While there are a few weeks before Lent, I hope you will consider registering for the retreat, Praying with St. Ignatius which starts next Sunday January 31st. “Praying with St. Ignatius is a Scripture-based retreat adapted from The Spiritual Exercises that deepens your spirituality and fosters a heartfelt knowledge of Jesus. For eight Sundays you will be guided through different methods of prayer, meditation, journaling, and small group sharing. You are asked to commit ½ hour a day for private prayer,” is the explanation on the flyer at the doors of the Church and on the website.
What the flyer does not disclose is that prayer, individual, in small groups, and in community, was something that Jesus did often as witnessed in Scripture (the words “Jesus” and “pray” appear at least 13 times in the New Testament). Would it not make sense to imitate the things we can, that the Son of God did while he was on earth. Jesus had the most intimate relationship with God; most likely prayer was a part of that intimacy.
What the flyer does not disclose is the rich experience others have enjoyed as a result of this committed time in prayer. Relationships with other persons take time and commitment. Why should relationship with God be any different? People I know who have experienced this retreat often return after a few years to encourage the consolation they had of prayer again.
Another thing the flyer does not disclose is that we are not the only people being invited to this retreat. Our neighbors who attend Churches in the Central West District are invited, our neighbors who live in the Riverview and Lakeview Hi-Rises and Lakeview Lo-Rises, our neighbors who use the services at Monday Night Meal, St. Malachi Center, Back Door Ministry, other services at St. Malachi Church, Sagrada Familia, St. Augustine’s, St. Patrick’s on Bridge, St. Colman’s, West Side Catholic Center, West Side Ecumenical Ministry, the Bishop Cosgrove Center, and Community Women’s Shelter have all been invited. This is an opportunity to pray with some of the people we provide food, showers, childcare, education, and other material necessities for.
Hopefully this is the start of a new tradition of deepening relationships with God and our neighbors on the near west side. Please consider filling out an application today (http://www.stmalachi.org/2010/01/lenten-retreat) or emailing email@example.com with your contact information and commitment.