In this Easter reflection, the culmination of his Lenten series, Father Ian VanHeusen presents a spiritual exercise based on the reality and glory of the Resurrection to help us grow in our relationship with the Lord.
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 Easter Sunday Mass, then watch the video, and finally go through Father VanHeusen’s spiritual exercise.
On the first day of the week,
Remember, before Christianity, Sunday was the first day of the work week. Imagine that you are like the disciples, concerned about the Lord, but all around you everyone is going about the normal work routine. What might that feel like?
Mary of Magdala came to the tomb early in the morning, while it was still dark, and saw the stone removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom Jesus loved, and told them, “They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we don’t know where they put him.”
Imagine the roller-coaster of emotions Mary and the other disciples have been going through. Have you had times in your life when you went from extreme highs to extreme lows? It need not be only spiritual things, but try and connect with what it feels like when your emotions are turbulent.
They both ran, but the other disciple ran faster than Peter and arrived at the tomb first; he bent down and saw the burial cloths there, but did not go in. When Simon Peter arrived after him, he went into the tomb and saw the burial cloths there, and the cloth that had covered his head, not with the burial cloths but rolled up in a separate place.
Imagine that you are the “other disciple” who sees and immediately understands. What might it feel like to be someone who believes in the Resurrection, has witnessed it, and yet still has to try and communicate this truth to the world?
Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed. For they did not yet understand the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead.
1) Imagine you are the disciples after you have seen the glory of the resurrection. What might it be like to see people around you “sleeping,” or not aware that Jesus has conquered sin and death? Might it seem strange that you have encountered this incredible miracle, but yet realizing that others may not be ready to hear it?
2) Imagine this event has taken place today, and that you will return to work Monday with this knowledge. How might the experience of the resurrection change how you approach your job or your family or school?
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.
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