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The theme of this retreat is Saint John’s magnificent phrase ‘He showed the depth of his love’ (ch 13:1). This phrase sums up the whole gospel, and we will explore its richness in several ways. The main goal of the retreat is that you will make a home for this statement in your heart and be nourished by it for the rest of your life.
A little story, perhaps familiar to you, may serve as a helpful reminder as we begin. Two loving parents introduce their son Paul to his new baby brother, David. They tell Paul, ‘David has come from God!’ Paul requests a moment alone with his new brother. Aware of the possible effects of sibling rivalry, they anxiously wait for what may happen. Then they hear him whisper into David’s ear: ‘What’s God like? I’m beginning to forget’.
St. John’s final discourse, encapsulates in a profound and radical way the answer to this question. Here, through words, and gestures, Jesus, the beloved Son, reveals to us what God is like. Against a backdrop of failure, ignorance, fear, rejection, betrayal, and denial; the gospels reveal how God is towards us - intimate and involved wanting us to be with him in this great work of Love which transforms our world.
The intention of the six scripture reflections is simply to point you towards the depth of love revealed in the person of Jesus. Let his person, his actions, his words draw you into ever fresher and deeper levels of experiencing what divine love is like! As you contemplate the mystery of the depth of this love, may it awaken in you a great desire to know how he longs for you to have a deep-felt knowledge of the depth of his love.
This Lenten retreat invites you to remain in the love of him who bows and bends low before you. Ponder and be moved by the One who becomes humble and poor, who goes down the ladder of human promotion instead of up, and who stoops in love before his disciples and before you in order to wash your feet. Can you, will you, allow yourself to believe in the depths of this love? Will you allow yourself to be won over by divine love, so that in turn your life may be more like his, emptied of self, poured out, given over, as love at the heart of a world in need?