Diocesan Lenten Retreat

For a list of retreats across the diocese, visit www.dioceseofmarquette.org/retreats

Contents

Invitation from Bishop John Doerfler
Daily Mass Readings
Retreat Part 1
Retreat Part 2
Resources

An invitation from Bishop John Doerfler

As you contemplate how you will observe the traditional Lenten practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving this year, I encourage you to consider joining the Diocesan Lenten Retreat to be published in The U.P. Catholic.

This self-directed retreat will be published in this and the following two issues of the diocesan newspaper. Daily Mass readings will be listed, which retreatants may find in their own Bibles. Reflections on three sets of Lenten themes will be provided that include Confession, service and evangelization. Additionally, other resources will be available to help you have a spiritually fruitful Lent in preparation of the celebration of our Savior’s Resurrection at Easter.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us (1438) “The seasons and days of penance in the course of the liturgical year (Lent, and each Friday in memory of the death of the Lord) are intense moments of the Church’s penitential practice. These times are particularly appropriate for spiritual exercises, penitential liturgies, pilgrimages as signs of penance, voluntary self-denial such as fasting and almsgiving, and fraternal sharing (charitable and missionary works).”

My prayers are with you that this season of Lent will bring you and your families many blessings.

Sincerely in Christ,
Bishop John Doerfler

Daily Mass Readings

The current day's readings may be found online at http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/
Readings for the entire liturgical year in a downloadable and printable PDF may be found at http://www.usccb.org/about/divine-worship/liturgical-calendar/upload/2020cal.pdf

Part 1: Prayer, fasting, almsgiving - Feb. 26 through March 7

Download a printable PDF of the retreat as found in the Feb. 21, 2020 issue of The U.P. Catholic here: Lenten Retreat Part 1

Reflection: The more you give to others by Katelyn McKeen

“The more you give to others, the more I’ll give Myself to you.”

As I was preparing to write this reflection on almsgiving, I was reading through one of my prayer books and stumbled across this quote. I encourage you to go back and read it again.

I think it’s a good indication of what almsgiving is all about. The more we give, the more we receive Jesus. His whole desire is for us to grow closer to Him in every aspect of our lives. If we give of our time, treasure, and talents we are emptying ourselves and allowing Him to fully enter in. But as we do this, we are allowing our hearts to be like His; full of compassion. We turn outward, see our brothers and sisters in need and desire to help.

 

We have all been in a hard place at one point in our lives. We’ve had heavy burdens we’ve needed to carry; all of us can think of one person that reached out to help, in whatever way we needed. Through our sufferings our eyes are opened to what others are going through.

Allow us to look at the cross and see the suffering our Savior endured and give a piece of our compassionate hearts to others. Isaiah 58:10 - The first reading on Saturday, Feb. 29: If you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

Reflection: Saying no means saying yes by Erin Noha

Saying “no” also means saying “yes.” Traditionally, fasting has meant skipping a meal or eating smaller portions. For me, fasting has meant learning how to say no to a busy schedule. The decision was problematic at first because I’m addicted to saying yes. However, as I’ve learned to take a step back, I’ve realized all the small moments I was missing by saying yes before thinking.

Each time I’ve said no, I’ve felt more in control of my life—spiritually, mentally, and physically. I now had time to pray in my room, take a long lunch with a friend, or go for a run—things that I previously treated as checks on my to-do list during the height of a busy week.

By practicing self-control and saying no, I’ve been able to spend serious time with the Lord every morning, which has been priceless. I’ve also been able to say yes to taking care of my body and mind, and spending more time with family. I was always outwardly faithful but I have learned that taking time to practice a personal spiritual discipline has made some room for the Holy Spirit to move in my life.

Isaiah 58:6-9 - The first reading on Friday, Feb. 28: This, rather, is the fasting that I wish: releasing those bound unjustly, untying the thongs of the yoke; setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall be quickly healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!

Action items

In-between publications of The U.P. Catholic’s Lenten Retreat, here are practical Lenten action items to put into practice and enhance your Lenten season.

Prayer

Almsgiving

  • Begin tithing at your parish or prayerfully re-examine your current tithe.
  • Donate clothes you don’t wear anymore to thrift stores or to a homeless shelter.
  • Give up some of your personal time to be with a friend or family member that needs you.

Fasting

  • Consider giving up TV, social media, and/or computer time and picking up a prayer book or other spiritual reading instead.
  • Give up your favorite drink, such as coffee or energy drinks, and only drink water.

Part 2: Sacrifice, Confession, Woundedness  - March 8 through March 28

Download a printable PDF of the retreat as found in the March 6  , 2020 issue of The U.P. Catholic here: Lenten Retreat Part 2

Reflection: Doing it all for love byHattie Hanold

As Catholics, we know the Eucharist is regarded as the atoning and complete offering of the body and blood of Christ out of love for each one of us. This divine, mysterious reality for Catholics is meant to extend into our individual realities and affect how we approach and deal with sacrifice in our day to day lives.

When we recognize that upon the altar Christ’s body is truly broken out of love for us, not only are we called to recognize that sacrifice should remind us of Christ, but it should remind us that we are called to be like Christ.

How do we do this? We accomplish this by our love, in laying down our lives for one another – and that includes the small sacrifices we make on a daily basis.

It is in these small (and large) moments of sacrifice where we are called to remember the words of Jesus to the apostles, the words we hear each Sunday at Mass during the Eucharistic prayer: “This is my body, given for you.”

As I progress in my pregnancy, I’ve heard from many mothers how these words became a prayer as they labored to bring new life into the world. The sacrifice of woman, like that of Mary in giving birth to her son Jesus, brings new life, new hope, and new love.

When we are bombarded with trials, discomforts, and inconveniences that call us to give of ourselves in new and unexpected ways, or perhaps in ways we’re growing weary of being asked, it is there where we’re called to sink to the foot of the Cross and, as St. Therese of Lisieux explains, “Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice... always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

Reflection: Approach His mercy by John Fee

I remember hearing the story of Adam and Eve when I was a kid. When I heard the part where they “hid” from God after eating of The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, I always thought, “That’s dumb. God knew where they were and what they had done.”

Years later, when dealing with a reoccurring sin I would try to “fix” it first before going to God in Confession. I didn’t want to be a hypocrite. So, I, well, hid from God working to have everything straightened out myself before going to Him. That didn’t work. If I was a child, I would say it was dumb.

The thing is, I wasn’t a hypocrite, I was – and am – a sinner. I need God’s help. While I have to admit, I often carry the same sins into Confession, the more I go to Confession the better things go. Maybe I don’t stop, but by allowing God to help me I’ll commit that sin less often, or at least take a little longer before falling into it again.

Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, whom Jesus chose to be His “Secretary” of Mercy, recorded revelations from Him in her diary. Of Confession, Jesus told her, “When you go to confession, to this fountain of mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul (1602).

“I Myself am waiting there for you. I am only hidden by the priest ... I Myself act in your soul (1602). Make your confession before Me. The person of the priest is, for Me, only a screen. Never analyze what sort of a priest it is that I am making use of; open your soul in confession as you would to Me, and I will fill it with My light (1725).

“Were a soul like a decaying corpse, so that from a human standpoint, there would be no hope of restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy! (1448).”

As we make our Lenten Journey toward Easter (and beyond to Divine Mercy Sunday the week after Easter), let’s not try to hide from God, but approach His mercy often in the confessional.

Reflection: Would you like to see God? by Deacon Steve Gretzinger

A while back I heard a priest ask a group of seniors, “How many of you would like to see God?” With the seniors not knowing how to answer the question, he continued “If you want to see God, then love someone.”

His statement is supported by St. Paul who tells the people of Corinth that love is patient, love is kind, it bears all things, believes all things, endures all things and that love never fails. This reading from Corinthians is often chosen for weddings even though at those same weddings there are those who have experienced the unexpected loss of a loved one or separation from family members. To them, hearing that love is kind and bears all things is like pouring salt into an open wound and we humans are taught at a young age that wounds are bad and pain should be alleviated as quick as possible.

Pelican Sacrifice

I love that many of our Churches possess an image of a pelican in our statuary or windows. As you may know, the symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby pelicans is rooted in an ancient legend. The legend says that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounds herself by striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. It reminds me of the adage: It is often through our own woundedness, that we are called to feed and to love others.

My first marriage was annulled nearly 30 years ago. When I hear St. Paul exclaim that love is kind or that it bears all things and never fails, I too have to wonder if his message to the Corinthian’s was a bit naïve. Through many painful surgeries, deaths and setbacks in my life, none of those hurts or past wounds even comes close to what it felt like to go through a divorce with four young children.

So, when Father Ryan Ford asked if I would head up Marriage Prep for engaged couples, I said “are you kidding me?” You see, he may not have known how deep that wound was in me. But that didn’t dissuade him because he knew something that I didn’t yet fully understand. It’s often through our own woundedness, that we are called to feed and love others.

Encounter

As I slowly forced myself to relive that terrible chapter of my life with each new couple I worked with, I found myself on a painful journey which developed into an ever-increasing encounter with the wounded Christ. You see, He too allowed Himself to be opened on the cross so that I could be fed with His Body and Blood and know that I’m truly loved.

That’s enough about me and my wounds. How about you? Do you have any wounds of your own? Have you ever been hurt physically, psychologically or emotionally? Have you ever been through a very painful break-up? Are you or someone you love separated from your family? Has someone you deeply loved died way too soon? Perhaps you or someone you love are in the process of dying right now?

I ask again, do you have any wounds of your own? If so, I’m truly sorry for your woundedness. I truly am. But I want to make one thing clear today. Even if I could remove all your pain from every single one of your wounds, I just couldn’t do that to you.

You read that right. Even if I could remove all your pain from every single one of your wounds, I just couldn’t do it to you. Because whatever suffering you may have to endure at this point in your life or whatever wounds are still left to be healed can be the very path which leads you on an incredible encounter with the wounded Christ and the love He has for you.

Fed through His wounds

Have you ever noticed how Jesus is described when he appeared after he rose again from the dead to people like doubting Thomas, St. Gertrude, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and other saints? He doesn’t show up with a big shiny crown or driving a new pick-up truck wearing a Green Bay Packer Jersey. Instead he appears with the nail marks still in his hands and feet, His bloody, tortured heart on display for everyone to see.

Why do you suppose this is? I suggest to you that even Jesus continues to love each of us through His woundedness. He teaches us that there’s tremendous value in our pain when we unite our pain to His. In contrast, many of us put on a brave face, stuff the hurt down deep and pretend there’s nothing wrong. While inside we’re screaming out to be accepted, to be healed, to be loved.

It never fails

The reason St. Paul can state that love is patient, love is kind, it bears all things, believes all things, endures all things and that love never fails is because it’s not merely human love of which he is speaking about.

The love St. Paul refers to is God’s love. You see God’s love is kind. God’s love is patient. God’s love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. It’s truly God’s love that never fails!

When we allow our past wounds to keep us from loving others, we miss out on sharing in the immeasurable font of God’s love, mercy and healing for us and for them.

In 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God. For as Christ’s sufferings overflow to us, so through Christ does our encouragement also overflow.”

So, if you truly want to see God, then love someone.

Action items

Here are some practical Lenten action items to put into practice and enhance your experience of this Lenten season.

Woundedness 

  • Prayerfully ponder the deep wounds of your life. Ask Jesus where he was during those painful times. If after a few days, you can’t see how he was there with you, invite him into those memories now. When you are ready, find an image of the suffering Christ and ask that your pain may be joined with His. Ponder if there’s a greater good that can come from those wounds. Is there someone you need to still forgive or who can benefit from you sharing your painful story?

Sacrifice

  • Make time to go to Daily Mass or visit Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament at least once during the week.
  • Practice the 1-1-1 Challenge for Lent. Give up one thing, pick up one thing, and focus on one sin.
  • Take the time out of your schedule and reach out to someone you know who may be in need of compassion or love. Offer to go out for coffee, or write them an encouraging note.

Confession

  • Check your church bulletin, website, or Facebook page for any upcoming Lenten penitence services, or verify when your parish offers the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the week.
  • Try ending your day by practicing the nightly examen by St. Ignatius of Loyola. This time of prayer encourages Catholic to reflect on recognizing God’s movement and their response in their day. Use the guide found at: Examen Prayer Card.

Resources

Daily Mass Readings:
The current day's readings may be found online at http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/
Readings for the entire liturgical year in a downloadable and printable PDF may be found at http://www.usccb.org/about/divine-worship/liturgical-calendar/upload/2020cal.pdf

Prayer:
Litany of Trust, written by the Sisters of Life. Visit the website: https://sistersoflife.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Mobile-Litany-of-Trust-English-1.pdf

Stations of the Cross:
Listen to the Stations recorded with background music at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Read about the stations, including the history and theology behind this ancient devotion. https://www.mary.org/liturgical-celebrations/devotions/stations-cross#.Xk79mshKhaQ

Divine Mercy Chaplet:
Learn about the chaplet and how to pray it. Chaplet of the Divine Mercy

Articles:
Catholic Answers - Here's what you need to know about Lent by Jimmy Akin https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/lent-is-old-english-for-spring

 
 
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