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

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.

“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 Ascension, then watch the video, and finally go through Father VanHeusen’s spiritual exercise.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (28:16-20)

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.

In the scriptures, the “mountain” is often the place of encounter, revelation, and spiritual epiphanies… what are your mountain- top kinds of experiences where you had an insight into your life? What were those insights?

When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

What is holding you back from reaching your full potential?

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 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, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Spiritual exercise:

1) As mentioned in the video, imagine three different aspect of the life as Christ as representative of major movements within your heart and within your life. First, reflect upon the dying to self that is represented by the Cross. Then, imagine the illumination and freedom of the Resurrection. In the Ascension, imagine Jesus giving you a mission that he wants you to accomplish. Use your imagination to stir your desires and affections.

2) Hear our Lord say that “All power in heaven and on earth has been given me…” Do you believe that Jesus can do great things in your life?

3) We will be approaching Pentecost on June 4… consider doing a novena praying for the grace you need to accomplish your mission. The novena for Pentecost starts on May 26.


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.