Gospel Contemplation on the Public Life of Jesus
A Self-Directed Retreat: To Know, To Love, To Follow
Jesus heals the suffering by Heinrich Hofmann 1893
Preparing for Your Retreat
Review of Retreat Guidelines and Prayers
Links to Ways of Prayer
Night Before Preparations
In preparing for tomorrow’s prayer period: read the next day's meditations for understanding; and "after retiring, just before falling asleep, for the space of a Hail Mary, I will think of the hour when I have to rise, what I am rising, and briefly sum up the exercise I have to go through" (SE 73).*
Read the next day's gospel selections for understanding. If there is more than one reading for the day, consider the one that resonates with you.
Retreat Mornings - Offering, Lectio, Close, Reflection
Each morning consists of the Preparatory, the Exercise (Lectio), Close, and Reflection
1. Preparatory Prayers: See prayers below.
2. Lectio: Imaginative Contemplation Read the mystery slowly and pray attentively using all of your faculties - faith, and feelings - your interior senses, imagination, recall – as you pray with each section.
What do you sense were the experiences of Jesus, Mary, the Apostles, and the crowds? Imagine being present there - what do you see, hear, and smell?Where are you in the scene?
3. Close of the Prayer: Close your prayer time with your own words ( a colloquy), then a vocal formal prayer (Our Father, Hail Mary, or Glory Be)
4. Reflection: At the end of each prayer period, note down your experiences on what were your insights, feelings, thoughts, images, and memories that came up for you. Sit a while to savor the graces.
Retreat Day Time - Recalling
During the day, let your heart settle within the morning's contemplation
Retreat Evenings - Examen, Journaling
Self-directed or Directed
This self-retreat is designed for those with experience in the ascetical ways of prayer. We recommend, if you are new to mental (discursive or interior) prayer or to Ignatian Retreats, to consider a director to accompany you along with way.
How To Move Through This Retreat
In Mark's Gospel, Jesus, the anointed Son of God proclaims the imminence of God's reign through his teachings and actions. "The Time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near." (Mark 1:15). The secret is breaking open that God's reign is imminent and He has entered into human life to bring us his Mercy.
The unfolding of Mark's story about Jesus is can be described as centered around the term "Mystery." Jesus says while teaching that "The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you." (Mark 4:11). Jesus' real identity remained a secret during his lifetime, although demons and demonic knew the Truth. In Marks Gospel,even makes the dea we encounter the Truth of Jesus identity through his actions. The crowd's reactions to Jesus' works are our reactions. "He has done everything well; He even makes the deaf to hear and the mute to speak." (Mark 7:37)
As you move through the mysteries of this retreat consider what you hope to gain as you begin your journey with Jesus in Mark's Gospel. Is there suffering in your life now? Do you relate it to Jesus' suffering? What do the various miracles stories suggest about Jesus identity to you? What do you see? What do you hear? How do you respond?
petition of asking for grace what we want and desire from the Lord based upon the meditation exercise. Each prayer lasting a minute.
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.
“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 ____________________________________________
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. _________________________________
Mysteries from the Exercises for a self-directed or Directed retreat
Day 1: The Cure of a Demoniac
Then they came to Capernaum, and on the sabbath he entered the synagogue and taught. The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Jesus rebuked him and said, “Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another, “What is this? A new teaching with authority. He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
Day 2: The Healing of a Paralytic
When Jesus returned to Capernaum after some days, it became known that he was at home. Many gathered together so that there was no longer room for them, not even around the door, and he preached the word to them.They came bringing to him a paralytic carried by four men.
Unable to get near Jesus because of the crowd, they opened up the roof above him. After they had broken through, they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some of the scribes were sitting there asking themselves, “Why does this man speak that way?* He is blaspheming. Who but God alone can forgive sins?”
Jesus immediately knew in his mind what they were thinking to themselves, so he said, “Why are you thinking such things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, pick up your mat and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority to forgive sins on earth”—
he said to the paralytic, “I say to you, rise, pick up your mat, and go home.”
He rose, picked up his mat at once, and went away in the sight of everyone. They were all astounded and glorified God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this.
Day 3: The Mercy of Jesus
Mark 3: 7-12
Jesus withdrew toward the sea with his disciples.c A large number of people [followed] from Galilee and from Judea. Hearing what he was doing, a large number of people came to him also from Jerusalem, from Idumea, from beyond the Jordan, and from the neighborhood of Tyre and Sidon.
He told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, so that they would not crush him. He had cured many and, as a result, those who had diseases were pressing upon him to touch him. And whenever unclean spirits saw him they would fall down before him and shout, “You are the Son of God.”He warned them sternly not to make him known.
Day 4: The Calming of a Storm at Sea
On that day, as evening drew on, he said to them, “Let us cross to the other side.”
Leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat just as he was. And other boats were with him. A violent squall came up and waves were breaking over the boat, so that it was already filling up.
Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion. They woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” He woke up, rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, “Quiet! Be still!”* The wind ceased and there was great calm.Then he asked them, “Why are you terrified? Do you not yet have faith?” They were filled with great awe and said to one another, “Who then is this whom even wind and sea obey?”
Day 5: Jesus Heals Jairus’s Daughter
Mark 5:22-24, 35-43
When Jesus had crossed again [in the boat] to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him, and he stayed close to the sea. One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward.d Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her* that she may get well and live.”
He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. While he was still speaking, people from the synagogue official’s house arrived and said, “Your daughter has died; why trouble the teacher any longer?” Disregarding the message that was reported, Jesus said to the synagogue official, “Do not be afraid; just have faith.” He did not allow anyone to accompany him inside except Peter, James, and John, the brother of James.
When they arrived at the house of the synagogue official, he caught sight of a commotion, people weeping and wailing loudly. So he went in and said to them, “Why this commotion and weeping? The child is not dead but asleep.” And they ridiculed him. Then he put them all out. He took along the child’s father and mother and those who were with him and entered the room where the child was.
He took the child by the hand and said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise!” The girl, a child of twelve, arose immediately and walked around. [At that] they were utterly astounded.He gave strict orders that no one should know this and said that she should be given something to eat.
Day 6: Jesus Heals The Woman With a Hemorrhage
There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, “If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.”
Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who has touched my clothes?” But his disciples said to him, “You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, ‘Who touched me?’”
And he looked around to see who had done it.The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
Day 7: The Healing of a Deaf Man
Again he left the district of Tyre and went by way of Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, into the district of the Decapolis. And people brought to him a deaf man who had a speech impediment and begged him to lay his hand on him.
He took him off by himself away from the crowd. He put his finger into the man’s ears and, spitting, touched his tongue; then he looked up to heaven and groaned, and said to him, “Ephphatha!” (that is, “Be opened!”) And [immediately] the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly.
He ordered them not to tell anyone. But the more he ordered them not to, the more they proclaimed it.They were exceedingly astonished and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and [the] mute speak.”
Day 8: The Blind Bartimaeus
They came to Jericho.q And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.”And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”
Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, he is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.”Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
Our Lady of the Way, Pray for us!
*(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
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