Category: Preparing for Eucharist

Preparing for Eucharist: The Call of the King

Today’s Readings

Pray-As-You-Go Audio Meditation

Entrance Antiphon

“You are just, O God, and your judgment is right; treat your servant in accord with your merciful love.” Psalm 119(118):137, 124


A very personal story about discipleship. Two years ago, while on retreat my spiritual director encouraged me to sit with an Ignatian meditation known as “the Call of the King.” The meditation has two basic parts:

First, the retreatant deeply considers what it would be like to say “yes!” to a great leader; someone from fiction, from history, or living today who one deeply respects and admires. Anyone of one’s own choosing. I chose Martin Luther King, Jr. I had audio recordings of a couple of his speeches on my smartphone. So when the time came to contemplate this hypothetical encounter, I listened to the Rev. Dr. King’s “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech given in 1968. The retreat was silent and I sat at dinner quietly with earphones whispering Dr. King’s magnetic and charismatic voice into my ears. I listened to it’s 10 minutes twice. The people hung on every word; they encouraged him and shouted to him for more. And I began to think about how this speech was delivered in Memphis the day before he was gunned down.

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.

And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

Anxiety rushed through me. Why? I knew enough of the story to know how it ended. But, I was thinking about all the others around him who later revealed that Dr. King was, in fact, riddled with fear. He knew that those who hated him were willing to make him pay the ultimate price for his prophetic witness. I was anxious because I knew enough about this meditation to know what was coming next. 

After dinner, I went to my room to brush my teeth, returned to the retreat house chapel, and began to sit with the second half of the meditation. As the prompt in the The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola says, “The parable of the temporal king is meant only to help contemplate the life of Christ our eternal king.”* I had done this spiritual exercise before. I knew the real question was “If Dr. King’s vision of justice and commitment to helping America to be what it said it was so compelling, how much more could I be open to saying yes to ‘renouncing all my possessions’ to be a disciple of Christ?”

I left the chapel at some point to walk the grounds of the property. I don’t actually remember the details of my prayer. I do recall thinking that if I were so nervous and anxious about following along the way of Dr. King and countless others, how would I fair when being invited by Christ to join him on the Way of the Cross. Today’s gospel reading uses what appears to be hyperbolic language to emphasize Jesus’ serious call to follow him.  Are we willing to allow our commitment to God in Christ to determine all other commitments, even if it causes rejection and misunderstanding? That evening in June I wasn’t sure I was willing.

In the end, for me, what matters most is that the person of Jesus is just that: a person. And not only just any person; he is my friend, the friend above all friends. Over the years, his way of life, his extraordinary message has become so central to how I make sense of reality itself, I think I will always be faced with his loving and inviting gaze, even reaching out to me from the Cross saying, “Will you join me in giving your life away for the mission of redeeming the entire world?” And only with his help could I – or any of us – say a legitimate and resounding, YES: “Lord, to who else can we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

To what great mission are you being invited into? How will you recognize the call when you hear it? What are the risks? What are the rewards? Come to the Eucharist; one day at time, God can turn your longing for something more into a life worth living.

*David L. Fleming, SJ. Draw Me Into Your Friendship: A Literal Translation and a Contemporary Reading of the Spiritual Exercises. Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1996.

Communion Antiphon

“Like the yearns for running streams, / so my soul is yearning for you, my God; / my soul is thirsting for God, the living God.” Psalm 42(41):2-3

“The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Tomb on the Morning of the Resurrection”  by Eugène Burnand, 1898.

Have Mercy on Me

by The Porter’s Gate (feat. David Gongur

The goodness of the Lord is the kindess of the Lord 

with ev’ry breath we take, the gift of life and grace. 

The power of the Lord is the meekness of the Lord 

who bore humanity with brave humility. 

Let Your mercy flow through us, Your mercy, Your mercy.

Let Your mercy flow through us, Your mercy, Your mercy.    

The beauty of the Lord is the suff’ring of the Lord, 

is Christ upon a tree, stripped of dignity. 

The glory of the Lord is the mercy of the Lord, 

gives life for us to see a new humanity: 

When they see us, may they see Your mercy, Your mercy. 

When they know us, may they know Your mercy, Your mercy. 

Bless the hands and feet of those who serve in need, 

of the broken and ashamed 

Bless the weary soul, the Lord will make us whole; 

God, speak peace to those afraid! 

May the words we speak build a bridge for peace— 

Your lovingkindness shows the way! 

Open up our doors, giving refuge for all the weary and afraid…