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 Fourth 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 (10:1-10)

Jesus said: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.

Are there people in your life who are “thieves” and “robbers?” How can you work to counteract their negative influence?

But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice, as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

Describe what Jesus’s voice might be like. Is it a deep bass voice? Try to connect with details about how you imagine Jesus speaking.

When he has driven out all his own, he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him, because they recognize his voice.

Do you desire to recognize the voice of Jesus Christ? Do you believe that Jesus can and will speak to you through the inspirations that arise in your heart?

But they will not follow a stranger; they will run away from him, because they do not recognize the voice of strangers.” Although Jesus used this figure of speech, the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.

So Jesus said again, “Amen, amen, I say to you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.”

The Gospel of the Lord

Spiritual exercise:

1) Are there any people in your life who are holy and saintly? Describe them. Write out those characteristics that stand out.

2) How do those holy people in your life show Christ to the world? What characteristics do they have in common with Jesus Christ?

3) What are some concrete habits that the holy people in your life have? Make a resolution to try and practice more of those habits.


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.