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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sp. Exx.: Christ the King and his Call

(These are to be done in two separate prayer periods. Ask for the same grace each time. Finish with a colloquy with God, Mary and Jesus.)

Grace: I ask our Lord that I might be able to hear his call and that I might be ready and willing to do what he wants.

Setting 1: I imagine a human leader, selected and raised up by God our Lord himself. Every woman, man and child of goodwill is drawn to listen to such a leader and is inspired to follow his call.

His address to all rings out in words like these: “I want to overcome all diseases, poverty, ignorance, oppression and slavery – in short, all the enemies of the human race. Whoever wishes to join me in this undertaking must be content with the same food, drink, clothing, and so on, as mine. So, too, she must work with me by day and watch with me by night, that as she has had a share in the toil with me, she may share in the victory with me.” If a leader so attractive and inspiring and so much a man of God makes such a call, what kind of person could refuse such an invitation? How could anyone not want to be a part of so challenging and noble an adventure?

Setting 2: I consider Jesus, our Lord, and his call. If a human leader can have such an appeal to us, how much greater is the attraction of Jesus Christ, our leader and king? His call goes out to all people, yet he specially calls each person in a particular way. He makes the appeal: “It is my will to win over the whole world, to conquer sin, hatred and death – all enemies between people and God. Whoever wishes to join me in this mission must be willing to labor with me, so that by following me in suffering, he may follow me in glory.”

Persons who are of great heart and are set on fire with zeal to follow Christ will not only offer themselves entirely for such a mission, but will act against anything that would make their responses less total. They would want to express themselves in some words such as these:

“Eternal Lord and King of all creation, humbly I come before you. Knowing the support of Mary, your mother, and all your saints, I am moved by your grace to offer myself to you and your work. I deeply desire to be with you in accepting all wrongs and all abuse and poverty, both actual and spiritual – and I deliberately choose this, if it is for your greater service and praise. If you, my Lord and King, would so call me and choose me, then take and receive me into such a way of life.

(Spiritual Exercises #91-98 translation: David Fleming, SJ)

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