As long as the retreatant has attained the graces of the first week – there is now a change in dynamic as we start the second week with the meditation on the Call of the King.  Note that the term week is misleading here – some people can finish the first week after three or four days, for others it may seem wise and appropriate for the director to keep them in the first week for longer – ten or more days.

The Second Week of the Exercises we are invited to contemplate – using our imagination – many of the scenes from Jesus life – so that we can follow Him as a disciple.  By using our imagination, and applying all our senses we follow Jesus life from the Annunciation of his Birth – to his Capture by the Sanhedrin. We place ourselves in the Biblical Scenes – as a bystander or maybe a participant, listening, watching, and even speaking with Jesus using the Ignatian device of the colloquy. The grace is as Richard of Chichester once said, to know Him more clearly, to love Him more dearly and to follow him more nearly.  So if the Principle and Foundation is a life vision. It asks, “what is life all about?” then in the Sewcond Week Ignatius also offers a work vision. What is our work in this world all about? Why do we do what we do? What values should govern our choices?

As the Jesuit writer David Fleming puts it – In the ‘Call of the King’ Ignatius  proposes that we think about Jesus after the model of a king to whom we owe reverence and obedience. He is a leader with ambitious plans: “I want to overcome all diseases, all poverty, all ignorance, all oppression and slavery—in short all the evils which beset humankind,” he says. He poses a challenge: “Whoever wishes to join me in this undertaking must be content with the same food, drink, clothing, and so on, that comes with following me.” Note two particular features of this work vision. Christ our king calls us to bewith him. The essence of the call is not to do some specific work, but, above all, to be with the One who calls, imaged in the everyday details of living like our king lives. We are to share Christ’s life, to think like him, to do what he does.

The second feature is a call to work with Christ our king. Christ is not a remote ruler commanding his forces through a hierarchy of princes, earls, dukes, lords, and knights. He is “in the trenches.” He is doing the work of evangelizing and healing himself. His call goes out to every person. He wants every one to join with him, and each one receives a personal invitation. The initiative is Christ’s; he asks us to work with him.

Please leave any comments – I will not be able to reply till December though as I am on the retreat – this message was scheduled before November.