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Pope’s Spiritual Exercises: Recognizing Our Thirst for God Is How We Anchor Our Spiritual Lives

During 2nd & 3rd Reflections, Fr. José Tolentino Reflects on “I became aware that I was thirsty” & “Thirst does not make me ill”

Recognizing our thirst for God is how we anchor our spiritual lives.

According to Vatican News, during the Pope and Roman Curia’s spiritual exercises, Fr. José Tolentino Mendonça, who is leading the meditations, stressed this.

Meditations this year have been entrusted by the Pope to Portuguese priest and Biblical theologian, Father José Tolentino de Mendonça, vice-rector of the Portuguese Catholic University in Lisbon, who is leading the meditations on the theme: “Praise of Thirst.”

On the second full day of the Pope and Roman Curia’s spiritual exercises, Fr. José Tolentino Mendonça meditated on the theme:  “Thirst does not make me ill.”
During this morning’s reflection, he noted that thirst discovered within, is not a manifestation of illness. “The opposite of thirst which appears at times in our lives is apathy. It is this thirst for nothing which more or less assails us imperceptibly that makes us ill.”
Going on to discuss burnout, Fr. Tolentino suggests that the prophet Jonah can teach us “the treatment” for our desires. By fleeing from God, Jonah manifests “the contradiction of our desire,” he says.
Learning from Jesus, the priest stressed, can cure another symptom of apathy, namely sadness. “Come to me, all of you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me” (Mt 11:28-29).

The theme, on the other hand, for Monday afternoon’s reflection was: “I became aware that I was thirsty.”

Focusing on becoming aware of the thirst within, he said: “Connecting with one’s own thirst is not easy work, but if we do not do it, the spiritual life loses its grip on reality.”

Recognizing our thirst, he underlined, is how we anchor our spiritual lives in the concrete reality of who we are.

Sunday afternoon, Feb. 18, 2018, Pope Francis departed the Vatican to participate in his annual Lenten Spiritual Exercises at Casa ‘Gesù Divin Maestro’ (the Divine Master House) in the town of Ariccia near Rome. For a week, the Holy Father will remain there praying with members of the Roman Curia. The retreat will conclude on the morning of Friday, Feb. 23. Until then, all of the Pope’s activities, including the weekly General Audience, Feb. 21, are suspended.

Originally, the Spiritual Exercises took place in the Vatican, but Pope Francis moved them to the retreat house, 16 miles outside of Rome.



About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages). She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, EWTN and Salt & Light. For 'The Other Francis':

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