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Each of us is loved, each of us is necessary
Pope Benedict

What is the most important question in the world? Surely, it must be ‘Who is Jesus Christ?’ Note, not who was Jesus Christ, because ever since the Son of God rose from the dead at Easter, baptised Christians form one body, one spirit, one heart with the living Lord. In a retreat we take time aside to advert more consciously to this real personal presence of Jesus with us and in us.

“Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him.”

Pope Benedict XVI

     
Be still, and know that I am God!
Psalm 46:10
This retreat is a time for me to step back from my usual routine of everyday living. It needs to be planned in advance. I choose a suitable day when, leaving aside my usual concerns, I can instead go apart in some way and into real quiet. I find a space where I can be alone and become more aware of God’s loving presence - maybe outside in the garden; maybe sitting, standing or kneeling in a “prayer corner” in my room or elsewhere in the house; maybe in a church or chapel.  I switch off my mobile phone, the radio and TV, anything that might interfere with the silence and solitude where I meet God. “Be still, and know that I am God!” (Psalm 46:10). I slow down. Today is not for doing but for being: I make no effort to achieve, to ‘catch up’ or get things done. I just become aware, listening to hear what message God has for me personally.
     
this retreat revolves around three times or hours of prayer
Lent is a time for turning back to God. We reflect in a special way on what God has done for us and how He has shown his love for us through the life – and especially through the sufferings and death of his Son Jesus Christ. Accordingly, this retreat revolves around three times or hours of prayer, each focusing on one of the Gospel passages chosen by the Christian churches for our attention during Lent. If the idea of an hour of prayer seems too much for me, then let me decide on what I think I can cope with, say thirty-five or forty-five minutes and commit myself to be faithful to that. The time does need to be substantial, so that I give myself the opportunity to enter into the experience.
     
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Some people are helped to pray by lighting a candle, or by having a crucifix before them, or a picture of Christ, to help them to enter into God’s space and time. During this retreat you might like to select an image that is meaningful for you. The images that accompany the stages of the retreat may be helpful, or some other picture may recommend itself to you, prompted, perhaps, by a phrase in the texts you find here.

You may like to choose a piece of music to listen to quietly or mediatively, letting it be a background for your prayer.

     
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