Fr. Romke sharing some thoughts on how to stay on fire at the end of the Catching Fire Retreat
Our Lord Jesus Christ suffered and died for us but he has risen so that we might share in his life for all eternity!
We hope and pray that you have a beautiful Easter Sunday filled with joy and time spent with family and friends!
Make sure to check back later today for a special Easter post!
Amanda Wesselmann speaks about the strange period on Holy Saturday that we encounter following Jesus’s death as we wait for the resurrection.
- What feelings do you experience during the day on Holy Saturday as you live through the uncomfortable timeframe of mourning Christ’s death and yet also anticipating His Resurrection?
- The Apostles didn’t really know what to expect as things unfolded, but we have the luxury of knowing Christ’s Resurrection. How can this help you have trust in God’s plan for your life?
- Reflect on the idea that the opposites of death and then life are actually integral to these final days of Lent. How have you seen the Lord take parts of your life that were dead and bring them back to life?
Hannah Dixon speaks about her love of the Lord and her heart’s knowledge of God’s love for her.
- Imagine the amount of love that it would take to endure everything that Jesus’ endured. Reflect upon the fact that that love is love for you
- When you are really struggling, can you truly pray and repeat with Jesus “Not my will but thy will be done” then to then courageously and lovingly, using God’s power that He has given you, take up your cross and carry it?
- Pray and sit with this prayer from St. Gertrude the Great “Glory be to Thee, most gracious, sweetest, most benign, sovereign, transcending, effulgent, and ever peaceful Trinity, for the roseate Wounds of Jesus Christ, my chosen and only love. . . O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, accept this prayer, with that surpassing love, with which Thou didst endure all the Wounds of Thy most Holy Body. Have mercy on me, and on all sinners, and on all the faithful, living and departed. Grant them grace and mercy, remission of sins and everlasting life. Amen”
- Know that Jesus is so present in the Eucharist, and that He unites Himself to you not only in glory and in your joyful moments, but that He unites Himself to you in His suffering and agony. Let Jesus tell you now “Let me love you.” Sit with those words and let them wash over you.
- As our Retreat is drawing to a close, know and believe that your eternal relationship with Jesus is just getting started. Now that you have caught fire, what concrete practices can you put in place to ensure that you keep burning? Can you choose to spend time in Adoration each week? Can you try to attend daily Mass at least once a week? Can you plan to spend time praying with a crucifix daily?
If you desire to Pray the St. Gertrude prayer 15x a day for a year to pray it for each of the 5,466 wounds of Christ, like Hannah spoke about, You can do so by following the prayer structure listed out below:
Pray: “Glory be to Thee, most gracious, sweetest, most benign, sovereign, transcending, effulgent, and ever peaceful Trinity, for the roseate Wounds of Jesus Christ, my chosen and only love.” (Pray 5 times)
Then pray “O Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, accept this prayer, with that surpassing love, with which Thou didst endure all the Wounds of Thy most Holy Body. Have mercy on me, and on all sinners, and on all the faithful, living and departed. Grant them grace and mercy, remission of sins and everlasting life. Amen”
(Repeat this 3x a day!)
Nora Balayti shares encouragement on how to imitate Christ in His sacrificial love for others.
- Psalm 32:8 says that: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.” God is watching us always, this is a beautiful thing, think about how knowing He is watching can both help us to want to do good to make Him proud, as well as give us confidence that we are not alone.
- How can you place a hand on the shoulder of someone whom you sense to be in need?
- On Holy Thursday, leading into the Passion, Jesus gave the Eucharist, and then He washed His disciples feet. How can we daily in our own way imitate Jesus act of love by “washing the feet” of those in need?
- Where do you catch yourself judging or condemning others? Jesus was condemned unjustly, and we of course shudder at the injustice and cruelty of it all – how do you do in concretely avoiding doing the same with others? For those whom you struggle with who may be guilty – can you forgive like Christ has forgiven?
- Think about how you can put the following into practice: “Bring love wherever you go, shine light wherever it is dark, leave blessings wherever you’ve been, and be kind wherever you are.” – Mary Davis
Enjoy the opportunity to encounter God through today’s Wednesday “Fuel Break.” A Fuel Break is a strip of land in the middle of a forest that is cleared out in order to control a burn in the case of a wildfire. Every Wednesday you can enjoy a “Fuel Break” Guided Meditation. Rather than giving you more to think about and process, we’ll be shifting gears so that you can clear your mind and enter into a time of prayer with God. We pray that these encounters with the Lord will help control and focus the burn that God is enkindling in your heart.
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Brad Hunsberger shares a moving testimony about encountering God’s healing love while on a recent pilgrimage.
- What Church or place in your life holds a special significance for you? Reflect on the powerful moments of your life that have happened in these special places.
- Do you ever allow yourself to fully experience the full weight and depth of Jesus’ love in dying for you? Can you let yourself be vulnerable and to feel the depth of this love?
- Take a moment to reflect upon the fact that there are true relics of the nails that went through Jesus’ hands and feet, wood from the cross, and the pillar where Jesus was scourged. How does thinking about this concretize your understanding of Jesus sacrifice?
- When in your life have you had something unexpected happen that would seem from outside to ruin your experience, that deep down interiorly you know made a positive difference and impact? How can you let knowledge of God’s providence in that moment give you courage to face what you have to today?
There are many components to the Passion of Christ, and Dr. Joe Welty shares some of his personal journey to understanding Christ crucified.
- Dr. Welty had a profound moment of union with the Lord that came as a result of being open to share his talents with the parish. How might God be calling you to serve, and in turn to impact you in an unexpected way?
- This week as we being Holy Week, can you try to put aside all other distraction or things that might hold your attention and focus on the crucifix? Can you spend 5 minutes today gazing upon this sign of Love?
- How is Jesus love and sacrifice from the cross calling you to take the focus off of yourself in this particular moment? How are you being called to serve those who are in need?
- Can you ask Jesus to help you to share His endurance when it comes to pouring yourself out of love – not only for those who you are close with, but also for those whom you are called to forgive.
- Reflect on the following beautiful quote from Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen: “Keep your eyes on the crucifix, for Jesus without the cross is a man without a mission, and the cross without Jesus is a burden without a reliever.”
Fr. Gary Caster of the Diocese of Peoria beautifully describes how to see the Passion in a new light from God’s perspective.
- When you think of the Passion, what is your initial thought? How does your understanding and appreciation of the Passion shift when you consider the Passion, your life, and the big picture from God’s perspective?
- Consider and reflect on the fact that God’s “pain” began when humanity turned away, rejected His love, and didn’t trust His plan. . .
- God says to all of us “Will you be my friend?” Reflect upon the price that God was willing to pay to be your friend. How do you value and nurture this friendship of the greatest love bought at the highest price?
- The Passion is not just pain and suffering, it is a result of God’s PASSIONATE love for you, how does this perspective affect you and how can is change how you live your life?
- In moments where you feel rejected, can you unite your pain to Jesus rejection, understanding that the Passion cannot be separated from rejection?
- Understand that Jesus has been waiting for the Passion, for this moment, with longing. . . How does this change your outlook on suffering and your own moments when you are called to sacrifice out of love? How does this change your understanding of God’s love for you?
- Ponder this: You don’t control God’s love for you. He loves you regardless of any failure you have experienced. His supreme act of love is FINISHED – His love is complete and it is yours! How can this change your life?
- LET GOD LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Patrick is a seminarian of the Rockford Diocese. Here he gives his testimony about understanding love of God’s law for the Catching Fire Retreat.
- How much do you relate your Catholicism to what you do (ie rosaries, prayer cards, devotionals, etc.) versus who you are in relation to Christ? What can you do to shift things if they need to be shifted?
- God thirsts for you and for me. Pray some or all of this “I Thirst Prayer” written by Mother Teresa of Calcutta.https://avemariaradio.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Jesus-I-Thirst.pdf
- Pray over the following Scripture passage, from 1 John 4:8-12Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.