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.
“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 Corpus Christi, then watch the video, and finally go through Father VanHeusen’s spiritual exercise.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (6:51-58)
Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”
How might you be called to give of yourself like Christ? How might the Eucharist inspire you to live your life as an “offering pleasing to the Lord”?
The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day.
Do you strive to receive our Lord worthily? Do you spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer and adoration?
For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died, whoever eats this bread will live forever.”
The Gospel of the Lord
1) Try and spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration. If that is not possible, call to mind receiving the Lord. Begin by `praying to our Lord acts of faith such as “I believe you are present in the Eucharist.” If your faith is lacking, consider going to confession, but also praying the words of scripture, “I believe, help my unbelief ” (Mark 9:24). Pray for the illumination you receive when you pray before the Blessed Sacrament with faith.
2) Imagine the Eucharist is a all consuming fire radiating with Love. Then imagine that as you receive the Eucharist, that fire begins to burn within you. Express gratitude to the Lord for this wondrous gift.
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.