"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)


30-Day Lockdown Retreat Journey: The Pain of God (DAY 10)

Peter Paul Rubens' "The Raising of the Cross" c. 1620 
GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND OUR STRENGTH, AN EVER-PRESENT HELP IN DISTRESS. THEREFORE WE FEAR NOT, THOUGH THE EARTH BE SHAKEN AND MOUNTAINS PLUNGE INTO THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA. PS 46:2-3

Today is Day 10 of the 30-day whole community retreat journey in light of the lockdown.



Point Of Departure: The following text is from a sermon of San Bernardino on the difference between thinking, understanding and feeling.

There is a great difference between thinking,
understanding and feeling. There are many 
who can think, fewer who can understand, and 
fewer still who can feel. Here is an example 
which is both simple and subtle.

If a man is hanged in the open square, 
a great multitude of people will see him 
and will think about the things he did.

And few, who have greater understanding, 
will understand the man himself 
and the great pain there is within him.

But if his mother or father or son are there, 
they will suffer within their own selves 
the pain of the man who is being hanged…

That is what Master St. Paul meant for us
to understand about Christ crucified. 
He did not say that we should think about him, 
or that we should understand Him, 
but that we should feel within ourselves as He felt on the cross.

"Hoc Enim Sentite In Vobis" (feel this within yourselves)

And this is the difference between
feeling a thing from outside it, 
from within it, 
or from partaking in it oneself.
By Anon: The cartoon image above was forwarded to me.
Credits and prayers for you.
Starting today everyday is family day in light of the pandemic. I just made an overseas video-call to my loved-ones especially to my beloved Mama telling her that I love her. And before pressing End-call button she sent me a virus-free flying kiss. I have been thinking much about them lately and, honestly, I know that I do not know a lot about what this really is. If you feel like you are lost still do not worry for I feel the same way too. Who won't? Perhaps, after a few more days of praying harder, we can find a clearing in the forest. I looked up in the dark sky and I noticed there are brighter stars these days because of reduced air pollutants. All my family are in the US residing both in San Francisco and Linden, New Jersey where the dreaded COVID-19 is fast spreading. I am the only one left as a missionary in my own country. I consider too the Jesuits as my second family now but my family was my first gift from God and they are forever a gift. Wait! I have another family member left with me herea 5 year-old Beagle and his name is Jastine. I have to maintain social distancing too even with pets for they might carry the virus to others. Pets are easier to manage actually by keeping them on a short leash.

New York state is now the epicenter of the outbreak in all of US. From 9,000 cases it jumped to 20,875 in less than a week. I had a video-call also with my youngest sister who is a nurse in a hospice at the Bronx area. I was praying the Visio Divina style of meditation that I recommended on Day 9 on Joseph the Carpenter (I added it only at noon time Philippine standard time yesterday) and I couldn't hold back the tears from flowing. It is true what Shakespeare said that "To weep is to make less the depth of grief." In my prayer I remembered too my Papa Jose+ who died in 2004. In times like this people become closer to each other as families which is our first line of support. My message to my family was to pray more, to express each other's love more especially to our mother and to sacrifice by not being "stubborn"—follow strict quarantine measures even if it hurts.


Grace To Beg For: To ask for what I desire... to feel as God feels; a God who is in unspeakable pain just like the pain of family members whose loved-ones have perished because of COVID-19. 

Word Of God: (See full texts below from universalis.com)

1. John 5:1-16 (Jesus heals a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years.)

Guided Meditation: (Allot 15 minutes for this exercise. It is important to enlarge the painting above to full screen on your device. Imagine you are at an art gallery and a painting catches your attention and speaks to you. "Stop. Look. Listen.")

Introduction: If Lectio Divina is listening with heart's ears Visio Divina is seeing with heart's eyes. I recommend Peter Paul Rubens' "The Raising of the Cross" c. 1620 painting above. When I was in a mission area of the Jesuits in Bukidnon Mindanao, I once gave a printed copy of this image to our lay ministers. They shared to me one time that many of them keep until now this image in their houses because every time they look at Jesus in the painting they become stronger in spirit. They told me that the unique depiction of this tells us of a God who is in pain and yet a God in full control. How could Jesus, who was supposed to be suffering it all, do such? Even if his hands were nailed already, he seemed to be pulling his cross upwards while the four men beneath him seemed more heavy burdened.

Take 15 minutes of your time to look at this image and meditate. You can start off by reading the gospel at the bottom of this page.

Guided Meditation Proper:

Imagine what must have been like when our crucified Lord was being raised upwards. Does it evoke any feeling about pain? Focus as well on your breathing and the quiet. Feel in your body the reverential silence entering into your eyes which this image evokes. You are a spectator of this moment happening now before your eyes. Give thanks to God briefly.

Move your attention towards Jesus' face. Feel through what you see as facial expressions of Jesus in pain. Did you notice the left arm of Jesus? Jesus seems to be helping the four men pull his body up. Look closely... what does Jesus' obedience to the Father, his "Abba," consist of.

Notice the faces of the men beneath the cross. Feel as if you are like them. You are still lost at this point. But acknowledge that. It is ok to accept that the future is still very bleak. You are very human like everyone else rich or poor, young or old.

At this point, imagine yourself coming close to the site. Make a gesture of moving as if you would like to take a closer look; notice a movement away from the jeering crowd. As you approach the site where Jesus is it becomes quieter. Just go back to the expression in Jesus' face when you become distracted. His face brings you towards your heart's desires, fears, etc.


At this point, you make your prayer to Jesus by telling him quietly your heart's desires. Imagine Jesus turning his gaze towards you.

Listen to Jesus to what he might say to you. Use the Psalmist words as Jesus' message to you, "Be still and know that I am God." (Ps. 46:10) End your meditation with an Our Father.

(Bring with you this painting by using it as a wallpaper on your mobile or tablet.)

Prayer Requests:
You can email request for prayers for the dead (Name—RIPusing 8thworkermercy@bloggercom—there is a DOT between 8thworker and mercy. It is restricted so that only me as blog author can read it. Others will NOT be able to read any email; instead they will get a message stating that this is private. We will offer your intentions during our regular 6:30AM Masses in our community of Jesuit priests and novices.

P.S. Feel free also to include the names of all who are sick (Name—Get well soon).

Fr. JM Manzano, SJ


John 5:1-16

Immediately the man became well.

There was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem at the Sheep Gate a pool called in Hebrew Bethesda, with five porticoes. In these lay a large number of ill, blind, lame, and crippled. One man was there who had been ill for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been ill for a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be well?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Jesus said to him, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” Immediately the man became well, took up his mat, and walked.
  Now that day was a sabbath. So the Jews said to the man who was cured, “It is the sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to carry your mat.” He answered them, “The man who made me well told me, ‘Take up your mat and walk.’“ They asked him, “Who is the man who told you, ‘Take it up and walk’?” The man who was healed did not know who it was, for Jesus had slipped away, since there was a crowd there. After this Jesus found him in the temple area and said to him, “Look, you are well; do not sin any more, so that nothing worse may happen to you.” The man went and told the Jews that Jesus was the one who had made him well. Therefore, the Jews began to persecute Jesus because he did this on a sabbath.



Comments

  1. I also feel the pain and suffering of todays situation.... This dark and sad period leads me to reflect deeply in my situation, that its time for me to spend my days to my community in our congregation... Praying intensely in this pandemic Covid 19. Thank you father.

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