The Alpha and the Omega
Revelation 21:6; 22:13
This is a contemplation designed to arouse in us authentic love of God. It should evoke in us a response to the God of Love. Karl Rahner says that the goal of this contemplation is the same as the goal of the entire retreat: that God Himself in the sublimity of His Love should say something to us that surpasses philosophical and theological speculation. The love we speak of here is the love of surrender to God and Jesus Christ.
Ignatius says that two things should be noted in advance:
1. Love itself is related more to what we do than to what we say.
2. Love consists in a mutual sharing of our spiritual, intellectual and material resources; for example, the lover gives and shares with the beloved what he possesses or something of that which he has or is able to give; and vice versa, the beloved shares with the lover. Hence, he shares in the communication of knowledge, the distribution of wealth, the achievement of personal dignity.
FIRST STEP - To see myself standing before God and the whole heavenly court. Revelation 7:9-12
SECOND STEP - To ask for the grace of an intimate knowledge of the many blessings and gifts I have received from the Lord so that filled with gratitude I may give myself completely to Him. Psalm 116:12-13
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1 John 4:17-19
SECOND POINT - To see God existing in each of His creatures: giving their very existence to the primal forces and the basic components and structures of the material universe; giving vegetative life to the organic world; sense life to the animal world; and to man giving, besides, rational cognition and rational appetite. As to a man among men all these blessings have come to me, to - being, life, sensation, intellection, and volition. Moreover, he has made me a kind of temple of his, after creating me to his image and likeness.
Genesis 1:26, 5:1;
1 Cor. 3:16
I stand in admiration of all of this, reflect upon myself, and react to it - as in the "offering" of the first point, or in some better way should such occur to me either here or in the following points.
I will reflect upon myself and see how God has given me all of the above.
Acts 17:28; Ephesians 3:4-21; John 13:36
THIRD POINT - Godís work. The third point is to observe that the same
God and Lord is operative and, as it were, laboring for my benefit within
his creatures by giving them existence and keeping them what they are,
with their own proper characteristics, powers, and activities.
All of this, too, as above, should be brought to bear on and made relevant to myself and my own case. (It might be helpful to really observe God in his creation. One priest retreat master has his retreatants look into the blossom of a plant with a magnifying glass or examine a leaf in its detail. If this helps you, use it ? if not, don't bother with it.)
John 5:17; Psalm 111; Sirach 42:15-43:35; Psalm 104
FOURTH POINT - Transcendence. From comparing them with light radiating from the sun and a river springing from its fountainhead, the fourth point is to gain the vision of every human excellence (e.g., ability, justice, good heartedness, science, etc.) and, indeed, every creaturely endowment and every value ? deriving from a heavenly counterpart in an infinite supply of all that is good.
Added to this there should be, as above, opposite reflection upon myself and my own circumstances and endowments.
There is also to be a dialogue at the end, finishing with an Our Father.
1 Peter 2:1-10; Ephesians 2:13-22; Colossians 3:15-17
I finish each of the above contemplations with the following prayer - providing the Holy Spirit moves me to offer myself in this way:
"Take, 0 Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding,
and all my will, whatsoever I have and possess. You have given all these
things to me; to You, 0 Lord, I restore them: all are Yours; dispose of
them all according to Your Will. Give me Your love and Your grace, for
this is enough for me."