The “Second Week”: Week Eleven/Session One.
Theme: The Contemplation on the Incarnation.
Our reading for today: Galatians 4: 1-7.
But when the time arrived that was set by God the Father, God sent His Son, born among us of a woman, born under the conditions of the law so that He might redeem those of us who have been kidnapped by the law. Thus we have been set free to experience our rightful heritage. You can tell for sure that you are now fully adopted as His own children because God sent the Spirit of His Son into our lives crying out, “Papa! Father!” Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. (Galatians 4: 4-7 MsgB)
As we now turn our attention to the “Second Week” of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius invites us to take our eyes off of ourselves, and focus instead on the personhood of Jesus of Nazareth, Beloved Son of God, Second Person of the Holy Trinity. Over the next twelve weeks, you and I will go on a trek to discover an even greater appreciation of the One the early disciples called Master or Rabbi, and the One you and I now call Savior and Lord.
So in order to fully embrace the magnitude of the Christ Story, as it is spelled out for us in the four Gospels of the Bible, Ignatius suggests that we first take an imaginary journey to a place where the Christ-event was first planned. Come with me for a moment on an adventure outside space and time, to a place far above and outside of this present moment. Let’s step into the Throne Room of God, and imagine the Holy Trinity discussing amongst themselves the state of the world they have created.
What do you imagine the conversation might have included as the Divine gazes at this beautiful blue sphere spinning in perfect orbit around the star we call the Sun? What’s in the heart of God as He bends down to look closely at this world He has created? What emotions are there as the Father sees his young growing sons and daughters? Some seem to be doing fairly well. Others are struggling to survive. Here, one is smiling. Over there, one is crying. Some seem to be gathered in friendly, life-giving groups. Many are all alone.
A few seem to want peace and tranquility, while many more are quarreling with each other. Some are so angry they are actually abusing and destroying others with seemingly no care in their hearts for the pain they are spreading. Others are coming alongside those who are wounded, sick or dying, caring for them in their losses. Some are rich. Many more are poor. Some are happy. Many more are very sad. Some seem to know where they are going but care little for the interest of others. Others seem totally lost, but fail to be honest about their waywardness. All seem restless in their surroundings.
After a long period of time, surveying every square inch of the planet, the Father looks intently at His fallen creation, and then turns slowly to Jesus and the Spirit who have been looking at this world in a similar vein. The Creator/King then whispers the words that will change everything…“Dear ones, I have a plan.”
Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, called this moment: the fullness of time. Eugene Peterson, in his Message Bible, translates it as “the time…that was set by God the Father.”
As I see it, Ignatius thought it very beneficial to stop all of our religious activity, all of our busy-ness for God, and go back to that one moment in time when God the Father first spoke of His “plan” to redeem and restore His wayward creation, pondering (or contemplating) the beauty and the power of that one moment in time that literally changed everything in this life and the life to come.
We know now that God’s “plan” of redemption was to send His Son, Jesus, to Earth. But before we quickly move on, assuming we’ve fully grasped the fullness of this ‘fullness of time’ moment, let’s savor the magnitude of this land-breaking decision. Let’s camp out here for a few days on this piece of turf, surveying the width, the depth, and the height of this “God-plan” that theologians would later call, “the incarnation” to describe it.
Let’s take this week to contemplate the amazing incarnation of God.
My prayer: Father God, Precious Jesus, and Holy Spirit, I stand in amazement at Your plan of the incarnation. At that moment in the fullness of time, everything changed. My world was moved. My life transformed. My past forgiven. My present made whole. My future secured. Everything I hold dear in Christ was created in the mind of God, for me to behold and wonder…for Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: So have I fully contemplated the power of the incarnation? Am I fully appreciative of everything that happened in that moment the Holy Scriptures call “the fullness of time?” What transformation is still available to me today as I take the time to embrace the significance of ‘that’ moment?
So what is God speaking to you today as we ponder together The Ignatian Adventure?
Over an eight month period, you and I will be working our way through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. For more information on our journey and how to begin…click here!
To go onto the next journal entry…click here.
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