Mercy Associates Retreat – Session Three

Winter Time – Night

Theme: Union with God


1. Introduction: Winter – Night

Please click the arrowhead in the center of the video to hear the Introduction.


2. A Winter Story

Spend a little time now reflecting on,
or re-listening to the story.
Does it awaken any spiritual thought
or prayer in your heart?

3. Sister Kate’s Thoughts on Night and Winter

4. Praying with Scripture

In our Gospel passage today, we join Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem.  It is winter, and he is “walking about” in the open area.  Perhaps there is a small fire where he and others might warm themselves. What’s on Jesus’s mind as he paces this sacred ground? 

We know , from reading the Gospels, that it is also the “winter” of his life, the time when the Father is gathering all to completion. 

In this reading, we see that some hearts remain cold to his life-giving Word. It is painful for Jesus to realize this. But despite this heartache, remains ever confident in the Father’s love.

For this session, focus on John 10:22-30 – The Feast of the Dedication

Take some quiet time to reflect on this passage.
Allow yourself to be in the scene beside Jesus.

5. Reflection Nuggets: Winter – Night


6. Poetry

Please enjoy these beautiful poems evoking the sentiments of winter, stillness, patience, deepening. You may want listen to this lovely music as you read the poems.

These Things – Renee Yann, RSM
You must tell yourself
these things will happen
before they happen:
the deep winter you will spend,
essentially, alone:
The falling into love
that will not catch you;
the death that rends you
into half of what you were:
the triumph, finally claimed,
bereft of meaning.
 
Otherwise,
when these things happen,
as they will,
you will be swallowed by them
as if you had not ever been
outside these things,
the way an ocean swallows
hail inside the storm.
 
You will be nearly cleaved:  
a raw, green peach 
whose freestone falls away in frost,
because these things are separating,
colder than the loneliness
of ice blue space,
and you are farther from yourself
within them than it is safe to ever be.
 
There is no climbing back
from these things.
You will bring their distance with you.
In the thinnest, splintered space
that separates the stone from peach flesh,
cold universes can insert themselves.
  
Instead, enter these things,
down the long cold slope inside them.
Inside even inverse passion,
there is cobalt fire,
though it masquerades in ice.
~ Renee Yann, RSM
 
Winter: Tonight: Sunset – David Budbill
Tonight at sunset walking on the snowy road,
my shoes crunching on the frozen gravel, first
 
through the woods, then out into the open fields
past a couple of trailers and some pickup trucks, I stop
 
and look at the sky. Suddenly: orange, red, pink, blue,
green, purple, yellow, gray, all at once and everywhere.

Closing Music: Seasons by Ben Tan

Virtue/Gift to pray for: Fidelity

Dear God,

We pray for the gift of fidelity. 
 Let us bravely live our winter times.
Give us a great trust in your Presence,
even in the dark moments of our lives.
Beyond that, let us find the soul-secrets
only darkness can reveal
– that You are ever faithful to us,
that in sorrow, loss and seeming emptiness,
still You and I are one.
We ask this in Mercy. Amen

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