Are You Overdoing It? Does That Work? ~ How to Find the Sweet Spot of Gentle Strength (Gospel Reflection)

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In today’s Gospel reflection, Father Ian VanHeusen presents a spiritual exercise based on the readings for Sunday’s Mass.

St. Ignatius of Loyola explains, “By the term “Spiritual Exercises” is meant every method of examination of conscience, of meditation, of contemplation, of vocal and mental prayer, and of other spiritual activities.

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“For just as taking a walk, journeying on foot, and running are bodily exercises, so we call Spiritual Exercises every way of preparing and disposing the soul to rid itself of all inordinate attachments, and, after their removal, of seeking and finding the will of God in the disposition of our life for the salvation of our soul.”

This week, we invite you to first prayerfully read the Gospel for the 14th Sunday in Ordinary Time, then watch the video, and finally go through Father VanHeusen’s spiritual exercise.

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A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (11:25-30)

At that time Jesus exclaimed: “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones.

Try to imagine the “little ones” who Jesus is referring to in this passage. Do you know anyone like this? Describe them.

Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”

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True spiritual meekness is not merely a result of human effort, but rather a work of the Holy Spirit. Do you wait for the Lord to reveal you where you need to grow? Is your discernment based on attentive listening to the Word of God and the teachings of Holy Mother Church?

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Spiritual exercise:

1) Can you relate to the example of “gentle strength” in the video? If not, is there something that you can connect with this idea of gentle strength from your experience? Either way, try to connect with a tangible representation of gentle strength. Ponder it and try to investigate the experiences and sensations that this phrase inspires.

2) Having reflected upon gentle strength, do an examination of conscience around your work, your friendships, and your family life. Is there areas where you need to invest more energy? More passion, more creativity? Are there areas where you are forcing decisions and pushing against the Holy Spirit… areas where you need to relax a little and let God work on things? Talk with Jesus about this.

If you would like to print out these questions, we have prepared a downloadable handout version of this Spiritual Exercise. Click the download button bellow.

About Fr. Ian Van Heusen

Fr. Ian Van Heusen has written 33 post in this blog.

Fr. Ian is a Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Raleigh, NC. He is assigned to St. Bernadette Catholic Church as a Parochial Vicar, and he writes on prayer and meditation at

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