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  • Co-authored: Karen Shields Wright, Gregory Vigliotta

Christmastide Retreat: Bethlehem to Egypt to Nazareth

Continue along the Way of Mary and Joseph with Christ the King

8-Day Self-Directed or Directed Retreat

He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary

You may contact us for any questions on beginning this retreat, for being accompanied through it, or after for sharing your experience and reflections. Click (>) to open the content.

Preparing for Your Retreat

Review of Retreat Guidelines and Prayers

Links to Ways of Prayer

Night Before Preparations

Retreat Mornings - Offering, Lectio, Close, Reflection

Retreat Day Time - Recalling

Retreat Evenings - Examen, Journaling

Self-directed or Directed


Preparatory Prayers

The Preparatory period is a time for recollection to dispose ourselves rightly with an offertory and a petition of asking for grace what we want and desire from the Lord based upon the meditation exercise. Each prayer lasting a minute.

Offertory Prayer

Beginning your prayer time: At the beginning of each prayer period, offer yourself to the Lord. Pray the “Take and Receive”

Take Lord, and receive all my liberty,

my memory, my understanding, and my entire will,

all that I have and possess.

Thou hast given all to me.

To Thee, O Lord, I return it.

All is Thine; dispose of it wholly according to Thy will.

Give me Thy love and thy grace, for this, is sufficient for me.


Preparatory Prayer

“The preparatory prayer is to ask God Our Lord for the grace is that all my intentions ( wants and desires), actions, and operations (Interior mental activities), maybe order purely to the service in praise of the Divine Majesty” (SE 46).*

Write in your own words your intentions ­­­­­­­­­­____________________________________________

Petitionary Prayer

Now, being situated within the mystery, after reading it the night before (or before the prayer period begins), we ask for what we desire from the Holy Spirit to reveal to us how we may go forth to meet the will of God.

Share your desires with the Lord for this day's retreat. ______________________________

Suggested Petitionary Prayer by St. Ignatius

Lord, grant me the grace of an "intimate knowledge of our Lord, who has become man for me, that I may love Him more and follow Him more closely." (SE 104)*

Write in your own words your prayer__________________________________________


The Journey

In this liturgical season beginning with the Nativity of the Lord December 25, 2023 to the Feast of the Epiphany January 7, 2024 consisting of 14 days, we also come to celebrate the Feasts of the Holy Innocents and the Holy Family, and Solemnity of the Mother of God.

As we pray daily through these mysteries in this retreat, we find ourselves traveling through weeks and months in time with the Holy Family first to Bethlehem, then from there they fled to Egypt living as refugees, and when it was safe traveled even further in miles back home to Nazareth.

We are inited to take time to be within each mystery. Place yourself there, compose the place, apply all of your interior senses. Where are you in the scene? What is God revealing to you in each time and place. What do want to say to Mary? to Joseph? to Jesus as He asks: Who do you say that I AM?

Reflection Questions for Consideration:

  • What do you sense were the experiences of Mary and Joseph that night of not finding a place to rest.

  • Imagine the awe and wonder of the shepherds, how are you responding?

  • The persistent seeking of the Magi, their journey to finally find Jesus, to be warned of the dangers in a dream?

  • What is the importance of naming? Jesus ( the Lord who saves) Who was there? Anne and Joachim Mary's parents as grandparents? What are the other names for Our Lord?

  • At the presentation in the Temple in Jerusalem, be there was imagine Anna's and Simeon's delights? What are your?

  • Sense the strength of Joseph and Mary as they traveled along the way. How did they lived as refugees in Egypt?

  • What are your reactions of 'seeing' Mary and Joseph hearing the news of the slaughter of the innocences?

  • God spoke to Joseph, and he trusted in the words of the angel, and he took action. Where do you sense God is leading you to take action?

The Mysteries

The gospels were written as an account of time past so we may know the truth.

Day 1: The Light of the World in Peace

Day 2: I Proclaim to You Good News

Day 3: Bringing Our Gifts

Day 4: The Name Above All Names - God Saves

Day 5: Those Who Were Waiting

Day 6: Obedience

Day 7: In Today's World

Day 8: Trust

Gathering the Graces: Review and savor God’s gifts to you during this Christmastide retreat. Make summary notes for your future reviews and for sharing with your spiritual director or with your faith-sharing group.

*(SE#) All quotes are taken from The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius: based on Studies in the Language of the Autograph by Louis, J. Puhl. SJ. Scriptures taken from the USCCB website.

Our Lady of the Way, Pray for us!

For more information or to register for Spiritual Direction

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