Thursday 4 August 2022
St John Vianney
Jeremiah 31:31-34. Create a clean heart in me, O God – Psalm 50(51):12-15, 18-19. Matthew 16:13-23.
Who do you say that I am?
After my first experience of the Spiritual Exercises, the predominant grace was a deep awareness that I had a Father who loved me. This focus continued for some years. Then, while making an eight-day Ignatian retreat, I was out walking one day. I suddenly had an awareness of Jesus as someone who knew exactly what the Father had come to mean to me. ‘Oh, you know about the Father!’ I became aware of Jesus’ profound love for the Father, his desire to respond to all that the Father asked, and his mission to take the love of the Father to others. This led to a desire to live with Jesus for the Father and for others.
Over the years, this clarified and deepened to a desire to follow Jesus closely and to share his experiences. It led to a ministry to the poor and marginalised and to advocacy for them, including living in community with people with mental illness. In a lifestyle where there was little time for solitude, Jesus seemed to act quickly whenever a retreat was possible. Prayer and intimacy with Jesus deepened into a partnership and a love relationship.