Parish Lenten Retreat – Week VI
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
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.
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.
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.
Encountering God with a contrite heart lifts us into God’s encouraging embrace, granting us the fortitude to live loving lives of service.
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.
HOLY WEEK REFLECTIONS
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Our celebration begins with the triumphant procession of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem with the acclaim of the crowd. The Gospel of our Lord’s final hours and the fulfillment of his mission through suffering and death to new life are solemnly proclaimed. Jesus prays in the garden of Gethsemane and teaches us about the path to peace. Although he is deeply troubled and suffering greatly in anticipation of his crucifixion, Jesus turns to the Father in prayer. In prayer, Jesus encounters God’s abundance and is strengthened in his heart with courage for the completion of his mission. Jesus is not granted a good situation but is given a deeper awareness of God’s presence. In the midst of his conflict he is able to say even in turmoil, “Not my will, but yours be done.”
The Serenity Prayer is a similar way of seeking peace in the midst of struggle.
“God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.”
- How does the Serenity Prayer relate to the prayer of Jesus in the Garden?
- What significance does the experience of Jesus and the Serenity Prayer have for you in your present life?
We remember the Lord’s Supper and the example of service that Christ gives to us in the washing of the disciples feet. We celebrate the ongoing real presence of Christ in our lives through the gift of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. We believe that we share in the priesthood of Christ through our baptism which empowers us in our mission to all through the spiritual, social and service dimensions of ministry. Peace is discoverable when we remember, celebrate and believe.
- Remember a time when the Lord “washed your feet” and granted peace through the love, care and service of others.
- Whom do you serve? Thank God for those opportunities to be the peace of Christ for others.
- When was the Sacrament of the Eucharist a true celebration of Christ’s peace for you? What made it so? Speak to God about your experience of presence during the celebration.
- How are you being called to live out the grace of your baptism by being an instrument of peace? In prayer? In word? In deed?
We walk with the Lord in his final hours and know that Jesus experienced the fullness of our humanity and walks with us on our path today. Meditating on the cross of Christ can be a powerful way to experience the unconditional love of Christ the source of all true peace.
Place a cross or crucifix before you:
- Reverence the cross of Christ as a prayer of contrition. As you sign the vertical cross make the gesture a symbolic recognition of your need for God’s forgiveness. As you sign the horizontal arms of the cross ask God to reveal to you how you might be an instrument of reconciliation for others.
- Touch the cross of Christ and imagine God’s embrace which always enfolds you and abundantly provides you with the grace of encouragement.
- Contemplate the cross of Christ and ask for the inspiration to pursue your Christian mission as a peacemaker with zeal.
Pray to our Risen Lord who is beside you:
Dona Nobis Pacem, Grant Us Peace
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.
LENTEN BIBLE STUDY
The Bible Study group will meet on Monday, April 14 at 9:45 AM in the Molloy Center. This will be the conclusion of our Lenten Retreat. A Blessed Easter to all!