Step 20: Jesus raises Lazarus and gets anointed at the supper in Bethany- Arriving to a Decision (cont.)


Each prayer session will be structured as it follows:

The following time will be as it is presented in the “Orientation and meditation” below.

We go to our place of prayer quiet down a short while and begin with some prayer. After the opening prayer and asking the grace we want to receive in this step then read one of the given Scripture stories then we spend some time with silent prayer. At the end we jot down a diary about the experience of this meditation and share with our companion about it. Finish always with a short prayer. Each session should take at least half an hour and not more than one and the half hour. We remain with the material as long as we feel that it is fruitful in insights and feelings and add more prayer sessions to prolong the time spent with this step, which can take usually one or two weeks if we do it in our daily life with one prayer session a day.

Don’t forget to do the "Daily Examination of Consciousness"

The practice of Examination will be a great help that you need to use during this retreat.


Opening Prayer:

We place ourselves in the presence of God and pray that everything we do would serve the good for us and for all.

Asking what we want:

We continue with the contemplations on the life of Jesus and as for all such Ignatian contemplations “it will be to ask for an intimate knowledge of our Lord, who has become man for me, that I may love Him more and follow Him more closely” [104].

Orientation and meditation:

In this step we contemplate the events leading up to the final confrontation between Jesus and his enemies at the last Passover. The climate of these last days as Jesus gets near Jerusalem becomes heavier and heavier. The situation of the companions is still similar to the contemplated events of the life of Jesus, as they face the seriousness of the consequences of the decisions they are about to make.

The raising of Lazarus is the most powerful of the “signs” Jesus gave to make his mission as giver of life clear. We can point out the parallel between the raising of Lazarus and the parable in Luke’s gospel on the rich man and the poor Lazarus (Lk 7:11-17). Also the poor Lazarus of the parable died and the rich man requested his return to warn the living of the necessity of conversion and faith. In John’s gospel Lazarus does return from the dead but not all believe, moreover, for the Sanhedrin this miracle of Jesus was the direct motive to seek to kill him.

Then we contemplate the anointing of Jesus that took place in Bethany and which he interpreted as an anticipation of his impending death and burial. Jesus who will be executed as a criminal will not be able to receive the anointing as part of a proper burial, which was thought in the rabbinical tradition as essential condition for the resurrection. Hence it is understandable Jesus’ praise of Mary performing this act of mercy toward him. We can contemplate in this scene of the anointing in Bethany also an icon of the feminine ecclesial service as the complement of the apostolic service represented by the all-masculine Last Supper. From this point of view the prophetic, charismatic and caring dimension is the feminine element, while authority, doctrine, sacraments and law the male side in the life of the Church. The feminine “charismatic element” (read in this regard the chapter with the same title in Karl Rahner, The Dynamic Element in The Church, New York: Herder and Herder, 1964) always complements the male hierarchical and sacramental authority in the Church, the compassion and mercy complements the service of the word in doctrine and teaching, the healing ministry goes together with the work of missions and preaching. While Jesus instituting the hierarchy of the Church on the Last Supper is mentioned many times, the other side of the service of the Church, “instituted” at the Supper in Bethany is almost totally forgotten. The male and feminine expression of the service of the Body of Christ is not exclusive of the actual sexes: men and women as well need to integrate the feminine and the male in their personal life and service; not only men do the teaching and women the works of compassion in the Church but all are engaged in what service Christ calls them regardless of their sex, even if the historical picture of the Church does not reflect too well this equality. Both are called for serving the Body of Christ and their service should culminate in love toward all members of this Body and beyond.


This Step is structured similarly as for the precedent ones of the Second Phase, and  the reflection material is in the chapter "Arriving to a Decision" of the Manual


(Of course, it is always possible to return also now from time to time on the meditation on the "Three Degrees of the Love of God", and if the companions desire the third degree they continue to ask for it in the final threefold prayer)

Read also the articles from the page "Spiritual Healing” , specially " Jesus as Logotherapist: the "technique of common denominator”.


Scripture passages:

1.   Jn 11:1-44 - Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead

2.   Jn 11: 45-57 - The plot against Jesus thickens

3.   Jn 12:1-11 -The anointing at the supper in Bethany

4-5. Mt 26-6-10 and Mk 14:3-9 - “Wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be spoken of, in memory of her”

Final Prayers:

Each prayer session needs to be finished with the threefold prayer to accept the way of Christ as in the “Three Types” [156] and in the “Two Standards” [147], or the prayer of “paradoxical intention” described in [157].