Parish Lenten Retreat – Week IV

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 peace-makers of Christ’s peace on earth.

Weekend Scripture

  • The prophet Samuel anoints David with the holy oil and the spirit of the Lord rushes upon David. Encouraged by this touch, David is empowered for his ministry to Israel.
  • St. Paul encourages the Ephesians by reminding them that they are called from darkness into light so that they may produce every kind of goodness and learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
  • Jesus touches the eyes a blind man and restores his sight. The healing touch of Jesus encourages the man to come to a deeper faith and to be a witness to the Good News of Christ our healer and our peace.

Reflection on Encouragement

Assembling on the starting line for the Seattle Special Olympics hundred yard dash, nine runners, all physically and mentally challenged, prepare to race. The gun is fired. They take off. Halfway along, one of the boys stumbles on the asphalt, tumbles over, and begins to cry. Hearing the boy’s cries the other eight runners turn to see what happened. Without a word to each other they stop running the race and double back surrounding the boy on the ground. One girl bends down and kisses the fallen boy on the crown of his head saying, “This will make it better.” The tears stop and the boy rises to his feet. Linking arms, all nine runners walk together to the finish line. The stadium goes wild. That day everyone’s eyes were opened to what makes true winners, compassion and encouragement.

In the time of Jesus, those who were mentally or physically challenged were judged to be unfavored by God. People blamed the afflicted and considered them to be sinful. Jesus refutes this belief with every word and gesture in his ministry. God is revealed by Jesus to be abundantly overflowing with compassion and encouragement. Jesus heals the blind man with a touch. The man stands tall and witnesses to what God has accomplished for him. The man is not only cured physically but is granted emotional and spiritual encouragement. His eyes are opened to his own goodness in the sight of Christ.

Encouragement comes from a Latin word that means “with heart.” When Christ touches us in prayer we are given God’s strength in our weakness and the courage to embrace our challenges “with heart.” Our eyes are opened in prayer and the spirit rushes upon us, empowering us to produce every kind of goodness and to discover what is pleasing to the Lord.

Praying our Lenten prayer Dona Nobis Pacem is a way for us to experience encouragement and the healing touch of Christ. The Greek word for peace is eirene which means “to join” or to touch. Dona Nobis Pacem can help us to join with Christ and become more determined, hopeful and confident. Dona Nobis Pacem is a prayer that may enable us to touch others with compassion and encouragement. Our eyes can be opened for us to see how we can be instruments of Christ’s peace.

Encouragement for Others

The revival of the play, A Raisin in the Sun, is currently playing on Broadway. One of the dramatic moments of the play is when the son loses a great sum of money, jeopardizing the family’s future and his sister’s education. Although devastated, his mother encourages her daughter to have some heart for her brother especially at this time when he failed them both. She tells her daughter to love him in spite of the situation.

The daughter retorts,
“Love him? There is nothing left to love.”
The mother responds, “There is always something left to love. And if you ain’t learned that, you ain’t learned nothing. (Looking at her) Have you cried for that boy today? I don’t mean for yourself and for the family ’cause we lost the money. I mean for him: what he been through and what it done to him. Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain’t through learning – because that ain’t the time at all. It’s when he’s at his lowest and can’t believe in hisself ’cause the world done whipped him so! When you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to where ever he is.”

Reflection Questions

  1. What do you think or feel about the speech above?
  2. When have you received understanding or encouragement in the face of your failure?
  3. Who have you encouraged?
  4. How does the story above relate to St. Paul’s letter to the Romans 5:8 “While we were still sinners Christ died for us”?

Activity

Ask the Lord to open your eyes to a person in need of your gift of encouragement. What action will you take to touch that person’s life and be a channel of peace?

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. The musical setting of that text is an example of a round or canon. Dona Nobis Pacem is being sung as our recessional hymn each week.

Season of Lent Opportunities

  • Lenten Holy Hour – Tuesday, April 8
    9:45 – 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 31 & April 7.
  • Stations of the Cross on Friday evenings at 7:00 PM as follows:
    April 4 – St. Philip School Children
    April 11 – Processional Stations

LENTEN BIBLE STUDY

The Bible Study group meets each Monday during Lent at 9:45 AM in the Molloy Center for its continuing discussion on the Word of God and prayer for the following Sunday’s readings. All are welcome!