Fr. Ian VanHeusen presents a gospel reflection and spiritual exercise on the Gospel reading for the 2nd Sunday of Lent, Mark 9:2-10, the account of the Transfiguration on Mt. Tabor. Throughout the Lenten season, Father encourages us to invest in prayer of self-examination, and he provides practical assistance in the method of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises as a pathway toward greater spiritual freedom.

We invite you to watch Father’s video, then prayerfully read the Gospel and reflection, and work your way through the Exercises. We pray that this might help you in your apostolate, your family, your classroom, or personally… to prepare for and more deeply experience Sunday’s Mass, and to better integrate the Sacrament and the readings into your daily life


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The 5 Effects of Living With a Clear Conscience

1. Life is no longer dull

A clear conscience unleashes glory in our lives. The account of the Transfiguration from this week’s Gospel is an analogy for our own lives, lived with regular examination of conscience.


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2. We find discipline and grit

Moses represents the Law, i.e. the disciplines of the spiritual life. As we ascend in the spiritual life – like Jesus’ ascension of Mt. Tabor – we first gain discipline, grit, and perseverance. Let us pray for this gift and cultivate it.

3. We find inspiration and creativity

On the other hand, Elijah represents the prophets, the font of creativity, the more spontaneous side of the spiritual life. We discover our prophetic vocation in Jesus Christ as we pray for creativity and inspiration.

4. We discover the fear of the Lord

Fear of the Lord is not for the sake of inhibition and self-consciousness. Rather, it is about cultivating wonder and awe. When we’re overwhelmed by the grandeur of God, we experience properly “fear of the Lord,” and our entire experience of daily life is changed.

5. We hear the voice of the Father

The voice of the Father, scripture, begins to well within us spontaneously.

Spiritual Exercise

This week, we focus on the Ignatian method of Particular Examination of Conscience, taking one obvious, recurring fault that weighs on you, and focusing on overcoming it. You may wish to refer back to last week’s Spiritual Exercise in praying on the Ten Commandments and the Seven Capital (or Deadly) Sins, for the sake of identifying the particular sin you will focus on.

*All italicized text below taken from the Louis J. Puhl, SJ Translation of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.*

Particular Examination of Conscience

There are three different times of the day and two examinations involved in this practice

First, in the morning, immediately on rising, one should resolve to guard carefully against the particular sin or defect with regard to which he seeks to correct or improve himself.

Secondly, after [lunch], he should ask God our Lord for the grace he desires, that is, to recall how often he has fallen into the particular sin or defect, and to avoid it for the future.

Then follows the first examination. He should demand an account of himself with regard to the particular point which he has resolved to watch in order to correct himself and improve. Let him go over the single hours or periods from the time he arose to the hour and moment of the present examination, and in the first line of the figure given below, make a mark for each time that he has fallen into the particular sin or defect. Then he is to renew his resolution, and strive to amend during the time till the second examination is to be made.

Thirdly, after supper, he should make a second examination, going over as before each single hour, commencing with the first examination, and going up to the present one. In the second line of the figure given below, let him make a mark for each time he has fallen into the particular fault or sin.

Four Additional Directions

These are to serve as a help to more ready removal of the particular sin or fault.

1. Every time one falls into the particular sin or fault, let him place his hand upon his breast, and be sorry for having fallen. He can do this even in the presence of many others without their perceiving what he is doing.

2. Since the first line of the figure to which G is prefixed represents the first examination of conscience, and the second one, the second examination, he should observe at night whether there is an improvement from the first line to the second, that is, from the first examination to the second.

3. The second day should be compared with the first, that is, the two examinations of the present day with the two of the preceding day. Let him observe if there is an improvement from one day to another.

4. Let him compare one week with another and observe whether he has improved during the present week as compared with the preceding.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Mark (9:2-10)

Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus.

Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.

As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.

The Gospel of the Lord

Follow Fr. VanHeusen at http://ianvanheusen.com

Photo credit: Chris Kristiansen / Unsplash