Notes: Throughout the “fourth week” of the Spiritual Exercises we keep up the same positive spirit, especially because we now contemplate God’s life in all its fullness. There is nothing that can hinder our journey to freedom and eternal happiness since we are grounded in God’s love. Live this final week filled with grace and light. We rejoice in every flower, bird, smile, and shaken hand. Remember the “introductory prayer” before each prayer period, and continue it during the day. Pay attention to the final colloquy: we enter into the interior knowledge of the risen Jesus who strengthens our commitment to eternal life. This we discuss with our “friend” Jesus in the colloquy at the end of prayer as well as during the day.
Grace: I ask the Father for this gift: to be able to enter into the joy of the risen and victorious Christ. To contemplate the fullness of life that Jesus has achieved for us. To rejoice deeply with Christ, with Mary, and all his disciples.
Reflections: We focus our contemplation today on the wonder of the Resurrection. It took the disciples many days to understand the experience of Jesus’ full risen Life. Stay close to Mary Magdalene, the woman who loved Jesus so deeply. Experience her distress. Try to feel as she did, once she has lost the only purpose for her life. And be there with her at the moment of her discovery. The world rejoices with her. Feel the fear and guilt of the disciples when the risen Jesus returns to the upper room where they used to gather together. See the place and be one of them. Experience the wonder of the Resurrection.
Jesus comes today to our personal desperation, to that dark room where we have enclosed our most difficult moments. He wants to heal all our personal deaths and losses, restoring us to life. Jesus no longer permits our suffering. He is Life and He wants to release us from our personal tomb. Listen to the voice of Jesus calling you to come forth as Lazarus did. Be conscious of His presence walking with you and telling you: “awake from your death for I am indeed alive!”
As always, Ignatius invites us to put ourselves inside these incredible scenes. Allow these familiar resurrection stories to play out within your own heart as you put yourself into the scene. Make use of nature’s many delights to help you. As Ignatius wrote his Spiritual Exercises he no doubt recalled the most enjoyable days of his pilgrimage to Montserrat, and everything there that brought him joy. In this fourth week, “I will make use of light and the pleasant features of the seasons, like refreshing coolness in summer or the sun’s warmth in winter, as far as I think or imagine that this will help me rejoice in Christ my Creator and redeemer.”
John 20:11-18. With Mary Magdalene I hear my own name, and respond with joy.
John 20: 19-23. The fear, guilt, and confusion of Jesus’ ten companions in the upper room are familiar since I have felt them all. It is into just such a personal place that He wants and needs to come. I welcome Him and receive His gifts: peace, joy, mission, His life-giving Spirit, His forgiving heart.
John 11:17-44. Jesus said: “I am the Resurrection and the life…do you believe this?” Jesus called: “Lazarus, come out!” Lazarus heard himself called from death to life, from being bound up to being set free. Lying on the ledge in the tomb, I ponder my own small deaths and all that limits my freedom.
Final colloquy: At this stage of our inner pilgrimage, we are accustomed to walk with our friend and Lord Jesus Christ, speaking freely as one friend does to another. If you honestly feel the strength and grace to do so, invite Jesus to accept you under His banner, and thus to build God’s Kingdom at His side. Finish with the “Our Father.”