Parish Lent Retreat 2022

Retreat Master Rev. Steven R. Olds, St. Vincent De Paul Regional Seminary

  • Professor of Systematic Theology
  • B.A., Oakland University, Rochester, MI
  • S.T.B., Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
  • S.T.L., S.T.D., Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy

Note: I missed the first night due to a bout of sudden onset bradycardia due to poorly controlled COPD/Apnea combination. A brief summary of the general concept of Monday is included.

Monday – The Institute for Priestly Formation’s schema of Acknowledge, Relate, Receive,
Respond (ARRR) as a pattern for encountering God in prayer. Summary from link below.

  • Acknowledge – Acknowledging Who God Is and Who We Are.
  • Receive – God speaks to us in four ways in this moment: through our spiritual senses, through our imaginations, through our God-given reason, and through His silent, loving presence.
  • Reflect – In every mode of God’s conversation with him, the seminarian must come as he is—a poor beggar.
  • Respond – we release whatever it was that we acknowledged and related. At this point, the man will often sense in himself a resolution, a sense of peace.

Tuesday – Forgiveness (notes in order taken)

Scripture: The Unmerciful Servant

Reading from Gospel of Matthew – Mt 18:21-35

The idea of 7 x 7 is intended to reflect infinity. We are to be infinitely merciful.

God never tires of forgiving us.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen quoted to say: Our culture permits everything but forgets/forgives nothing.

The King writing off such a large debt extraordinary. The Servant writing off the co-worker debt should have been manageable.

In philosophy it is said Action follows being.

How we act reflects who we are.

All of us have missed the mark and sinned.

Discouragement is our great weakness.

The Devil is NOT co-equal to God. He is a created being. He cannot read our minds. He looks for cracks in our wall, so to speak. He knows our weaknesses.

God knows our weaknesses too. And he works infinitely with us to deal with them and transform them into grace.

Mercy is productive. Unforgiveness is stale.

What is the Will of God? Love and Mercy. This! This is what He wills.

Detachment is not to discard but to align our will to God’s will of love and mercy. That is to care about things in the right way.

It is a discovery of essence. Like marital love:

  1. At first you gaze into one another’s eyes.
  2. Then you gaze together at another.

Satan lies: you are unworthy of God’s love.

There is no such thing as a private sin, only unrevealed sin. There is no place for common knowledge about sin. But there is common effects of sin.

Sin damages the person. Sin damages us all.

Story summary: Two altar servers serving at two different Masses spill the precious blood.

  • In the first case, the priest lovingly corrects the altar server.
  • In the second case, the priest shreds the altar server.
  1. The second altar server was Joseph Stalin
  2. The first altar server was Fulton Sheen.

Sin damages. Self examination and reflection aids us.

God asks: Will you love me even a little?

Scripture: Wedding BanquetThe Parable of the Wedding Feast.

Summary: Everyone is invited.

Regarding the one without the proper wedding garment…

because everyone is not wealthy the tradition is to provide. Wedding garments are provided at the door for those without wedding garments (not unlike a fancy restaurant providing jackets for male diners).

The man refused the wedding garment. That is the not spoken truth (the not revealed).

He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence (Mt 22:12).

His silence led him into the darkness.

God does not kick us out of heaven we walk away.

Scripture: Peter’s Love

Peter went back to his old way of life.

Simon, do you love me?

The question is posed twice as agape love (an “All In” sort of love).

Peter answers twice with a filial love (a “Servant” sort of love).

In the final question, Jesus switches to Peter’s use of the word filial love.

Conclusion: Jesus meets us where we are. If Peter, in that moment, can only see himself as Servant and not “All In”, OK. Let’s begin there.

Preparing for Wednesday night Reconciliation service:

What does it mean to forgive?

What does it mean to be “All In” kind of love and being free from the lies?

Mercy is not a private consolation but a source of mercy for others.

Mercy and mission are tightly coupled.

Allow scripture to read us, Lectio Divina. What captures your attention, your emotions. Stay with that for a while.

Peace be with you,

Deacon Gerry

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