The Spiritual Exercises ask us to look at Christ and what he stands for. We’re instructed to imagine him as a good king who brings his forces against the evil king. In today’s world, especially here in the West, we don’t think much in terms of kings and kingdoms. So this imagery can be difficult to integrate with our prayer.
But we can approach it this way. As we observe Jesus in the Gospel accounts, we can learn what was important to him. We can see the desires that drove him—desire to see people healed, whole, and free from the evil pressing in from all around, desire that people be fed, clothed, accepted into the community, loved.
Is this what you desire? Look with clear eyes at Jesus, at what he did in the Gospel accounts, what he said, what he taught. What were his priorities? What were his passions as he dealt with people day in and day out? Does the “kingdom” he brought into reality match in any way the reality you desire for your life and for the larger world?
In other words, is the kingdom of God worth your desire? Do your truest impulses take you toward that kind of reality?
These are not rhetorical questions. Jesus wanted people to consider quite soberly what he stood for and what following him would require—yet another reason for you and me to be in touch with our real desires. Otherwise, we might be saying that we want to follow Jesus when in reality our hearts really aren’t there, at least not yet.
What world did Jesus envision and work toward with his every word and act?
What world do you envision? What “kingdom” are you willing to work toward with everything you have?
This post is a part of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure, Week 5.