Day 40 – Contemplative in Action

In addition to Jesus, the Son of God, the other main actor in the “theo-drama” is the Mother of God, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Both, having completely reverted Adam and Eve’s sin of “pride”, have become the Father’s perfect followers who have also perfectly fulfilled the mission bestowed on them by the Father. The collaboration between the Son and the Holy Mother is the fulfilment of the Father’s will; their seamless collaboration is the perfect fulfilment of The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father, Who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. One can say that Jesus and Mary are the perfect partners in the “theo-drama”. 

In the same way, God also wants each of His children to become His partner in order to accomplish “the greater works”. How could we even consider not trying to learn and ask for help from Jesus and Mary? First of all, “humility” is not only a portrayal of the Lord Jesus and Mother Mary, but also the primary condition for being an actor/actress in the “theo-drama”. Furthermore, because the Father knows everything as the “director” of the entire “drama”, the Son and Mother Mary are intimately connected with the Father. Mary treasures and ponders every word in the script, that is, the word of God; she shows no fear towards things that she does not fully understand. When the appointed time arrives, Mary appears on stage and delivers a flawless “performance” of the “script”. 

Each morning commences a new episode of the play; it’s also the time to communicate with the director. We need to dialogue with the Father in our solitude and quietude, so that we may receive His words and instructions in order to meet the requirements for our role on that day, and facilitate the development of the “plot”.

First of all, we need to “stop and listen” to the director’s guidance, then “act”, and then “pause” to “treasure and ponder” every message received. The “learning from the reflection” can then be applied to the next act. This same process is to be repeated multiple times every day. The more “parts” we have in the drama, that is, the more work we have to complete that day, the greater the need to press the pause button and spend more time “consulting the director”! 

According to Ignatian spirituality, becoming a “contemplative in action” means:

that our active life feeds our contemplative life and our contemplative life informs our active life.

Ignatian spirituality is grounded in the conviction that God is active in our world.

In addition to knowing what we should do in our life, that is, to fulfil the Father’s will, we also need to know how to do it; in other words, the proper means to accomplish God’s will. 

In the example of Martha and Mary welcoming Jesus, the focus is not what they do to attend to Jesus but how they do it, their attitude, and their motivations (ref. Luke 10:38-42). Many biblical scholars agreed that even if Martha had chosen to sit by Jesus’ feet and listen to Him, her mind would still be preoccupied with the “many things”; thus, unable to accept what Jesus has to tell her. Contrarily, if Mary chose to serve Jesus by preparing food for him while maintaining her attitude and mentality of listening to God, she would still be able to have a genuine encounter with Jesus through her active work and service.

The core is that we need to know what is the “only necessary thing” in life, that is, ” to listen to Jesus and do whatever He tells you”. We should not let the “many things” disturb and “distract” us into a state of “chaos” , thus losing “Order” and “Focus”.

If God is the director of every moment of our life, He is also an integral part of our life. If we allow God to enter into our life, we become family; He, our kind and gentle Father. Then, we will not have trouble recognizing His voice, and by listening to Him, we can discern His will. When we get to know His “temperaments” gradually, we will also get to know “how” God wants us to live out His will. 

When we follow this method to strengthen our communication and cooperation with the Father,  we will not be easily swayed by our own motivations and external influences. Neither will our work nor our surrounding environment stand between us and our intimate communication and cooperation with the Father. In this way, our work and surroundings will be transformed from being obstacles into a time and space in which we may effectively encounter and pray to the Father, and support us on our path to holiness! 

St. Josemaria Escrivá once said:

“Jesus, let my distractions be the other way around. Instead of thinking of the world when I am engaged in conversation with you, let me rather think of you when I am engaged in the things of this world”.

Ultimately, the foundation of everything we discussed earlier is “humility”. This is echoed by what John the Baptist said in the Gospel of John, Chapter 3, Verse 30,

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

(John 3:30)

Though this proclamation does not come from Jesus, His whole life testifies to it! Jesus has devoted His entire life to “increase” and glorify God.

Since Jesus has made the Father’s will the anchor of His life and “fulfilling the Father’s will” the highest goal for His disciples,

even among the hustle and bustle of His public ministry, His heart is peaceful and steady; His unwavering confidence comes from His unshakable confidence in the Father.

The source of all these is Jesus’ intimate relationship with His Father! Jesus and our Holy Mother Mary are, indeed, exemplars of “contemplative in action”!

Like Jesus and Mary, if we dwell in God and align our life with His will as well as endeavour to fully cooperate with Him, we don’t need to be afraid of sufferings, illnesses, and other challenges in life! Indeed, God will grant us a life that is serene and trouble-free, as well as the gift of “holy indifference” mentioned in previous reflections, when we have full confidence and rely completely on Him. When we can see God in all things, the peace of Christ, a peace that cannot be taken away, and the true “interior order” will remain with us always!

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 14, Verse 27, Jesus says,

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.”

(John 14:27)


Would you aspire to be a “contemplative in action”? How would you learn from Jesus to let go of the “many things” of the world and the so-called high-efficiency attachment?

How can you learn true humility from the Lord Jesus and Our Lady?

During the whole retreat, is there anything, insight or learning, that you are  thankful for?

Today’s Prayer

Loving Abba Father, as I complete this 40-day retreat, I thank and praise You, and I long to honour Your Holy Name by saying the Litany of Humility:

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honoured, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

If you find this reflection helpful and have not registered to receive our daily email, we invite you to sign up here. If you have a Facebook account and would like to share your thoughts there, we invite you to join this Facebook group .

Sincerely invite you to share the reflections that inspires you by this day’s retreat.

The following is the “Farmer of Hearts: Finding Order in Chaos” team,
including FLL staff and volunteers.
Please kindly pray for them. May God protect them
and sustain their physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Project Manager: Michael Lam
Writer: Paul Yeung
English Translator: Susanna Mak
Editors: Bonny Chan, Rosa Tse
Cantonese Narrator: Margaret Woo
English Narrators: Bonny Chan, Francis Lai
Mandarin Narrators: Rene Ren, Anthony X.
Audio Editors: Arnold Chan Sander Lee, Margaret Woo
YouTube Editor: Sander Lee
Graphics: Francis Lai, Rosa Tse
Website: Patricia Young
Podcast: Angela Wong
Social Media: Carmen Tsang, Rosa Tse
“Farmer” Support: Otto Lam
Other Support: Yollie Leung

Thank you for participating in this 40-day Lenten spiritual journey, Finding Order in Chaos. We hope you have been inspired and have benefitted from it! For the spiritual benefit of all of you, Fountain of Love and Life devotes a lot of time and effort in producing various spiritual projects every year, and all our ministries are sustained by the generous donations of our supporters. We hope you will support us with prayers and donations. Please make an online donation using the button at the top of the website Thank you very much for your support. God bless!