Your Holy Week Retreat, Part I – Introduction

Monday of Holy Week
March 21, 2016

Dear All:

Yesterday marked a big day for us – the start of our Sesqui year’s most sacred days.  This is an excellent week to make more time for prayer – nothing earth shattering, maybe 10 or 20 minutes each day.  And now that our electronic connections have improved substantially, we can treat this week as an “at-home retreat” in which you receive daily scripture suggestions for your prayer.

The notions of “priest, prophet and king,” which have figured so prominently in our CL year’s prayers and actions, can provide valuable boosts to our experiences of Holy Week, our parish’s 150th.  Recall that the phrase “priest, prophet and king” was used at your baptism. Right after the priest poured water over your forehead, he anointed the crown of your head with sacred oil and said “May you remain forever a member of Christ who is priest and prophet and king.”

As a baptized priest, you are a person of prayer who speaks to God, listens to God and helps others to do the same.  As a prophet you console others and challenge others.  As a king, you build community.  Every time you pray, console, challenge and build community, you are reinforcing your membership in Christ.  You are also imitating Jesus of Nazareth, carrying on His work, and delighting Him.  Good for you.

This holiest week of our CL year offers an inspired opportunity to reflect further on our lives as priests, as prophets and as kings.  This is a week to notice where we are doing a bang up job and to thank God for enabling us to do so.  This is also a week to notice where we could be doing a better job, and to ask God for the help to do so.

Most importantly, this is a week to contemplate Jesus the priest, Jesus the prophet, and Jesus the king.  Consistent with our Lenten awareness of the wilderness, it is a week to contemplate Jesus in the wilderness of His passion – a week to pay exceptional attention to the choices He made in His darkest hours and to let His choices transfix and transform us. It is a week for His choices to fascinate and overwhelm us.

Later today and then early each day this week, you will receive reflection points for your Holy Week, at-home retreat.  Today’s points focus on Jesus the priest.  Tomorrow’s concentrate on Jesus the prophet and Wednesday’s on Jesus the king.  Each set of points comes from Luke’s Passion, the Gospel you heard yesterday.  

During the Holy Days, the points will focus on your ways of being priest, prophet and king to three groups of people – those approaching the wilderness, those in the wilderness, and those leaving the wilderness.

Our history encourages us to recall a few helpful hints as we pray:

  • Take a moment to get focused.  As you begin your reflection you might want to take a few moments to quietly and    s l o w l y  recite a version of the “Jesus prayer:”

    Lord Jesus Christ . . . . Living Son of the living God . . . Please help me to behold . . . . the choices You made.

  • “Apply the senses.”  As you consider the gospel passages, try your best, with your mind’s eye and ears, to see Jesus and the setting, to hear him and the sounds around him, to notice all the details.

  • Close with a “Glory Be” – thanking God for the gifts of greater awareness given during your reflection time.

  • Tell someone what you noticed or what impressed you.

May God bless your CL week abundantly.  May you see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly, and be more grateful than ever for what He did and the faith He gives you.

All best blessings.

Fr. Hank SJ