Parish Lenten Retreat – Week I

Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace

Throughout the season of Lent and culminating in our Easter celebration we are experiencing a Parish Retreat titled, Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace. The Retreat is being presented through weekend homilies, bulletin and web-site reflections and workshop opportunities (music and to date content can be uploaded at stphilip.org).

The Peace of Christ

“Peace I grant you, my peace I give you, a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.” John 14:27

Peace is a most desirable gift. Jesus offers us the gift of peace. Our common world understanding of peace is an absence of disturbance or strife and a feeling of comfortableness accompanied by favorable circumstances. The peace that Jesus grants is not limited to good situations or even feelings of calmness. Jesus bestows peace that is God’s abundant action in our lives. Awareness of God’s presence even in the midst of conflict, discord and inner turmoil secures us with a blessed assurance that God is with us yesterday, today and forever. God’s peace supports us by changing the way that we see and experience ourselves, others and our world. God’s peace is the Spirit that moves us to wholeness, heals us for right relationships and renews us to be instruments of peace for one another. God’s power at work in our lives is our peace.

Paths to Peace – Pacem

P—Prayer

Our Lenten prayer Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace

awakens us to God’s peaceful presence dwelling deep within us. We pray Grant Us Peace and not Grant me Peace because our prayer, like the symbolic gestures in the sign of the cross, always reaches both to God and toward our brothers and sisters. Peace is experienced in relationships that reach out and are other directed.

A—Abundance

Prayer awakens us to God’s abundance and action in our lives. God is an ever-present and eternal source of what is needed for healing and peace.

C—Contrition

God’s abundance helps us to discover areas in our lives where we are lacking, sinful or broken. Contrition is the honest acknowledgment of our need for change. Contrition is the first step in the process of receiving God’s help, forgiveness and the grace of complete, life-giving reconciliation.

E—Encouragement

Encountering God with a contrite heart lifts us into God’s encouraging embrace, granting us the fortitude to live loving lives of service.

M—Mission

Our mission is to promote the flourishing of all peoples through spirituality, service and social ministry. God’s peace gives us the courage to stand for truth, walk toward beauty and work for goodness in word and deed. We become not only peace-lovers but instruments of Christ’s peace on earth.

Weekend Scripture

  • In the book of Genesis, God’s own breath of life is given to each man and woman in the act of creation.
  • St. Paul writes to the Romans that even though we sin new life comes to us through Jesus Christ, from whom we receive the abundance of grace.
  • Jesus is led into the desert where he experiences temptation and difficult circumstances. Jesus counters the challenges by focusing on Scripture and God’s promises.

Reflection

While spending an afternoon at the Bronx Zoo, six year old Ben’s father was explaining the danger of wild animals such as tigers. As they approached the tiger cage been asked, “Dad, if the tiger gets out of his cage…” “Yes, son,” the father responded kindly. “Well, if the tiger does get out and eats you up, what bus should I take home?”

It is easy to understand Ben’s concern because somewhere deep in us is a six-year-old child that longs for security. At any age, we all have a deep need to seek peace. God has placed a desire for peace into each of our hearts. Our concern for our own welfare matures through the development of our spiritual life so that we not only seek peace but work to provide peace in our relationships and in our world.

While being tempted and challenged in the Gospel Jesus directs his attention to God’s abundance and trusts in God’s providence. Jesus focuses on God’s word, not testing God but trusting God and giving God praise through service.

Prayer is the way that we direct our attention, focus and learn to trust God more fully. Praying our Lenten prayer Dona Nobis Pacem when we are anxious, frustrated or angry is a way to open ourselves to God’s peace. Like Christ in the desert our prayer Dona Nobis Pacem quotes Scripture. Dona Nobis Pacem enlists God’s aid not only for ourselves but also in prayer for others. Dona Nobis Pacem may be the right bus to a peaceful place.

Reflection Questions

  1. What situations are a source of temptation and challenge to you?
  2. What people are a source of temptation and challenge to you?
  3. What areas/people in your life would you like God to touch with the peace of Christ?
  4. Bring these areas to God and pray: Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace.
  5. How might you be an instrument of peace for others this day?

Musical Component

Dona Nobis Pacem is the Latin translation of our English words Grant Us Peace. Peace is used in the New Testament eighty-five times. Peace is one of the last words that Jesus speaks to his disciples before his crucifixion and among his first words after the Resurrection. Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace is taken from the last portion of the “Agnus Dei” of the Ordinary of the Mass. The musical setting of that text is an example of a round or canon comprised of a musical form that is defined by the use of strict imitative counterpoint spun out from a single melodic line. The Dona Nobis Pacem round, like many others of its type, is of folk or unknown origin, although stylistically it suggests that it may have first appeared in the late 18th or early 19th century. We will learn this prayer and song for our private devotion as well as our community celebration of our Liturgy.

Season of Lent Opportunities

  • Spirituality Workshop – Tuesday, March 11
    9:45 to 11:00 AM & 7:00 to 8:30 PM-Marian Hall.
  • Lenten Holy Hour – Tuesday, April 8
    9:45 to 10:45 AM & 7:00 – 8:00 PM in Church.
  • Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered every Saturday from 11 AM to 12 Noon and Monday from 7 to 8:30 PM in church on:
    March 10, 17, 24, 31 & April 7.
  • Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings at 7:00 PM as follows:
    March 14 – Processional Stations
    March 21 Religious Education children
    March 28 Living Stations with Youth Ministry
    April 4 St. Philip School Children
    April 11 Processional Stations
  • LENTEN BIBLE STUDY

    The Bible Study group will meet on Monday, March 10th at 9:45 AM for its Lenten discussion on the Word of God. Come and join the 30 people already attending. We will discuss next Sunday’s readings: Gen12:1-4, Timothy 1:8- 10 and the Gospel of Matthew 17:1-9.

    DAILY MASS

    During the Season of Lent many of our parishioners attend daily mass. It is a blessed way to begin the day.

    RICE BOWL

    You are encouraged to use CRS Rice Bowls to make Lenten sacrifices to help our brothers and sisters in need and to uplift the world’s poor. Rice bowls may be found in the back of the Church.