An encounter with Christ is an encounter with love. It is an encounter that transforms us and changes us by the abundant gifts we receive from a relationship with Christ. Last week, we talked about what opens our capacity to receive God’s love, and this week let’s look at what we receive when we open ourselves to being fully loved by God.
What are the gifts we receive from this encounter with Christ?
- Love: The freely given, unearned gift of unconditional love is abundantly given to us.
- Mercy: The gift of God’s light radiates into the darkness of our hearts offering us forgiveness.
- Companionship: We are never alone in life because we have a companion and friend in Jesus who walks with us through everything.
- Healing: Jesus births new life into any situation we are facing and can free us and unbind us from the weight of our burdens.
- Model: We are given an example of how to live our lives as men and women of prayer living out in the world. Jesus teaches us how to love, to act, and to serve others.
- Guide: No decision we make is made alone. We have the gift of Jesus’ advocate, the Holy Spirit, working within us to guide us and lead us in our choices, no matter how big or small.
- Joy: We are given the grace of joy, which allows us to walk through life with a confidence of not being abandoned and hope in the Resurrection.
The gifts of an encounter with the heart of Christ are especially clear during Holy Week. As we enter Holy Week, I invite you to notice the ways Jesus is offering others love and mercy, even as he prepares for his own passion and death. Notice how he companions others, when he most needs others to companion him. Watch how he heals and forgives even in his final moments on the cross. Pay attention to what he models for us about being a man and woman for others as he washes his disciples feet and comforts his mother, Mary on the cross. Hear his promise of his Advocate, the Holy Spirit, so we are never alone.
Most importantly, gaze upon the crucifix, and remember that this is a sign of hope and of victory, and this represents the source of our joy. The crucifix reminds us that God’s love for us can overcome anything, even death.
- Pray with Week 7 of the Ignatian Prayer Adventure: The Suffering Jesus
- Read: A Ministry of Mercy
- Read: The Crucifix and Good Friday
- Watch this Three Minute Retreat: The Passion of the Lord
Cultivating Space for God Together:
- Called to prayer ministry? I’m pulling together a prayer team to pray for retreatants and lunchtime prayer requests. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line: Prayer Team. Thanks!
- May 15: Calgary Catholic Leadership Retreat
- May 20: Facilitating Retreat Day at the National Conference of Catechetical Leadership