….to Commission.
-He invests his authority by breathing the Spirit. Jesus is equipping the troops. Joy must Apostolic, this is the Good News.
Thank our Lord for the gift of the Church, the fellowships as life and the way to extend that fellowship which is the structure. We have Christ life—his risen life within the Church.
History. Cf. Acts 1:1-12.
Place. “Now having met together…”
Cf. Psalms 46 – Yahweh, king of Israel, Lord of the world. Psalm 96 – The Triumph of Yahweh. Psalm 98 – God, righteous and holy king.
A. The Promise of the Holy Spirit to come in Jerusalem.
-“When he had been at table with them, he had told them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait the for what the Father had promised.”
-A promise of being baptized by the Holy Spirit with a fire of divine love. This is an act of consecration. Wait to be consecrated.
B. The Nature of the Kingdom.
-The kingdom is not to be returned or restored to Israel. Questions “How” and “When” are not answered. “It is not for you to know times or dates that the Father has decided by his own authority, but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and then you will be my witnesses….”
C. The Ascension.
-“…..and He was lifted up before their eyes and a cloud received Him out of their sight.”
-The cloud is a sign of the presence of God. It is impenetrable. N.B. Baptism, Transfiguration. This is really the beginning of the kingdom. There are two comings—between them is the messianic era, the period of the Church.
-Now the entire world had its center in the Heart of Christ. Christ is Lord, therefore of the whole universe—it is ruled by a Human Heart. The Ascension is the act of drawing. It means that Christ is here and now completely alive for us. His attention never waxes or weans from me.
-Christ is constantly alive for me. His love is completely for me.
-The Ascension is our Hope—to be where the head is. (Head in the clouds, feet on the ground).
-The Ascension is a visible sign of what takes place invisibly—our return to the Father in Christ.
We pray to make this return complete; in ourselves, and in our missions as witnesses. We pray to return with our world.
Universal Call to Holiness
Constitution on the Church: Church V, “The Call of the Whole Church to Holiness.”
Too often holiness takes on airs of artificiality. In reality it is not such; rather Holiness is to be seen as a consecration to the Triune God. The Christian vocation is a vocation to Holiness. Holiness is the very essence of the Church. Holiness is the sanctification of the Church, it is the Will of God.
“Why this waste” (Mat. 26:9). The purpose of religious life is to be an outstanding witness to Holiness. Christ is the author and consumater of Holiness, the gospels describe only one vocation, one vocation into Holiness. There are no other vocations. However, there may be vocations within the One Vocation. There is only one calling yet many ways of answering the call.
The hierarchical structure of the Church is to mediate holiness. The individual life of a priest is to be strengthened by contemplation of Holiness.
Holiness must be associated with work. Work must become sacramental. This is what it means to be Christian psychologically.
Cf. para. 42. The cause and motive of holiness is love. Love through the evangelical counsels.
History. Cf. Luke, Acts 2:1-41.
Place. “They had all met in one room.” I place myself in this Pentecost.
My prayer: “O God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from which no secrets are hidden: cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit that we may perfectly love you and worthily praise your holy name:” Prayer from the Votive Mass to Obtain the Grace of the Holy Spirit.
A. Pentecost, an Anticipation of the O.T.
-The entire O.T. is a prelude to Pentecost—the revelation of the fullness of God. Cf. Ezekiel 11:14-21. “I will give them a single heart and I will put a new spirit in them.” V. 19. Here this is somewhat eschatological, whereas the New Testament realizes this as a promise fulfilled. Pentecost is the New Covenant: The Person of Christ (His Spirit) proceeding from the Father.
-Christ is the source of all gifts; the Gift of the Spirit. Cf. John 7:37-39. “If any man is thirsty, let him come to me. Let the man come and drink who believes in me.’… He was speaking of the Spirit which those who believed in him were to receive, for there was no Spirit as yet because Jesus had not yet been glorified.”
B. The Apparition.
-The storm (violent winds) is one of power and not destruction. “They heard what sounded like a powerful wind from heaven, the noise of which filled the entire house in which they were sitting.” Recall John 12:1-7. The Anointing at Bethany. “Mary brought in a pound of very costly ointment, pure nard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus, wiping them with her hair; the house was full of the scent of the ointment.”
-At Pentecost the Spirit fills the House.
-“and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them.” “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak foreign languages as the Spirit gave them gifts of speech.” This shows the universality of the Church. It speaks, and it speaks to many.
-Pentecost is really the feast of fulfillment. For it is completion. The proof that Christ is really and truly Lord is that He can give His Spirit. The Church is the living embodiment of the Spirit, the abode of the Spirit.
-There is only one Spirit, and one Lord. He speaks to the world in its own language. Consider the many different liturgies throughout the world and even in our own culture. This exemplifies the familio Spirit of the Church. The Holy Spirit is the family Spirit of Unity.
Cf. The Feast of Pentecost. Sequence may be used as Second Method of Prayer.
THE MEANING OF PENTECOST
History. The fulfillment of Pentecost. “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Consider my own baptism and Confirmation. The times that the Holy Spirit conferred himself upon me.
Here I pray for my religious Consecration.
A. Baptismal Rite.
-We are to be temples of God. This is effective through Baptism.
-Baptism into Christ is confirmed through the Sacrament of Confirmation.
C. Our Relation to the Holy Spirit into the New Testament.
-The Holy Spirit is the source of a new birth. Cf. John 3:1-21. The conversation with Nicodemus. The Holy Spirit is the very life of God drawing the world into the life of the Trinity. Grace is a transformed life.
-The Holy Spirit gives us himself. He is in us, and with us. He is the new center of our Being, We are given the Spirit of Love, the very Person whose name is Love.
-“I, the prisoner in the Lord, implore you therefore to lead a life worthy of your vocation. Bear with one another charitably, in complete selflessness, gentleness and patience. Do all you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together. There is one Body, one Spirit, just as you were called. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God who is Father of all, over all, through all and within all.” (Ephesians 4:1-6).
-Cf. Ephesians 2:12-14; vv. 17-22.
-Is this the Spirit whom I have received, operative in my life? Do I think of Him as dwelling in and with me as source of my power and strength? Is my body the Temple?
“Come Holy Spirit and fill the hearts of your faithful. Enkindle within them the fire of your Divine Love.” The Holy Spirit is the depth of Trinitarian Love.
CHRIST: HIGH PRIEST
“O God, by whom Your only-begotten Son has been established High and Eternal Priest, to the glory of Your majesty and for the salvation of mankind, grant that those He has chosen as ministers and dispensers of His mysteries, may be found faithful in fulfilling the ministry they have accepted.”
Votive Mass of Our Lord Jesus Christ, The Eternal High Priest.
History. Cf. Revelation 1:1-20. Here is the history of revelation. Christ, priest, prophet, and king is glorified.
I pray that my life be a life of prayer in worship.
A. Description of the High Priest.
-“I heard a voice behind me, shouting like a trumpet. I turned around to see who had spoken to me, and when I turned I saw seven golden lamp-stands and, surrounded by them a figure like a Son of Man, dressed in a long robe tied at the waist with a golden girdle. His head and his hair were white as white wool or as snow, his eyes like a burning flame, his feet like burnished bronze when it has been refined in a furnace, and his voice like the sound of the ocean. In his right hand he was holding seven stars, out of his mouth came a sharp sword, double-edged, and his face was like the sun shining with all its force.” (Revelation 1:9-16).
-The seven golden lamp stands symbolizes the whole Church. Christ is the High priest moving about the Church.
-White symbolizes eternity. Christ’s eyes are the Light which we see.
-Brass feet symbolize Christ’s constancy.
-His voice is powerful, not harsh.
-Seven stars represent the Bishops of the Church.
-The two-edged sword is the very word of God.
-Christ, the Son of Man is the High Priest; he is God with Us—Emmanuel.
-“When I saw him, I fell in a dead faint at his feet, but he touched me with is right hand and said, ‘Do not be afraid; it is I, the First and the Last; I am the Living One, I was dead and now I am to live for ever and ever, and I hold the keys of death and of the underworld.” (Revelation 1:17-19).
-Two functions of Priests are to mediate the Word of God and to mediate Life through the Sacraments. This is how the risen Christ is among us. He is completely alive.
B. The Meaning of Christ’s Priesthood for Us.
-First the Christ is an authoritative teacher and secondly, He is victim. Cf. Mark 10—Christ as Teacher. Cf. Hebrews 5:1-10.
-The quality of a priest is one who is able to have compassion. Melchizedek was both King and Priest. Christ’s ordination occurred when He was conceived to be victim.
C. The Expression of Christ’s Priesthood.
-Baptism is the first degree of priesthood, that is and ordination to Sacramental life in and through the victimhood of Christ.
-We are also ordered to bear witness to the Word, through Confirmation.
I pray to Christ, Eternal High Priest.
History. “Write to the angel of the church of….”
Pray for the grace to be inserted into the glorious Priesthood of Christ.
A. The Letters to The Churches of Asia.
-Cf. Revelation 2 and 3. These letters are addressed to the seven churches. They contain exhortations and promises. They are meant for the entire Church of God.
B. The Promises.
-“I will feed from the tree of life set in God’s Paradise
-“…there is nothing to be afraid of in the second death.”
-“I will give the hidden manna and a white stone—a stone with a new name written on it, known only to the man who receives it.”
-“I will give the authority over the pagans… and I will give the Morning Star.”
-“…to be dressed in white robes; I shall not blot their names out of the book of life, but acknowledge their names in the presence of my Father and his angels.”
-“I will make into pillars in the sanctuary of my God; I will inscribe on them the name of my God.”
-“I will allow to share my throne.”
History. To see the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem resplendent with the glory of God.
To place myself in the presence of God and his heavenly home.
To pray for a deep understanding of the meaning of everlasting life. To know and understand what it means to love and be loved in a way that will never fail.
A. Description of the Heavenly City.
-Cf. Revelation 21:9-27.
-The City of God descends from God out of heaven. It is enclosed by a wall with three gates and on them are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
-The foundation rests upon 12 stones—the twelve apostles. The whole description indicates a perfectly ordered Jerusalem. The city contains no temple because God and the Lamb is the temple. Nor is there a need for the sun and moon for the glory of God illuminates the whole city by the Light of the Lamb. There is no night because all is open.
-There is nothing of Truth, Goodness, or virtuous wasted because only the defiled are hindered.
-The Source of Life and the Center of Light is Christ. The Tree of Life received its nourishment from the river which proceeds from the throne. The leaves themselves are medicinal. The servants belong to Christ.
-The whole reality is that Heaven is Christ centered.
We ask Christ to grant us an appreciation of everlasting life with Him. According to the truths in the first Principle and Foundation all this is expressed—to bring all men to everlasting life.
CONTEMPLATION TO ATTAIN THE LOVE OF GOD
1. “The first is that love ought to manifest itself in the deeds rather than in words.”
-Although verbal expression is good, it really does not correspond with the heart, there is no “giving up”. Sometimes there is a contradiction between verbality and versality of action.
-The attainment of love is the combination of corresponding correlatives: action and words is a sum expression of Love. But actions speak louder than words. Love entails a special kind of sacrifice: “He who loses his life finds it.”
2. “The second is that love consists in a mutual sharing… Thus one always gives to the other.”
-Love is a blending or mingling of two lives. Goods are but signs of this blending. Cf. O. Henry: The Gift of the Magi. The gifts that were given were hair and a watch (watch chain and hairbrushes). In other words it is a mutual sharing of a self. Sharing goods is not the same as sharing self.
-True love is a communication between individual persons, not groups or mere abstract organizations. It is possible to be a giver without being a lover. Love is the Lover Loving (giving).
Recall the presence of God.
I ask for an intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, which filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
A. “The blessings of Creation.”
-The blessings of creation and redemption consist in my whole composite being. The Gift of “I” is the blessing. In it creation and redemption are directed to me. God created me, making me a new center; a new light.
-The gift of others are really gifts to me. God gives others so that they may give and impart upon me. This is a gift through creation. I need love and I need to love. God’s love is entirely Gift Love. It is not need love, it is complete.
-Redemption “draws” out from God a special kind of Gift Love. This is even greater than creation. It is a love of forgiveness, of restoration. God identifies himself completely with us through the Incarnation. God gives himself completely to human nature, in the way and the very life of the Son of God. It is gift expressed in compassion. The Gift of the Holy Spirit is the realization of God’s compassion.
-Special favors: parents, education, talents we received, environment, our endowments, our religious vocation, the special favors of this retreat, the election, etc.
-Now, what will I give?
B. “God dwelling in creatures”
-We are signed with a new name, the whole world becomes a temple. Nothing remains profane, unless I make it so. We are the temple within the temple.
C. “God working for me”
-Not only is God in his gifts but he is there working for me. Consider how many people are working for me: my family, the brethren, teachers, priests, the Church, Christ our Lord.
D.“My blessings and Gifts.”
-Look at all of our gifts: wisdom, justice, beauty, intelligence. They all come from God just as rays from the sun. Consider the beauty of the world as streaming forth from God.
Colloquy: “Take Lord and Receive…”
THE MEANING OF THE RISEN CHRIST.
History. Cf. Colossians 3:1-25. Look to Christ who is glorified in heaven and live our lives accordingly.
To ask for the grace that I desire and need.
A. What I am…
-If I am risen with Christ I must be high minded; heavenly minded; my love must be risen love. I believe that I am risen here and now in the newness of Christ.
-However, we have concupiscence to that what is dead. In other words we are not completely risen, not until the final day.
B. What I should be rid of…
-Cf. Colossians 3:5-11. I must rid myself of all inordinate attachments, of all that divides and separates. There is only Christ: “He is everything and He is in everything.”
C. What I should be…
-Cf. Colossians 3:12-17. I must be all that Christ was. I must be loving and forgiving. I must be trustful if I am to be trustworthy. I must be kind in order to receive kindness, open in order to receive openness.
D. The result…
-Peace, gratitude, prayer. In all I do I must do in the name of Jesus.
Colloquy: I pray that in my own life I may have the generosity that was found in Christ. I pray for patience, compassion, humility, etc.
THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST
Christ is King of kings, robbed with a cloak of blood stained brilliance.
“….your Kingdom come….”
A. “You will have in you the strength, based on his own glorious power, never to give in, but to bear anything joyfully, thanking the Father who has made it possible for you to join the saints and with them to inherit the light. Because that is what he has done: he has taken us out of the power of darkness and created a place for us in the kingdom of the Son that he loves, and in him, we gain freedom, the forgiveness of our sins.” Colossians 1:11ff.
-The beloved son---total Gift of the Father in the Son. He is the perfect image of the invisible God. He is the first born of all creatures. All things cohere in Him. He is Lord of history, all activity, therefore, has ultimate dependence on Him. He is Son, Creator, King and Priest.
B. The Activity of Christ our King.
C. The Effect of Christ’s Activity in Me.
-We share the lot of the Saints in Christ. We are a community of new fellowship.
Thank you Lord.