In the previous week we sought the grace of an open and generous spirit to receive the gifts God seeks to shower on us throughout this prayer experience, so that we can respond magnanimously, as Ignatius suggests in the Fifth Annotation of the Spiritual Exercises.
As we move deeper into the experience, we begin with the realization that all is a gift from our loving, gracious and gentle God. The next two weeks will focus on gratitude. The grace we ask for is deep gratitude and a new encounter of God’s love and mercy.
Reading via the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website:
Genesis 2:7-9; 3:1-7
The LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground
and blew into his nostrils the breath of life,
and so man became a living being.
Then the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east,
and placed there the man whom he had formed.
Out of the ground the LORD God made various trees grow
that were delightful to look at and good for food,
with the tree of life in the middle of the garden
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals
that the LORD God had made.
The serpent asked the woman,
“Did God really tell you not to eat
from any of the trees in the garden?”
The woman answered the serpent:
“We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden;
it is only about the fruit of the tree
in the middle of the garden that God said,
‘You shall not eat it or even touch it, lest you die.’”
But the serpent said to the woman:
“You certainly will not die!
No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it
your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods
who know what is good and what is evil.”
The woman saw that the tree was good for food,
pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom.
So she took some of its fruit and ate it;
and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her,
and he ate it.
Then the eyes of both of them were opened,
and they realized that they were naked;
so they sewed fig leaves together
and made loincloths for themselves.
From “Prayer of Love and Praise” by Jacqueline Bergan and Sister Marie Schwann, CSJ:
When your love spilled over into creation, you thought of me. I am from love … of love ... for love.
Music: “O Breathe on Me, O Breath of God” by Edwin Hatch (Click on the play button to listen)
Video: Time-lapse of Earth
View the daily readings at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops website.
Image via CNS/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.