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Members of the Roman Curia with Pope Francis on retreat Members of the Roman Curia with Pope Francis on retreat  (Vatican Media)

Spiritual Exercises: "Jesus Wants to Quench our Thirst"

“Let the one who thirsts come” framed the reflection of Fr. José Tolentino Mendonça for the spiritual exercises of the Roman Curia on Monday.

By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp

Pope Francis and members of the Vatican Curia travelled on Sunday afternoon to the "Casa del Divin Maestro,” a retreat centre in Ariccia, located in the Alban hills just outside Rome. They are taking part in the week-long Curial Spiritual Exercises. For his meditation on Monday, Portughese Fr José Tolentino Mendonça chose the phrase that the Apostle John puts on the lips of Jesus in the final chapter of the Book of Revelation.

Jesus offers unconditional love


Fr Tolentino says, Jesus comes to us in his own incompleteness, in his own emptiness. He stands before us and repeats the phrase, “Let the one who thirsts come!" Jesus offers the water of life, that is, unconditional love, even though he knows that we are still “incomplete and under construction.” Fr Tolentino then suggests that since this is Jesus’ final invitation, we need to recognize that we are the ones who are thirsty, and more importantly, “just how much we thirst.”


Thirst is a teacher


As any dehydrated person can attest, water is the cure, Fr Tolentino continued. Quoting American poet Emily Dickinson’s, “water is taught by thirst,” Fr Tolentino asks the question, “do we allow our thirst to be a school of authentic awareness—ours and God’s?” Our thirst goes undetected because it “is painful and is discovered little by little.” Fr Tolentino concluded saying that in the end, Jesus invites us to dialogue with him about “the most profound dimensions of existence, so that we can meet that thirst present in every human person: thirst for relationship, acceptance and love.”

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19 February 2018, 11:19