Monday, July 7, 2014

The Work of the Church

A few days ago, I completed a spiritual retreat at Rocca di Papa, a small town in the Alban Hills outside Rome.  The retreat was conducted by members of The Work of the Church (Obra de la Iglesia) - a religious movement that I am associated with.  I'd like to share a few photos from this very moving experience.

I arrived in Rome a day or so early, so that I would have the chance to attending the General Audience in Saint Peter's Square.  I had the joy of being close to Pope Francis during the Audience and meeting him briefly afterward.  In the Audience, the Holy Father spoke about the importance of belonging to the Church.  He said that "Christians are not hatched in the laboratory", but rather are members of a family, a community.  He also said that it is absurd to think that one can have a true and authentic relationship with Christ, but not belong to the Church... because it is in the Church where that relationship with Christ can be fostered and strengthened.

Above you can see beautiful Lake Albano, not very far from where I had the retreat.  Castel Gondolfo is also not far.  The lake was so calm and reflected the sky so perfectly... for a  minute, I didn't know if I was looking up or down!

During the retreat I prayed for the grace of contemplation from Mary.  Scripture tells us that Mary reflected on the mysteries of the life of her Son Jesus in her heart.  She can teach all of us important lessons about keeping Jesus present and before our hearts and minds.

I spent much time in the chapel, praying for family and friends (like you!)  My eyes often drifted between the Tabernacle and the Crucifix that are in the Chapel.  In both cases, the love of Jesus is overwhelming for us.  The Body of Christ, broken and given for us on the Cross is the same Christ who is present really, truly present to us in the Holy Eucharist.  When we pray before the Eucharist in our churches, we are not in the presence of a 'thing' but of a Divine Person, a Friend and Brother who has spared  nothing to share with us the Mercy and Compassion of God.  How can we look into the eyes of Jesus (in prayer) and then turn our back on Him?  If you need to experience peace in your heart, go and spend some quiet moments with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.  You don't have to say much... Just being in the presence of the Lord will heal your soul and strengthen your spirit.

I arrived on the Feast Day of the Sacred Heart.  From my childhood I had a great devotion to Jesus under this title.  I was blessed to have served many years in Washington, DC at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart - especially with the Latino community there.  "Jesus, meek and humble of hearts, make our hearts like unto Thine!"

The weather was beautiful and so were the grounds of Casa San Paolo where I attended the retreat.  The splendour and beauty of nature can raise our hearts and minds to our Creator.

At the end of the retreat we had a special closing Mass with members of The Work of the Church:

This ecclesial institution of Pontifical Right was founding in 1959 by Mother Trinidad of the Holy Mother Church, a saintly Spanish woman who was chosen by God for this important work.  I would invite you to investigate more about this wonderful charism which God has given to the Church.  There is information (in several languages) available here.

1 comment:

  1. Happy to hear that and see how you attended the retreat and made the most of it. I have really good memories of Casa San Paolo since Mother Trinidad gives the young people of the Work of the Church the opportunity of staying a complete free week in Rome in her houses every year. Have a great apostolic year and may the Lord spread the light of te Gospel in PNG!!


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