Lenten Retreat 2022
Lead by Sr. Olivia
Missionary Congregation of The Evangelizing Sisters Of Mary
Theme: Praying with Scripture
Justice and peace Lenten Retreat, 5th March 2022
Theme: Praying with Scripture
We praise and thank you glorious Lord Jesus Christ, for being present among us and in us. In us, you praise the Father with the voice of the Spirit, whom you have given us. Lord, may this voice of the Spirit be roused in us as we listen to the words of Scripture in a manner that is worthy and fitting, appropriated to the meaning of the text and in harmony with what is revealed to us. Make us ready to recognize how we can correspond to the teaching and example proposed to us. For you are God, living and reigning forever and ever. Amen. By -Carlo Maria Martini SJ
Reading: Mt 11: 28-30.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Greetings to you all and thank you for taking your time to pray and listen to this reflection on this day of justice and peace Lenten retreat. I am aware that we have not had in person justice and peace retreat for some time due to Covid 19 restrictions and we were really looking forward to meeting for this retreat at St Paul's Convent Selly Park but unfortunately this did not actualize due to unavoidable circumstances. It has not been easy time for all of us but we thank God that light has come and hopefully we shall meet in person for the next retreat.
Despite the lock-down and all that we have gone through during the hard time, I am sure each of us in one way or another has greatly experienced God’ loving and protecting presence in many ways. We live in the world of many demands, fears, anxiety, wars, uncertainties, noise, and every day we are bombarded with all types of bad News headlines on TV that sometimes we run the risk of not listening and hearing God through that little voice in us that yearns for peace and tranquillity.
The good news is that a time for retreat like this one gives us chance to be with our God and ourselves to pray, confront certain realities in our lives and see a way forward. In fact, retreat is about stepping back, getting in touch with ourselves through prayer and gaining momentum to start again and continue with life in whatever situation we may find ourselves in. We learn this from Jesus in the Gospel of Mark 6:31. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” All of us like going for holidays to different parts of the world and it is our right to do so but do we ever remember to have a holiday with Jesus to listen to him?
Our mother Church cares for us and continually gives us opportunities and places to take time off with Jesus to rest for a while and listen to him. A couple of days ago, we started the Lenten season, a period given by the Church to us to create more time to seek the Lord in prayer by reading Sacred Scripture; to serve by giving alms; and to practice self-control through fasting.
The theme for our retreat today is praying with scripture. I believe all of us pray every day but during Lent season you and I are invited to go an extra mile to pray more using the scripture. It may be a challenge because sometimes we use all kinds of prayers we come across and we forget the Bible in which God speaks to us directly. In 1 Peter 2:9 we are reminded that we are God’s special possession. “ But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light”. This sounds great but we can only feel this when we seriously when we read the word of God and reflect on it in prayer.
The Church forcefully and specially exhorts all the Christian faithful to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Let them remember, however, that prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that a dialogue takes place between God and man. For we speak to him when we pray; we listen to him when we read the divine oracles. -Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2653
Praying with the scripture is a powerful way to pray. It increases our spiritual growth. Many people have testified that just by praying the healing scriptures they have been healed, physically, psychologically, and mentally.
One can live a stress-free life if one can only just pray because when you pray, you are transferring the situation over to God, “come to me…. You are taking the situation out of your hands and putting it into God’s hands. Through praying with scripture, God responds to us, and we feel encouraged in our spiritual journey.
It is a dialogue between the Word (which is Jesus) and you.
Hebrews: 4: 12 says that the word of God is something alive and active. It cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely… This is the power of the word which is not something of the past but alive and active so much that when we hear it, we listen to the promptings of God’s Spirit in the silence of our hearts, and we are challenged to respond in faith and action.
When we speak to God through the scriptures we are coming into agreement with God and his power is released in our prayer. So great healing and conversion can happen when we really let the mystery of the Lord’s Word penetrate our hearts.
Pope Leo XIII said, "In the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven comes lovingly to meet His children and talks with them." St. Ambrose says, "We have been given Sacred Scripture so that God and man may talk together; for we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine saying."
So how do we then Pray with Scripture?
Method of Taking Scripture to Prayer
Before you engage with Praying with scripture, you need to have desire to pray.
This desire will lead you to:
- Prepare a Passage from Scripture and have it marked and ready.
- Find a place where you are alone and uninhibited in your response to God’s presence.
- Choose the best posture: Relaxed and peaceful. A harmony of body with spirit.
- Become aware of Presence of God: Be aware of it and acknowledge and respond to it.
- Invoke the holy Spirit to lead you and when you are ready, turn to the chosen
- Passage and read it slowly and listen attentively.
- Ask the Lord what he is saying to you today.
- Remain silent and re-read the same passage two or three more times very slowly while thinking about this.
- Be calm and carry on your personal dialogue with the Lord about what you have heard him say. Express your feelings to him.
- At the end of prayer reflect on how your prayer was and how you feel about the experience.
- Make a resolution to do what the Lord asks of you.
- Write it down, go back to it over the course of the day.
Thanks once again to you all for taking your time to listen to this reflection and to pray. May you all experience the power of the word of God in prayer.
You never change. Your love remains with us all from generation to generation. We thank you for the richness and beauty of the words in the Bible. Thank you for the blessing of joining with others to learn and grow in your truth, so we say this prayer together now:
Lord, your word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path.
Thank you that we can live in Your light and walk in Your truth.
May the things that you have revealed and thoughts that we have shared dwell in our hearts and stir us to action.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.
Amen. (prayer by Julie Palmer copyright © 2020 www.lords-prayer-words.com)
Documents used during our 2021 on-line Lenten retreat:
Link to Retreat on YouTube: