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 scripture passage, then watch the video, and finally go through Father VanHeusen’s spiritual exercise.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (3:16-18)
God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,
Consider that Jesus Christ is a gift to humanity. Also consider how all your relationships are a gift from God (even when they are difficult and trying)
so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
To penetrate the mystery of the Trinity, we must first make the leap of faith which then leads to illumination. Do you accept the doctrine of the Trinity? If you are struggling with it, pray for the grace to make that leap of faith so as to allow this teaching to illuminate your heart.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.
The Gospel of the Lord
1) What are the obstacles that prevent you from accepting the Trinity? Consider the doctrine and pray for the grace that God will grant you the inner harmony needed to internalize this profound mystery. Consider praying to each person of the Trinity and considering them each (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
2) Consider that you are made for relationships. In Trinitarian theology, the Father is the source and the Son exists in perfect self- donation to the Father and in receptivity. The gift of their mutual love is the Holy Spirit (note: this is just one meditation on the Trinity). Consider those relationships in which you have authority. Does your care and authority harmonize with the Father’s care for the Son? Consider those relationships in which you need to be more receptive… what can you learn from Jesus Christ’s obedience to the Father?
3) Have a conversation with the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit about the thoughts that arise during these exercises.
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.
If you have enjoyed Fr. Ian VanHeusen’s reflections and exercises, consider signing up for our next Online Encounter:
The Prayer Option: 4 Tools to Bring Your Children Closer to God Through Scripture with Fr. Ian VanHeusen
Fr. Ian will host a 45-minute online talk and will give you tools needed to teach the essentials of contemplative prayer to your own children or grandchildren, or your Catechism students. Click HERE to learn more about this wonderful opportunity and to register for this event.