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A simple spiritual exercise for Holy Week

CHRIST
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You can begin each day of Holy Week with this reflection, keeping your days focused on God.

Holy Week is meant to be a “holy,” “week,” but that is much easier said than done. We can often let our minds get crowded with countless other concerns and entirely forget that this week is supposed to be set apart for a profound spiritual experience.

One way to sanctify each day of this sacred week is to follow a spiritual exercise recommended in the 19th century book, Sermons for the Holy Week. The author gives a few practical tips that are easy to do and are spiritually beneficial.

In particular, the author explains a simple exercise that is perfect for a morning meditation.

Let us, on each day of the Holy Week, follow [Jesus] in our minds, and silently draw an inward picture of Him in some one moment of His Passion. Let us try to think it well over in the mornings, and get it strong before our mind’s eye, that we fly back to it, and gaze upon it in silence and humility, as often as we have any leisure during the day.

There is not one of us, that has ever heard or read the Gospels for this week with any attention [and] has a sort of picture in his mind, more or less distinct, of the crown of thorns, the purple robe, the soldiers spitting and bowing the knee in mockery, the Cross laid upon our Lord, His sacred and adorable feet and hands so cruelly fastened to it, the offering vinegar, the bowing of His head, the loud cry…the soldier piercing His side, His burial by Joseph. Now, what imaginations we have of all these unspeakable things…let us dwell upon them…Keeping this in mind, let us really try, this one week of our lives, to have Christ and His Cross constantly before us. We cannot tell how much good such holy pictures may do us.

The imagination is a powerful part of our human mind and St. Ignatius Loyola similarly encouraged others to picture the events of the Gospels and put ourselves into the scenes, recognizing every little detail that stands out to us.

If you don’t know what to do this week, try this simple exercise. Begin each morning reading the Passion narrative and picture it in your mind and try to return to it frequently throughout the day.

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