The Spiritual Exercises on Coronation Street?


If you have ever sat by the hospital bed of someone you love – as they are dying – you will have experienced the anguish and pain of being helpless in the face of suffering.  Even worse is accompanying somebody who has been tortured and is to be executed – violently – especially if you are convinced they are innocent.  Well, this is what happens in the Third Week of the Spiritual Exercises….

It is all very well following Jesus in the second week, witnessing his miracles, seeing the crowds grow around him, hearing his great parables, soaking up the richness of the sights and sounds of the Second Week.  The real test of discipleship and friendship is when the crowds turn on him, his followers disappear – his enemies become more vocal and more violent.  Ignatius challenges us to enter into all of these scenes as well, using our imagination and with an open heart.  This is the cost of discipleship.

There is a real gear change in the third week – for me, it has always been a difficult part of the exercises.  The prayer becomes dryer – its difficult to stomach.  In the Third Week we also enter the mystery and power of evil. And whilst I am writing this I think of the thousands who are being tortured, or who have been left to rot in some hell hole – thinking the world has forgotten about them. Or those who have been falsely accused of crimes, particularly sexual offences.   It may be difficult to understand the violence and the evil, but we believe that somehow Love is always stronger and it will ultimately win. This is our faith.

Please leave comments – but don’e expect an instant response – I won’t be on-line till December.  This post was written and  automatically scheduled before I entered my month of silence!