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@Home Retreat, February 2021

Triangle @Home Monthly Morning Retreat
February 20th, 2021
9:00-10:00am

 

*Prepare your space: Find an area where hopefully you will not be disturbed for your quiet time. Perhaps you want a blanket for yourself. 
*Gather your supplies: Timer, note paper and/or journal, pen. You may want to bring in one or two inspirational books.
*Create an “altar”: Put a few meaningful items out, include a candle.

 

*Opening Song  

Softly and Tenderly – Carrie Underwood

*Opening Prayers

The Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary or your choice.

*Intention

This is a reflective, healing time and we ask that it be filled with the love of the Holy Spirit, the care of Mother Mary and the guidance of all our guardian angels. We are here to learn from one another and to support each other on our journey towards a closer, more intimate relationship with Our Lord.
*Write out a prayer request or a few and add them to your “altar.”

*Reflection

Lent has begun.  Have you made any “plans” for how to honor this time?  There are a lot of good suggestions available with just a little research. This is my favorite time of year.  I love the thought that I am going to plant the seeds of something I want to harvest at the end of these 40 days.  A common question asked about a Lenten practice is, “What are you giving up?”  Instead, this year, consider what you’d like to see change.  This is your opportunity to create something beneficial for you and for your community.  Don’t let it get away.  Find time and a practice to stay connected to God, the Divine, Our Lord. Listen to what comes into your heart and your life during this time.  Claim love, peace, hope, trust, compassion and gratitude?
Using your journal write about any insights. (10-15 min.)
Gospel reading suggestion: read slowly three times.

*Gospel: Lk 5:27-32

Jesus saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at the customs post.
He said to him, “Follow me.”
And leaving everything behind, he got up and followed him.
Then Levi gave a great banquet for him in his house,
and a large crowd of tax collectors
and others were at table with them.
The Pharisees and their scribes complained to his disciples, saying,
“Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?”
Jesus said to them in reply,
“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.
I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.”

 

*Journaling Time 

What did you hear God sharing with you? What do you want to share with God? (10-15 minutes)

 

*Centering Prayer 

10 to 20 (recommended) minutes of silent time (you decide.)
Guidelines:
1. Sit comfortably.
2. Choose a sacred word on which to focus.
3. Set a timer.
4. Don’t judge, just observe.
5. The phrase that often precedes Centering Prayer is: I let go of security, affection & control and fully accept this moment exactly as it is. (Optional)
6. Take a few breaths at the end to return to the present moment and to reflect
on the experience.

*Make it Your Own

Perhaps you have an inspirational book you have been meaning to investigate but you just haven’t had the opportunity. Now is the time. If you have some time left before the end of the hour open it and see what other messages the Holy is sending to you.
  1. You could also use this time to say the Rosary. Saturday in the Catholic Church is set aside as “Mary’s Day” and the reflection is on the Joyful Mysteries.

*Closing Prayers

****Dear God,
Speak gently in my silence.
When the loud outer noises of my surroundings and the loud inner noises of my fears keep pulling me away from you, help me to trust that you are still there even when I am unable to hear you. Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying: “Come to me, you who are overburdened, and I will give you rest… for I am gentle and humble of heart.” Let that loving voice be my guide. Amen
Excerpt from With Open Hands by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ave maria press, 2006

 

****Merciful Father, in the name of our lovable Jesus, His Virgin Mother all your angels and saints, I ask you to set me on fire with the spirit of your love and to grant me the grace to deeply love you.

 

****“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2

 

*Sharing a Word Exercise – choose a word from your reading or your quiet time (your sacred word?) and share it on an email to me. Feel free to share any other thoughts or insights you have gained from this sacred time. I will send out an email with everyone’s response some time today.
Thank you.
Jean Costa, MSW, RYT
Certified Spiritual Director, JeanAnneCosta@gmail.com

@Home Retreat, January 2021

Triangle @Home Monthly Morning Retreat
January 16th, 2021
9:00-10:00am

 

*Prepare your space: Find an area where hopefully you will not be disturbed for your quiet time. Perhaps you want a blanket for yourself. 
*Gather your supplies: Timer, note paper and/or journal, pen. You may want to bring in one or two inspirational books.
*Create an “altar”: Put a few meaningful items out, include a candle.
*Opening Song –  Refresh My Heart or song of your choice.
(You Tube Link) Refresh My Heart
*Opening Prayers: The Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary or your choice.
*Intention: This is a reflective, healing time and we ask that it be filled with the love of the Holy Spirit, the care of Mother Mary and the guidance of all our guardian angels. We are here to learn from one another and to support each other on our journey towards a closer, more intimate relationship with Our Lord.
*Write out a prayer request or a few and add them to your “altar.”
*Reflection – It’s a new year and the COVID vaccine has appeared on the scene.  When will you receive it?  Do you want to receive it? What then?  Will it protect us from the virus so we can finally see our family and friends? How much longer will we need to wear masks and maintain “social distancing?” There are so many questions? How are you doing? How have you continued to stay connected to God, the Divine, Our Lord? What has come into your heart and your life during this time, peace, hope, fear, compassion, gratitude?
Using your journal write about any insights. (10-15 min.)

 

*The Gospel reading is: Mark 2:13-17

13 He went out again to the shore of the lake; and all the people came to him, and he taught them.

14 As he was walking along he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.

15 When Jesus was at dinner in his house, a number of tax collectors and sinners were also sitting at table with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them among his followers.

16 When the scribes of the Pharisee party saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’

17 When Jesus heard this he said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I came to call not the upright, but sinners.’

 

 

*Journaling Time – What did you hear God sharing with you? What do you want to share with God? (10-15 minutes)
*Centering Prayer – 10 to 20 (recommended) minutes of silent time (you decide.)
Guidelines:
  1. Sit comfortably.
  2. Choose a sacred word on which to focus.
  3. Set a timer.
  4. Don’t judge, just observe.
  5. The phrase that often precedes Centering Prayer is: I let go of security, affection & control and fully accept this moment exactly as it is. (Optional)
  6. Take a few breaths at the end to return to the present moment and to reflect
    on the experience.
  7. *Make it Your Own:
    Perhaps you have an inspirational book you have been meaning to investigate but you just haven’t had the opportunity. Now is the time. If you have some time left before the end of the hour open it and see what other messages the Holy is sending to you.
  8. You could also use this time to say the Rosary. Saturday in the Catholic Church is set aside as “Mary’s Day” and the reflection is on the Joyful Mysteries.
*Closing Prayer –
Dear God,
Speak gently in my silence.
When the loud outer noises of my surroundings and the loud my fears keep pulling me away from you,
inner noises of
help me to trust that you are still there even when I am unable to hear you. Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying: “Come to me, you who
are overburdened, and I will give you rest…
for I am gentle and humble of heart.” Let that loving voice be my guide. Amen
Excerpt from With Open Hands by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ave maria press, 2006
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2
*Sharing a Word Exercise – choose a word from your reading or your quiet time (your sacred word?) and share it on an email to me. Feel free to share any other thoughts or insights you have gained from this sacred time. I will send out an email with everyone’s response some time today.
Thank you.
Jean Costa, MSW, RYT
Certified Spiritual Director, JeanAnneCosta@gmail.com

@Home Retreat, December 2020

Triangle@Home Monthly Morning Retreat
December 19th, 2020 9:00-10:00 am

  (or day and time of your choice).

*Prepare your space: Find an area where hopefully you will not be disturbed for your quiet time. Perhaps you want a blanket for yourself (or a teddy bear?). 
*Gatheram your supplies: Timer, note paper and/or journal, pen. You may want to bring in one or two inspirational books. 
*Create an “altar”: Put a few meaningful items out, include a candle. 
*Opening Song – Here I am Lord

*Opening Prayers: The Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary or your choice. 
*Intention: This is a reflective, healing time and we ask that it be filled with the love of the Holy Spirit, the care of Mother Mary and the guidance of all our guardian angels. We are here to learn from one another and to support each other on our journey towards a closer, more intimate relationship with Our Lord. 
*Write out a prayer request or a few and add them to your “altar.” 
*Reflection – There appears to be a “light at the end of the tunnel.” The news is focused on the recently discovered vaccine for Covid 19.  For most of us, this probably won’t be available until sometime in 2021.  We are still faced with decisions about the holidays that are causing sadness and separation. We are still trying to stay safe and keep our loved ones safe but for most of us, we ache to see them and hold them. It’s one of the most bizarre holidays most of us have ever experienced.  
How are you doing? How have you continued to stay connected to God, the Divine, Our Lord? What has come into your heart and your life during this time of chaos and uncertainty, peace, hope, fear, compassion, gratitude? 
Using your journal write about any insights. (10-15 min.) 
Saturday in the Catholic Church is always Mother Mary’s Day
One prayer to Mary is the Memoire: (This is one of my favorite and the one I always say as I am going to sleep.)
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that any one who fled to thy protection,
implored thy help or sought thy intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly unto thee,
O Virgin of virgins my Mother;
to thee do I come,
before thee I stand,
sinful and sorrowful;
O Mother of thy Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in thy clemency hear and answer me.
Amen.
Gospel reading suggestion: read slowly three times.
*The Gospel reading is:
Gospel, Luke 1:5-25
5 In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron.
6 Both were upright in the sight of God and impeccably carried out all the commandments and observances of the Lord.
7 But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both advanced in years.
8 Now it happened that it was the turn of his section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God
9 when it fell to him by lot, as the priestly custom was, to enter the Lord’s sanctuary and burn incense there.
10 And at the hour of incense all the people were outside, praying.
11 Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense.
12 The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear.
13 But the angel said to him, ‘Zechariah, do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you shall name him John.
14 He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth,
15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink; even from his mother’s womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit,
16 and he will bring back many of the Israelites to the Lord their God.
17 With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to reconcile fathers to their children and the disobedient to the good sense of the upright, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.’
18 Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How can I know this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.’
19 The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel, who stand in God’s presence, and I have been sent to speak to you and bring you this good news.
20 Look! Since you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time, you will be silenced and have no power of speech until this has happened.’
21 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he stayed in the sanctuary so long.
22 When he came out he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. But he could only make signs to them and remained dumb.
23 When his time of service came to an end he returned home.
24 Some time later his wife Elizabeth conceived and for five months she kept to herself, saying,
25 ‘The Lord has done this for me, now that it has pleased him to take away the humiliation I suffered in public.’
*Centering Prayer – 10 to 20 (recommended) minutes of silent time (you decide.)
Guidelines: 
  1. Sit comfortably. 
  2. Choose a sacred word on which to focus. 
  3. Set a timer. 
  4. Don’t judge, just observe. 
  5. The phrase that often precedes Centering Prayer is: I let go of security, affection & control and fully accept this moment exactly as it is. (Optional) 
  6. Take a few breaths at the end to return to the present moment and to reflect
    on the experience. 
  7. *Make it Your Own:
    Perhaps you have an inspirational book you have been meaning to investigate but you just haven’t had the opportunity. Now is the time. If you have some time left before the end of the hour open it and see what other messages the Holy is sending to you.
  8. You could also use this time to say the Rosary. Saturday in the Catholic Church is set aside as “Mary’s Day” and the reflection is on the Joyful Mysteries.
*Journaling Time – What did you hear God sharing with you? What do you want to share with God? (10-15 minutes) 
*Closing Prayer – 
Merciful Father, in the name of our Lovable Jesus, His Holy Mother, all the angels and saints, I ask you to set me on fire with Your love and to give me the grace to deeply love You.
Dear God,
Speak gently in my silence. 
When the loud outer noises of my surroundings and the loud inner noises of my fears keep pulling me away from you, help me to trust that you are still there even when I am unable to hear you. Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying: “Come to me, you who are overburdened, and I will give you rest… for I am gentle and humble of heart.” Let that loving voice be my guide. Amen 
Excerpt from With Open Hands by Henri J.M. Nouwen, ave maria press, 2006 
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God-what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:1-2 
*Sharing a Word Exercise – choose a word or phrase from your reading or your quiet time (your sacred word?) and share it on an email to me. Feel free to share any other thoughts or insights you have gained from this sacred time. I will send out an email with everyone’s response some time today. 
Thank you. 
Jean Costa, MSW, RYT 
Certified Spiritual Director, JeanAnneCosta@gmail.com 

Being Your Better Self

Affirmation: Every day I strive to be a “better” version of myself

“God loves me just as I am but He /She loves me too much to leave me there.”
 – Quote from a fellow Spiritual Director

 

Covid 19 has taken its toll on 2020.  It’s like God has sent us to our knees.  I know He/She has sent me to mine.  My prayer list at the end of this year is longer than it has ever been before and several of those prayers revolve around people I know and love who are dealing with this scourge that has infected our whole earth.  I am, probably like many of you, trying to listen closely to the messages from the Divine that seem to be coming in even more clearly than previously.  This month’s message has been about being the best, or at least the better me possible.

 

Richard Rohr in his book, The Divine Dance, tells the story of sharing with his spiritual director that he would like to be more like Thomas Merton, the great spiritual guru of the 70’s. His wise director told him he should simply be Richard Rohr. He is an American author with over 50 books to this date, spiritual writer, and Franciscan friar based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. PBS has called him “one of the most popular spirituality authors and speakers in the world.” (Wikipedia) It seems like the advice was well received.

 

Then in a conversation with my dear friends, we found ourselves looking at our past and  comparing our accomplishments to people we admire. Matthew Kelly, the founder of the Dynamic Catholic Institute shares in his book, Perfectly Yourself, that his favorite painter is Pablo Picasso.  He shares that when Pablo was younger his mother told him, “Pablo if you become a soldier, you will be a general.  If you become a priest, you will be the Pope.” Pablo then shares, “I became a painter and I became Pablo Picasso.”   Matthew also reminds us that no matter what society tells us about becoming whatever we desire, each of us has been called by God for a very specific reason.  We are here for a purpose.  We aren’t here to be all things to all people.  We are here to be the best version of ourselves we can possibly be or at least the better version of ourselves.

 

I must confess to believing that if I persevere in some endeavor I will eventually accomplish whatever it is I’m trying to master and that I now know that is not true.  I am not someone who regrets not trying to learn or do something of interest and over these many years, I have watched myself become the master of mediocrity at many many different skills.  I won’t bother to list them all here but trust me, there are many.  It’s not like I don’t try and it’s not like I have not invested a lot of time and energy truly believing that if I just hang in there, someday something magical will happen and I will be proficient at my desired talent.  That’s not to say I haven’t enjoyed the learning process or the amazing people and perhaps places I have met and visited along the way.  I have had many wonderful adventures in the pursuit of my different interests but I must confess, I simply did not have the God given talent to become a “good” fiddler, golfer, foreign linguistic, etc.  I think Matthew is right.  Some of us are simply suited to some things, designed for specific gifts, than for other.  The challenge is discovering those gifts, those gifts that God has bestowed on us to benefit this world.  Have you discovered yours?  What a wonder to be young and find that “something” and hone that talent.  I envy those people but “better late than never.”

 

The book I am presently reading is Julia Cameron’s, It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again.  Her first book, The Artist’s Way, changed my life as I know it did many others.  I discovered with the help of some of my dearest friends the gift of creating positive affirmations and of looking for and recognizing synchronicities or as she sometimes calls them, “ah ha moments.”  When I began writing morning pages 30 years ago, I discovered something that fed my soul.That quiet time of sitting and writing has helped me develop the discipline to begin every day with prayer, meditation, Bible study and journaling.  Within the journaling, I have left my petty concerns and discovered my passions and the joy of this blessed life.

 

There are times when I wonder if I’m being selfish by taking that sacred time in the morning but then, Elizabeth Fenske presented in her December writings her concept of Unity and Oneness in her daily meditation book, Spiritual Insights for Daily Living and everything fell into place, at least for 2020.  She writes, “We forget that what we do about the inner self we also do about the world.  No thing is separate from any other thing in the universe.  The auric fields, often invisible to our eyes, are all woven together. With everything which happens, we can “feel” ourselves moving toward a deeper sense of the awareness.  Often in the stillness we intuitively feel and know the interconnectedness and oneness we share related back to a common ancestry.  We are the essence of life, cousin to the star and tigress.”  This for me was an “ah ha moment.”  My dear departed guide, Valerie Kelly, often reminded me that everything we do, everything we say and think, affects every other person in the world.  What a responsibly!!!  If I can maintain an attitude of kindness, compassion and generosity within me and for me, I can send those qualities out into this weary exhausted world and to everyone within it.  My prayer time is not simply time for me, it’s time for you.  The waves of grace and ease, gratitude and compassion, joy and dignity, hope and trust flow out of me and my connection to my Divine family, to my Lord and Savior and blanket all those who have tuned into the same frequency as I and perhaps to those who are simply turning the dial looking for the best station to the guidance about becoming the best version they can be.