A Lenten Retreat by Fr. Larry Gillick, S.J. (Year A)
Gillick, Larry, S.J.
MetadataShow full item record
INTRODUCTORY CONFERENCELent, spring, and the Spiritual life have this in common; each is a tug of war. Spring is tugging at winter to let go. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are directed at our becoming more aware of human unfreedoms and the free gift of God’s love to help us let go. Lent is the prayerful time to prepare for Easter and prepare for our living the joy of being disciples of Jesus. The Spiritual Exercises help us to ask the big questions and then search for the answers. It is all about coming back to lifeSECOND CONFERENCEWe are creatures wonderfully made, but not always grateful for that dignity. We have limitations which confuse and dishearten us. Lent is God’s call to repent, but from what! Repent is the invitation to examine to what we are listening and to what do we hold on. Being and accepting that each of us is a creature is not a comfortable excuse for failure, but the beginning of our recovery.THIRD CONFERENCELearning the voice of the Good Shepherd is not easy; there are many voices of those who wish to attract us. We love security and exactness and we will be attracted to any voice which offers us these. How do we spell relief and belief. Christian spirituality is living with the tensions which flow from the conflicts between our beliefs and our desires for Relief. The tensions caused by our beliefs, offered to us by Jesus are growthful and graceful. We are formed to listen to what things are and use them according to our reverence for them. Reverence is proper use of God’s gifts. We would like to use things according to our impatient expectations. We have a sacramental view of things in which all creation has the fingerprints of the Creator. Because these “things” are limited, they can frustrate our demands if I selfishly ask them to be more than they are.FOURTH CONFERENCEDoes prayer change God? We are accustomed to having the power to change or manipulate things. All who have been called by God are called into faith which is the basic tension of our lives. The Transfiguration takes place often in our lives. Jesus is there, but not exactly according to our personal specifications. We love the security of the familiar and God seems to call us always to the adventure of the new, and the mystery of the “level plain.” It all involves the call to listen to Him.FIFTH CONFERENCEJesus comes to us according to how we need to be come to. Jesus is God’s affirmation that being human is a blessed event and we will be met there. Jesus used gestures of all kinds as do we to convey our inside personal feelings and thoughts. Jesus Himself is a Sacrament of God’s interior expressing to us who God thinks we are and expressing to us who God is for us. By the Sacraments we are sent to live the Sacraments by being a sacrament.SIXTH CONFERENCEGod searches always for us and we find ourselves being found. We are like the thirsty land of springtime. What we do search out are those things which we think will satisfy us. Everything has within it the invitation to go beyond it. The Woman at the Well desires living water and Jesus offers her what will ultimately satisfy. Emptiness can be a gift that calls out for GodSEVENTH CONFERENCEFollowing Jesus involves loving or gracefully accepting the unknown of the future, being obedient. The question is always about the point at which we will drop out from investing in His Company. God’s will is more than when things are going well. What is God’s will? Jesus lived His life as a continual act of obedience or gratitude, or openness. We were saved by His whole life of His being open to His Father, even to His death. EIGHTH CONFERENCEJesus comes as Light and gives true sight so as to see who we are and what God is offering us in our lives. He offers sight so that each of us may see Him in the events of our lives. We can be blinded by what we see and faith is a way of seeing beyond and within realities. Is seeing believing or is believing a way to see? Faith allows us to see God in everything, and everything as rooted in God.NINTH CONFERENCEJesus sees a woman caught in adultery differently from the way the Elders see her. With Jesus as Light of the World, sinners become sacramental; outside that Light we become judgmental. Jesus blesses time and gives us time to be a blessing. Jesus sends her to live with her past into the blessedness of her new life.TENTH CONFERENCEWhat does it mean to be saved? Salvation does not mean that everything in our lives is repaired. Sin brings darkness into the world instead of light. Sin flows from the attitude and the actions of not being grateful. Lazarus is raised from his tomb and given light and life. Sin is illness and can be cured. Jesus meets us where we would rather not be, where we do not look so good, but need to be found.ELEVENTH CONFERENCERepenting is coming to our senses about who we are in God’s eyes. This is the constant work of Jesus and grace. The “world” is a spirit more than a global place. That spirit works to dim His Light and define us according to its ways of valuing and rejecting. We are a gift from the Father to Jesus. We are being attracted to the ways or Spirit of Jesus, but the tug of war continues about the big question, to whom do we belong? The world will try to give us our identity, our personal worth. What of the world would we want to shake off?TWELFTH CONFERENCEJesus becomes dramatically what He has always been, the Servant washing the world. His whole life is consummated with His death. This death brings us the freedom to live thankfully and not with shame and guilt which would move us away from Him. The Cross is a safe place. His surrender in the Garden begins our recovery. When Jesus breathes his last it continues God’s breath of creation. This is what is very good about Good Friday.THIRTEENTH CONFERENCEWe are baptized into Christ and Christ’s being on mission. We are baptized into the “dawn,” not clear blue-sky security. The Resurrection took place at dawn when the light is almost. There was always the problem of people’s recognizing Him. When the resurrected Jesus met them, He sent then.FINAL CONFERENCEThe Final Conference is about how we can pray less productively, but more personally. Praying with the day before it is experienced and after. Take the time to pray by wasting time lest the rest of the day be a waste of time.