From a clergy desk:
Mother Theresa was once asked, 'What do you pray for?' She responded that she prays for nothing, rather she listens to God and waits. She was then asked, 'What does God say to you' and she responded, 'He also listens and waits.' The interviewer was confused and asked her what she meant by that. She responded that it is not something you can explain; rather you have to experience it.
During Holy Week we will be listening and waiting for God with spiritual exercises originally employed by Ignatius of Loyola. On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week I will be leading a series of spiritual exercises, followed by Compline, based on selected gospel texts that tell the stories of Jesus' triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper and the Vigil in the Garden of Gethsemane before Jesus was arrested. These exercises are like going to a gym, they require you to do the work. For Christians who yearn to be close to Jesus they are inspiring, fulfilling and in some cases awesome. Saint Ignatius who created the technique did so as a form of prayer, the basis of which was used by his followers who became the original Order of Jesuits.
Mother Theresa first joined the Sisters of Loreto in Ireland, an Order that was formed by Mary Ward in 1609 and inspired by the same spiritual exercises as practiced by Ignatius of Loyola. So Mother Theresa practiced these spiritual exercises herself and in the course of time managed to have a relationship to God that was akin to two old friends sitting on a park bench next to each other taking the air. The love and friendship between them didn't require any words. Wouldn't it be lovely to do the same?
On Thursday of Holy Week we shall be following Jesus' example of washing the feet of his disciples. We will then make a vigil for an hour, listening and waiting for God, like Mother Theresa. During the vacancy I have noticed how well we have come together during Sunday services and missional activities such as our fund-raising quiz nights and suppers. It shows just how well we are inspired by the friendship that Jesus offered His disciples ... Let us come together for Him again during Holy Week and be blessed by the same method of prayer that inspired Saints Theresa and Ignatius.
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