Welcome to our Eastertide Retreats page. You are welcome to use these resources in whichever way you find most helpful.
The retreat is divided into sections. You can use them over a day, over several days or weeks, by yourself or with others. This section has some useful tools to help you start your retreat. Here are some ideas for creating sacred space and for praying with scripture. They can be used individually or with others.
A new dawn.
Eastertide is my favourite season and, I think, the hardest season to get a grasp of. Coming at the end of the emotional rollercoaster of Holy week and the Triduum it can sometimes feel overwhelming. There is so much about resurrection that is beyond our grasp and our understanding. We can understand the need for repentance that Lent speaks of, we “get” the suffering and pain of Holy Week because both of those resonate deeply with our own personal experiences. It’s harder to say that about resurrection, though it might be just as true.
I’m always grateful that Eastertide is such a long season. As it touches all the deep truths of our faith we need space and time to let that sink in. It gives me a chance to revisit the Easter Gospels after the excitement and emotion of the Triduum and Easter vigil have been allowed to settle down. Returning to the accounts of the resurrection later in Eastertide often brings to light valuable treasures that I missed earlier in the season.
As we’ve celebrated a second Easter in the shadow of the Covid 19 pandemic and the suffering it’s causing I’ve had to adjust my impresseion of the Easter Gospels. They are not the stories of unalloyed joy, delight and hope that I tend to assume they are.
Instead, they present a much more mixed reality than that. From the very first moment when Mary Magdalene steps out into the dark of the early morning the disciples experience a whole range of emotions. They go through darkness and light, uncertainty, disbelief fear and guilt as well as joy and delight as the reality of the resurrection begins to dawn in their hearts. I’m always struck by how often in these resurrection appearances Jesus starts his conversation by saying “peace be with you”, a response, I think, to the turmoil he recognises in his disciples hearts.
Risen Christ, come into our lives. May the light of your resurrection set us free, transform our hearts and bring us into new life. who lives and reigns with the Father and the Spirit. Amen
Begin your retreat by watching the video. There are some questions for reflection and a copy of the text below.
Where do you need the liberation of Christ’s touch in your life?
What do you need the risen Christ to renew in you this Eastertide?
How does the glory of the risen Christ transform your life?
A New Dawn
We are starting our day with Mary Magdalene, the first witness to the resurrection in all four Gospels, and the first to proclaim the Good News. Every time I read John’s Gospel I find myself wondering what compelled her to take the risk of going out in the dark looking for Jesus. Was it that agitation that comes with grief when pain makes stillness and inaction intolerable. Was it the restlessness of being cooped up with her own thoughts and sadness? Was it that need to wrest back control in an uncontrollable situation that we all feel when life spirals beyond our control?
Whatever her reasons, and regardless of whether she ever articulated them they lead her to exactly the place where she needed to be. Her courage and/or her desperation let her out into the darkness to encounter the risen Christ who, naming her, called her into the new life that his resurrection promises.
Read John 20: 1-3, 11-18.
“It was very early on the first day of the week and still dark, when Mary of Magdala came to the tomb.” Where do you feel compelled to step out into the darkness to seek the risen Christ?
“Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” In this challenging Eastertide what do you need to take the space to weep for?
“Jesus said ‘Mary’ She turned round and said to him ‘Rabbuni’ – which means ‘Master’.” What enables you to recognise the risen Christ calling your name?
Read Luke 24: 13 – 35
“What are all these things that you are discussing as you walk along?” Reflecting over Eastertide what events, scripture, situations stand out for you? Thake some time to share these with Jesus.
“They pressed him to stay with them saying, ‘it is nearly evening, and the day is almost over.'” Where do you need to be aware of the risen Christ’s presence in your life?
“Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?” What is making your heart burn within you this Eastertide?
Read Romans 6: 1-11.
“When we were baptised in Christ Jesus, we were baptised in his death.” In what ways does your baptism shape your life and your relationships?
“If in union with Christ we have imitated him in death, we shall also imitate his resurrection.” What is your experience of being called to embrace new life this Eastertide?
“And you to must consider yourselves dead to sin, but alive for God in Christ Jesus.” How would you like being alive for God to shape the way you live?
Risen Christ, fill us with love and hope. Grant us courage to embrace the freedom your resurrection offers us, who lives and reigns with the Father and the Spirit. Amen