The Last Supper

March 17, 2016

Over the past several weeks, we have recognized Jesus as the Face of Mercy, as Mercy Incarnate, and as the Model of Mercy.  We have looked to the Gospel stories and found moments of mercy, one after the other, as we watched Jesus’ ministry unfold.

 

The Prayer of Consideration

Joseph A. Tetlow, S.J. writes of The Prayer of Consideration in the Ignatian tradition.  He says:

“Those who live busy lives in the marketplace, whose everyday life shifts from merely very full to very frantic – they know the value of this prayer.  They know that they need time to consider under God’s gaze, to ponder and wrangle and exult, to worry with Him and walk with Him.

For those who bring faith and hope and God’s love into the world, consideration makes the most appropriate and necessary prayer.”

I often turn to the Prayer of Consideration as I ask God how I can better serve Him in the day to day moments of my life.  I consider the people I encounter, the tasks I undertake, as well as the time I spend alone.  I ask God why these people, why this work?  I ask God to show me how He has used me to bring glory to His name while also asking Him to reveal to me the moments I fall short.

As Fr. Tetlow so poignantly suggests, The Prayer of Consideration offers us an opportunity “to ponder and wrangle and exult, to worry with Him and walk with Him.”  The seemingly simple prayers about my ordinary moments become my greatest offerings to God.  These prayers about the people and the work, the triumphs and tribulations overtime weave together a tapestry of my life.

The Last Supper

During this season of Lent, I have employed The Prayer of Consideration as way of healing from the past, and detaching from the present.  And now, as I prepare myself to enter Holy Week and walk with Christ through his Passion, Death and Resurrection, I look again to the Gospels to discover anew the greatest act of Christ’s mercy.  Below, I offer you a prayerful consideration of the Last Supper and the mercy offered to us there.

Who does Christ encounter?

His disciples.  The men who were chosen by God.  To follow him.  To listen to him.  To learn from him.  To watch him.  Christ gathers his followers and offers them a final witness of his love for them.  Ordinary men, with their individual stories of mercy and love.  Their knowing of Christ and his knowing of them.  More simply, he surrounds himself with his friends.  Do I realize Jesus encounters me also?

What does Christ do with them?

He washes their feet.  Like the waters of Baptism, he cleanses them of their humanity, offering them a brief moment to share in his divinity.  As he does to them, he instructs them to so do for others.  He breaks bread.  He shares a meal.  He reclines at the table and speaks to them.  He gives them one last commandment, to love others as he has loved them.  Forgive others.  Show others his mercy.  How does Jesus encounter me?

Why these people?  Why show them love?

Watching Christ interact with his disciples reveals to me a deep knowing of Christ’s humanity.  These men, whom he loved greatly would eventually find their way back to him, back to this spiritually high moment with their beloved.  But first, these men would be shaken.  They would be struck with fear as they watch Jesus suffer and die on the cross.  Jesus knows this.  He anticipates their fear, their doubt, their questions.  He spends his final moments with them preparing them for what is to come.  Preparing their hearts, their minds, and their bodies to endure what they will face in this world.  How does Jesus show me love?

And what about now?

The transcending knowledge of our faith allows us to enter into the last supper each time we celebrate mass.  A gift so abundant, God gives us an experience of the Last Supper every moment of every day somewhere in the world.  The bread is broken and his blood is poured out so that just as the disciples sat at the table with him, we too, sit and share in Christ offering of mercy, love, and compassion.  Daily, he allows us to return to him and be prepared in mind, body, and soul to enter into the world and bring him to others.

Ponder and Wrangle, and Exult

I invite you to walk with Christ through the Last Supper, his Agony in the Garden, his Passion, Death and Resurrection.  Enter into the moments with his disciples, feel his love.  Experience his mercy.  Watch as he conquers the world for you.

Want to go deeper?

 

Becky is an Ignatian-trained spiritual director, retreat facilitator, and writer. She is the author of the Busy Lives and Restless Souls (March 2017, Loyola Press) and The Inner Chapel (April 2020, Loyola Press). She helps others create space to connect faith and everyday life through facilitating retreats and days of reflection, through writing, and through spiritual direction. With nearly twenty years of ministry experience within the Catholic Church, Becky seeks to help others discover God at work in the every day moments of people’s lives by utilizing St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and the many gifts that our Catholic faith and Ignatian Spirituality provide.

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