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Lent and Easter Cyber Retreat 2012 - Outline 2/19

Fr. Tim Hayes, EGL 1
February 20 – April 15, 2012
I propose a Cyber Retreat for the Seasons of the Paschal Mystery, Lent and Easter. It is adaptable in any way that fits your own need. The only “requirement” is that you pray for those who join you. This year’s Cyber Retreat begins February 20, 2012, the Monday before Ash Wednesday. The Retreat concludes with Divine Mercy Sunday, April 15, 2012.
Theme: Trust in God’s Personal Love for His People
As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore. All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides. Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the kingdomSell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.  Luke 12:29-34
Scripture and Reflection for Each Day of the Week
I have told you this so that you might have peace in Me. In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world.  John 16:33
Jesus Christ offers Shalom, that is, Peace, Wholeness and Integrity.  The world tries to unsettle us and distract us from pursuing the one thing necessary to find true Happiness.  We are called to receive Fortitude in order to stand true; He has conquered the world. 
What gives you confidence in the Lord’s Grace at work in you?  How are you made aware that Christ has conquered the world for you?
The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.  Acts 4:32-35
The sign of the Truth of the Christian way of life that is most effective in revealing Christ is Unity.
When believers are truly of one heart and mind, crossing boundaries, holding all their good,material and spiritual, in common, then the world has to take notice. Great power flows from fidelity to the Apostolic preaching. All in need are taken care of when all who have are willing to give what they have and what they are in order to witness the Truth of their commitment to Christ. 
Who has revealed the Truth of Christ to you by a sharing of person? How do you respond? Can you see the Truth of God’s Love offered to you through members of the Christian Community who are one in heart and mind with you?
Thus says the LORD: Remember not the events of the past, the things of long ago consider not; see, I am doing something new! Now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? In the desert I make a way, in the wasteland, rivers.  Isaiah 43:18-19
Trust in the Lord’s Love for us leads to Hope. We know that God has taken care of us in the past, and we are confident that He will see us through to the end. However, when we measure the future by reference to the past, we can run the risk of limiting the horizon. The Gospel calls us to a realization of Something New. The intimations of the Eternal are evident to us through Faith, through a growing awareness that God has plans for us beyond our wildest imagination. We are surprised by the Gift of God and invited to embrace it.
Where are you conscious of Something New happening in your life? Where is the desert and where are the hints of the springs of Living Water flowing freely? How are you being invited to put your trust in God’s Love for you personally?
Let your faith in the LORD, your God, be firm, and you will be firm. Have faith in his prophets and you will succeed.  II Chronicles 20:20
Faith in the Lord leads to Confidence in His Presence and His Love. Hope follows from hearing the Word of the Lord as it is proclaimed by those who speak in His Name, the Prophets and Teachers who are guided by the Spirit of Truth. Firm Faith leads to a strength of purpose that allows us to accomplish our God-given goals and to witness to the Kingdom in a practical way.
How strong is your Faith in the Lord?  Who speaks to you with the voice of authority and challenges you to grow in Faith?  Are you willing to commit even in the face of persecution and doubt?
I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me, because I live and you will live. On that day you will realize that I am in my Father and you are in me and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me.  John 14:18-20
In every human heart, there is a longing for something More, something greater than this world can offer. Even when there is a sharing of person between human beings through Friendship in the Lord, there is still something left unsatisfied. The Lord promises that He will satisfy this longing. We are not left as orphans. The Day will come when we will experience for ourselves the Truth of the Unity that is presented to us through Faith in the Holy Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are One, and our destiny is to share in that One Love. The Word has been spoken to us, in our own humanity, and His Commandments allow us to respond to Him in Love.
How has your Hope in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ been enlivened? Are you aware of the sense of incompleteness and of the longing that invites you to believe that God has Something More in store for you personally?  Do you hear your personal call to Newness of Life?
With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you. Again I will restore you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin Israel; Carrying your festive tambourines, you shall go forth dancing with the merrymakers.  Jeremiah 31:3-4
God’s Love for us in not part of His Creation; It is the very Essence of His Being and It precedes the act of Creation. That Love, offered once and refused, is offered anew as Mercy. The Promise that flows from the Love and Mercy of God is that all will be restored in accord with His Plan for us. Joy and Happiness will be ours, if we open ourselves to Love and Mercy.
How do you experience the “age-old Love” of God? Where is His Mercy evident in your life? What in you needs to be restored, renewed, rebuilt? What already serves to bring you to Joy?
Let us hold unwaveringly to our confession that gives us hope, for he who made the promise is trustworthy. We must consider how to rouse one another to love and good works. We should not stay away from our assembly, as is the custom of some, but encourage one another, and this all the more as you see the day drawing near.  Hebrews 10:23-25
How do Faith, Hope and Love serve to lead you to worship with the Christian Community? For what are you thankful as you experience the Eucharist? How do you encourage your brothers and sisters in the Lord? Are you able to express your own Confession that gives Hope? What are the Lord’s Promises to you?
Each week will also offer a section from Pope Benedict XVI’s Lenten Message for 2012
For your own planning, each week:
Find a form of Prayer – opening to Christ’s Gift of Himself. Read and ponder the Sacred Scriptures. Attend a celebration of the Stations of the Cross in a local parish. Spend some time in Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament.
Find a manner of Fasting – entering into the act of self-emptying. Consider several different ways to fast; all are invited to find their own level:
* Abstain from meat;
* Eat only one large meal (no snacks);
* Experience a total fast (no food at all);
* Fast during daylight hours;
* Fast from certain activities or behaviors.
Respond to the call to Almsgiving – making an offering of self. Give alms, sharing materially and personally what God has given you with someone in need. Choose a personal charity or find an action that “costs” you something personally.
* * * * * * *
Let us live this Lent with the intention to draw close to the God Who seeks to be closer to us and to pray for the triumph of God’s Justice in our broken world. Led into the desert, let us cooperate with works of Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, to grow in the grace that is needed for our time and in our capacity to fast in order to open space for God.
Petitions for Each Week of Lent
Week I – That the Church of God may be a witness to Truth in a world dominated by the tyranny of Relativism.
Week II – That all Church leaders may have the courage and wisdom to speak the Truth before civil authorities, especially in defense of life and liberty.
Week III – That all Religious Women and Men may stand as a witness to the transcendence of the Kingdom of Heaven over the things of this world.
Week IV – That all the Faithful may be strengthened in their convictions by the power of the Holy Spirit as they choose to live by Faith in a world of secularism and doubt.
Week V – That all who are wounded by sin and selfishness may learn the freedom of the Children of God and come to know the Love of God the Father for all His People.
Week VI – That all who are initiated through the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist may bring new life and joy to the People of God through the graces they receive at Easter.
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