Spiritual Exercises

Seeking to become more like Jesus

one day at a time.

one week at a time.

The Two Standards (Choosing Jesus over world/self/sin/evil)

This week’s focus & prayer:

I pray for the following graces: God, help me choose you over the deceits and deceptions of this world and the devil. Help me to have courage in facing down the temptations to live a life lesser than you desire, and help me to live more freely and fully the way of Jesus in the world.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the [one] who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the [one] who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming …” – Theodore Roosevelt

Meditation on the Two Standards

We begin this meditation by imagining the setting of our choice between two options: Jesus and the world/the devil.

We imagine ourselves out on an on field of battle, or choosing between two types of people: those who desire our best and those who will pull us into unhealth and unfreedom.

In other words, we imagine a place that is full of peace, truth, harmony, beauty, virtue, and growth. Then, we imagine a place of restriction, hurt, harm, unhealthy patterns and limitation of life.

Consider how God on one hand desires our good, and the devil on the other conjuring up ways to trip us up mentally, emotionally and even spiritually.

How are you responding to both sides? What in you is feeling compelled towards goodness? What in you feels tripped up or trapped in the unhealthier movements in the life?


Meditation on the Two Standards, pt. 2

Today, we focus on Jesus’ invitation to life and put our energy into what draws us towards our best, our richest life.

Although the devil is repulsive, harsh, and seeks only to deceive and enslave people, Jesus is inviting, gentle, and desires only to liberate people to love God and serve others.

Both want to rule the world, but in different ways and for different reasons.

Listen to Jesus’ invitation; gaze upon him as he addresses us as his children and his disciples.

Look at the wide variety of people he speaks to. Notice their faces. See the pain and hopes in their hearts. Where do you see yourself?

Notice how he shows them great love and invites them to let go of those things that are holding them back: their sins, their possessions, even their mindsets. Here him gently invite the crowd into a more courageous and fulfilling life of service. What does he look like? How do you hear him as he speaks? What does his voice sound like?


The Two Standards in Your Own Life & Our World

Now take some time today to reflect on how the choice between these two worlds is playing out in your own life. Where in your life specifically do you find yourself being pulled back into an unhealth? What relationships in your life are manifesting this dynamic? Who are the people who are truly for you, and who are those who may be pulling you into things that are less than Christ?

And take some time to reflect on our world. Where do you see this dynamic between Jesus and the devil struggling for control? Politics? Care of the poor? The relief and welfare of immigrants? Consider how Jesus is laboring in the world for the good and consider how you might join Jesus in this work in our local community.


Read Matthew 4:23-5:12 (the Beautitudes)

The Beautitudes express the standard of Christ. They are a great example of the mindset, disposition and attitudes present in those who embrace the costly way of Jesus. Spend some time today speaking to Jesus about your own desire to pursue these things in your life and to embrace a gentle, righteous, mercy-filled life that is directed towards the common good in the world and is resistant to the pressures of the evil one.


Read Luke 18:18-30 (the danger of riches & wealth, and the rewards of generosity)

Remember that it is not wealth itself that is wrong but anything that we become too “attached” to in this world, anything that we invest too much of our focus and energy into that becomes its own god.

Take some time to reflect on what life begins to look like (for yourself personally and for others) when we put too much of our energy, time and devotion into the things of this world that are fleeting but also very attractive: power, control, relationships remaining a certain way, admiration from others, etc.


Savor the graces of the week

Take some time today to reflect on this incredible journey so far and give thanks for all that you’ve come to love and appreciate about Jesus. Spend some time thanking God for the gift of this adventure and the deepening of your faith in this time.

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