|Agony in the Garden|
St. Ignatius of Loyola proposes a deeply personal and imaginative way to remain with Jesus. A master strategist and student of the human soul, St. Ignatius articulated a process of praying with Scripture that allows us to encounter Jesus personally. This kind of imaginative prayer engages all the senses and has come to be known as Ignatian Contemplation. At the Apostleship of Prayer, we call it praying with the heart.
I invite all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day. No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her, since “no one is excluded from the joy brought by the Lord." The Lord does not disappoint those who take this risk; whenever we take a step towards Jesus, we come to realize that he is already there, waiting for us with open arms.A son of Ignatius and practitioner of Ignatian Contemplation, Pope Francis asks each of us to "take this risk" of encountering Jesus in a personal way. Praying with the heart, meeting Jesus in Scripture this week may be shocking, especially if we've never imagined ourselves interacting with Jesus one-on-one while he eats with his friends, while he prays a little way off from where his disciples sleep, while he faces Pontius Pilate and Herod, while he carries his cross. . . . Jesus calls to us now as always, always inviting, always merciful. "Remain here and keep watch with me," he says to each of us. What an exquisite place to spend Holy Week: in the open arms of Jesus, leaning our weary heads against his Heart.