Contemplation on Spiritual Banquets

Let us eat together (Pix: Canva.com)

Contemplation on Spiritual Banquets…

(A Spiritual Exercise)

I make a gesture of reverence like a bow, folded hands in prayer, or the Sign of the Cross.

I enter a period of silence and meditation…

I think about what I desire, that I desire to be invited to and share in a Spiritual Banquet…

I take an item or symbol of life giving food, touching it, like a piece of bread, rice, or whatever I have to offer, and hold it in my hands. I remember a special family meal where all family members gathered in harmony.

I enter into silent meditation for two minutes, holding the item and if I am in a group, sharing the item I am holding with others. If what I hold is consumable, I break off a portion and give it to another and we eat together.

I read the Prayer Texts below:

Luke 14: 15-24

15 When someone sitting at table with him had heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is he who will eat bread in the kingdom of God.”

16 So he said to him: “A certain man prepared a great feast, and he invited many.

17 And he sent his servant, at the hour of the feast, to tell the invited to come; for now everything was ready.

18 And at once they all began to make excuses. The first said to him: ‘I bought a farm, and I need to go out and see it. I ask you to excuse me.’

19 And another said: ‘I bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to examine them. I ask you to excuse me.’

20 And another said, ‘I have taken a wife, and therefore I am not able to go.’

21 And returning, the servant reported these things to his lord. Then the father of the family, becoming angry, said to his servant: ‘Go out quickly into the streets and neighborhoods of the city. And lead here the poor, and the disabled, and the blind, and the lame.’

22 And the servant said: ‘It has been done, just as you ordered, lord, and there is still room.’

23 And the lord said to the servant: ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel them to enter, so that my house may be filled.

24 For I tell you, that none of those men who were invited will taste of my feast.’ ” (CPDV)

I meditate in silence, thinking about the prayer texts above.

  • If doing this exercise in a group, (for instance, a Zoom interreligious on-line Spiritual banquet) I gently share my thoughts and express my love for a person of another culture, race, or religion, saying, out loud: “I love you!” I share any spiritual or other needs I have as appropriate. I ask to be included in the other person’s thoughts and prayers, and I ask out loud, “Will you please pray for me?”
  • I am silent again, this time hoping to enter a state of thoughtless contemplation, allowing God to do His work silently and passively in my heart and mind and satisfy my spiritual needs…
  • I and others, if I am in a group, express thanks for this Spiritual Banquet, saying “Thank You, God!” I breathe in the Spirit of thankfulness and breathe out the Spirit of thankfulness and satisfaction for others to receive…
  • I read the prayer, the Suscipe, from Spiritual The Exercises of St. Ignatius, (234) myself or in my group in communion with others:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess. Thou hast given all to me. To Thee, O Lord, I return it. All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will. Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me.

  • I am silent, slowly breathing in the Spirit of thankfulness without comments or additional discussion, but I will if needed, discuss what I have experienced with my Spiritual Director, Pastor, or counselor or friends and I resolve to take this exercise again as often as needed and share it with others as appropriate in person or via electronic means.

Go in Peace, take time out of your life to receive this Exercise, as well as taking additional time to enter ino thoughtless silence, to connect yourself with the inner image of God present in all mankind. When you see three dots…, it means to pause at that part of the Exercise in reflection.

John Cooper

Tuscaloosa, AL

About jcooperforpeace
Spiritual Director, Spirituality of Inner Peace

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