Affirmation: Sacred time is an integral part of my spiritual well-being.
In February of this year a group of four women gathered to talk about holding a woman’s monthly morning retreat at our church, St. Michael the Archangel. The process actually began after Christmas during my stay in the North Carolina mountains. For me, it is a very spiritual place and during my week there, God spoke to me. Actually, I think it may have been Mother Mary but whoever wanted my attention, they got it. Oh, not at first. “No No No,” I answered but after the third morning of no, I gave up and said, “OK, if you want this to happen, send help.” Here’s the story.
I awoke the first morning and as I journaled, I got the inspiration to create a woman’s monthly morning retreat. ”NO! I do not have time. I don’t want to spread myself so thin.” There!! The second morning, the message arrived even before I sat for my quiet time. “NO! I cannot commit to a monthly engagement. I like to travel. I couldn’t possibly be available.” The third morning, I woke up with the same message. Again, I refused. “No! I couldn’t do this on my own. I would need help.” That was all the spirit needed, that tiny, “maybe.” I imagined the person I would like to help with such a project and within an hour, I received an email from that lady, even though we did not communicate regularly. The rest is history. I contacted her and she immediately answered, “Yes.” I think she has a more willing spirit than I. We asked a few other women and two more agreed to help. Then I contacted the church. It seemed like a good idea since we wanted to use their space. They agreed. We put a few notices in the bulletin and on February 15th, eighteen women showed up. It ran for two hours and the feedback was very positive. We scheduled four more sessions. The next one for March 21st.
As all of you know, the world has stopped turning. We will not be gathering for a morning retreat or for lunch or to play. We are all doing our best to follow the recent National guidelines for stopping the spread of the corona virus and yet, it seems even more important, more relevant to bring our intentions together and to invite the Holy to bless our lives, our country and the world. With that in mind, I am presenting a @Home Retreat. As of this writing, there are about two dozen of us who will take an hour and a half to pray and to listen to the Divine. I’m sharing the format in case anyone who reads this is interested in joining us. If you know me personally, you are welcome to email me for more information, otherwise all you need to know is below.
The agenda is below but I want to emphasize that it is only a model and it is not written in stone. Please feel free to adjust it to your needs and perhaps the guidance of your guardian angel.
It is very important to recognize that you cannot do this “wrong.” If you finish early or late, that’s just fine. If you decide to read something you prefer over the suggestions, that’s fine. This is a time of NO JUDGEMENT. It cannot be viewed as, “right or wrong,” “good or bad,” or “successful or unsuccessful.” It is simply time you have carved out for yourself to develop a closer relationship with Our Lord, with the Divine. It will be different for each person and that’s just fine.
There is a great power in silence.
Triangle Women’s Monthly Morning Retreat
Home Program: Saturday 3/21/2020 9:30-11:00am
*Prepare your space: Find an area where hopefully you will not be disturbed for your quiet time. Perhaps you want a blanket for yourself (or a teddy bear?).
*Gather your supplies: Timer (preferably not a phone, try to make your space – media free), note paper and/or journal, pen.
*Create an “altar”: Put a few meaningful items out, include a candle.
*Opening Song – Your Choice, sing one or listen to one.
Lyrics for Amazing Grace:
Amazing Grace, How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found
T’was blind but now I see
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed
Through many dangers, toils and snares
We have already come.
T’was grace that brought us safe thus far
And grace will lead us home
*Opening Prayers – The Sign of the Cross/Our Father/Hail Mary/Glory Be 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 – Think of one thing you’ve added or deleted from your life for Lent.
*Scripture Reading – Lectio Divinia – Slowly read the following daily scripture three times. Read the passage slowly and carefully.
Gospel for this day, March 21st: LK 18:9-14
Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”
*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.)
*Centering Prayer – Guidelines
- Sit comfortably.
- Choose a sacred word on which to focus.
- Set a timer.
- Don’t judge, just observe.
- Take a few breaths at the end to return to the present moment and to reflect on the experience.
*Closing Prayer –
“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.”
― Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude
*Sharing a Word Exercise – choose a word from your reading or your quiet time (your sacred word?) and share it here. Feel free to share any other thoughts or insights you have gained from this sacred time.