I am writing this letter just two days before I head on my annual eight-day silent retreat. By the time you read this, I will actually be on my last day of retreat. Know I will be praying for you on my retreat. As you read this, please say a prayer of thanksgiving for the graces God poured into me and that they may take deep root in my life.
It feels fitting that I will return home from retreat and a few days later we will celebrate the Feasts of All Saints Day and All Souls Day. Each year, I begin my silent retreat inviting my favorite Saints and saints to pray for the retreat. I call upon my “heavenly club” to pray for me so my retreat can draw me into deeper union with Christ: St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John the Baptist, St. Mother Teresa. I also call on my loved ones who have gone before me, especially my grandfather. I find deep comfort in asking these holy ones to pray for me.
After calling on them for prayers, I turn to Mary and entrust my retreat into her hands asking for my retreat to bring me ever closer to her son. Finally, I ask Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit to open me to receive whatever they seek to offer me on this retreat.
Beginning my retreat this way helps me surrender my retreat out of my hands and into the Holy Spirit’s hands. Knowing that there are people praying for me as I make my retreat comforts me through the swings of consolation and desolation, in the moments I am being invited to take a real and hard look at an area of my life in need of forgiveness or healing, or when a new invitation arises that makes me both excited and afraid. The Communion of Saints is one of the ways I remember that I am not alone. God is with me.
This next month our Into the Deep writers will be celebrating Saints Among Us by sharing about those who have gone before them, whether officially a Saint or not, and how the witness of their faith impacted their lives.
I am also excited to share that registration is open today for our Advent retreat! The retreat is called We Are Not Alone: An Online Advent Retreat to Pray the Season. I partnered with my friends and collageues Stephanie Clouatre Davis, Kathy Powell and Charlotte Phillips to create a retreat in daily life to provide a pause and make time for God in one of the busiest seasons of life.
This retreat starts on the first Sunday of Advent, November 29th and runs through the Feast of the Holy Family on December 27th. We are thrilled to walk with you in prayer during this season, especially when we might find ourselves wondering what preparing for Christmas could even look like this year.
Each week is a guided week of prayer done on your schedule. This weekly prayer plan includes:
- Guided Lectio Divina, a prayer method to prayerfully savor scripture
- Suggested Scriptures with Reflection Questions
- Guided Ignatian Contemplation, a prayer method to place you within the scripture
- Guided Visio Divina, a prayer method of praying with an image
- Gathering the Graces, a method of reviewing your weekly prayer
We’re also including optional weekly LIVE community prayer calls via Zoom, offered at two different times, and a prayer library to help you dive deeper into the prayer methods used during the retreat to continue to develop and deepen your practice of prayer long after Advent ends.
This retreat is an easy way to ground yourself in prayer and let us accompany you this Advent. We are not alone. I hope you will join us. Register here.
Know of my prayers for you!
Photo by Prisalla Du Preez on Unsplash