ANIMA CHRISTI: Chapter One (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

Meditations on a Timeless Prayer

Chapter One (Part Two)—In The Light Of God’s Word by Marie Paul Curley

From Soul of Christ

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.  Believe in God, believe also in me.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places.  If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.  And you know the way to the place where I am going.”  Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going.  How can we know the way?”  Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.  If you know me, you will know my Father also.  From now on you do know him and have seen him.”
(John 14:1-7)

Theme for Holy Hour:
Jesus, Our Way to Holiness
Suggested opening hymn: “Soul of my Savior” (traditional).
Quiet time for personal adoration.

Adoring Jesus In His Word

At the Last Supper, Jesus has come almost to the end of his Earthly journey with his disciples.  He knows their hearts and sees their questions and the struggles they will face after his crucifixion.  So he offers them the most accessible way to holiness: union with himself.  When Jesus says here, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life,” is he not referring to himself especially in the Holy Eucharist?  Jesus offers us himself as a way in to the privileged, inner life of the Trinity!

Pause for five to ten minutes of quiet reflection.
As our Way, our Eucharistic Master accompanies us on the journey of our lives.

He walks before us

In both celebration and adoration, we contemplate the life of Jesus and we:

  • stare into the stable at Bethlehem, marveling at the selfless love of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity revealed in an infant’s smile;
  • peer into the humble poverty of a simple home in Nazareth, where the Son of God sleeps on the ground;
  • marvel at the obedience of a beloved son who dedicates himself to the ordinary drudgery of work and to loving attentiveness to his family;
  • wonder at his single-hearted, inimitable union with his Father;
  • rejoice in a young rabbi’s unwavering dedication to the mission of announcing the Kingdom of God;
  • are intrigued by his withdrawing from the intense pressures of his mission to seek the company of his Father in prayer;
  • feel comfort at the outpouring of healing and mercy on all whom Jesus encounters;
  • stand wordless at his total surrender to his Father in the outpouring of his very life for us on the cross;
  • bask in the radiant joy of the resurrection.

As we pray with these mysteries in the life of Christ, we know that, if we seek to live in Christ, we, too, will sometimes find ourselves at the foot of the cross.  But moments of pain and desolation can become privileged opportunities for union with Christ.  We will never be alone.  Jesus walks with us now and at every moment of our lives.

After you finish reading the reflection, allow a few minutes of silence, then pray an act of faith, such as the Apostles’ or Nicene Creed.

Following Jesus Way

He walks with us

In the Mass, Jesus offers us the light of his word when we read scripture and the nourishment of his own Body and Blood every time we receive Communion.

Yet, if Jesus offers us so many graces and wants our holiness so much, why aren’t we already holy?  Because holiness happens in relationship.  On one side is God who reaches out to us – our God who loves us into being and consistently offers us grace.  On the other side, we stand as sinful human beings, free to welcome, reject, deny, or resist God’s embrace.  Holiness isn’t easy; it’s choosing to love above all else.  A part of us resists because we know that love always includes suffering – at the very least, the pain mixed with the joy of self-giving.  For most of us, holiness is a journey of baby steps, as we gradually let go of our resistances and slowly open ourselves more fully to God’s transforming love.

Blessed James Alberione wrote, “The action of sanctifying the soul consists in our transformation into God through the food which is Jesus Christ.  We are to nourish ourselves daily on Jesus Christ, Way, Truth, and Life.”

What holds me back from giving myself completely to the God who gives himself to me?  How does Jesus invite me to grow in holiness?  How can I respond to his love for me?

Pause here to reflect on these questions, silently making a personal examination of conscience of personal examen.
Before continuing, pray an act of contrition (such as the Lamb of God).

Although we recognize our sinfulness and unworthiness, we don’t let them stop us from offering ourselves to Jesus.  Jesus doesn’t wait for us to become good before he comes to us.  Instead, he is already there for us in word and Eucharist, wanting to be with us at every moment of our journey.

Light, humility, silence, acceptance, a faithful ear, nourishment, unconditional love – these are all expressions of his faithful presence, a presence that will never abandon us and always calls us to great love and holiness.

For the ways Jesus has been and will be present in your life, thank him in your own words or with a favorite prayer, such as the Glory Be or the Te Deum.

He is the One we walk toward

When we love others, we want the best for them.  We start to want what they want.  Jesus loves us so much that he wants our greatest good, our holiness.  Jesus knows that we will be happiest if we share fully in his own life.

In Union With Jesus
In your own words, express to Jesus your desire to be united to him.

Praying the words, “Soul of Christ, sanctify me,” reminds us to begin to surrender to this desire of Jesus.  This beautiful prayer hones our desires so that our hearts start to beat in sync with the heart of Jesus.  We start to want what he wants for us: holiness.  As we pray for the desire of Jesus to come to pass in us, we begin to let go of our resistance.  (Or at least, we pray for the grace to let go of resistance.)

Jesus, our Way, invites us to share so deeply in his life that we begin to share in his own relationship with the Father and we begin to be his presence in the world.  Let us make this desire of union with Jesus our own, not just in this moment of prayerful reflection, but throughout our day and week.  At the end of our lives, we will be able to look forward to the bliss of a never-ending, perfect union with God in Christ.

The following prayer is a series of petitions for sanctifying every aspect of our lives.  We may wish to carry the sentiments of this profound prayer for transformation in Christ with us as we return to daily life.

Appeals To Jesus Master By Blessed James Alberione

Jesus Master, sanctify my mind and increase my faith.

Pray this prayer slowly, contemplating Jesus as your Truth, Way, and Life while asking for the grace to live in him.

Jesus, teaching in the church, draw everyone to yourself.

Jesus Master, deliver me from error, empty thoughts, and eternal blindness.

Jesus Way between the Father and us, I offer everything to you and await everything from you.

Jesus Way of Sanctity, help me imitate you faithfully.

Jesus Way, may I respond wholeheartedly to the Father’s call to holiness.

Jesus Life, live in me so that I may live in you.

Jesus Life, do not ever permit anything to separate me from you.

Jesus Life, grant that I may live eternally in the joy of your love.

Jesus Truth, may you shine in the world through me.

Conclude your hour of adoration with a hymn, such as “Song of St. Patrick” (based on “St. Patrick’s Breastplate”) composed by Marty Haugen.

Jesus Way, may I be a faithful mirror of your example for others.

Jesus Life, may I be a channel of your grace and consolation to others.

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