Notes: We walk with Jesus in His ascent to the Cross. Do not neglect the “introductory prayer”: now more than ever we ask that our lives be directed to God’s will, our only source of salvation and happiness. Recall that the final colloquy is very important: we enter deeply into an inner knowledge of the suffering Jesus who strengthens our personal life commitments. We discuss all this with our “friend” in the colloquy at the end of the prayer, as well as during the day.
Grace: I ask the Father for this gift: to feel sorrow with Christ in sorrow; to experience anguish with Christ’s own anguish; and even to experience tears and deep grief because of all the afflictions Christ endures for me at the end of His life.
Reflections: After so many days walking with Jesus, we know already that His life is in danger. He knows this as well, even though people don’t understand. The Kingdom of God is fighting for survival, but the enemy is powerful. As the prophet said, our hearts are made of stone and we are not prepared to change this. Our hearts are tough to break into. In the core of our being we even feel that the tender merciful heart of God is not attractive. Jesus confronts us about this, but we don’t want to hear. Jesus feels angry but He cannot change our hearts. As His disciple I feel awkward in this situation. I don’t understand either and feel tired. Jesus sees me and asks me to go with Him and relax. Things are not going to be easier in Jerusalem.
In Jerusalem Jesus celebrates His last supper on earth with His disciples. Through a powerful, almost shocking gesture, Jesus reinforces again the servant nature of leadership in God’s kingdom. Jesus, the Lord, takes upon Himself a household servant’s task by washing the dirty feet of the supper guests. Can you imagine Jesus washing your feet? During the meal, Jesus breaks bread and shares wine with his disciples, inviting them to “do this in memory of me.” Picture in how many places and by how many varied peoples throughout history this moment of Eucharist has been repeated over the past two millennia. It is not only the manner in which Christians remember Jesus. The Eucharist also draws us into a living, intimate connection with Jesus: the bread and wine Jesus offers us is actually His own body and blood, generously give to each of us.
Recall that Ignatius invites us to pray by mentally inserting ourselves into the various scenes as they unfold, filling in the blanks of the basic gospel stories. The passion narratives especially lend themselves to this type of contemplative prayer. For example, regarding the Last Supper, Ignatius speaks to us of Jesus who, “after eating the Paschal lamb and finishing the meal, washed their feet and gave his most holy Body and Precious Blood to his disciples.” Ignatius says further: “See the persons at the supper, and then, as I reflect on myself, draw profit from them. Listen to what they are saying….see what they are doing.”
Mark 8:34-38. “Anyone who wants to be my follower must renounce self. Then he must take up his cross and follow me.”
Matthew 11:2-30. Only the simple can recognize the Messiah. The world can’t understand. With my heart longing for companionship and intimacy, I welcome the invitation of Jesus to share His rest as He shares my burden. I ardently desire to give myself totally to the love and service of Jesus and His people.
Matthew 26: 26-31. As they were eating, Jesus took bread and He blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples saying, “Take, eat; this is my body.”
John: 13:1-17. When He had washed their feet and taken His garments, He resumed His place and said to them, “Do you know what I have done for you?”
Colloquy: As in human situations of taking care of the sick and dying, our personal presence is often more important than our faltering words or awkward actions. It is the same as we follow Jesus Christ in word and action. We previously described the colloquy as an intimate conversation between friends. Expand that description now to include the depth of feeling, love, and compassion which allows us just to be present with Jesus. Ask Him once more, as you wish, to be accepted under His banner, the standard of the Cross. End with the “Our Father.”