AN EIGHT-DAY RETREAT
BASED ON SCRIPTURE
AND ECHOING AN IGNATIAN DYNAMIC
© Luis Rodríguez, S.J. 2016
The following pages contain materials for an eight-day retreat. Each day consists of two different themes to provide input for two times of prayer, perhaps morning and afternoon, each theme followed by a main scriptural passage supporting the reflections offered, as well as by references to other pertinent passages. Except for Day 7, the text of the passages is printed out, in order to spare the retreatants having to look for it in their bibles. Because on Day 7 the entire text of the agony-passion-death narrative would have had to be typed, the scripture references alone are given for the four gospels. When I lead a group in this retreat, at the end of my talk I hand out copies of the pertinent Scripture references.
The retreat is thus scripturally inspired, though it is not an exegesis of the passages used. It echoes the dynamic of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises, but it avoids using Ignatian terminology. Obviously one cannot replicate in eight days the complete dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises, but I have attempted to reflect it in the prayer themes offered here.
For persons not familiar with Ignatian prayer I want to offer a comment on a type of prayer suggested for some passages. It is a prayer involving our imagination, which could be called an “imaginative contemplation”, one that invites us to make ourselves present to the scene in the gospel narrative and to become involved in it by imagining the setting of the scene, listening to words spoken and observing the action. This is clearly not a research tool that tries to reconstruct the passage “objectively”, but this is not its purpose either. When I first started using it, I found it “fictitious” and thus “unreal”. It was a personal experience in my life that helped me discover its value. When my mother was still living and I visited with her, the time always came for me to return to my place of assignment. Invariably, as the plane began to taxi on the tarmac, I looked at my watch and thought: “she is shopping” or “she is preparing dinner” etc. As an “objective” way of knowing what she was doing at that time, my exercise was totally useless, but objectivity was not my goal. However, as an exercise of solidarity with my mother it was perfectly valid. This is what we aim to do using “imaginative contemplation”: we try to enter in solidarity with the Lord on the occasion of the scene presented in the passage.
I – Responding to being encountered
II – The call of Christ
I - Incarnation
II – Nativity
I – Hidden life – Baptism
II – Desert temptations: two platforms collide
I – Disproportion
II – Trusting openness for the encounter
I – Light, salt
II – Not sure, yet assured
I – Last supper
II – Discourses after last supper
I – Gethsemane
II – Passion and death
I – Tiberias
II – Attaining Love