The Passion and Holy Week

An Ignatian Prayer Adventure online retreat

This is Holy Week, which is the subject of what the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises call the Third Week. During this week we accompany Jesus through the Last Supper, the agony in the garden, the betrayal and arrest, the scourging and trial, the Way of the Cross, the crucifixion, death, and burial.

That’s a lot to take in, and I don’t think it’s possible to take in all of it during any one day or week, even if we attend all the special church services and read the extra Scripture readings and spend more time in prayer. There’s only so much one heart can hold and feel and comprehend.

So listen to your own heart and allow it to land in a specific place this week—an event or one aspect of an event that takes place in Jesus’ life during Holy Week. St. Ignatius encourages us to have conversational prayer with Jesus, walking alongside Jesus as a friend while he goes through his great Passion.

Imagine watching something horrific happening to a person you know and love. Some of us don’t have to imagine—we have experienced this. Allow Jesus’ experience of the Passion to be as close and human as the suffering you have witnessed in your life or another’s. Take the time to consider details such as:

  • Sharing with friends what you know will be a last meal.
  • Being arrested and secreted away from loved ones.
  • Going through a legal process without any advocate or legal representation.
  • Being abused by law enforcement or other people with power over you.
  • Having your words and actions skewed by others.
  • Watching close companions scatter and disappear when you need them most.
  • Being subjected to torture, whether private or public.
  • Seeing your mother’s face, as she watches you suffer and cannot help you.
  • Meeting your death in a situation that is chaotic and painful, and one that misrepresents you to the whole world.

Grace to you, as you meditate on suffering, compassion, and love.

This post is a part of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure, Week 7.


  1. Vinita

    Your writing is so vivid I will read this reflection many times and today the Agony
    in the garden stood out as I recalled a dear friend committing suicide and try to
    be conscious that we never know what someone else is dealing with

  2. I keep thinking of Mary, His mother. How did she stand it? Do you think she knew, as He did?

    I know how I felt when I lost my own adult son.

  3. Vinita: I never thought of sharing Jesus’ last meal with him while he was on this earth. What a visual. What a pulling sensation. Thank you for adding another dimension to my Holy Week commemorations.

  4. Vinita, you always strike right at the heart of the matter. Thank you for this challenge for Holy Week. I shall be sharing this with some ministry leaders. Blessings!


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