Notes: Today we begin the “second week” of the Spiritual Exercises. Our point of entry is through a meditation that invites us to follow Christ the King. We are walking through a big city, so we can see the wonders of a “worldly kingdom” and imagine the Kingdom of God. Today we meditate on how our life is oriented: are we walking with Jesus or are we following other leaders?
The grace we ask for: Despite my limitations, yet aware of the love of the Father for me, I ask for the grace to feel personally called to journey alongside Jesus as his companion and co-laborer.
Reflection: A deep awareness of God’s merciful love (yesterday’s grace), often leads to a desire to respond to that love. Today we begin to meditate on Jesus’ invitation to walk beside him in his work. In the Spiritual Exercises Ignatius places God’s call to work with him just after the meditations that touch on our own human sinfulness; the juxtaposition is important: God calls us to work close to him while he knows us fully yet loves us as we are. He calls as ‘loved sinners;’ just as St Paul tells us when he asked the Lord to help him the Lord replied, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So Paul said, “I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:9). So, despite being sinners, today we feel called to work in that same world touched by our sin, and work for peace and justice, with the support of the merciful love we have received. We believe in a God who is justice because He is love. The road to justice and the road to faith in our world are inseparable. In the Gospel, Faith and justice are undivided. We are deeply conscious of how often and how grievously we ourselves have sinned against the Gospel, yet it remains our ambition to proclaim it worthily: that is, in love, in poverty, and in humility. This is what the Jesuit General Congregation 32 said.
In his famous meditation “The Call of the King”, Ignatius imagines how compelling would be the call of a truly worthy king, working in our world just for faith and justice. After that consideration, we turn to Jesus, whose call is even more worthy still because Christ our Lord, the eternal King calls each person in particular and says: “My will is to bring together the best in the whole world and build the Kingdom of Eternal Love”. Ignatius sees that all those who wish to throw in their lot with Christ the King must labor with Him, so that following Him in pain they may also follow Him in the glory of his Kingdom.
The call of the King is the call to become his companion, to learn more about Him, to experience His loving care and to join Him in serving His people. And this King comes to us as one of us, all the more able to share our lot. Today we focus on the marvel of being called and on the nature of the call; tomorrow you can begin to focus on your response to this call.
Psalm 120. The Lord is kind and full of compassion.
Luke 5: 27-32. Follow me.
Micah 5:1-4. A mighty king will come to free his flock with the power of Yahweh.
Closing Colloquy: As a friend speaks to a friend, so we speak with Jesus. We bring together our thoughts and emotions from our meditation on the Kingdom and on the value of following Jesus. We discuss with Jesus and, if we so feel, we ask Him to invite us to walk with him.