The last meditation of our Spiritual Exercices.
Notes: The practice of these spiritual exercises has already given each of us a personal experience. Each pilgrim has found his or her own way forward along this “inner pilgrimage.” At the “Cave of Manresa” you will find a lot of materials that can help you continue to grow in Ignatian spirituality. Seeking such advice is always helpful!
Grace: I ask the Father to give me an interior knowledge of the many gifts I have received from God. Filled with gratitude for these blessings, I pray that in all things I may love and serve the Divine Majesty. I also pray that the spiritual experience of St. Ignatius of Loyola will help guide me along my own path of life.
Reflections: Today we repeat the same meditation as yesterday, focusing this time on the pilgrimage we have completed. The Ignatian Way has certainly offered us an experience of God’s love in its many forms. So we spend our prayer time using this contemplation of God’s love to review the various stages of our journey. We thank God for so many experiences and blessings as we prepare to return to our everyday routine.
CONTEMPLATION TO ATTAIN LOVE in our pilgrimage.
Two realities should be noted at the outset: The first is that love is expressed more in actions than in words. The second is that love is a communication between two persons. It is to know, to give, and to communicate from the lover to the one loved, and vice versa, whatever one has or is able to have. So, if one has wisdom, he shares this with the one who needs it, or honors and riches from the one who has to the one who does not. Then go back to the introductory prayer and ask that everything can be directed to God’s will.
Next I center myself in the prayer. I imagine that I stand before God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Spirit of Love that created me in all my humanity. Today I ask the Father to give me an intimate knowledge of the many gifts I have received so that, filled with gratitude for all of these, I may love and serve the Divine Majesty in everything I undertake.
I begin the prayer. The first point is to call to mind all the blessings I have received from God throughout this time of pilgrimage. I recall both the ones that seemed good to me from the very beginning and others that I now realize were really not so bad after all. Aware of this personal reality, I consider with much reason and justice what I must give of myself as an offering to His Divine Majesty – that is to say all my possessions and all of my life. Also, as you wish, consider that anyone wanting to be more responsive to the Lord will make the following loving response: “Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will – all I have and call my own. You have given everything to me. To You, Lord, I return it to do with as you will. Give me only your love and grace. This is enough for me.”
Completing the first point, Ignatius proposes a second point: notice how God is present and alive in each meeting and experience, around me and inside of me as I think about myself and the way I live, in all that I accomplish and in those I serve. Finish this point by returning to the previous prayer of self-offering: “Take Lord and receive…”
In the third point, I consider how God has labored for me in all created things and persons I have met on this pilgrimage. After considering this point I ask myself what I can do to become a more loving person. I conclude this third point by returning to the prayer of self-offering: “Take, Lord, and receive…”
The fourth: notice how every good gift descends from above, and my own strength comes only from God’s infinite power. Thus justice, goodness, mercy, all other good gifts that I recognize in myself as well as in the world (like the rays from the sun, our water supply, etc.) all come from God. After considering the origins of all this goodness, I consider myself and the way I will make a return for all that I have received during this pilgrimage. I end this reflection by returning to the self-offering prayer above: “Take Lord and receive …”
Final Colloquy: Summarize your thoughts during this time of prayer, speaking with Jesus as one friend does with another. Be honest with him about the desires and decisions you found in your heart during these days of pilgrimage and prayer. Conclude with the “Our Father.”