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 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time, then watch the video, and finally go through Father VanHeusen’s spiritual exercise.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (10:26-33)
Jesus said to the Twelve: “Fear no one. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.
Allow this teaching to help overcome your ego. Try not to focus on having your accomplishments and sacrifices be acknowledged by others, but delight in pleasing the Lord in secret. Ask for this grace.
“What I say to you in the darkness, speak in the light; what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Are there people in your life that are not helping you achieve your goals? Are the negative people who don’t build up but rather tear down? Brainstorm strategies to overcome such people.
“Are not two sparrows sold for a small coin? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s knowledge. Even all the hairs of your head are counted. So do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.”
The Gospel of the Lord
1) Imagine the “haters” who often opposed Jesus. Try to imagine the looks on their faces, the tones of their voices, and other body language. Imagine Jesus remaining calm and steady, and try to cultivate that same gentle strength in your life.
2) Brainstorm situations in the past when you encountered a “hater” or someone whose negativity was counter-productive. Did you handle it well or did it not go well? Does the risk of encountering such people lead you to fear and timidity? If so, try to connect with the courage and strength of the Lord and brainstorm ways that you can work against such toxic influences.
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.