Welcome to ‘Journeying with Jesus’, the Pray-as-you-go & Sacred Space Lent retreat. A retreat is time out from the normal whirl of events to look back on what has happened, take stock of where you are at and make any necessary changes for a better future.
God is always working with us, gently urging, communicating and seeking contact, and our job is to give time to try and respond - however that may be. A time of retreat is a time of prayer; and a time of prayer is a time when we can be open and honest with God, trying to simply spend time with God, and trying to work out how best to respond.
Saint Ignatius reminds us that God is in our deepest desires. Listening to the desires of our hearts means becoming quiet within, taking a step back, allowing things to surface, and listening to the God's voice. In order to be able to hear the voice of God, it's important to dedicate time to the retreat. Work out a schedule that best works for your way of life, a period of time which best suits the rhythm of your day. Try and be faithful to it.
One session will be released for each week of Lent, so try and work out a time when you can use it, but however you use it, try and let the desire to meet the Lord grow in you. Each of the readings of this retreat is designed to support you in this endeavour.
Our Theme: Journeying with Jesus
We do not have one evangelist to escort us through Lent this liturgical year; instead, half of our Sunday gospels are narrated by Matthew, the other half by John. Peter Edmonds SJ explains how hearers of this series of readings follow Jesus from the desert to the tomb – a journey that begins just after Jesus’s baptism… A desert, a mountain, a well, a pool, a tomb, a place of execution and a garden: these are the settings for the gospel stories that will guide our Lenten journey. As we make these gospel texts our own through personal reading, prayer and meditation, they can be a means to help us renew these promises with understanding, enthusiasm and conviction. They offer an itinerary which we can travel in our annual Lenten pilgrimage.
This year, as part of ‘The Year of the Word’, we want to allow space as part of our retreat to encounter the living Word of God in a deeper way. Therefore, we have provided a supplementary session to accompany this retreat using the spiritual exercise / practice of ‘Lectio Divina’. The recommendation is that after hearing or reading the scripture passage for each session, we will invite you to pause and practice Lectio Divina either using the supplementary session, or in your own way if you have learnt this practice previously…
Lectio Divina: Listening with the Heart
Lectio Divina is a Latin phrase meaning, ‘Godly reading’. It is a simple yet profound method of prayer found in many traditions of Christian spirituality.
Sometimes it is called 'meditative reading' or 'spiritual reading', but could perhaps better be described as praying with a listening heart.
The 'lectio' of Lectio Divina is a listening with the heart, as you tend to do quite naturally when you are struck by the beauty of a sunset, as you are mulling over a treasured memory, or as you pay attention to someone you love.
In praying this way you hear a scripture passage or other sacred text and you let God guide your heart.
You read slowly, with pauses, and relish or drink in the words you are hearing. A natural process takes place: heartfelt listening moves naturally into a deep reflection upon the words and the silences between them; and that deep reflection leads you to some kind of heartfelt response. You find yourself speaking from the heart to the God who has spoken to you.
Let the ease and rhythm of this approach to prayer carry you deeper into God.
Jesus Christ is revealed to us through His holy Word, whenever we read the Scriptures or hear them proclaimed at Mass. Through Him we come to know the Father.
Lectio Divina Instructions
Have your scripture passage ready in front of you and become comfortable with it.
Read it over a few times to get past any questions that arise about meaning. Invite God to speak to you through the text. Ask for openness. Let yourself settle into an expectant stillness.
This kind of prayer has three 'phases' that you move between as you feel drawn: lectio (reading), meditatio (meditation) and oratio (prayer).
Read slowly and gently, listening with your heart to the words. There is no need to rush. No need to get to the end of the passage. When a particular word or phrase strikes you and seems to have some savour, linger with it ...
... let it into you. Pause with it. Let the word or phrase resonate. Repeat it to yourself, relish it, let it echo and soak into you until the 'flavour' begins to go, then ...
... let yourself respond in prayer, in words from the heart, or a space full of silence, or spontaneous, unspoken feeling. Whenever the moment feels ripe, begin to read again ...
When you are ready, mark the end of your time of prayer with some closing gesture or words of prayer. Afterwards you might want to make a note of anything that seemed significant.