Listen to the Spirit… adapt as needed…
stay longer where you are drawn…
“So Lucifer’s strategy is simple and seem so light-filled and clear in its direction: riches (or ‘this is mine’) to honor (or ‘look at me’) to pride (or ‘I AM…’). By these three steps, the evil one entices people to all other vices.” – Spiritual Exercises #142
“Jesus’ strategy is simple too, although at first it seems a paradox. If I have been graced with the gift of poverty (‘he emptied himself, becoming human’), then I am rich; if I have nothing of myself (‘everything I have is from the Father’), I have no power and I am despised and receive the contempt of the world (‘even to death, death on a cross’); if I have nothing, my only possession is Christ (‘Christ is God’s’) and this is to be really true to myself–the humility of a person whose whole reality and value is grounded in being create and redeemed in Christ. Through these three steps, Jesus and his apostles lead people to all other virtues.” – Spiritual Exercises #146
Suggested Song: No Envy, No Fear by Joshua Radin
Grace to seek/ask: To more fully recognize my values and how they affect my life in God…
Luke 4:1-13 – “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil…”
1 John 4:16-19- “…There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.”
Mtt. 19:16-26- “…Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me’…”
Luke 9:22-25- “Then he said to all, ‘If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me…”
Please share for a few minutes about how you are doing, based on the following questions:
- Since the last time we’ve met, what has given you life or drawn you closer to God? In particular, was there anything that came up for you while continuing to sit or pray with the reality of the cross through scripture or the Rolheiser article?
- What has drained you of life or drawn you away from God?
- Please describe any significant encounter with God in prayer, service, or relationship with others.
Last time we met, we had a chance to consider and pray with the reality of God’s love on the cross. As we move into our meeting tonight, I invite us to try to continue to have the cross on our minds and in our hearts. Tonight we are going to look at a specific meditation by St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises that will help us more deeply explore our values and how they relate to the gospel values of Jesus. It’s called “The Two Standards” meditation and is described in our handout for tonight. Let’s look at it together. Then we’ll have a chance to reflect and share together using some related questions.
Listening and Sharing
- Can I think of some ways I have been tempted to doubt God’s promises? In what areas am I most vulnerable to the “way of fear”–temptations to riches, honor, and pride?
- When faced with these temptations, how have I responded? What strategies have I used to resist? How have I struggled to not give in?
- Do I know someone who has turned his or her back on the values or goals of the world? Do I find this person inspiring…puzzling…threatening?
- How do I currently embrace and live the “way of love” (the way of Jesus)–poverty, contempt (love in the face of persecution), & humility?
These are questions that allow community members to listen to and share about what is moving within them after the focus exercise. Specific questions about the focus exercise can be included here, but facilitators may choose to approach it differently such as with more open ended questions.
- What has struck you as you have been listening to others share? Do you notice any patterns or similarities?
- How have you been feeling throughout the meeting? Comfortable? Anxious? Curious?
- Is there anything you would like to share after listening to another person share?
- What is remaining with you? What do you hope to return to in prayer at another point in the week?
Thank you to those who hosted the meeting. Thank you everyone for being present and participating. Let us remember and lift-up one another in prayer, especially for any special intentions which may have surfaced through our conversation tonight.
Write a prayer that fits the meeting or ask if anyone from the group would like to offer a spontaneous prayer.