Individually Guided Retreats

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These resources can be used as a short retreat over several days or spread out over several weeks. You can arrange to talk with a retreat guide digitally during the retreat if you wish. If you would like to do that please contact Sr Judith.

Getting Started

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The retreat is divided into sections. Beginning at “With open heart” below you can take one section each day of your retreat or you can spread each section over several days or a week. In this section you will find some useful retreat tools. It includes ideas for creating a scared space at home and some suggestions for praying with scripture:

With Open Heart

Begin your retreat by reflecting on your hopes and desires and to share them with Christ.

Grounded in the Love of God

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Every journey needs a starting point, a beginning, a place from which we set out. As we start our pilgrimage it’s worth spending time reflecting on our starting point. A pilgrimage is a journey into the heart of a loving God. Our starting point is always from the solid and holy ground of being loved and cherished children God. On this first stage of our journey we discover ourselves as held in the loving gaze of God.

Prayer
Loving God, who searches the depths of the heart, knowing every thought and hope and fear, open my heart to the wonder of your love and lead me by your light in the way of eternal life.

Read Psalm 138/9
How do you respond to the God who searches and knows you?
Where do you discover the wonder of your being?
Where do you hope God will lead you?

End your prayer by taking time to give thanks to God for this time of prayer and the insights you have gained from it.

On Holy Ground

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The God who holds us in love calls us into relationship. Like Moses at the burning bush we are called to allow our curiosity to be aroused and to take time to turn aside from whatever occupies us, taking time to discover and respond to the presence of God in our lives. Trust your instincts, allow your curiosity to lead you towards God, let yourself be surprised by God in unexpected places.

Prayer
God of love, as you called Moses to recognise you in the strange sight of the burning bush, make us aware of your call to enter into the depths of a life-changing encounter with you in the midst of our daily lives. Amen

Read Exodus 3: 1-7
What heightens your awareness of God in your wilderness times?
Where do you recognise holy ground in your life?
How do you want to respond to the God who calls you in the midst of your daily life?

End your prayer by taking time to give thanks to God for this time of prayer and the insights you have gained from it.

Encounter

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Although the Samaritan woman is nameless in the gospel in some traditions she is known as St Photina, “the luminous one”. It highlights the light that shines through her encounter which Christ. Her path to revelation and faith is lit by her  thirst and her questioning. Allow yourself to time to be aware of what you thirst for and allow your questions to lead you to encounter Christ in your life.

Prayer
Lord Jesus, who offered the Samaritan woman living water, open our hearts accept the living water that brings us new life.

Read John 4: 1- 42
The Samaritan woman encountered Jesus on the outskirts of the town. Where are you aware of Jesus waiting to encounter you at the edges of your life?
Jesus told the Samaritan woman everything she ever did. How do you respond to the Christ who knows you inside out?
The Samaritan woman put down her water jar to run back to the town and proclaim that Jesus is the Messiah. What do you need to put down to be able to respond to Christ’s call in your life?

End your prayer by taking time to give thanks to God for this time of prayer and the insights you have gained from it.

Building the kingdom

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The sermon on the mount begins with the Beatitudes, which are sometimes called the blueprint for the Kingdom. They lay out a vision that turns all our values on their heads and reminds us that the Kingdom Jesus is bringing is something very different from anything we know or might expect. The Beatitudes aren’t just a list of high minded ideals, they are practical pointers for shaping daily life and making the kingdom a reality in the world today. As you pray with them allow yourself to reflect on what might help you to make the values of the kingdom a life changing reality in your life.

Prayer
Loving God, open my heart to receive the blessing of your loving presence. Show me the ways that I can help make your kingdom a reality in the lives of the people I meet.

Read Matthew 5: 1-12

Pray with whichever beatitude speaks most to you. You might want to consider these questions as you pray:
What attracts or challenges you about this beatitude?
What thoughts and emotions does it raise?
How does it shape (or how you would like it to) your life?

End your prayer by taking time to give thanks to God for this time of prayer and the insights you have gained from it.

Thanksgiving

As you prepare to end your retreat and return to your usual routine take time to pause and rest in God’s presence. Take some time to reflect on the blessings of this time of retreat, on what you have discovered and on what you will take with you, and to thank God for these blessings.

Response

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Thank you for using this retreat material. We would appreciate it if you felt able to share something of how you used it to will help us with future planning. If you would like to do that please email Sr Judith