Vocation Discernment Retreat Weekend

A Lenten Journey


"Lent is a time when we relive the Passion of Christ.  Let it not be just a time when our feelings are roused, but let it be a change that comes through cooperation with God's grace in real sacrifices of self" (Mother Teresa of Calcutta).









Portrait of a Lenten Journey

Prayer . . .
  the atmosphere which fills the heart
    with His Presence

Fasting . . .
  the "meal" prepared daily
     for others
  through sacrifice and charity

Almsgiving . . .
  the gifts which reach
    into one's heart
  and are poured out for needy souls

Penance . . .
  the Lenten desert road
    that silently leads one
      to purity of heart
        and union
  with Our Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus.

Into the Desert

"Prayer and converse with God is a supreme good: it is a partnership and union with God. As the eyes of the body are enlightened when they see light, so our spirit, when it is intent on God, is illumined by his infinite light. I do not mean the prayer of outward observance but prayer from the heart, not confined to fixed times or periods but continuous throughout the day and night.

Practice prayer from the beginning. Paint your house with the colors of modesty and humility. Make it radiant with the light of justice. Decorate it with the finest gold leaf of good deeds. Adorn it with the walls and stones of faith and generosity. Crown it with the pinnacle of prayer. In this way you will make it a perfect dwelling place for the Lord. You will be able to receive him as in a splendid palace, and through his grace you will already possess him, his image enthroned in the temple of your spirit" (St. John Chrysostom, Bishop).

Into The Desert

Into the desert . . .
  I keep within my heart
    a Lenten vigil
      of silence and prayer

The contemplation
  of Christ's Suffering Face
become the atmosphere
  for new growth in virtue
    and blossoms into
  His Love, Humility and 
    a charity
      that branches out
         into
    an embrace of all the world
       filling it with 
         the Fragrance of Christ

Behold . . .
    how the Lenten desert
      brings forth new life
    each tender "bud" -- the virtues
      blossoms forth
beneath the Sacred Gaze of Jesus
    from the Wood of His Cross.
           







Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday . . . now we enter into the Sacred Season of Lent. A special graced time to prepare our hearts for a greater participation and remembrance of His Passion, Death, and Resurrection.  During these weeks, we allow His sentiments to shape and renew us as we walk with Him . . . and the Sign of the Cross that we receive on our forehead today marks us as belonging to Jesus Crucified . . . and the Triumph of His Resurrection.




"Sacred Silence"


Silence
  is a wondrous thing
    a gift from God's Own Heart.

It's Beauty lies in that
  the language spoken
    is both mystery
      and revelation.

Mystery . . .
  because it's like stepping
     into another world . . .

Revelation . . .
  because in silence
     we can hear
         the Heartbeat of God
            that speaks
                the 
            Language of Love.

Jesus Prays in the Garden of Gethsemane

Throughout the world, many are celebrating Mardi Gras . . . while we observe a special Passionist memorial in our Liturgy--Jesus at Prayer in Gethsemane.  Gethsemane . . . the curtain which opens the beginning of Christ's Hour of Suffering.  So . . . we seek to pray beside Him, in spirit, and with the Angel, offer Him our presence of love and compassion.


                   


Gethsemane

"My Heart is
  nearly broken with sorrow . . ."

In prayer, I seem to see
  the Lord Jesus

on the ground before me.

. . . "Stay here and
   keep watch with Me."
   Though centuries have past . . .

His request has
  touched my heart,
So I choose to remain

To bring comfort
  to His Broken Heart
    and compassion to His Pain

Solemn Commememoratio of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ


On Friday before Ash Wednesday, Passionists through out the World celebrate the Titular Feast of the Congregation, the Solemn Commemoration of the Passion.  The Triumph of Love!  That is what we celebrate on this special feast particular to our Passionist Congregation.  Jesus embraced His Sacred Passion as He allowed His Heart to be opened on the Cross, revealing a Treasury of Grace and Mercy.  

The Solemn Commemoration is the joyful celebration of the truth that "the Passion of Jesus Christ is the greatest and most stupendous work of Divine Love" (St. Paul of the Cross).

"Come lovers of Jesus, with deep reverence and humble confidence enter into the sanctuary of His Heart.  Contemplate the immense and heartfelt charity by which He suffers for all.  In suffering for all, Jesus has each one in particular in sight as if He suffers for that one alone: He loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20).  Who would not want to return that love to a God who has anticipated us in love, and with such an excess of love?" (St. Vincent Mary Strambi, CP).



Meet Me At The Cross


I come to gather
  from each Foot
     Your drops of Precious Blood

As You hang
  in Love
on Your Holy Cross
     of wood

I see from Your Hands
  now bejeweled in red

Graces flowing
   for our souls
And I seek
  to gather this Treasure
    of each drop
            You Bled

From Your Wounded Side
  I see Your Heart
    pierced for us

And within
  this Rubied Castle of Love
    I spend my life

Gathering countless graces
   for the souls
entrusted to my care

Seeking blessings
  from Your Heart

Yes, Jesus!
  Through Your Sacred Passion
    Your Merciful Love
       reaches everyone . . .
                           everywhere!
  

Feast of St. Gabriel of the Sorrowful Virgin

Today, we celebrate the feast day of one of the most beloved saints of the Passionist Congregation, St. Gabriel Possenti of the Sorrowful Virgin.  As a young man, Francis resembled his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, as he was known for his joyful temperament.  In fact, he loved music and was quite a dancer!  But God had planted in his heart a seed which eventually bore fruit in a desire to give himself to God as a Passionist.  Our Blessed Mother was instrumental in his finally saying yes to God.  So, it is not surprising to see that she continued to be his inspiration and teacher throughout  his short life as a Passionist.  Born in 1838, he died at Isola of Gran Sasso, Italy on February 27, 1862.





I sought to be Her companion
  this Sweet and Gentle Mother Mary
    as She stood 'neath the Cross of Her Son.


To compassionate
  Her Heart and His Heart
    was the only treasure
      I sought to claim
        as my own.

From Her Sorrowful Heart
  I learned how to love my Lord
      and give myself totally to Him.

Yes, Our Mother Mary
  I learned how to love my Lord
     and give myself totally to Him.

Yes, Our Mother Mary
  taught me
      to gaze into
         the Mystery of Calvary
And through Her eyes
  to enter
      into this Mystery of God's Love.

Such is my vocation
  as Passionist
I learned this from Mother Mary
  at the Foot of the Cross
    of Jesus Crucified.




Vocation Advice from St. Paul of the Cross



--"With regard to your vocation, wait on the loving breath of the Holy Spirit and live entirely abandoned in the divine arms of Jesus Christ, who is mindful of the state in life you should embrace.  Be sure that if you are faithful to God, he will open a wonderful path so that you may find a place apt to lead to the highest perfection.  But for now take care of yourself as best you can in your home, where you have occasions to exercise great acts of virtue at every hour and every moment . . . Keep silent, never complain, do not justify yourself ever, and never harbor resentment. --from a letter of St. Paul of Cross to Teresa Palozzi, December 7, 1755

The Contemplative Passionist Life