Jottings from Fr. J.J.

RETREAT DOESN’T MEAN RUN AWAY

In its simplest form ‘Retreat’, means ‘to withdraw, to drawback.’ Throughout the ages, the Christian tradition has understood Retreat to be an important part of spiritual formation.  That is, time consciously set aside for God, a change of focus, a deliberate act of stepping outside of normal routine by withdrawing (not running away) from the noise and pressures; the immediate and insistent claims of our social, domestic and workaday responsibilities in order to be in a quiet place where all our senses are open and ready to listen to God. This is our principal aim in going on retreat – to stop, listen, reflect, pray, share so that we see with new eyes, think with new minds, so that even though we have to go back into the very same situations, the same set of circumstances, the same roles, responsibilities and relationships that we left behind , but having changed inside.

This Thursday night the Parish Council, Commissions, Staff, and others who are leaders of various groups in the parish will attend a retreat night here in our Social Hall and Church. Why?  To listen to God and return to our roles changed inside and ready to enter into our ministries with more clarity and vigor.  We hopefully will be more convicted in our purpose!

I inform you of this for two reasons: First, to ask for your prayers.  Please pray that we as a parish truly follow the Lord’s direction for our parish.  Second, if you believe that we missed including your presence and you should be attending this important event, call Christine Broses by Monday and reserve your spot at 248-689-8380 ext 103

DO NOT BE “WHAT” AGAIN?

As someone who councils, who assists folks at different stages of their journey, and who hears a lot of confessions, I find myself encouraging individuals to address something that I believe undermines spiritual growth.

When we are born, and when we are born again in baptism, we begin life with pure minds and hearts. As we grow, we pick up wrong messages from the media and various experiences that we face.  Often, these messages give us erroneous images about who we are and what we can become.  We own these negative messages and they contribute to our inevitable unhappiness.  What we are dealing with is FEAR.  Fear is so pervasive that often all we live in is a world of fear.  Fear is often the cause of most of our behaviors.  Fear is what saps our energy, prevents our growth, hinders relationships, and squashes our joy.  In scripture, Jesus continually encourages us to face our fears.  It is always helpful to address our fears with Him.  Admit them.  Confess them.  His standard response isn’t just “Do not be afraid.”  He is in the midst of all of it along with us.  God is in the fear and pain.  As with His first followers, he replaces our fears with something else. “”When the doors were locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace, be with you.’” (Jn 20:19)  The next time you find yourself grasping onto fear.  Stop and allow His peace to assure you.

God bless,
Fr. J.J.