Third Week

In this week of Exercises, you move into a higher degree of contemplative prayer. You are no outsider or spectator, but should be much more deeply committed than you were in previous weeks. St. Ignatius took great care that this week be made with the utmost concentration and surrender.

It is not a matter of reflecting upon what one ought to do after you finish the exercises, but what is happening NOW. A great effort must be made to suffer for Christ and with Christ ... NOW. We consider again and again Jesus Christ suffers all this ... FOR ME ... to save ME from eternal damnation ... to make ME happy for all eternity ... and above all, to win MY LOVE.

We must be very careful in this week not to treat the Passion as a series of cruel events, but approach it as listening to the Father telling the story of His Son.

The Third Week is the beginning of an involvement between Christ Crucified and myself ... of an intimacy that is the beginning of the folly of love. There should be no "bailing out" at this point of the retreat, but an increasing intensity. We want to relate personally to the crucified Jesus. Jesus on the Cross is the most shocking thing we can contemplate, and we want to be at one with Him; to feel with Mary; with John; with the Father.

All real love must somehow be related to the Love in the Passion. In every act of love, there is death and resurrection ? the pouring out of love and life and the receiving of life. When we contemplate the mysteries of the Third Week, we enter deeply into the Paschal Mystery.