Stand in God’s presence. God is present here and now, looking upon you with love.
Ask for the Grace: I will begGod our Lord that all my intentions and actions may be directed purely to the praise and service of His Divine Majesty
Fixing a place, a picture for meditation: At the time when the Pharisees and some scribes came around Jesus from Jerusalem, his disciples were eating unwashed food. Probably they were at home (see how it looks), that they returned from the marketplace, where it was easy to come across unclean things and according to the religion rituals in Israel, after coming home it was necessary to do the ritual of washing hands. But they did not do it. Look, you may feel some surprise connected with the outrage of the Pharisees in connection with this event. Listen to the conversation between the Pharisees and Jesus. You can find yourself in this scene.
Ask for the fruit of meditation: that I desire to direct in my life that, which brings me closer to God
1.The Pharisees created a religion full of prohibitions, orders, external signs that testify they are lawful. Perhaps they wanted to be perfect in their own and God’s eyes. However, their religion has become a religion of claims: I obey the commandments, standards, to gain something, to win something for themselves, to feel perfect. What’s more, they may have thought that they would be even better when they show the mistakes of others, when they caught others in weakness. What did their hearts have to be? Jesus calls the Pharisees: hypocrites. Jesus shows them their duplicity. He wants to tell them that maybe life is not about creating more and more bans, that do not lead to the fullness of life in God, which give a temporary apparent sense of good feeling of executing their duties, that make people enslaved by the letter of law, that they are really destructive to their life. What is important in life? What and why am I going? Perhaps, like the Pharisees, is it happening in our lives now? Refer to your interior, your everyday life.
2. This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me…
If the lips are doing something other than the heart is saying, then it seems that we are far from the purity of the intent. It means that there is a hidden agenda. What is kind of it? What does it give me? It is not easy to follow a pure intention in life, the Highest Good, because we have our wounds, emotions, feelings, our hormonal economy or different diseases that can also make it difficult. Perhaps the biggest difficulty is that we put ourselves in the center instead of Christ. Maybe many conversations, the relationship would look different, if we would able to see that Jesus lives in another man. Just like in me and in you. Perhaps then, there would be fewer misunderstandings and ambiguous situations in our life. What can you do to make your life more purely intentionally, to move your eyes to Christ even more often? What place do you have for another person in yourself? How can you increase space in yourself to receive a second person as a God’s gift?
3. Everything is good, tradition too, if it serves our growth, brings us closer to Jesus. If it is not a dead letter of the law, if it is not a bending of God’s commandments for one’s own needs. It is worth taking care of and sometimes even fighting for the heart to be alive and to give life. Ignatius Loyola tells us the principle: so much as. That is, we should desire and choose and use things in so far as they lead me to the Goal. Cling to Jesus and ask him to desire the life-giving food that he gives you, his Love. Thank for that and think with Jesus about how you can share with others what you receive from him.
4. Perhaps today in the context of this reflection and the approaching Lent, think about your Lenten provision, if you want. What will allow you to get closer to God – this is the purpose of making Lenten resolutions: maybe reading a book, drinking coffee/ tea with someone who has been waiting for it for a long time, maybe showing more tenderness to your husband or your wife, maybe considering the Passion through reading the Gospel?
Meditation: St Ignatius encourages in The Spiritual Exercises No. 2 … Because not so much knowledge, but internal feeling and the taste of things please and saturate the soul, that is, we stay where we feel interior movement … and nervously do not try to go on.
The final conversation: Spend a little time at the end, being with God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit….as you would with a good friend: sometimes talking, sometimes listening, sometimes being together in silence. Speak to God about your feelings. Remember that times when ‘nothing is happening’ can also be significant. When you’re ready, end your prayer by saying thank you or using words that are familiar,such as the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father)–whichever feels right and comfortable. (The Spiritual Exercises No.54)