Hello and welcome to this Online Retreat!
The online retreat you are about to start is inspired by the life and teachings of St Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei. Opus Dei is Latin for work of God.
With Gods help and grace the time you put aside for the retreat can become an opportunity to draw closer to to our Lord.
The main message of St Josemaria is that work, family life and everyday circumstances are all opportunities to discover the love of Christ and to make him known to others.
A retreat provides a spiritual space to ponder these ideas and consider your life in the light of God’s love. This retreat will take us through the Gospel scenes helping us discover our own personal journey of conversion in Christ. If we let Him, our Lord will open our eyes and draw us closer to Himself.
Usually a retreat is silent, as it is time set aside to converse with God. As you will be doing it at home, you will need to think of how to do this in the best possible way in your circumstances. Cf. Tips to do a retreat a home.
These efforts will not go unrewarded! Striving to maintain external silence, and inner recollection will bring us to a point where we are more ready to hear what our Lord wants to tell us. This can lead towards paths of contemplation.
You will be guided through the retreat with a number of meditations, talks, praying of the Rosary and the Way of the Cross. There will also be quiet moments for personal prayer and reflection. During the retreat we will consider a number of topics in view of the theme for the year, Discovering Holiness in Everyday Life.
The priest of the retreat will be available everyday for Confessions and Spiritual Direction or simply to have a chat to. This will be available at the centre hosting the retreat from 2.30pm onwards by appointment only, following the COVID-19 saftely plans in place.
A big intention of the retreat will be for all those effected by the Pandemic and that it may end as soon as possible.
Please find the timetable with links to more information about aspects of the retreat.
We hope you will find these next couple of days beneficial and an opportunity to pray, gain insight and renew your hope.
TIPS TO DO A RETREAT AT HOME
Below are a few tips to consider to get the most of your retreat at home:
* In the days leading up to this retreat start asking the Holy Spirit for lights
* Try to become more recollected interiorly by saying short aspirations like:
“Your will be done”,
“Lord that I may see, Lord that it may be”, “Prepare me to accept your Will”
* Find a quiet place at home
* Remove any distractions eg: turn your phone off or switch to flight mode, avoid messaging or calling people unnecessarily, avoid listening to music or watching TV , movies , Netflixs etc
* Close your usual internet browser and use one you don’t usually use
* Have all your food prepped and ready to go
* Get pen and paper to take notes
* If you can, organize to attend a Mass locally and receive communion. This is a wonderful source of grace particularly for these days of retreat.
THE RETREAT EXPLAINED
The Mass is celebrated daily during the retreat because it is the “the source and summit of the Christian life”, to which the other
sacraments are oriented.
The tabernacle is a sacred place where the Eucharist is kept. You can usually recognise it because a lamp is burning beside it 24 hours a day. This light reminds us that Jesus is the light of the world and is waiting there for us. During a retreat it is recommended to spend time praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament. As you are doing this retreat at home, we will try to focus the camera on the tabernacle as much as possible.
Visit to the Blessed Sacrament
Our faith teaches us, that in the consecrated Host reserved in the tabernacle, Jesus Christ is really present under the species of bread. We show our belief in his true presense in various ways e.g.: making a point to visit Him daily in the tablernacle of a church or chapel and spend a few minutes in time of prayer. During this retreat we will all make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament together each day during the Benediction.
Benediction is a Eucharist ceremony where the faithful can adore the true presence of God in the Blessed Sacrament and receive a blessing.
“…the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in particular, as well as prayer of adoration before Christ present under the Eucharistic species. If in our time Christians must be distinguished above all by the “art of prayer”, how can we not feel a renewed need to spend time in spiritual converse, in silent adoration, in heartfelt love before Christ present in the Most Holy Sacrament?
St John Paul II, The Eucharist: Life of the Church, 25.
Way of the Cross
The Way of the Cross, is a devotion where we accompany Christ through the last stage of his earthly life: from when he and his disciples, left for the Mount of Olives (Mk 14, 26), until the Lord was taken to the place called Golgotha, The Skull (Mk 15, 22), to be crucified and then buried in a garden nearby, in a new tomb hewn out of the rock.
Saint Josemaría encouraged Christians to follow, in the footsteps of Jesus, the way of the Cross by placing themselves in the wounds of Christ crucified, a short cut he had been using throughout his life, and which led him to the highest peaks of spiritual life. His love for Jesus was always something real, tangible and strong; it was tender, filial and very moving”.
This pious practise is usually done on a retreat. We will not be doing it together, but you may wish to do it on your own.
The Way of the Cross | VIEW
A retreat is a great moment to make a good confession regardless of whether you go frequently or haven’t been for years. God is always ready to forgive us no matter what we have done or how far we have gone from him. The good news is that there is no sin that God cannot forgive. All that is required from us is to be humble, sincere and sorry. Below are a few helpful guides. The priest will also help you if your a bit rusty.
Preparing for confession
Confession made easy
What is Spiritual Direction?
The retreat is a good moment to speak with the priest or a layperson about your spiritual life. Spiritual direction is personal guidance to help us grow in our relationship with God i.e.: growth in our prayer life, virtues and concern for our family and friends.
Possible topics for spiritual direction are:
Prayer – Do I have an intimate dialogue with our Lord? What insights have I had? Do I make practical resolutions?
Mass – Do I make an effort to go frequently? How do I live the Mass?
Spiritual reading– Do I read the Gospel daily? Do I have a spiritual reading book?
Work / study- How am I transforming my work into a dialogue with our Lord?
Mortification – Do I put God first? Do I gladly offer things up to make life easier for the others?
Detachment – Am I determined to love God above everything?
Joys / Sorrows – Is there anything worrying me at the moment? are there any difficulties that I am facing now? Am I experiencing any temptations or sadness?
Holiness – How am I striving to be a saint in daily life?
As this is an online retreat, you may want to organize to talk to someone at the centre or make an appointment to see the priest.
Why do we light candles?
During the retreat candles will be lit for Mass and during the prayers we do together in the Chapel. The light signifies our prayer, which is offered in faith, entering the light of God. It also shows reverence and our desire to remain present in prayer even as we continue on our day.
Liturgically the light of a candle represents Christ as the light; it is also a symbol of truth.
From early times, genuflection has been a gesture of deep respect for a superior. The right knee is reserved for God and the left knee for royalty.
When entering or leaving a church or passing in front of the tabernacle we genuflect.
The genuflection is an act of faith and adoration. It shows we believe Jesus is truly present in the tabernacle.