Sunday Micro Retreat - May 8, 2022
As you begin your time of reflection, try to realize that you are standing on holy ground and that you are in the presence of God who wants to talk to you and who wants to listen to you.
Make the Sign of the Cross and invite the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind so the Word of God that you are about to read can flourish in you for God's glory. Say this prayer using your own words. Let the words flow from your mind, through your heart. Try to "feel" what you are saying.
Is there anything that you would like to ask God at this moment? What graces does your heart desire? Talk to God about it.
Today, ask God for the gift of deep and genuine relationship with Him.
Now read the Sunday's Gospel:
My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, in regard to what he has given me, is greater than all, and no one can snatch them out of the Father's hand. The Father and I are one." (John 10, 27-30)
The Word of God touches everyone differently. If there is anything that really stood out for you in this reading, meditate on it. Go to the depths of your heart and listen to what God is trying to say to you.
Next, let's spend some time with a couple of points that you may consider during this Sunday's Retreat:
1. "My sheep hear my voice."
Voice carries sounds that may be pleasant for me or not. Those sounds become familiar to me with the passing of time. The more I hear them, the more I know them. As the sheep become familiar with the voice of their shepherd, so do I become aware of Jesus's love for me the more I hear him. Christ's voice did not disappear with him when he ascended to heaven, but his personal voice stayed present in the Scripture. It is the voice of grace and truth that has power over everything that comes from the earthly world and from the world of fallen angels.
Imagine that you have a child who has a loving relationship with you. You talk to each other all the time. You know your child's voice so well that when you get an email or a text message from your child, you actually can "hear" the tone of your child's voice in that message. If a random stranger happens to read this message from your child, he or she will understand the text but will not be able to recognize your child's voice.
So attentive and constant listening to the Word of God will eventually train our "spiritual ear" to be able to recognize clearly Jesus's voice in every condition of our human life: simple or complicated, healthy or unhealthy, happy or sorrowful, rich or poor.
Now, think about your own life: How well do you know Jesus's voice? Is his voice able to reach the most secret places in your heart? Are you obedient to Christ's voice through the teachings of the Magisterium and the profession of faith of the Catholic Church? How is your relationship with Jesus? Is it deep and full of trust? In the biblical language, knowing someone means having a close relationship with that person. How close are you to Jesus in your daily life? In everything that you do?
2. "eternal life”
What is eternal life? It is hard to imagine it; it is hard to understand 'no end' as we live in a world where everything has its beginning and its end. In philosophy, you may find some interesting images that relate to this idea. To conceive what eternal life may be, try to imagine yourself in the largest forest on this planet during the season of leaf-falling. Count all the fallen leaves, and keep repeating it through endless years. Or visit the largest desert and number all the grains of sand. Let each grain represent a century. This is a tough task, isn't it? But this is what everlasting life means. Those earthly images do not come close to what we are yet to experience. The eternal life that John is talking about in this passage means everlasting existence in heaven, where the communion of love is shared between the Trinity and human beings through the saving action of Jesus. Therefore, all who have eternal life will never perish.
However, some 'powers' will try to snatch human beings away from this love if those persons are not holding on to God's hand.
What do you think may prevent you from holding on to God's hand? Do you feel like sometimes you are just like a toddler who throws a temper tantrum and wants to run away from the parent's safety (but also authority)?
Have you ever tried to imagine what eternity may look like? How do you feel about it? What kind of joys of fears this 'idea' may stir in your heart?
At the end of this meditation, talk to Jesus about everything that 'was born in your heart during this reflection. Tell him about your feelings, about your joys and fears that flow from this time of prayer. Be honest with him, and be grateful for everything that happened during this hour.
You may end this retreat by going for a short nature walk. Forget about all the electronic gadgets that you may have. Do not listen to your favourite music; instead, listen to the surrounding nature. What can you hear? What do you see? How do you feel? Do you encounter God in this experience?
It is good to keep a personal journal in which reflections that stood out for you are recorded. The outcome of those Sunday Micro Retreats is good material that you can talk about in your spiritual direction.