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The Contemplation on the Incarnation and Advent

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space scene - photo by NASA on Unsplash

The Second Week of the Spiritual Exercises begins with a Contemplation on the Incarnation (SE 101–109). The graces we pray for with this meditation are the graces of the entire Second Week: to have intimate knowledge of Jesus, to love him more, and to follow him more closely. I invite us to pray for these graces this Advent season, that these four weeks may be a season that draws us ever closer to knowing Jesus, loving Jesus, and following Jesus.

We begin with the Contemplation on the Incarnation and the uniquely Ignatian view of Advent it offers. In this meditation, St. Ignatius invites us to imagine the Trinity looking down upon the earth and seeing it filled with human beings. We are invited to use our imaginations to ponder what the Trinity sees and notices in gazing upon all the people. Ignatius adds a few thoughts on what we might see: some healthy, others sick, some weeping, and others laughing. He invites us to notice the blindness and aimlessness and to hear how people are talking to each other. Finally, he invites us to hear the Trinity say, “Let us work the redemption of the human race,” (SE 107) as God plans to send the angel to Mary and then watches as the Incarnation is set into motion.

I return to this meditation often, especially at the start of each Advent season. Each time I pray with it in the days leading up to Christmas, God unfolds new insight and understanding for me. The meditation helps me understand Jesus’ humanity. It draws me ever deeper into intimacy with Jesus. It helps me know that I, too, have a role in saying yes to the Trinity’s invitations and birthing Christ into the world today.

I invite us this Advent season to pray with the Contemplation on the Incarnation. As we pray, may we be reminded that the Trinity is still gazing down upon the world and seeing, hearing, and feeling what we notice today. It is in the reality of our world that God is still with us, seeking to birth Christ in all areas of our lives.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash.


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