Thank you for taking part in our online Lenten retreat! Every day from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, iamthird.ca will be posting a brief reflection on the Gospels in the Spirit of St. Francis de Sales – with the simple goal of helping you to spend ten minutes in prayer each day. For a more detailed explanation of what we’re doing, click here.
Step 1, Preparation (~1 minute): Find a quiet space away from other people, silencing your phone and putting aside any other work you have (I’d suggest lighting a candle). Begin by making the sign of the cross, and acknowledge that you now sit in God’s presence (de Sales suggests using one of these to “shake the dust off your feet):
- Recognize that God is in all places and at all times, that there is no place in the world where God is not present right now… including the space you have chosen to pray.
- Remember that God dwells in your heart, so turn inward to speak to Him.
- As a loving Father, God is watching His children and turns His attention towards them – particularly when they begin to pray. As you make yourself attentive to Him, be consciously aware that He is doing the same for you.
- Imagine Jesus sitting, standing, or kneeling beside you, and begin speaking to Him.
Step 2, Start Talking (~3 minutes): Let God know the hopes and worries you have on your heart today – ask for His help, and trust in His care. This can be formal or spontaneous… the key is starting the conversation.
Step 3, Meditation (6-7 minutes): Today’s Gospel reflection is written by Fr. Travis Myrheim, a priest for the Diocese of Prince Albert, SK.. Don’t just read this part – let God’s words and the brief reflection resonate in your heart… and be sure to take a moment of silence when you have finished.
“Jesus was troubled in spirit, and declared, ‘Very truly, I tell you, one of you will betray me.’ The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he was speaking. One of his disciples—the one whom Jesus loved—was reclining next to him; Simon Peter therefore motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking. So while reclining next to Jesus, he asked him, ‘Lord, who is it?’ Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ So when he had dipped the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas son of Simon Iscariot. After he received the piece of bread, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, ‘Do quickly what you are going to do.’ Now no one at the table knew why he said this to him. Some thought that, because Judas had the common purse, Jesus was telling him, ‘Buy what we need for the festival’; or, that he should give something to the poor. So, after receiving the piece of bread, he immediately went out. And it was night.
When he had gone out, Jesus said, ‘Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him. If God has been glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once. Little children, I am with you only a little longer. You will look for me; and as I said to the Jews so now I say to you, “Where I am going, you cannot come.”
Simon Peter said to him, ‘Lord, where are you going?’ Jesus answered, ‘Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow afterwards.’ Peter said to him, ‘Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.’ Jesus answered, ‘Will you lay down your life for me? Very truly, I tell you, before the cock crows, you will have denied me three times.” -John 13:21-33, 36-38
From Fr. Travis: Jesus spent three years with his disciples. He taught them, worked miracles with them, prayed with them, and ultimately became close friends with them. And we all know how it ends; Jesus is betrayed by a friend and handed over to die on a cross. If you have ever been betrayed or let down, especially by a close friend or a family member, it can really hurt. Jesus knew he was going to be betrayed by Judas, but didn’t try to stop or dissuade him; and when he was betrayed he didn’t get angry or try to get even.
This is what real love does; it’s not that we should allow ourselves to be abused or treated unfairly but that we never allow anger, vengeance, hatred, unforgiveness, etc., to rule us. The only way to end the cycle of violence, bullying, betrayal, is to return love, peace, and respect.
Step 4, Conclusion (~1 minute): Conclude your prayer by with word of thanks, an offering of your day and life to God, and don’t forget to ask His blessing on those family and friends you know need your prayer. Also, ask for His help to live out what you’ve just pondered. Then, end with an Our Father or a Hail Mary.
(If you want to reflect on all of today’s readings, click here to read the text on the US Bishops website).