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Choosing the Cave An Ignatian Digital Retreat For a Pandemic, part 2 of 4

In this second module, we reflect on choice. Though none of us chose this pandemic, we can choose how we respond each and every moment.

Read: The Agony in the Garden

Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.”
He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
Withdrawing a second time, he prayed again, “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”
Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open. He left them and withdrew again and prayed a third time, saying the same thing again.
Then he returned to his disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand.”

Jesus did not seek out suffering; he prayed that God take it away. Nevertheless, he chose to embrace the path before him.

Where do you see yourself in the Scripture passage? What can you apply from Christ's example to your current reality?

Decide What You'll Do

In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Gandalf have their own cave moment. Themselves trapped in the Mines of Moria (Khazad-dûm for you hardcore fans), Frodo turns to Gandalf to lament their current circumstances. Frodo, the bearer of the One Ring, is struggling. The One Ring – a source of powerful evil in the story – has brought nothing but pain, suffering, uncertainty. That's something we can all relate to in this moment.

How does Gandalf's response apply to you? How does it echoes Christ's prayer: “My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!”

Contemplative Activity

Take out a piece of paper. Draw a line down the middle. In the left-hand column, begin to list out all the things that this moment of pandemic demands of you. (Flexibility in working from home. Availability to ailing parents. Self-sacrifice so as not to infect a vulnerable neighbor. And so on.)

In the right-hand column, list out those things you will have to choose to let go of in order to fulfill the new demands you named in the column on the left. What will be most difficult to let go of?