Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Happy Easter, everyone!
One of the unique parts about being Catholic is the liturgical seasons. I think they add a certain pace to life. Especially after this isolating Lent, we should strive to celebrate the Easter season joyfully. Maybe we can commit to adding something to our life that heightens our gratitude towards God over the next 50 days!
Today’s Gospel features a range of emotions: confusion, sadness, joy and awe. Let’s try to put ourselves into the scene through Ignatian imaginative prayer. Below is a guided meditation inspired in part by a passage from Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer.
"I feel the morning breeze on my face as I watch Mary Magdalene appear over the crest of a hill. From some distance she realizes the stone has been rolled back from the entrance of the tomb. She stands, unable to leave, afraid to look into the darkness of the tomb. Her tears fall...yet she still remains there. I watch with reverence.
She decides to continue forward. I’m impressed by her courage. She reaches the entrance and faces her fear. She looks into the darkness of the tomb, and finds that it is not as empty as she expected. Two angels appear in their celestial majesty and ask: “Woman, why are you weeping?”
I hear this question directed to my heart as well: Why are you weeping? Why is your heart heavy as you live day by day?”
Mary turns and sees the “gardener,” not recognizing Jesus as tears fall from her face. “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom do you seek?”
I answer this question, speaking to the Lord from my heart.
Jesus said to her: ‘Mary.’ Simply her name...I hear him pronounce my name...That one word says everything to me, as it does Mary…
“Rabboni!” Mary’s face lights up in wonderful astonishment in seeing her teacher, friend, God, and Savior. She now understands that death has no power over Jesus, and that through him, death will have no power over us.
You too, feel a great sense of peace, comfort, wonder and awe as you approach Jesus in his full glory and kingship.
I now sit with Mary and Jesus who waved me over. I gaze upon her face, and see her radiant joy. I see the deep happiness of knowing herself loved, loved infinitely, loved forever. I feel the same way as Jesus places his hand on my shoulder and smiles. My heart now speaks to him."
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
How am I still celebrating and experiencing the joy of the empty tomb of Easter Sunday during this season?
What stirs in my heart as I contemplate the risen Jesus revealing himself to me beside the empty tomb?
How am I allowing the reality of the Resurrection: my forgiveness of sin, invitation to heaven, and Jesus' love for me transform my life this Easter season?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"I am seeking you."
"The tomb is empty. Alleluia."
"Help me live in your resurrection."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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"Today's Prayer was prepared by Liam Brady, an accountant in Chicago.
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