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 the Fifth Sunday After Easter, then watch the video, and finally go through Father VanHeusen’s spiritual exercise.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (14:1-12)
Jesus said to his disciples: “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where I am going you know the way.”
What kind of place do you think the Lord has prepared for you? What emotions arise when you think that our Lord desires for you to be with him for all eternity?
Thomas said to him, “Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?”
Make this question your own… what area of your life do you need the Lord to show you the way?
Jesus said to him, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father. From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Master, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”
Again… make the question your own… Do you have the desire to see God’s grace working in your life? Do you have the desire to see the Holy Spirit active in your interior life? Pray for the grace; stir the desire.
Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you for so long a time and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you I do not speak on my own. The Father who dwells in me is doing his works. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me, or else, believe because of the works themselves. Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.”
The Gospel of the Lord
1) Imagine yourself in the scene as one of the apostles. Make the questions your own and add your life experiences to them. What might Jesus reveal to you about the Father? Write your conversation if that helps.
2) If using your imagination does not bear fruit, take a word or phrase or one of the questions and play with the associations that arise. What inspirations arise within your heart? Try to experience them without jumping to conclusions and bring them before the gentle presence of Jesus Christ.
3) Take a moment to name 3 or more ways that God has shown his glory in your life. Then try to find ways that God’s grace has moved in your life in the past week or the past day. Try and be specific.
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.