“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ, joy is constantly born anew.” Pope Francis
With these words, Pope Francis opens his first major document, The Joy of the Gospel. Joy is a quality that our Lord himself wishes to pass onto his disciples when he says, “I have told you this that my joy may be in you and your joy may be complete.” John 15:11.
Sadly, Joy does not come to mind for many people when they describe their life of faith. Harsh and exacting images portray a God who uses fear and punishment as a way of keeping his errant children in line.
Our 2018 Retreat Theme: Towards a Spirituality of Joy: Love more, laugh more, be not afraid, will invite retreatants to rediscover the marvelous quality of Joy that permeates the Gospels and the lives of disciples of Jesus throughout the ages.
The sub-theme of the first retreat conference, Love Casts Out All Fear will address the obstacle of fear in our spiritual journey. Fear holds us back and hinders us from living life in the Lord to the fullest. Love, on the other hand, “casts out all fear.” Love has the power to transform and redeem our fears. Can we identify the fears that dictate our responses to others and ourselves? How do we engage and befriend common fears? E.g., fear of pain, fear of loss of faculties, fear of loss of control; fear of want, etc.?
The second retreat conference, Between Heaven and Mirth will look at the need to reclaim the joy of the Gospel. Pope Francis famously said in one of his daily homilies that Christians sometimes look like
sourpusses. What has caused so many people to equate a life of sternness and rigidity with following Jesus? How do we reclaim the moments of joy [and humor] in the Scriptures, in the lives of the saints, and in our own lives?
The third retreat conference The Greatest Commandment, addresses the question: “Is our salvation in Jesus or in following the rules?” Are we able to embrace self-compassion as well as compassion for others? How does the concept of surrender, increase our joy and freedom?
cue from a video address in which Pope Francis called for a revolution of tenderness. “Tenderness is the path of choice for the strongest, most courageous men and women. Tenderness is not weakness; it is fortitude. It is the path of solidarity, the path of humility.” How do we make a future of hope, of tenderness and solidarity? Woven throughout the retreat will be prayer services, Mass, opportunities to receive the
Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Sacrament of the Sick, as well as time for private prayer or individual spiritual direction. Please join us and bring a friend (or two) in 2018.
1. Love Casts Out All Fear
2. Between Heaven and Mirth
3. The Greatest Commandment
4. A Revolution of Tenderness