Cancer Retreat, Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group, Posts and Updates

Retreat Announcement: Embracing God’s Dream For My Life.

We are pleased to announce that our next retreat will be September 26th-29th in Carroll, Iowa, land of beautiful rolling fields and fresh air. Domus Trinitatis, Home Of The Trinity Retreat Center, has two houses and a hermitage located on beautiful expansive countryside property.

”Embracing God’s Dream For My Life” is an exceptionally significant topic for all of us, but especially more for those who have been suffering with life threatening illnesses.

Look for our ad in the Denver Catholic print edition, as well in ongoing updates on all of our social media and email platforms. Sr. Anne Marie Walsh has been invited to write about this retreat in her local area as well. This upcoming retreat is expected to be very joyful!

Important details are listed below:

Dates:  September 26-29th, 2019

Times:  We will start approximately 4:00 pm on Thursday the 26th, and conclude after lunch on Sunday the 29th. Exact details are still pending.

Address: 24750 Noble Ave, Carroll, IA 51401

Contact Phone: (720) 892-5817. This is a google voice number, FYI 🙂

Cost:  Min $50 deposit per person is required. The Sisters welcome your generosity and prayerfully request $50 per night per retreatant to cover food etc. The total cost is $150 per person.

Travel: If enough people are interested, we will explore ride share and other group transportation options.  We want to make it easy.

If you are certain to be attending, please complete the registration form right away. Space is limited.

Step One: Complete the registration form.

FALL 2019 RETREAT AT DOMUS TRINITATIS ( Facing Our Immortality)

Step two: Submit your deposit.

Make your tax deductible retreat payment by linking to SOLT at The Society of Our Lady of The Most Holy Trinity. Please specify that your payment is Mission/Vocation specific. 

State that the payment is for “Facing Our Immortality Fall 2019 at Domus Trinitatis/Iowa.

We will contact you shortly, via email, following the submission of your registration form to answer your questions.  We will email the itinerary details as soon as they become available.  Please also call Denise with your questions as we want you to feel comfortable and fully prepared to enjoy your time at Domus Trinitatis.

Peace and Blessings,

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh and Denise Archuleta

720-892-5817

facingourimmortality@gmail.com

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Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group

Discernment in the Modern Age (An evening retreat with Sr. Anne Marie)

July 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm, mountain time.

Please Call 720-735-7025 to join the conference about 5 minutes ahead of time. You can also join from your computer https://www.uberconference.com/m/facingourimmortality

OPENING HEALING PRAYER Led by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

“We humbly approach you O Most Holy Trinity as we beg for your healing. You are Our Father and we trust in your goodness as you draw us daily to become what you call us to be. We humble ourselves before you as we acknowledge your greatness and your infinite mercy. Please dispel within us any form of idolatry that we may truly worship you with all our being, as Mary our Mother did. 

Jesus, our eternal shepherd, we come to you like the many sick and the infirm that approached you. We beg you to fill our hearts and our souls with the faith of the Centurion who only asked you to say but the word, and he knew that his servant would be healed. Or like the woman, we come to touch your garments with great confidence that your healing power will flow through this cloth to the one it is placed upon now. For those of us who struggle with believing in your power to heal, we pray that you help our unbelief. 

Holy Spirit, we rely on the humility that you give us as we bring our request before your presence. We often do not know what to ask and how to ask. Often we struggle with knowing what God’s will is for one who is sick. Yet we know that it is your love that can enkindle the flame within our feeble hearts. Help us to accept the healing that comes from your love; so that we may praise the glory of your Name! 

We ask you Mother Mary to intercede with all the angels and saints for God’s healing of those who are sick. Cast your mantle of healing over them and restore them to wholeness and health.”  

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

“Hail Mary, full of grace……….”

“Glory Be, to the Father ……….”

“Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity! Pray for us.”

Presentation:

One of the banes of modern life is the ubiquitous presence of bad entertainment, bad both in the sense of poorly crafted and in the sense of poisonous content. It’s an observation that can be applied to books, movies, music, TV, and other forms of leisure activity as well. What constitutes healthy food for the mind and soul? We have great concern for the health of our bodies and our environment. And we feed them and protect them accordingly. At the same time, we seem to have much less conscious concern for what goes into our minds, our souls, our spirits. We simply consume whatever is offered, no longer recognizing the difference between junk food and delicacy, nutrients and toxins.

This can be very dangerous. It’s a lot like seeing a glass of cold, refreshing water, after coming in on a hot, dusty day. The reaction is immediate, and almost overwhelming. We would, without thinking, take the water and drink it. But if someone told us that despite it’s inviting appearance, the water actually had e-coli in it, we would not approach it, much less drink it, no matter how thirsty we were, knowing it would be hazardous to our health.

This is very much like what happens when we indiscriminately read or watch whatever is the latest rage, whether it be fictional stories, movies, TV shows that mock God, believers, our faith, or current book marketings of pornography (now particularly targeting women’s readership). So many times people say: “it’s not so bad. It’s just a little sex, or just a little violence, or just a little language.”

The reality though is that it doesn’t matter whether the poison is hidden in small amounts. A little poison will kill you just as dead over time. When our emotions, our passions, our senses, apart from our intellect, make our decisions for us, we are capable of drinking to the dregs whatever contaminant is presented to us. And today, very deadly poisons abound. Our culture prizes acceptance, tolerance and open-mindedness. It has been noted though that the danger comes when people become so open-minded their brains fall out. Pope Benedict mentioned that knowledge for its own sake only leads to sadness, and sometimes to much worse things.

This is not a new problem. The young St. Teresa of Avila had an attraction to the romance/adventure novels of her time, until she realized that the illusions, vanity and worldliness they sowed in her were a great obstacle to her life in general and to her relationship with God in particular. They did not help her live in reality and especially in the reality of her dignity as a woman, a beloved daughter of God with a great destiny, a great part to play in the life of the Church and the world.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, Founder of the Jesuits, also had this problem before his conversion. He is famous for realizing how the books he read affected the movements of his soul, for better or worse. While recovering from a serious battle injury, he began to recognize that the worldly books he was fond of, and which also fed his vanity, gave him a feeling of excitement which quickly passed and left him feeling discontented and restless. On the other hand, when he read books on the lives of the saints and their great deeds, he found himself inspired and filled with a desire to follow their example. These feelings did not change. From this simple observation St. Ignatius developed his principles for discernment, which are now indispensable teachings for anyone serious about the spiritual life.

We of course need discernment in many areas of our lives. And because we live in a complicated age, it is good to look for some general direction. One place to find this is back at the very beginning. God gave some very simple directions for life in the Garden, and repeated them again after the fall, through Moses. He told Adam and Eve that they could eat from the Tree of Life and the other trees in the Garden, but not of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Later, He reiterated this directive again to the Israelites in Exodus, “Choose life that you may live.”

In all honesty, when our question becomes: “Is what I am about to say or see or do, life-giving to me and those around me” we are able to frame issues in a new light. This is not the only question we sometimes need to ask. But it is a very good place to start and finish. Is this life-giving or is this poison to me, to my relationships, to my own dignity or someone else’s dignity? It is a question that can be used with many of the choices we should make today with more deliberation than we do. And it is a question that avoids the dissembling of moral relativism. Something is either life-giving to all involved, or it is not. If it is not, it is to be avoided.

God’s commandments and the Church’s counsels are not meant to cramp our style or dampen our fun. They are simply meant to protect us. God knows what is good, what is healthy for us. And He also knows what will make us sick in body, mind and spirit. Technology and the creative powers of mankind in many different fields have the potential to serve life or to bring death, both physical and spiritual death, depending on how they are used. If we truly want to live and live well the abundant life Jesus promises us, then we have to stop starving our own souls and start discerning how to eat more plentifully from the Tree of Life.

Questions for Reflection:

1. Where in my life am I eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil instead of the Tree of Life?

2. What kinds of things does a person dealing with serious illness need to discern? Physically, spiritually, emotionally, psychologically?

3. What feeds me emotionally and spiritually when I am suffering or deeply challenged by life?

4. Have I ever sensed the mission and purpose of my life? If so, how have the challenges of illness and suffering impacted that?

5. Has illness or suffering changed my vision of what is life-giving and what is not?

Our next call will take place August 12, 2019.  We will not be meeting at Lourdes Parish.  Thank you and may God Bless you abundantly.

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Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group, Posts and Updates, Updates

Our Next Evening Retreat: July 8th

I pray your Pentecost Sunday was just the first of many days whereby you pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Come, Holy Spirit, Come.

We will bring to you our next group, via conference call, on July 8, 2019.

More to come!

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Greg Walsh, Sr. Anne Marie’s brother. He passed away very recently.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us.

God Bless you!

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Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group

Our Lady Of Conquering Love (An Evening Retreat With Sr. Anne Marie)

Join us for an evening retreat with Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT.  May 20, 2019 at 6:30 pm, MDT.

Call 720-735-7025 to join the conference (please call about 5 minutes ahead of time). We will be meeting at Our Lady of Lourdes School in the 6th grade classroom, in Denver CO.

OPENING HEALING PRAYER Led by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

“We humbly approach you O Most Holy Trinity as we beg for your healing. You are Our Father and we trust in your goodness as you draw us daily to become what you call us to be. We humble ourselves before you as we acknowledge your greatness and your infinite mercy. Please dispel within us any form of idolatry that we may truly worship you with all our being, as Mary our Mother did. 

Jesus, our eternal shepherd, we come to you like the many sick and the infirm that approached you. We beg you to fill our hearts and our souls with the faith of the Centurion who only asked you to say but the word, and he knew that his servant would be healed. Or like the woman, we come to touch your garments with great confidence that your healing power will flow through this cloth to the one it is placed upon now. For those of us who struggle with believing in your power to heal, we pray that you help our unbelief. 

Holy Spirit, we rely on the humility that you give us as we bring our request before your presence. We often do not know what to ask and how to ask. Often we struggle with knowing what God’s will is for one who is sick. Yet we know that it is your love that can enkindle the flame within our feeble hearts. Help us to accept the healing that comes from your love; so that we may praise the glory of your Name! 

We ask you Mother Mary to intercede with all the angels and saints for God’s healing of those who are sick. Cast your mantle of healing over them and restore them to wholeness and health.”  

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

“Hail Mary, full of grace……….”

“Glory Be, to the Father ……….”

“Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity! Pray for us.”

Presentation:

“Love Mary! She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her.”

— St. Gabriel Possenti of Our Lady of Sorrows

At Calvary, where Jesus conquered sin, the flesh, the devil, death and all of hell, Mary was given to us to be our Mother.  In His last moments Jesus shared His love for Mary with us that we might love her too and entrust ourselves to her care just as He did.  It is a love upon which He bestows boundless blessing.

Mary is not a passive woman, nor a pushy, aggressive one either. This is the valiant woman par excellence, who is as active a mother in the world today as she was when she mothered all those Jesus gave to her care during His hidden life, His public ministry, and in the early Church as it struggled through persecution to establish itself and evangelize the world.

One of the great stories of Our Lady’s care for us, from our recent history, comes to us from the Philippines.  The Philippines is a poor country, and the trials and sufferings of its people are immense.  At the same time the people have a vibrant, living faith that freely expresses itself in their culture.

During the 1980s, after having suffered for 20 years under the corrupt, oppressive, authoritarian regime of President Ferdinand Marcos, the Archbishop of Manila and spiritual leader of Asia, Jaime Cardinal Sin, called for a Marian year. People attended Rosary rallies, processions and special Masses by the millions, imploring Our Blessed Mother’s help.

At end of the year (1986), the people, including Priests and Religious, took to the streets, again by the millions, praying, carrying banners, and demanding that Marcos step down. Marcos responded by sending tanks into the streets and ordering his soldiers to fire upon the crowds. The soldiers looked into their gun sights to take aim but saw images of Our Lady everywhere.  They could not, would not fire.  In the end Marcos was airlifted out of the country and democracy was restored.

This was an unheard of thing, a completely bloodless, nonviolent revolution.  Secular media called it the People Power Revolution. The Spanish of another era, here in our own country, would have called it the work of La Conquistadora, Our Lady of Conquering Love!  And the Filipinos themselves know where the real victory came from.

St. Pope John Paul II took his cue from the events in the Philippines and called for a Marian year for the whole world from June 7 (Pentecost), 1987 to  August 15 (the Assumption), 1988. Following the close of the world-wide Marian year, the Iron Curtain fell, and shortly thereafter the Soviet bloc disintegrated, all to the utter astonishment of the secular press.

Coincidence?  Don’t believe it!  They say the most common word heard on the battlefield is “mother”.  But this is the Mother we need in the battles we fight today. We are all her children and she is ready to help any who approach her.

Praying the rosary, asking Mary’s intercession, and honoring her in different ways has so much more efficacy and meaning when we know and understand her as she really is. Mary is more favored, has a richer personality, more gifts, deeper emotions, greater wisdom, profounder graces, more sensitive, loving virtue, and a more heavenly human beauty than anyone who ever was or ever will be born, aside from Jesus himself.  No one sways the heart of God nor reaches it as quickly as she does.  And no one aside from God Himself loves us as much as she does!

She is ours!  This is who God has given us to be our Mother, the very one He singled out and prepared for Himself. This is the woman of unshakable faith in the midst of suffering and sorrows we will never even remotely comprehend or appreciate. This is a woman of invincible charity, hope and courage, who comes up from the desert like an army in battle array and crushes the head of the ancient enemy with her heel.  Her humility, simplicity and modesty are more feared by the powers of darkness than the greatest preaching on earth! This is the soul so full of grace and light, and adorned with such great fruits that it alone ravishes the heart of God and causes Him to send floods of grace upon the whole world, beginning with the greatest gift of all, the sending of Jesus to be our Savior.

With grateful hearts, we ask Mary Our Mother, Our Lady of Conquering Love, to obtain for each of us the Light, charity and strength that routs the enemy, overcomes the immense dangers of our present existence, and helps us in peace to continue the work of building the Kingdom of God.

Spending time in silence for 5-10 minutes, reflect on what has been presented.  You may ask yourself the following questions.

  1. What exactly is love meant to conquer?
  2. How do you see God’s love at work in your life?
  3. Is suffering compatible with love?
  4. If perfect love casts out all fear, (1Jn 4:18) where in my life does love need to grow?
  5. Do I have confidence in Our Lady’s care and engage her in my difficulties?  

 

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Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group, Posts and Updates, Updates

Join us May 20th for an Evening Retreat about “Our Lady of Conquering Love”

In these times of uncertainty we need and crave what can be relied upon. If you are sick, or caring for one who is ill, stability can seem fleeting and elusive. The love given to us from our Blessed Mother is constant, stronger than we can imagine with our human minds and meant to bring us to her son, our Lord Jesus.

Please take a moment to gift to yourself an evening retreat where we will pray and join in spiritual exercises with Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT. Please share this opportunity with anyone who could benefit from a gentle reminder about Our Lady of Conquering Love.

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Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group

April 8, 2019 – Hope

A Video Message From Sr. Anne Marie Walsh about Facing Our Immortality

INSTRUCTIONS: Tonight’s topic is inserted below. Please read about our purpose and why we pray ahead of time, if you can. Thank you for joining us.

Conference Call Instructions: (720) 735-7025 before 6:30 pm MDT to join us via Uber Conference. We gather at Denver’s Our Lady of Lourdes Classic School in the 6th grade classroom. Please join us.

WELCOME:

Tonight our prayer intentions are for Martha Bridgewater, Olga, Kyle Hunt and Sr. Anne Marie’s brother Greg.

PURPOSE :

The Facing Our Immortality Spiritual Exercise is an integral part of our monthly cancer support group. It is here where we form relationships with one another and in Christ.  We never walk alone.

We are a spiritual ministry, based on the principles of Catholic teaching, for those who are pained and aggrieved by cancer or serious illness. We meet once per month in a safe environment, which provides a loving atmosphere formed in the community of Christ. Mutual respect for the dignity, privacy and confidentiality of each participant is fully embraced. 

This Spiritual Exercise is designed to elevate conversation, understanding and support to a deeper faith-based perspective where our life-experience, especially at the present time, has God, and His plan/dream for us personally, at the center. This will involve working deeply with the mystery of suffering in our lives. 

The Holy Spirit will animate much of this unfolding and direction with each group. 

SPIRITUAL EXERCISE GROUP OVERVIEW:

We will begin with an opening prayer followed by the Spiritual Exercise. Our Spiritual Exercise was developed by Fr. James Flanagan of The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).

A: Opening Prayer

B: Spiritual Exercise Topic

 Silent time for reflection (5-10 minutes)
 Sharing of your personal reflection
 Say one “Glory Be…”

C: General Group Discussion

D: Closing Prayer

E: Updates

Cancer is not an individual experience. It is, generally speaking, a family experience, and so the family needs spiritual protection, healing, blessing, and just a general entrusting into the hands of God. Our Lives are relational. Cancer is something that intrudes into that, or is even sometimes, a consequence of long standing, unhealthy relationships. So it is never true that the person with cancer is the only one involved. There is always a context, and human relationships are always in deep need of the grace of God. Prayer is an essential way to bring that grace into these relationships and contexts. We are going to strive then to see things relationally, both in our human relationships and our divine relationships.

Why We Pray: There are three elements involved in spiritual exercise: The Art of Listening, The Art of Reflection and The Art of Dialogue.

1. The Art of Listening

If we are to “hear” God’s Word it is essential that we learn how to listen to the Word, the Spirit, others and even ourselves. We must be able to distinguish between these voices also. Most of your time spent in the Spiritual Exercise will be using this art.  We must not only listen to what is said, but we must learn to listen to what is not said. To really listen to one another we must empty ourselves of all prejudgments and biases. We must be open and receptive. We need, therefore, to enter the Spiritual Exercise with a spirit of humility. We must realize that we need others, and they need us to live the Trinitarian Life, which is a life of community.

2. The Art of Reflection

This second art is more directly related to the Spirit  In this art we learn to open ourselves to the Spirit who teaches us “all things”. The art comes in learning how to open yourself to the voice of the Spirit within you.  During the time of reflection we are not to think of very erudite things to impress people with our knowledge of theology or with our scholarship.  It is a time when we open ourselves so the Spirit can teach us Himself. He will take us at times back into the Word to the Person of Jesus.  At other times He will take us to our own life experiences, because in those life experiences He has been leading and teaching us. Therefore, a real relationship with the Person of the Spirit has to grow within you. The more you use this art, the more sensitive you will become to the Spirit and the more He will direct you.  

3. The Art of Dialogue

Because we are the Body of Christ, and because we have to grow to that oneness in the Body, which Jesus himself prayed for, we come to a time when we share our reflections of the Spirit.  This again is not an intellectual discussion, nor is it a psychological unburdening (although sometimes it will have that effect).  As this art develops, little by little this time will become a moment of humble and fraternal communion with God and others, a moment of attentive listening to God through the lives of others. You will find that where you were not open to the Spirit during the time of reflection, the Spirit can speak to you through someone else’s experience of Him.  We teach each other through our sharing because we are one in Christ.  The art is to give what comes from our hearts, not from our learning.  We must give what comes from the Lord to each other.  This art is really a sharing of the Lord with each other in praise, in thanks and in life.  This gift, therefore, is not for ourselves only, but for others which finds its roots and source in the community of the Trinity.

These three arts are skills that can be learned and developed, under, of course, the guidance of grace.  And like all skills the more they are used, the more proficient the person becomes in them.  The Trinity is community! And if you’re going to come into that Trinitarian life you must live as community.

A. OPENING HEALING PRAYER Led by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

“We humbly approach you O Most Holy Trinity as we beg for your healing. You are Our Father and we trust in your goodness as you draw us daily to become what you call us to be. We humble ourselves before you as we acknowledge your greatness and your infinite mercy. Please dispel within us any form of idolatry that we may truly worship you with all our being, as Mary our Mother did. 

Jesus, our eternal shepherd, we come to you like the many sick and the infirm that approached you. We beg you to fill our hearts and our souls with the faith of the Centurion who only asked you to say but the word, and he knew that his servant would be healed. Or like the woman, we come to touch your garments with great confidence that your healing power will flow through this cloth to the one it is placed upon now. For those of us who struggle with believing in your power to heal, we pray that you help our unbelief. 

Holy Spirit, we rely on the humility that you give us as we bring our request before your presence. We often do not know what to ask and how to ask. Often we struggle with knowing what God’s will is for one who is sick. Yet we know that it is your love that can enkindle the flame within our feeble hearts. Help us to accept the healing that comes from your love; so that we may praise the glory of your Name! 

We ask you Mother Mary to intercede with all the angels and saints for God’s healing of those who are sick. Cast your mantle of healing over them and restore them to wholeness and health.”  

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

“Hail Mary, full of grace……….”

“Glory Be, to the Father ……….”

“Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity! Pray for us.”

B. SPIRITUAL EXERCISE TOPIC: HOPE

“That which is corruptible must clothe itself with incorruptibility, and that which is mortal must clothe itself with immortality. And when this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality, then the word that is written shall come about. Death is swallowed up in victory.  Where O death, is your victory? Where O death, is your sting? The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But, thanks be to God who gives us the victory through Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

1 Corinthians 15: 53-57

Properties of the Resurrected Body

Sacred Scripture and Catholic theology teaches that our glorified resurrected bodies will experience four properties as an outflow of the beatified soul enjoying the vision of God’s essence:

1) Impassibility – the glorified body will no longer suffer physical sickness or death, as Saint Paul teaches regarding the glorified body in 1 Corinthians 15:42, “It is sown in corruption, it shall rise in incorruption.”

2) Subtlety, meaning that we will have a spiritualized nature in the sense of a spiritual body as did our Lord as we learn at 1 Corinthians 15:44: “It is sown a corruptible body, it shall rise a spiritual,” i.e. a spirit-like, “body.” We see that Christ’s glorified body was able to pass through closed doors. 

3) Agility – the glorified body will obey the soul with the greatest ease and speed of movement as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:43: “It is sown in weakness, it shall rise in power,” that is, according to a gloss, “mobile and living.” Saint Thomas Aquinas says, “But mobility can only signify agility in movement. Therefore the glorified bodies will be agile.” We discern agility, our Resurrected Lord’s ability to bilocate and travel great distances in an instant.

4) Clarity – the glorified body will be free from any deformity and will be filled with beauty and radiance as we read at Matthew 13:43: “The just shall shine as the sun in the kingdom of their Father,” and Wisdom 3:7: “The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds.” Here clarity refers not being “clear” but to being “bright”.

St. Thomas Aquinas at Summa Contra Gentiles, IV, 86 summarized: “thus also will his body be raised to the characteristics of heavenly bodies — it will be lightsome (clarity), incapable of suffering (impassible), without difficulty and labor in movement (agility), and most perfectly perfected by its form (subtlety). For this reason, the Apostle speaks of the bodies of the risen as heavenly, referring not to their nature, but to their glory.”

It is worth noting that the Virgin Mary has already received her glorified and resurrected body. Hence, she has the four gifts of the resurrection. 

May we persevere so as to receive these remarkable gifts. 

(In case you need extra motivation, read Saint Thomas Aquinas description of the corruptible bodies of the damned.)

It is good to remember that for believers, the path to Resurrection goes through suffering and death. In the divine economy, Jesus even makes persecution one of the beatitudes. As Fr. John Hardon, S.J. writes, the beatitudes are “promises of happiness made by Christ to those who faithfully accept His teaching and follow His divine example.” The pattern of Jesus’ redemptive work passes by the Way of the Cross. So too will we, and our age be redeemed in the same way.

Closing thought:

Pope Francis: “Let us not stay imprisoned within ourselves, but let us break open our sealed tombs to the Lord–each of us knows what they are—so that He may enter and grant us life. Let us give him the stones of our rancor and the boulders of our past, those heavy burdens of our weaknesses and falls.  Christ wants to come and take us by the hand to bring us out of our anguish…May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not risen, as if our problems were the center of our lives.”

So how can we access the same healing Jesus so freely gives in the Gospels? Many ways are possible.  But we are given 3 special gifts during Lent which stir up the waters of grace in our lives. Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Prayer stirs up the grace we need for deeper healing in our relationship with God.  Fasting brings the waters of grace down upon the disorder we have within ourselves. And Almsgiving opens up rivers of grace in our relationship to others.

Our deepest healing will always come first and foremost from eliminating sin in our lives. Sin always brings suffering, both personal and at the same time, upon the whole Body of Christ. There is no such thing as a private sin. As Our Lady of Fatima warned us over a century ago: war, something we often live in fear of, is a consequences of sin, both private sin and institutionalized, communal sin.

Questions for Reflection: Silence for 5-10 minutes.

1.What are the greatest obstacles to hope today?

2.What do we think our own resurrected body will be like? What do we look forward to most?

3.The desire for transcendence is built into our very nature. Where do you see signs of this even among unbelievers?

4.What does Jesus show us about the Resurrected Life? Consider his movements after Resurrection and before the Ascension.

C. GENERAL GROUP DISCUSSION: Allow the Holy Spirit to take the lead.

D. CLOSING PRAYER

E. UPDATES

Our next meeting will take place Monday May 13, 2019. Please add this to your online calendar and/or save to your mobile phone.

Watch Sr. Anne Marie Walsh’s brief video about Facing Our Immortality, which she created to share with the joyful students from CMA by clicking here.

Please remember to invite others who you feel may benefit from our monthly spiritual exercise group. They do not need to be Catholic. We welcome patients, survivors, spouses, caregivers and surviving spouses. All are welcome.

In Christ,

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, Denise and Richard

https://www.facebook.com/FacingOurImmortality/

© Facing Our Immortality Cancer Ministry Support Group All Rights Reserved

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Monthly Presentations, Monthly Spiritual Exercise Group

March 11, 2019 – Stirring Up The Waters Of Grace (Lenten Reflection)

INSTRUCTIONS:

Session begins at 6:30 pm, MDT. Please call (720) 735-7025 before 6:30 pm to join us via Uber Conference. We gather at Denver’s Our Lady of Lourdes Classic School in the 6th grade classroom. Please join us.

WELCOME:

Tonight our prayer intentions are for Amanda’s Tia Rosa and her mom Blanca, Annette Martinez, Greg Walsh, Don Lufton, we are also deeply saddened that Linda Johnson’s brother, James Rivera, passed away. Please pray for his soul, his wife Barbara and his son Michael.

PURPOSE :

The Facing Our Immortality Spiritual Exercise is an integral part of our monthly cancer support group. It is here where we form relationships with one another and in Christ.  We never walk alone.

We are a spiritual ministry, based on the principles of Catholic teaching, for those who are pained and aggrieved by cancer or serious illness. We meet once per month in a safe environment, which provides a loving atmosphere formed in the community of Christ. Mutual respect for the dignity, privacy and confidentiality of each participant is fully embraced. 

This Spiritual Exercise is designed to elevate conversation, understanding and support to a deeper faith-based perspective where our life-experience, especially at the present time, has God, and His plan/dream for us personally, at the center. This will involve working deeply with the mystery of suffering in our lives. 

The Holy Spirit will animate much of this unfolding and direction with each group. 

SPIRITUAL EXERCISE GROUP OVERVIEW:

We will begin with an opening prayer followed by the Spiritual Exercise. Our Spiritual Exercise was developed by Fr. James Flanagan of The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT).Below is an overview of the process.

A: Opening Prayer

B: Presentation

 Silent time for reflection
 Sharing
 Say one “Glory Be…”

C: General Discussion

D: Closing Prayer

E: Updates

Cancer is not an individual experience. It is, generally speaking, a family experience, and so the family needs spiritual protection, healing, blessing, and just a general entrusting into the hands of God. Our Lives are relational. Cancer is something that intrudes into that, or is even sometimes, a consequence of long standing, unhealthy relationships. So it is never true that the person with cancer is the only one involved. There is always a context, and human relationships are always in deep need of the grace of God. Prayer is an essential way to bring that grace into these relationships and contexts. We are going to strive then to see things relationally, both in our human relationships and our divine relationships.

Why we pray.There are three elements involved in spiritual exercise: The Art of Listening, The Art of Reflection and The Art of Dialogue.

1. The Art of Listening

If we are to “hear” God’s Word it is essential that we learn how to listen to the Word, the Spirit, others and even ourselves.  We must be able to distinguish between these voices also. Most of your time spent in the Spiritual Exercise will be using this art.  We must not only listen to what is said, but we must learn to listen to what is not said. To really listen to one another we must empty ourselves of all prejudgments and biases. We must be open and receptive. We need, therefore, to enter the Spiritual Exercise with a spirit of humility. We must realize that we need others, and they need us to live the Trinitarian Life, which is a life of community.

2. The Art of Reflection

This second art is more directly related to the Spirit  In this art we learn to open ourselves to the Spirit who teaches us “all things”. The art comes in learning how to open yourself to the voice of the Spirit within you.  During the time of reflection we are not to think of very erudite things to impress people with our knowledge of theology or with our scholarship.  It is a time when we open ourselves so the Spirit can teach us Himself. He will take us at times back into the Word to the Person of Jesus.  At other times He will take us to our own life experiences, because in those life experiences He has been leading and teaching us. Therefore, a real relationship with the Person of the Spirit has to grow within you. The more you use this art, the more sensitive you will become to the Spirit and the more He will direct you.  

3. The Art of Dialogue

Because we are the Body of Christ, and because we have to grow to that oneness in the Body, which Jesus himself prayed for, we come to a time when we share our reflections of the Spirit.  This again is not an intellectual discussion, nor is it a psychological unburdening (although sometimes it will have that effect).  As this art develops, little by little this time will become a moment of humble and fraternal communion with God and others, a moment of attentive listening to God through the lives of others. You will find that where you were not open to the Spirit during the time of reflection, the Spirit can speak to you through someone else’s experience of Him.  We teach each other through our sharing because we are one in Christ.  The art is to give what comes from our hearts, not from our learning.  We must give what comes from the Lord to each other.  This art is really a sharing of the Lord with each other in praise, in thanks and in life.  This gift, therefore, is not for ourselves only, but for others which finds its roots and source in the community of the Trinity.

These three arts are skills that can be learned and developed, under, of course, the guidance of grace.  And like all skills the more they are used, the more proficient the person becomes in them.  The Trinity is community! And if you’re going to come into that Trinitarian life you must live as community.

A. OPENING HEALING PRAYER Led by Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, SOLT

“We humbly approach you O Most Holy Trinity as we beg for your healing. You are Our Father and we trust in your goodness as you draw us daily to become what you call us to be. We humble ourselves before you as we acknowledge your greatness and your infinite mercy. Please dispel within us any form of idolatry that we may truly worship you with all our being, as Mary our Mother did. 

Jesus, our eternal shepherd, we come to you like the many sick and the infirm that approached you. We beg you to fill our hearts and our souls with the faith of the Centurion who only asked you to say but the word, and he knew that his servant would be healed. Or like the woman, we come to touch your garments with great confidence that your healing power will flow through this cloth to the one it is placed upon now. For those of us who struggle with believing in your power to heal, we pray that you help our unbelief. 

Holy Spirit, we rely on the humility that you give us as we bring our request before your presence. We often do not know what to ask and how to ask. Often we struggle with knowing what God’s will is for one who is sick. Yet we know that it is your love that can enkindle the flame within our feeble hearts. Help us to accept the healing that comes from your love; so that we may praise the glory of your Name! 

We ask you Mother Mary to intercede with all the angels and saints for God’s healing of those who are sick. Cast your mantle of healing over them and restore them to wholeness and health.”  

“Our Father, who art in heaven…”

“Hail Mary, full of grace……….”

“Glory Be, to the Father ……….”

“Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity! Pray for us.”

“O Most Holy Trinity, Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit, we thank you for hearing our prayer. Help us all to be open to your healing, so that we may love you the more and have the strength to serve all those that you place in our lives. Give us the joy that once restored to health, we too may reach out to others and bring your healing power to them. We make this prayer through Christ Our Lord!  Amen. “  

B. PRESENTATION: STIRRING UP THE WATERS OF GRACE (LENTEN REFLECTION)

Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep [Gate]* a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled.* One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk. Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked. John Ch. 5

One of the most intriguing stories in the Gospel is the story of the crippled man waiting for healing at the Pool of Bethesda.  The man has been suffering for 38 years but is unable to get to the pool fast enough when the angel comes to stir the waters.  Jesus sees him and asks if he wants to be well.  When the man expresses his desire for healing but his inability to reach it on his own, Jesus heals him on the spot.  But then, Jesus later seeks out the now healed man to warn him about sin.  He says: “Look, you are well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” John 5: 2-18

This Lent, Jesus will approach us with the same question:  ‘Do you want to be well?  Do you want to know where sin has crippled you, paralyzed you? And do you want to know true freedom?’ Because, Jesus comes to destroy the sickness of sin and the deformity it causes in our lives.  We only have to desire it and choose it.

Many years ago, an older friend shared a dream that deeply disturbed him. He was walking through a lovely forest when he came upon a clearing with a house in the middle of it.  The house exerted a powerful pull on him. Everything within him wanted to go into that house. So he approached the screened-in porch, entered, and headed for the front door. As he walked up to the front door, someone came up to him and said: “Before you can go in you have to eat this.”  He looked down to see a plate of dog excrement being handed to him.

He, of course, was upset that he could have had such a dream, not knowing at first what it could possibly mean. But then, in a flash of insight it became clear. The dream was an attempt to reframe a deep struggle that had to do with an almost over-powering temptation to grave sin.  Everything within him wanted to give in to the attraction of this particular sin. Yet his faith told him that if he gave in to this sin he would so defile himself that it would be like eating a plate of manure.

Sin is really that ugly, and it’s an ugliness we give ourselves. We often recognize that something is wrong within us, in the deep recesses of our being. We are attracted to things that are not good, things that enslave us, make us feel ugly about ourselves, and keep us from true freedom. And once we are bound, immobilized as it were, it takes an intervention of God’s grace to free us. We cannot free ourselves.

Jesus wants to free us not only from sin but from the effects of sin in our lives. We are not alone in this need. Everyone who has ever been born needs this healing, liberating grace. The saints tell us that a soul in the state of grace is beautiful beyond compare. This is what Jesus wants to restore in us: our original beauty!

So how can we access the same healing Jesus so freely gives in the Gospels? Many ways are possible.  But we are given 3 special gifts during Lent which stir up the waters of grace in our lives. Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving. Prayer stirs up the grace we need for deeper healing in our relationship with God.  Fasting brings the waters of grace down upon the disorder we have within ourselves. And Almsgiving opens up rivers of grace in our relationship to others.

Additionally, if you want to have the same direct encounter with Jesus that the crippled man had, start frequenting the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, and Holy Communion after that.  Every sacrament contains within it a personal encounter with the living God. Hence, every sacrament contains rivers of grace that can change us to the degree we let those waters flow.

Our deepest healing will always come first and foremost from eliminating sin in our lives. Sin always brings suffering, both personal and at the same time, upon the whole Body of Christ. There is no such thing as a private sin. As Our Lady of Fatima warned us over a century ago: war, something we often live in fear of, is a consequences of sin, both private sin and institutionalized, communal sin.

Lent engages the battle against sin, against judgment, unforgiveness, promiscuity, pornography, dishonesty, infidelity, blasphemy, greed, self-righteousness, gossip, slander, unworthy Communions, anti-life acts, apathy, and every other thing that mars the image and likeness of God in us. Jesus spent 40 days in the desert fasting and conquering every temptation you and I would ever have so we could more easily have victory over those same temptations in our own lives.  Our choice this Lent is: beauty over ugliness, freedom over enslavement, self-denial over sin, happiness over temporary pleasure, shame and guilt.  We too have to answer the question of Jesus:  “Do you really want to be well?”

Questions for Reflection: Silence for 5-10 minutes.

Jesus tells us that not all sickness is a result of personal sin.  Yet it is an undeniable truth that sin causes suffering, both personal and communal.

1. What are your observations of this in the world? In your own life?

2. Do you think there are actually people who don’t want to be well?  Why would that be?

3. How does Jesus heal?  And for what ultimate purpose?

4. Why does Jesus leave some people with their suffering?

C. GENERAL DISCUSSION: Allow the Holy Spirit to take the lead.

D. CLOSING PRAYER

E. UPDATES

Our next meeting will take place April 8, 2019.  Please add this to your online calendar and/or save to your mobile phone.

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh will be speaking at the Catholic Women’s Conference in Sioux City, Iowa on March 30, 2019.  For more information, go to their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/homeofthetrinity/.

Catholic Medical Association: Richard and Denise presented to medical students from Colorado’s Catholic Medical Association (CMA) a few weeks ago about Facing Our Immortality. The emphasis was that we offer an opportunity for people of faith to be in communion with the Lord and with one another, creating a family that upon which we can share in our stories and our faith. We never walk alone. To learn more about CMA, please link here.

Watch Sr. Anne Marie Walsh’s brief video about Facing Our Immortality, which she created to share with the joyful students from CMA by clicking here.

Father Woody’s Haven of Hope Almsgiving Opportunity. Richard and Denise (more so Richard) go to their day-shelter every Monday from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. This important part of our overall ministry offers individuals with serious illness/cancer an opportunity to pray and talk about their illness and circumstance. It is through communication and communion that there is hope for renewal in their lives, both personally and spiritually.  They are truly enjoying time in the chapel.  If you have time on Mondays, we could use your help.  It is a joy to be there.

Print our handout: For a copy of our Spiritual Exercise group flyer, please link here.

We have new business cards. Please ask for some in order to help spread awareness about our cancer ministry.

Our Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/FacingOurImmortality/ page will also show the upcoming events.  Please also follow our page to receive alerts.

Please remember to invite others who you feel may benefit from our monthly spiritual exercise group. They do not need to be Catholic. We welcome patients, survivors, spouses, caregivers and surviving spouses. All are welcome.

In Christ,

Sr. Anne Marie Walsh, Denise and Richard

© Facing Our Immortality Cancer Ministry Support Group All Rights Reserved

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