Gospel Meditation: 6th Sunday of Easter
Today I offer prayer in a meditative way, rather than a contemplative way as today’s Gospel does not lend itself easily to constructing an imaginative scene. Meditation in the Ignatian tradition is: “a reflective process by which we enter the richness of God’s word and hear that word as spoken to us personally today” [Timothy Gallagher, OMV in Meditation and Contemplation: An Ignatian Guide to Praying with Scripture] Ignatius said that meditation specifically engages our memory, thoughts, and will. We hear the word of God, and we ponder it. We notice any words, images, or ideas that speak to our hearts. We stay with those words, images, or ideas, noticing what feelings, memories, or thoughts arise in us. And we speak to God about all of this.
Read the Gospel passage twice. The first time, just read to get a sense of it, to hear what is being said. The second time, notice any word or phrase, image, or idea that speaks to your heart or “shimmers” for you. Stay with that word, image, or idea and ponder its meaning. Notice how it makes you feel. Let God’s Spirit guide your thinking, imagining, remembering. Savor the experience.
Background to the text
This week’s gospel, like last week’s, is part of a long discourse in given by Jesus at the Last Supper in John’s Gospel. The discourse follows immediately after Jesus washes his disciples’ feet – he is clearly trying to prepare them for when he will no longer be physically present with them. In this week’s passage, Jesus connects love for him with following his commandments. This declaration follows shortly after the “mandatum” – Jesus’ commandment to wash one another’s feet – which gives us an idea of what loving Jesus and following his commandments might look like.
Quiet your body and mind
- Choose a position where you can be relaxed but alert.
- Breathe deeply several times and let your body relax
- Breathe out any worries or stressful thoughts and put them in God’s hands
- Become aware of God’s presence here with you now, looking at you with love.
Ask for a grace
- Ask God for whatever you need at this time during this prayer period.
Read the scripture passage
Read the passage slowly, savoring the words and beginning to imagine the scene. Read it twice if that helps you to visualize it.
Jesus said to his disciples: “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot accept, because it neither sees nor knows him. But you know him, because he remains with you,
and will be in you. I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.”
Jesus says, “if you love me, you will keep my commandments.” What is Jesus saying to you personally when he says “keep my commandments?”
If you are not sure, you might want to ask Jesus.
Jesus says that he will send an Advocate, a helper, the Spirit, to remain in you – and that you yourself will remain in Jesus and he in you, as he is in the Father. He will not leave you orphaned. What does this mean to you? How do you feel?
Is there another word or a phrase that caught your attention as you listened to the Gospel? Ponder it. What does it mean? What feelings, what memories, what thoughts arise in you as you pay attention?
Take a few moments to talk with Jesus about all you have reflected on, and how you are feeling right now. When you are ready, close with a favorite prayer.
Review of Prayer
St. Ignatius recommends that we review our prayer. A written review has many advantages. It enables us to look back on our prayer experience, and to notice what happened. It allows us to be fully present to our experience of prayer. We do not write while we are praying. The review of prayer enables us not to judge ourselves or look for how well we are doing. It helps us to become more sensitive to how God is speaking to us in the here and now. It is also a precious record of our journey with God, which nourishes wholeness and integration.
Some questions to assist with your review:
What happened in your prayer?
What feelings did you experience?
During the prayer period, when did you feel encouraged?
When did you feel discouraged?
Did you receive the grace you asked for?
What did you receive?