We have collated a variety of resources to enable you to take part in further online learning and reflection throughout the Lent season. Although much of the material we will be putting before you will be internet based we want to appeal to families and friends to reach out to those who would like to access the material but are unable to use the internet . Please think about what you can do to help.
Embrace the Cross: Embrace the Lord
Have your experiences or those of someone close to you made Jesus’ Calvary also your own? Do you think “Been there. Done that.” when you look at the Cross? We all need a hug! Pope Francis has untiringly tried to remind us that the crucified Jesus accompanies us in our here and now, holding and comforting us in his outstretched arms. We are not alone.
In these online Stations of the Cross, excerpts from Pope Francis’ written and spoken words highlight fifteen moments on Jesus’ journey through Good Friday towards Easter Sunday morning. Brief questions challenge you to reflect on the Pope’s words in the light of your own life experiences. Each Station ends with a prayer, frequently taken from the Way of the Cross which Pope Francis celebrated in Rome’s Coliseum, where many early followers of Jesus found their own Calvary and resurrection. Embrace the Cross, embrace the Lord.
by Sr Janet Fearns FMDM
To download a digital copy for only £1 click here: EMBRACE THE CROSS
Reflecting With Paintings
Father Denis McBride leads a FREE online retreat this Lent, based on his two books Reflecting with Paintings Vol 1 and Vol 2.
Each video will be uploaded to the site first thing on each given date for you to watch. Once released, you can choose to watch each video at a day/time that suits you. Each video, once released, will stay on this webpage.
“One of the things that has always intrigued me about Jesus is how so much of his teaching he chose to do through the medium of fiction. All his parables are fiction: each could begin ‘Once upon a time.’ Jesus asked his hearers to leave their own world and come with him into an imaginary world, and then return to their world to have an inner conversation of how they see things in the light of the parable. Jesus’ parable world is a world of great variety. You meet all sorts of people: difficult judges, committed burglars, broken families, wounded beggars, awkward neighbours, selfish priests, eccentric employers, desperate hosts, surprised guests, wise and foolish virgins.
Paintings, too, have their own language, from pictorial to representative, to coded, to abstract, to you-name-it – communicating another world to the onlooker, another slant on looking at people and things, or simply to provoke unspoken communication between the artist’s emotion and the viewer’s. For this Lenten retreat I invite you to look at selected paintings, to imagine another world, and then to return to your own story in the hope that some inner conversation might be provoked through the strange encounters. (Denis McBride, CSsR)
THE FIRST VIDEO WILL BE AVAILABLE ON WEDNESDAY 24TH FEBRUARY: https://www.rpbooks.co.uk/reflecting-with-paintings-retreat
A Retreat for Lent
Welcome to ‘Knowing Jesus’, a retreat open to all who are interested in getting to know Jesus better. Christian tradition believes that the person of Jesus Christ reveals God to us. If we are to follow Christ and imitate him, we need to know him through his words and actions as shown in the Gospels.
Walk with us through Lent and Easter and really come to understand and love Jesus. We will ponder Gospel stories, reflect on their meaning and see how startlingly relevant Jesus is to living a truly human life in the 21st Century.
This retreat, produced in Scotland by the Society of Jesus – Jesuits – a Catholic religious order, is open to all throughout the world.
Daily readings/reflections and music are available here: https://www.onlineprayer.net/
An Ignation Prayer Adventure
Welcome to An Ignatian Prayer Adventure. This is an adapted version of the Spiritual Exercises. Materials are modified from the longer retreat in The Ignatian Adventure by Kevin O’Brien, SJ.
The eight-week schedule makes it perfectly timed as a Lent and Easter retreat, but the adventure can be started at any time, on your schedule. Join in a flexible experience of daily prayer and reflection. Choose to commit to a regular period of prayer each day, or start with only one day a week. Use as much or as little of the material as helps you in your Ignatian adventure, click the links below to access the sessions each week:
Before You Begin
Week 1: Love, Freedom, and Purpose
Week 2: Finding God in All Things
Week 3: Something’s Broken
Week 4: Knowing Jesus
Week 5: What Do I Really Want?
Week 6: The Public Ministry of Jesus
Week 7: The Suffering Jesus
Week 8: God’s Love and Our Response
Access the full course at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-spiritual-exercises/an-ignatian-prayer-adventure/
Echoes of God
The aim of this series is to help us get a sense of the Scriptures as a whole. To see the unfolding of God’s liberating and creative love in the history of Israel and in the Church.
We will set out with the freed Hebrew slaves and their leader Moses, responding to God’s call; so close and yet always a little strange to us. We will become familiar with their pattern and be guided by the echo of the divine words from the beginning. Words which continue to liberate us in our time.
Our journey will lead us to encounter God. The same God across all the ages in the one unifying Spirit. Our choice of readings will reveal the growing sense of the mystery of God, and the mystery of God’s Creation. Of men and women called to be a reconciled community, capable of selfless responses that can heal and fulfil each other and the world. David McLoughlin invites you to join him on a journey through the whole Bible in this wonderful 7 week course, click the links below to access the sessions each week:
Access the full course here: https://www.godwhospeaks.uk/the-god-who-speaks/focus/sunday-of-the-word-of-god/echoes-of-god-journeying-with-the-word-of-god/
Stations of the Cross: Then and Now
The way of the cross is not confined to a lonely road in Jerusalem two thousand years ago:it is a busy highway winding through every village, town and city in our modern world. Fr Denis McBride C.Ss.R. reflectively guides us along the way of the cross. He contrasts the beauty and solemn simplicity of the more traditional Stations by artist Curd Lessig with modern images that challenge us to link Jesus’ story to the struggle of our everyday life. Through its rich array of scripture passages, paintings, poetry, prayers, photographs and reflections, The Stations of the Cross – then and now becomes a companion not only on our Lenten journey but throughout the year: suffering is not limited to one liturgical season. Whether we walk in solitude or with others, this book translates the passion of Jesus into our own life and times.
Fr Denis celebrates Stations of the Cross on line: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr-EjzDPzvQ
We are all involved in the construction of a better world Pope Francis, in presenting to the world the new Encyclical Letter Fratelli tutti sulla fraternità e l’amicizia sociale, Sunday 4 October 2020, said: , ” I offered it to God on the tomb of Saint Francis, who inspired me [to write] it, as in the previous Laudato si’. The signs of the times clearly show that human fraternity and care of creation form the sole way towards integral development and peace, already indicated by the Popes Saints John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II.”
The encyclical in short:
Shadows over the closed world (Ch. 1) are spreading everywhere, leaving injured people by the roadside, cast out and discarded. The shadows plunge humanity into confusion, loneliness, and desolation. When we come upon an injured stranger on the road (Ch. 2), we can assume one of two attitudes: we can pass by or we can stop to help. The type of person we are and the type of political, social or religious group we belong to will be defined by whether we include or exclude the injured stranger.
God is universal love, and as long as we are part of that love and share in it, we are called to universal fraternity, which is openness to all. There are no “others,” no “them,” there is only “us”. We want, with God and in God, an open world (Ch. 3), a world without walls, without borders, without people rejected, without strangers. To achieve this world, we must have an open heart (Ch. 4). We need to experience social friendship, seek what is morally good, and practice a social ethic because we know we are part of a universal fraternity. We are called to solidarity, encounter, and gratuitousness.
To create an open world with an open heart, it is necessary to engage in politics, and a better kind of politics (Ch. 5) is essential. Politics for the common and universal good. Politics that is “popular” because it is for and with the people. It is politics with social charity that seeks human dignity. The politics of men and women who practice political love by integrating the economy with the social and cultural fabric into a consistent and life-giving human project.
Knowing how to dialogue is the way to open the world and build social friendship (Ch. 6) which manifests an open heart and provides the basis for a better politics. Dialogue seeks and respects the truth. Dialogue gives rise to the culture of encounter, which becomes a way of life, a passionate desire. Whoever dialogues is generous, recognizing and respecting the other.
But it is not enough just to engage in encounter. We have to face the reality of the injuries of past mis-encounters, and so we have to establish and walk the paths of re-encounter (Ch. 7). We need to heal the wounds, which requires seeking and offering forgiveness. To forgive is not to forget. We need to be daring and start from the truth—the recognition of historical truth—which is the inseparable companion of justice and mercy. All this is indispensable for advancing towards peace. Conflict is inevitable on the road to peace, but violence is inadmissible. That is why war is a recourse that must be rejected, and the death penalty a practice that must be eliminated.
The different religions of the world recognize human beings as God’s creatures. As creatures, we are in a relationship of fraternity. The religions are called to the service of fraternity in the world (Ch. 8). In dialogue and with hearts open to the world, we can establish social friendship and fraternity. In our openness to the Father of all, we recognize our universal condition as brothers and sisters. For Christians, the wellspring of human dignity and fraternity is in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and that is what inspires our actions and commitments. This path of fraternity also has a Mother called Mary.
Faced with those injured by the shadows of a closed world and still lying by the roadside, we are invited by Pope Francis to make our own the world’s desire for fraternity, starting with the recognition that we are “Fratelli tutti”, brothers and sisters all.
Find out more at: https://www.humandevelopment.va/en/fratelli-tutti.html
What is Fratelli Tutti?: Your questions answered on Pope Francis’ new encyclical: visit https://cafod.org.uk/Pray/Fratelli-Tutti-explained
For further information and discussion why not watch the Cafod Webinar which can be found on You Tube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5eCW8c4fUds
Daily Reflections for Lent