Step 31: Jesus appears to the disciples on the lakeshore


Each prayer session will be structured as it follows:

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 passages 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. The “Orientation” below gives help for how to arrange the sessions of this Step.

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:

As St. Ignatius says: “Here it will be to ask for the grace to be glad and rejoice intensely because of the great joy and the glory of Christ our Lord” [221].

This grace what we ask in the Fourth Phase is part of the general goal of identification with Christ and with his ideals throughout the Exercises. With other words, the joy asked now is a “unitive” grace as the compassion, shame and sorrow were in the Third Phase. And is a gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit as we saw it in the file “Fourth Phase Introduction”. Besides this generous joy with Christ we can be glad also for what the resurrection of Jesus means for us, for the hope of our own life now and of our future resurrection.


Jesus is recognized in this apparition in the action of a miraculous catch of fish by the “beloved disciple”, John, although the story is focused more on Peter.

This event is a reminiscence to the other catch in Lk 5:1-11, a symbol of the success of Peter as a future fisherman of men.

Jesus has on the shore some fish on a charcoal fire and this is a reminder to the other charcoal fire by which Peter warmed himself on the night of his denial (Jn 18:18).

Then Jesus tests Peter by three times questioning him about his love – somehow to repeal his triple denial. These verses are traditionally interpreted as the validation of Peter’s mission as supreme shepherd with universal jurisdiction.

For this as for all contemplations of the Fourth Phase we take as model the first appearance of the risen Jesus to his mother in Step 28. Read with attention also the [226-229] “Notes on how to proceed” for the Fourth Phase


Scripture passage: Jn 21

There are additional contemplations that you can use for prolonging the time spent with the resurrection phase.

St. Ignatius brings for the contemplation other apparitions from the Scriptures:

Mt 28:16-20;

1 Cor 15,6-8;


and also from the tradition:

“He appeared to Joseph of Arimathea, as may be piously believed, and as read in the Lives of Saints” [310];

“He appeared also in soul to the Fathers in limbo; He appeared to them likewise after He had taken them from there and assumed His body again” [311].

This latter apparition is referring to the passage of the Apostolic Credo stating that Jesus “descended into hell”. Eastern Orthodox iconography uses this moment for representing the resurrection. See an example from the XVI. century here .  “These icons show the moment when the victorious Christ descends into hell, and standing on the broken doors of its entrance reaches out with tenderness to the weak and old Adam and Eve to help them up. Under this central scene, which is dominated by the brilliant figure of Christ the icon usually shows the darkness of hell full of instruments of torture, while on the sides a group of the just and prophets from the Old Testament are waiting for their redemption” . (From the Manual )


Final Prayers:

In the Fourth Phase the companions can end the contemplations with a prayerful dialog or choose the threefold prayer as in the previous phase. After some sharing and jotting in their diary they close with an Our Father…