A Guided Meditation on The Last Supper – Eucharistic 2024


In meditating on the Last Supper, we can imagine ourselves present with Jesus and His Apostles there. Jesus acted as a servant to wash the feet of His Apostles, and we can come to Him to allow Him to wash our feet as well.

Thank you for watching and participating in this retreat!

Not Registered, yet? Don’t miss the rest of the talks! Register for the Pray More Retreat!


Audio MP3

Click here to download the audio file.

Printable Study Guide PDF

Click here to download the printable study guide.

Printable Transcript PDF

Click here to download the transcript of the video presentation.

Reflective Study Guide Questions

“He loved his own in the world and he loved them to the end.”

Jn. 13:1

1. Sr. Kathryn walks us through a guided meditation on the Last Supper. As Jesus washes the feet of His Apostles, what might He have been feeling? What do you think He was thinking about?

2. We can imagine ourselves present in the room with Jesus and His Apostles as He washes their feet. As you place yourself there in your imagination, what do you feel when Jesus’ eyes meet yours?

3. Jesus puts Himself at the service of His Apostles as a servant would do when He washes their feet. As you place yourself in this scene in your imagination, what is some small service you can offer to Him?

4. We can imagine Jesus washing our own feet in this scene as well. What do you feel as you imagine Him asking you to sit down so that He can wash your feet?

Text: A Guided Meditation on The Last Supper

I am sister Kathryn James Hermes, and I’m so glad that you’re joining me today for this session in the Pray More Eucharist retreat. I’m so excited in this session to be able to pray with you. I’ll be guiding a prayer meditation based on one of the most beautiful, sections of John’s gospel that we have that is truly a eucharistic, gospel. And, to be able to pray together is such a gift, really, is such a gift. So before we start, let’s just say a prayer and ask the Holy Spirit to come down and be with us today.

Opening Prayer

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Father, I thank you for this time of prayer that we have together. I thank you for every person who’s here. I thank you for the gift of your Son, for the gift of the Eucharist, for the gift of faith, for the gift of our baptism and your gift to the Holy Spirit.

You become, become before you with such poverty, we are poor in every way. We are vulnerable, we are humble, we are so in need of you, Father. So we ask you to send down your Holy Spirit in a powerful way on each of us as we pray that each of us might encounter Jesus, experience that moment that we’re going to enter in the gospels, see his eyes upon us, look into his face, receive his love. Father, we need everything from you, everything as we come to you as children with great confidence and trust and hope. Amen. In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

A Prayer for Gratitude

So I invite you to begin, by taking a moment to relax. Take a deep breath, hold it, and then let it out with a sigh. Take another deep breath, hold it, and then as you let it out, intentionally relax all the muscles in your face, your shoulders, your whole body, your legs, your ankles, your feet. Just notice this new place of inner peace.

And I invite you to offer a prayer of gratitude to, in a sense rest in your father’s arms. We ask you, Jesus, that every aspect of this prayer will please you and will give glory to God. In the chapter of the Gospel of John, we read this very lovely story of the last Supper. John doesn’t actually describe for us the last Supper in the same way that Matthew, mark, Luke, and John do in the Synoptics. Instead, he gives for us this, this picture, this triptych in a sense of Jesus washing the feet of His apostles. And so I want to lead you in a guided prayer, a deeper prayer into this experience with Jesus that is so profound.

The Evening Meal in Progress

So before the festival of the Passover, John tells us Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. And so the gospel tells us that “Having loved His own in the world, He loved them to the end.” And then He says the evening meal was in progress.

How is Jesus experiencing this moment in the evening meal? And don’t come up with an intellectual answer. Abide instead with the word remaining within Jesus and His experience there at that supper, that Passover meal. Ask Jesus to reveal to you how He is most deeply experiencing His relationship with the disciples at this moment. Imagine yourself at that table. You with the disciples have been hearing indications that Jesus said His hour had come and Jesus had clearly stated at the house of Bethany when Mary had anointed Him that her action should be kept as a sign of his impending death.

Now, in this evening that was quiet with this Passover reverence, you can see with all the other apostles that Jesus is sad and that His heart is full. What is Jesus seeing as His eyes sweep across His table prepared for the Passover meal? Is He looking around at His disciples? Does He look into each face, these that He had chosen? Is He cherishing memories of interactions that He had had in the past three years with each one of them? What is in Jesus’ heart? What is He feeling as He prepares to leave them?

Allow yourself to be moved by what Jesus is experiencing as He thought about that next day, good Friday, did He shiver knowing the terrible reality of crucifixion or what was in His heart for each one of these disciples who would flee? All but one did memories of three years of discipling them, run through His imagination. What did His heart feel for these men? What are you feeling as you are in this room? When Jesus’ eyes meet yours, what happens? What is in His heart was happening within you? What do you notice? What is your experience of this graced moment in your inspired imagination?

Reach out to Jesus us. Is there some small service that you can offer to Him at this moment? How can, on a level of emotions, on a level of love, how can you connect to Him? And is there something you want to tell Him? Tell Him that now We read in the gospel, “Having loved His own, who were in the world, Jesus loved them to the end.”

Determined to Be Love You Always

I had like to tell you a little story. My mother has Alzheimer’s. And, many years ago when all of us knew that she had a very severe, or a very severe sense of dementia, although it was something that she herself had not admitted, I was home. And my dad and I got up and it was the end of the day and my mom got up from the chair and fell on the floor. We looked back and we ran to help her, and we were able together to pick her up and get her to the bedroom and just lay her down, take off her shoes and, and let her rest in the bed. And, it was just so powerful. She curled up in a fetal position almost, And she started to cry.

It was the first moment that she actually admitted that out loud, that she had Alzheimer’s, the big a word, as she would say later. And my dad got into bed on the other side and curled up in the same position. And my mom said, “I’m going to be a burden, I’m going to be a burden.” And my dad said to her, “honey, you are my girl. You’ll always be my girl, and I will never ever leave you.”

I had to leave the room, the moment was so tender. And when I remember this event, I’m still to this day, as you can tell, touched by the tenderness and, and the determination of my father to remain with my mom no matter what the future would bring.

Jesus’ love on the night of that last supper was something like this. As if he was saying, I am determined to love you always. I am determined to be with you, always, no matter what the future will bring, return to that space in your inspired imagination. There at the Last Supper this night before He died this night of the Eucharist, when He gave Himself to us in the Eucharist, this is my body, this is my blood, do this in remembrance of me.

Our heart so needs to hear the tender, intimate assurances of Jesus. We bring our heart to the cross, to the mass, to eucharistic adoration. There we can tell Jesus everything, particularly in those moments after receiving communion, Jesus listens to you and He responds. That’s why I’m here. You’ll always be my beloved disciple no matter what it costs, That’s why I’m here, I will always be here for you. Always allow yourself at this moment to hear those words spoken to you in whatever place you are in, in your life right now.

The Significance of the Towel Wrapped Around Jesus

It was just before the Passover Festival, and Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to leave this world and to go to the Father having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and Jesus knew that the Father had put all things into His hands and that He had come from God and that He was returning to God. So He got up from the meal, He took off His outer clothing, and He wrapped a towel around His waist. And after that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet, drawing them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

One of the most prominent symbols in this passage, one that probably is never really talked about, never noticed, is the towel. And I did a little study of the garments that were worn by people in biblical times around the time of Jesus. So the scripture says that Jesus laid aside His garments and took a towel and girded Himself. This towel that Jesus picked up to replace, the garments that He had taken off was not a hand towel, it was not a rag, It was not some small thing.

In Greek, It is called a “λέντιον” (lention), it was a linen cloth. It was a towel or even an apron that servants would put on when they were about to work. So Jesus girds Himself, He wraps around Himself this towel, and He takes up the work of servants. the servants were the ones who were tasked with washing the feet of guests as a sign of hospitality and only servants. And interestingly enough, this same cloth was used to cover the nakedness of criminals during crucifixion.

So this towel becomes, this apron becomes symbolic of Jesus’ servanthood, symbolic of the meaning of His whole life and mission, the key even to the meaning of the Eucharist. It symbolized His incarnation as word become flesh for our salvation. Setting aside His glory, humbling Himself to rescue us from sin and death. And as a linen cloth is wrapped around the body of those who are being crucified, it prefigures His upcoming death as a garment that is humble. It’s something that represents what is powerless, is the choosing of vulnerability and love over power and domination. And it teaches us the deepest meaning of the Eucharist.

Meditation on the Washing of the Feet

As Jesus takes off His garments and He wraps Himself in this servant’s apron, see it in your inspired imagination, in your heart, and jump up to assist Him. See yourself jumping up to assist Him. Jesus hands His garments to you and you fold them and set them aside maybe on a bench that’s there. And you watch as He picks up the servant’s towel and apron, and He wraps it around Himself, your teacher wrapping a servant’s apron around Himself.

And then in this middle of this very meal that is structured, the Passover, very ritualistic, He stops and He fills His space in with water, and He asks you to sit down. There is no hurry, this moment we’re asking for the grace to know Jesus intimately, to love Him more intensely And To follow Him, to follow Him more closely. At this moment, here you are entering into the mystery. This deeper contemplation of Jesus is really an apprenticeship, an apprenticeship of your feelings and your senses. It’s a way in which Jesus forms you in such a way that you begin to feel with Him. And that your very feelings, your spontaneous feelings, become those of Jesus entering into the mystery, you humbly allow Jesus here before you with this bowl of water asking you to sit. You allow Him to be your master, to educate your senses and your feelings according to the pattern of His own life and heart and teachings. And so it’s really a matter now of becoming saturated with Jesus Christ, with His own way of being and feeling.

So they’re seated before Jesus, who kneels before you with a basin of water. Jesus empties Himself before you as He pours out all the water in the bowl over your feet. Feel that water, all of it poured out, washing, cleansing, cooling, healing, forgiving, saving, comforting. You are seen in the very depths of your being. You are seen with eyes of mercy. You are seen with amazing love As Jesus kneels before you dressed as a slave. He the king of glory on the following day to be a criminal, crucified as a criminal, choosing here to be your servant. Taste the infinite sweetness of this moment.

Touch the humility and the vulnerability of your God. Reach down and take Jesus’ hand into your own hand. What is that like for you? Be moved by the fragrance of His tenderness. And the intimacy of this gesture of His, just in this moment of quiet, peace and rest. Allow yourself to soak up what has been felt And Received, and known and experienced and surprised by in this prayer.

Let your mind wander to the Eucharist, to the church where you go to mass, to the many, many moments in which Jesus gives Himself to you in Holy Communion, to the way Jesus waits humbly in the tabernacle. For someone to love Him, to visit Him, to give Himself to Him as He is loved and given Himself to us, to this vulnerable and seemingly powerless choice of the Eucharist, as the way in which Jesus, the king of glory bends down in service, washing feet with a servant’s towel, a servant’s towel.

This my friends, is how He wishes to remain with us in the world until the end of time. Let your heart look and see and hear and listen. Let your heart touch and taste this Jesus. Be moved by His love.

Reflection on the Gifts of God

Now, before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world, to go to the Father. And having loved His own in the world, He loved them to the end. This deep prayer leads us to be more like Jesus than ourselves. To, begin to resonate with what Jesus resonates with, to love him as if we could see him with our very eyes and touch him with our hands.

I invite you to allow an image or object that encapsulates all these experiences of this prayer to form now in your mind, maybe it was when you took His hand or you felt the water over your feet with a tabernacle in your church with Eucharist in your hands.

Take a moment now to speak with God about the meaning of the significance of the symbol that He has given you. When we finish praying, you might want to write down the main gifts and discoveries that have come to you during this time of intimate contemplation. You might want to write down one concrete thing that you can do even to solidify these gifts in your life.

My friends, I thank you for joining me in this deep time of Eucharistic prayer and I pray that God will continue to bless you on this retreat with, with God’s amazing love, with His unending mercy, and His vulnerable and powerful grace with which He blesses you always and forever. Amen.

About Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, FSP

Sr Kathryn James Hermes, FSP is a Daughter of St Paul, best-selling author, speaker, and an editor for Heart of the Revival, the newsletter for the Eucharistic Revival. Through Sr. Kathryn’s books thousands have found healing and a spiritual path rooted in Scripture which leads from fear to confidence as they touch, often for the first time, how much God cherishes them and that in his arms they are finally safe.

Sr Kathryn is the author of Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach, Reclaim Regret—How God Heals Life’s Disappointments, St. Joseph—Help for Life’s Emergencies, and Finding Inner Peace.

Whether she is writing on websites and blogs, or offering retreats and conferences, she believes that when we have the courage to explore, love, open and nourish our heart we discover that the paths of Light are imprinted within us where the Trinity abides, and we learn to walk them through the valleys and mountaintops of lived experience with hope.

Sr Kathryn enjoys cooking, reading, watching the sunrise, and can often in the early mornings be found in the chapel. Online you can find her at www.touchingthesunrise.com.