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Advent Retreat 2018: Dwelling with God

Sacred Space online prayer website are running their annual Advent retreat. The theme of this year’s retreat is ‘dwelling with God’ from the Gospel of John. The retreat is written by Gráinne Doherty, a faith development worker and author of Joy of Love: A Family Perspective. As usual, the retreat is also available in podcast form as part of the continuing cooperation between Sacred Space and Pray As You Go, the audio prayer website of the Jesuits in Britain.

Advent begins on Sunday, 2 December 2018. The first week of the retreat is available from Thursday, 29 November, and subsequent weeks will appear on the following Thursdays. There are 5 Sessions in total, each encompassing a stillness exercise, scripture, reflection and an opportunity to talk to God. It is hoped that the retreat will enable people to grow more aware of God at work in their life. Click here for the Sacred Space website advent retreat.

The retreat offers people the opportunity to take a step back from the routine or the concerns of everyday life, and to reflect prayerfully on the current state of their relationships, with God, with the people around them, and with the world in which they live.

In this year’s retreat, Gráinne Doherty has focused on the Prologue of John’s Gospel which is read at the morning Mass on Christmas Day. Over the four weeks of Advent, she guides the online retreatant in gentle reflection on different sections of that Gospel, which declares that ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’. She says that not too long ago, Catholics would genuflect when they said that phrase. It is the complete articulation of the Christian message that is celebrated every Christmas. God is with people in every step of their lives, through joyful times and painful times. The coming of the Messiah into the world helps them to see the infinite goodness of God and His closeness to them.

The symbol for John’s Gospel is the eagle, the sharp-eyed bird who flies high. During this retreat people are invited to look with a keen inner eye at the ‘big picture’ that is their life.

According to the Sacred Space/Pray As You Go team, this annual Advent retreat is an opportunity to take some time out from the busyness of life and come to a renewed awareness of the presence of Christ and in His closeness. People are invited to deepen their relationship with Him; to welcome Him into their life this Christmas in a new way, and not to be afraid to radiate the light of His love.

Pope Francis in his Apostolic Exhortation ‘Rejoice and be glad’, says that “the prayerful reading of God’s word…enables us to pause and listen to the voice of the Master”. When this is done, there is found “a lamp for our steps and a light for our path”.