A Lenten Retreat by Fr. Larry Gillick, S.J. (Year C)
Gillick, Larry, S.J.
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A retreat using the readings for Liturgical Year C. This series of retreat conferences was presented by Fr. Larry Gillick, S.J. at the Jesuit Retreat House, outside of St. Paul, Minnesota, from January 25 to 28th, 2007. The conferences follow generally the Sunday liturgical readings for for Liturgical Year C and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.INTRODUCTORY CONFERENCEThe Lenten Retreat begins with this conference in which we are encouraged to pray with the meaning of Lent as well as the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We pray with the First Reading of the First Sunday in Lent as well. Emphasis is placed on God’s work in our prayer and begin stressing exactly what “spirituality” is in our lives. SECOND CONFERENCEIn this conference we consider the role of temptations in the life of Jesus and our lives as well. We ponder some of the ways St. Ignatius offered us to know and deal with these temptations. We pray with the orientation Baptism gives us and we are praying for the experience of our being renewed with our own experience of Easter’s baptismal water. THIRD CONFERENCEPrayer is an experience of God’s creating us anew. Jesus was praying and He changed. Abram heard God’s prayer and trusted. We pray with God’s prayer over us and while we would love to stay in some state of private consolation, Jesus moves us down from that place back to our blessing others. He makes me a we. This is our identity and prayer confirms us again as the beloved of God. If we forget this, we will be forced to build or achieve an identity which will not last.FOURTH CONFERENCEThe voice of God speaks to us according to us. God spoke to Moses where Moses was. God labors to bring order out of chaos. Lent is the time, the “one more year” for God, in Christ, to tend to the “fig Tree” of our humanity.This gardening by Jesus is to bring about fruitfulness as a free response to God’s being faithful to Who God is and to whom we are. FIFTH CONFERENCEWe pray with the realities of our having been created, then, like our Jewish ancestors, recreated through the waters of salvation. God does not give up on creation and so labors for our orderly living. We contemplate the story of a young man leaving home, coming to his senses and coming to his father and homeland. Repentance is God’s work and our response; God does not force our orderliness. We are both the younger, straying person, and the older, self-righteous severe person.SIXTH CONFERENCEWe consider the power of the person of Jesus to extend creation and life. All the Sacraments of the Catholic church are presentings of the person of Jesus come to give life at the critical times of living. This conference was given in preparation for the retreatant’s celebrating individual sacraments of Reconciliation. We prayed with the reality of the “mission-side” of all the sacraments.SEVENTH CONFERENCEWe reflect in this conference on Jesus’ being the “light of the world”. He gives light and life to a woman caught in adultery and a man who was born physically blind, but through Jesus becomes spiritually sighted from being cleansed of his blindness. Jesus gives us new names and asks us to live by how He sees us and not others and not our blinded selves to who we really are.EIGHTH CONFERENCEThis conference leads to a reflection upon Jesus’ defining Himself as “Grateful Servant”. We pray with our watching His actions as they reflect His attitude.We pray, considering the formation of our attitudes and those actions which flow from them. Jesus ate the “Daily Bread” and ate it to the completion of His being the Christ. God’s will played out in the life of Jesus by His trusting that love. We follow Him by our trusting that same eternal love.NINTH CONFERENCEWe reflect upon the Eucharist in this conference. Jesus lived His whole life in obedience to who He was and this whole life was consummated in an act of gratitude to the Father for who he was.It is a reflection upon Jesus as Servant Who orients us toward living that same life of thankfulness. We go in peace to serve after we have been served again at the Table of Salvation. TENTH CONFERENCEWe ponder the meaning of Christ’s embrace of the Cross. He takes a stand for the world and against the world’s ways. Jesus is saying something to and about us at the Cross and we have to come close to hear it. ELEVENTH CONFERENCEWe pray with the consequence of Christ’s being obedient even to His Cross. The Resurrectional experiences are all about Jesus meeting the scattered and meeting them in their truth. Jesus untombed others for the purpose of distributing them in their simplicity. He rose to keep us rising and recovering. Trauma tends to enclose us in the familiar. Jesus rose to untraumatise the dis-identified apostles and the world.