Sunday Micro Retreat – August 14, 2022
As you begin your time of reflection, try to realize that you are standing on holy ground and in the presence of God who wants to talk to you and listen to you.
Make the Sign of the Cross. The Holy Spirit is opening your heart and mind so the Word of God that you are about to read can flourish in you for God's glory. Pray that you continue to work with his grace. Let the words or your prayer flow from your mind through your heart. Try to "feel" what you are saying.
Is there anything you would like to ask God now? What graces does your heart desire? Talk to God about it.
Today, we ask for the grace of being ready to always say “Yes” to Jesus.
Now read the Sunday's Gospel:
Jesus said to his disciples: “I came to bring fire to the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! I have a baptism with which to be baptized, and what stress I am under until it is completed!
“Do you think that I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division! From now on five in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three; they will be divided: father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:49-53)
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. " I came to bring fire "
Fire in the Old Testament often refers to purging and end of times judgement. At this point, we may ask what a judgement is. There are two options that one may consider:
1) judgement as the ability to make a decision, to come to a conclusion or
2) judgement as a misfortune, a divine punishment.
Jesus came to reveal to us who God the Father is. Therefore, he brought us enough evidence so we can make the right decision, so through the use of our reason, our faith in God can grow. If we choose to ignore the mission of Christ, eventually, this choice will turn into our misfortune.
Therefore, think about your own understanding of judgement.
Does the term “end of times judgement” fills you with fear or hope? Whatever your answer is, try to explain why you think this way. Now focus on your feelings: name all the feelings that are associated with your answers. What do they tell you? Where do they lead you to?
2. “Five in one household will be divided”
In Judaism, family bonds and family harmony were strongly emphasized in society. Just imagine how much Jesus’s words about the division in a family would strike the listener, for whom such a division would be one of the greatest misfortunes. Why would Jesus make such a strong statement? Well, he wanted to emphasize that not everyone who hears his message will be willing to repent and enter the path of the narrow road leading to the Kingdom. Through the gift of virtues, God's grace reaches everyone, but not everyone cooperates with this grace.
I would say that most of us encounter families with clear divisions between their members. Sometimes we see very faith-filled parents while their children are running away from God. Or we see children growing up in families far away from any faith, yet the children become saints later on. How is this possible? How does it “work”?
Well, a lot depends on how we grow in the theological and cardinal virtues that all of us receive from God due to his grace. Because of the original sin, everyone will struggle with some virtues more than with others. When we are unaware of our struggles, it is hard for us to grow in virtues. This is why identical twins who were brought up identically may go two separate ways, as they will not necessarily struggle or grow fast with the same virtues.
Therefore, think about your understanding of virtues. Do you know what they are? Do you know in what areas you struggle? Do you know in which virtues you grow well?
You may end this retreat by saying a prayer for your family.
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.