I hope these meditations and your time in prayer brings you healing and peace.
The sessions in part two are a sessions of meditations connecting with Christ’s suffering. Connecting with his passion helps us to be better understand our own suffering and to see it in light of Christ’s presence and redemption. These might be difficult sessions since the look at the wounds we have in our lives but ultimately they are designed to be times where the Great Physician can begin a healing work in us. Take your time with these sessions, be gentle with yourself and after the retreat share your experience with a trusted friend or mentor. Begin each session saying the Lord’s Prayer then simply be with God in each meditation.
Read Isaiah 53:3a
This is a precious verse for us to consider in our retreat. We need to understand that Jesus suffered and was familiar with sorrow. If he didn’t know suffering how can we connect our suffering with his? If he didn’t know sorrow we might be lead to think that being a Christian means living without rejection, pain, sorrow and suffering. We would be at such a profound loss because we would miss the compassion of Christ and feel the guilt of our own pain, somehow thinking we weren’t good enough.
Suffering and Christianity go together because suffering and life go together. We are called to connect our suffering with the suffering of Christ. This gives meaning and purpose to our pain and it gives it a direction; redemption. It gives us healing and hope and ultimately the freedom of the saints in light.
The focal point for Jesus’ suffering is on the cross. It is there we see him at his weakest and most vulnerable. We will connect first in his rejection by humanity.
* Read Mark 15:1-15 à Journal about the rejection of Christ which is summed up in the words “Crucify him!” When have you been rejected by people? Who rejected you, how did it feel? Are those feelings of rejection still driving you somehow? Christ probably didn’t feel loved at that moment. How did you feel in those moments?
As you see that both you and Jesus have been rejected let him minister to you in your pain and hurt. Let him begin to heal you, know that he knows how it feels. Spend prayerful time with this connection.
Take a break if needed or go right into the second session.
* Read Mark 15:21 à Jesus wasn’t able to carry his cross by himself. This is a profound insight for so many of us who want to do it alone. We think that it somehow shows weakness or lack of faith to have help.
Notice again that Jesus needed help carrying his cross. Each of us has a cross to carry, we have burdens we must live with. We don’t have to do it alone, if Jesus needed help then it is okay for us to need help. Allow God to help you through people. For Jesus it was Simon of Cyrene. Who is your Simon of Cyrene? Who will help you carry your cross? For some it is an AA group, for others a pastor, counselor, spiritual director. Yet others find close friends and support groups. The key is to connect with a Simon in your life, they are God’s gift to you.
This is a good time to break for a while…