June 5, 2019
by Kyle Lierk
Creighton University's Campus Ministry
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Boniface, Bishop and Martyr
Lectionary: 299
Acts 20:28-38
Psalms Ps 68:29-30, 33-35a, 35bc-36ab
John 17:11b-19

Celebrating Easter

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

In the poignant moment of the Gospel of John just before Jesus goes willingly to the garden where he knows the inevitability of his arrest and ensuing crucifixion are waiting for him in the form of a bitter kiss, he does something quite remarkable...he prays for us...he prays for you

As people of faith, we are quick to offer our prayers for others; and this is good.  While in Mass we offer intentions of lamentation and beg for the Spirit’s blessing...over the dinner table we offer prayers of gratitude for the calloused hands that have brought the food to our table and the empty hands that go without a meal...in that quiet space of our lives we weave prayers of healing, hope and harmony into cloaks that we cast over the shoulders of our world and those shivering from countless needs...BUT, how often are we attentive to and accepting of prayers for us?  This can be difficult -- to be the recipient of prayer.  Perhaps this stems from some perversion of the line that Paul reminds us of in the first reading today:  “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  (Acts 20:35b)

Our invitation with today’s Gospel is to simply receive the prayer that Jesus offers for us and to notice what it does to our hearts.

Using the gift of imaginative prayer from Ignatian spirituality, I invite you to find a quiet place and posture (as best you can)...Just notice your breath coming into your lungs, filling them with life-giving air, and then gently release the breath...Don’t try to change your breathing, but savor it for a few moments in gratitude…

Now, invite Jesus to come and be with you...really be with you...in this moment…

Resist any judgements that may arise about who or how Jesus ought to be and just allow him to be...as he is...with you...right now...Welcome him into this space with you...Notice his energy and his demeanor toward you…

Watch as he lifts his eyes skyward in prayer and simply listen to the words he speaks to God for you

“Holy Father, keep them in Your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.”  

What is it like to hear Jesus addressing God on your behalf?

What does this prayer for unity that Jesus implores of God stir up in you?

“When I was with them I protected them in Your name that You gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost…”

Where have you felt Jesus protecting and guarding you recently, or where do you desire to have Jesus protect and guard you?  Be bold in this desire if you choose to speak it.

Are you aware of ways in which Jesus has kept you from being lost in the maze of life?

“I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.”

What complete joy have you tasted in your life?  Are you still feasting on that joy or are there areas of your life where you hunger for more of it?

“I gave them Your word, and the world hated them...”

In what areas of your life, if any, do you experience the world’s hatred?  What is that like?

“I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the Evil One.”

Where in your inner or outer landscape are you aware of the presence of “dark spirits” as St. Ignatius calls them?  What temptations or disordered attachments can you identify around which you desire God’s consolation and grace?

“Consecrate them in truth.”

How do you notice yourself being made sacred, holy and good for Truth?  In what ways are your gifts or desires being blessed by God for the building up of the “Kingdom of heaven on earth”?

“As You sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.”

How are you feeling “sent” into the world?  What vocational call and mission (large or small) are you saying “yes” to right now?  This powerful yes is an invitation to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.

In the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, he invites us to make a “colloquy” or to have a conversation with Jesus.  He writes, “the colloquy is made as one friend speaks to another...now asking some grace, now blaming oneself for some misdeed, now communicating one’s affairs, and asking advice in them.”  [54 SPEX]   

I invite you to do this right now.  

Converse with Jesus about what it was like to hear him make this prayer for you...share with him any reactions you had to the prompts above...what did it stir up in you?...just remember to make time to listen to what Jesus has to say to you in response…

If it is helpful, end your conversation by slowly praying the Our Father.

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