«Within the cross is life and consolation.
It alone is the road leading to heaven.
The Lord of heaven and earth is on the cross.
On it, too, delight in peace,
Though war may rage.
It banishes all evil dwelling here on earth.
It alone is the road leading to heaven.
This sacred cross, an olive tree so dear,
With its oil anoints us giving us light.
My soul, take up this cross
Rich with consolations great.
It alone is the road leading to heaven».
(Saint Therese of Jesus)
- We start retreat together
- Morning: to search for the world in the heart of God and for God in the heart of the world.
- Afternoon: Holiness.
- We finish retreat together praying Palautian Way of the Cross.
“O Christ, crucifies and victorious, your way of the cross is a synthesis of your life, an icon of your obedience to the will of god. It is a realization of your infinite live for us sinners. It’s a proof of your mission, a definitive fulfillment of the revelation and history of salvation. The weight of the cross sets us free from all our burdens.
In your obedience to the will of god we realize how rebellious and disobedient we have been. In you, sold out, betrayed and crucified by your own people and those whom you loved, we see our daily betrayals and frequent infidelities. In your innocence, immaculate lamb, we see our fault. In your beaten face, we see all the brutality of our sins.
In the cruelty of your passion we see the cruelty of our heart and our actions. In your feeling “abandoned” we see all the abandoned by their families, by society, by social assistance and solidarity. In your naked, wounded and harassed body we see the bodies of our brothers abandoned on the streets, disfigured by our negligence and our indifference.
In your thirst, o lord, we see a thirst of your merciful father who in you wanted to embrace, forgive and save all humanity. In you, divine love, we see even today our persecuted, decapitated and crucified brothers who suffered because their faith in you, In front of our eyes or frequently because of our silence.
Imprint, lord, in our hearts sentiments of faith, hope, love, pain for our sins and help us to feel contrition for them that led you to the cross. Lead us to transform our conversion made by word in conversion of life and actions. Make us custody in us the memory of your disfigurated face, so we may never forget the immense price that you have paid for our liberty.
Crucified Jesus, strengthen in us faith that doesn’t bow before temptation; revive in us hope that doesn’t loos her way following the seduction of the world; keep in us love that doesn’t believe easily in corruption and mundanity. Teach us that cross is a way to resurrection.
Teach us that good Friday is a way leading to the Paschal light. Teach us that god never forgets any of his sons and never gets tired of forgiving and embracing us with his infinite mercy. Teach us also to never get tired of asking for pardon and of believing in father’s mercy without limits. (Papa Francisco – 2015)
(Morning): for personal reflexion
It’s true, passion and death of Jesus – as Guardini says – are, from purely human point of view, torturing and difficult to handle. They oblige us to ask ourselves if the real value of a person really consist in being great, in shining, in the splendor of power. To be a person must mean something different. To die being full must be a different way of dying. The true values of a person must be something different, and passion of Jesus must show them to us.
AND FOR GOD IN THE HEART OF THE WORLD.
THE world has been born in the heart of god who is love (1J 4:8). in his heart in continuously exists and directs itself to this heart. That’s why we can say that moving ourselves by reality, we have to search for Dog in it: and contemplating God we need to see the world in Hid heart.
This is the contemplative challenge of any believer and also the fundament of all commitment with transformation of the world. When we open our eyes, we encounter the beauty of creation, the bounty of the people, the unconditional fidelities that accompanied us during whole life, the surprising gratuity written for ever in the spine of our identity.
Inevitably, we also encounter pain, injustice that make us doubt about human heart, uncertainty of events and happening that surprises and question. But pain and uncertainty are not the ultimate truth. Suffering also touches God. His heart also has wounds.
We know that creating us, God couldn’t create us infinite, but limited beings in limited scenery. The limits accompany us always. When we live within the limits settled by God, we bleed in the corners of complaints; but when we live in communion with limited, we feel the strength of resurrection that recreates us within and gives us back to the world to realize the new dreams that have been growing inside of us, in the middle of the rock that was surrounding us as grave.
The experience of resurrection doesn’t only arrive to us as light that is enkindled suddenly, surprising our inner processes, but as a slow maturation from cross to the tree of life.
From this experience of humanity that can be found only “down” reality, let us not allow that de proper disillusion of our culture be like a deep well in our hearts, in conjunctures and sensibility. Neither continuous diversion nor consumism that enslave us and make us insensible with life because of their superficial sensations, every time more corageous and sofisticated that never cese to touch our senses, can offer to us what can be found only in committed love until daily crosses where we experience that crucified God welcomes us and rises with us, in extasy of transfiguration.
Contemplation of the crucified of our history and commitment with them, can lead us to encounter with God who is love, and to enter deeply in his mystery, the way deeper and deeper, further than we could ever imagine.
“Look at him in this body that is his Church, wounded and crucified, poor, needy, persecuted, rejected and scorned. And under this consideration, offer yourself to take care of it and render it services that are within your ways and means. Moreover, look at him as Lord and owner and king of the universe and since he does not reign in us without us, except with us, in us and for us, under this point of view offer yourself also whatever he wants from you”
The Saints from neighborhood
“Anyone can be a saint in the very moment he desires, even thought, in exterior, in the eyes of the world, he won’t be more than vice and mud.
When, during whole life, the demons of his heart fought for his being and this man, again and again, chose in incline himself, with all evidence of his apetites, in direction of his uncountable demonstrations of pride and instincts, in directions of phantoms of human passions, there will be a moment when he will feel done. He is consumed, lost, empty.
From this ruin, this thief, this drunkard, this solitary, without reason given to his vice, if there is no miracle of grace, who would like to know about him? Only God can welcome this damage. God and only God, because nobody can fall to low for Him!
This garbage, this trash that is no more desired by you, that has nothing to offer to you, give him to mi, says the Eternal One, and make him accept humbly his misery, hold on to it and fight. Then, for me, this life of shame and misery in the eyes of all, I will consume it as incense.
Imagine Lord, coming to us as scavenger. He is gathering our trash, our garbage, our rests to transform them in new thing.
In this world where we have more and more children wounded by life, it would be precisely this fragility, psychological and affective, that would transform the way towards holiness. All that seems limitations for us, would be transform in means for holiness.
Yes, we begin the era of holiness of the poor, poor of love, poor of affection, poor fo culture, of embraces, of tenderness. I believe the more someone carries his limitation or wound, the more suffering throws him into the heart of God. There is always an infinite relation between the abyss in which a persons lives and tenderness of God. Never a person will be more wounded by life that loved by God. Never”.
The way of imperfection.
“Do you love? What do you love? The heart is where love is; where the heart is, there is the whole plenitude and strength of your affections; where these are, there is your whole soul, your thoughts, your faculties, and your senses. Do you love God with a whole heart?”
“Cross and the crucified will be a place of access to divinity precisely they are our of interest. In a world that understands so much about interests, only in places of disinterest and through the disinterested, we will be able to encounter the spirit of the Living One. The living One who is the Crucified One. Jesus is the one who lives with God forever. He didn’t stay forever in a place of death, but father has risen him from the dead and made him The Anointed and the Lord.
To live up to the point of loosing life, like Jesus, resulted to be an expression of the humanity loved by God. The manifestations of humanity of God: Jesus is the beloved Son of God. On the Cross he discovered that love and recognizes himself in it.
If the believer perceives cross and embraces it, he begins to perceive that Cross is salvation. Cross frees us from blasphemy and idolatry, frees us from interested utilization of divinity, from believing that we deserve special graces. It frees us from the lie of ourselves and reality.
The Spirit expired on the Cross frees us from fanaticism of what is “normal and natural”, from “we always have done it this way”, from “we cannot change”. it opens us to see whole reality with new eyes. Cross makes us face our truth, with unfolded eyes, without masks, naked, fragile, small.
The Spirit of Jesus gives us possibility to change our sight, to put ourselves in reality in other way, from liberated liberty. Because it is a spirit of life, it gives us possibility of living free and without fear. A fear funded in the fear of death in all its forms (those who because of fear of death have lived their whole live as slaves).
What could be better than alienating slavery in respect to the idols that offers me security? Superficial security, because it evades us from acceptance that the origin of all violence is in maintaining at all cost what we cannot maintain: image and power. We hold on to life so much that we continue dying without noticing it in our effort to preserve ourselves.
The Cross of Jesus doesn’t promise immortality. Cross doesn’t lie. The Cross of the Living One invites to live life in the hands of mercy. When our life is anchored in Life, there is freedom of the Sons of God. Life is no more an inhuman fight to make ensure our immortality.
“Vida Religiosa a la apostólica”.
Toni Catalá, sj
What these texts tell you? What concrete invitation the Cross of Jesus has for you in this moment? In this stage of quarantine? On the cross of your life, how your commitment to others is being born?
Let us finish this Retreat with Palautian Way of the Cross:
“to embrace the mystery of the Cross”