“My Father is at work until now, so I am at work.” (Jn 5:17)
When I prayed over these words from the Gospel for Wednesday of the 4th Week of Lent, I thought of the image suggested by Ignatius in the Contemplation for Attaining Divine Love: “consider how God works and labors for me in all creatures upon the face of the earth, giving being and life.”
A 20th century Jesuit, Teilhard de Chardin, gives a further twist to this image, when he reflects on the “slow work of God” and invites us to “give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in the suspense and incomplete.”
A contemporary Jesuit, Pope Francis, reminds us of the profound “Joy of the Gospel” of this God who works and labors for me in all creatures and at every moment.
When I entered the Society of Jesus in 1967, I had never heard of the Spiritual Exercises and never made any kind of silent retreat. The many graces of being formed by the spirituality of the Exercises have continued to shape and renew my life for these fifty years, allowing me to share in some small way in that spirit of joy, in that desire to give our Lord the benefit of believing in the slow work of God.