Tuesday, February 9, 2016

A 40 Day Lenten Spiritual Retreat

Reflections on the Readings

 1st  Sunday of Lent  February 14, 2016 - Year C

The 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Dennis S. Hankins


A 40 Day Lenten Spiritual Retreat

In Lent we renew our confession of faith in the Lordship of Jesus—Jesus is Lord. 

He is Lord over our past, over our future, as He is Lord over this holy Lent. For Lent is all about Jesus and inviting him to have his way with us! Lent is a 40 day spiritual renewal retreat in our love of God and neighbor.

Let us pray often these 40 days to grow in love, and grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Reading scripture like the gospel of John is helpful, too.  

If it is slow dredging, press on toward the goal of the high call- ing of God in Jesus Christ. ( Phil 3:14-15) Satan will work overtime suggesting doubt and other accusations. For he is like  a roaring lion (1stPeter 5:8) seeking whom he may devour, for the devil only seeks to kill, to steal, and to destroy. (John 10:10) He comes with cruel hate for creation and redemption!   But resist the devil and he will flee from you when you invoke Jesus' name. Let us lay aside every weight and embrace confession to receive mercy and forgiveness for your sins. For Jesus has filled us with the Holy Spirit and power, and we are a new creation—the old is passing away, and Jesus is making everything new! Jesus continues to make of us a new creation in the sacrament of reconciliation.  

What shall we give up this Lent? Let us give up anger, strife, and unforgiveness.  Let us pray to be rich in mercy, love, and fervent faith and hope.  Let's pray for revival for ourselves in the deeper things of God's love and grace.  For this Lent, let us pray to have more of Christ and his Spirit. May our cup run over, and our hearts welcome Jesus to be first in our hearts. For we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and a right relationship with Him.  Don't forget the kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.  May the Lord remove shallowness and coldness of heart and help us to have a heart that is filled with the warmth of Christ and a love for scripture and prayer, and with brotherly affection for one another.  

How exciting it is to grow in Christ, to make time to read scripture and praying for one another for any in need of miracles and the healing love of Jesus.  

May we have a fresh encounter with Jesus and be united more deeply in his life and love. May God give us hunger and thirst for the deeper things of God, for more faith, hope, and love, for bearing one another's burdens, and thus fulfill the law of Christ's love, praying for one another that we may be healed.  Let us remember the hungry, naked, and homeless.  Let us be faithful to share the friendship of Christ with those who need it most.  For Christ fills us with the power of his indestructible life and love.  The mystery of Christ's life and endless love dwells in us, and he dwells in us as Christ the healer, redeemer, and forgiver.   May you have a full and spiritual Lent, and I pray that this Lent brings to us all newness of love for God and neighbor  and a revival of heart, soul, and mind.  

Let us present ourselves before the Lord as a living sacrifice and invite the Holy Spirit to lead us, to guide us, to glorify Jesus in us.  Then shall we return from our Lenten retreat refreshed in body and soul, fearless to be a witness for Jesus.

God of mercy grant us a  revival of spiritual renewal in the Holy  Spirit.  Fill us with new life and grace and mercy and love. 

Amen & Amen!!

Dennis Hankins is a parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus Cathedral, of the Diocese of Knoxville, TN.  Prior to uniting with the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil 2006, Dennis served as a priest in the Charismatic Episcopal Church. E-mail Dennis at: dennishankins@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter: @dshankins or visit him at: www.dennishankins.com

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