"6 O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!
7* For he is our God,
and we are the people of his pasture,
and the sheep of his hand.
O that today you would hearken to his voice!
8 Harden not your hearts,
as at Meribah, as on the day at Massah in the wilderness,
9 when your fathers tested me,
and put me to the proof,
though they had seen my work.
10 For forty years I loathed that generation
and said, 'They are a people who err in heart,
and they do not regard my ways.'
11 Therefore I swore in my anger
that they should not enter my rest."
"6 Venite, adoremus et procidamus
et genua flectamus ante Dominum, qui fecit nos,
7 quia ipse est Deus noster,
et nos populus pascuae eius
et oves manus eius.
8 Utinam hodie vocem eius audiatis:
'Nolite obdurare corda vestra,
9 sicut in Meriba, secundum diem Massa in deserto,
ubi tentaverunt me patres vestri:
etsi viderunt opera mea.
10 Quadraginta annis taeduit me generationis illius
et dixi: Populus errantium corde sunt isti.
11 Et ipsi non cognoverunt vias meas;
ideo iuravi in ira mea:
Non introibunt in requiem meam'." (Ps 95:6-11)
Everyday, in the Liturgy of the Hours, a psalm opens the prayer that the Church addresses to the Blessed Trinity. It says "Venite, adoremus et procidamus et genua flectamus ante Dominum, O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD [Yahweh], our Maker!" (Ps 95:6) This is also an invitation to all of us here to worship and bow down before the Lord.
At the beginning of this time of prayer, we have used the Apostle Thomas' words and have exclaimed, "My Lord and my God!" "Dominus meus, et Deus meus!" How important it is for us to remember Who we are speaking with, and Who is speaking to us. "My Lord and My God!" My Maker, my Creator, my Saviour, my Sanctifier and my All! I firmly believe that You are here!
If we are creatures, and He is our God, then it is easy for us to understand the invitation to adore, to bow down, to bend our knees. "Venite, adoremus et procidamus et genua flectamus ante Dominum." In the opening prayer, we told Him, "I adore You with profound reverence." In the hymn Adoro te devote, Saint Thomas sings: Tibi se cor meum totum subiicit, I not only bend my knees; but my heart, my soul, my entire being worships and adores You! Without You, I am nothing, I can do nothing. But with You, I have everything that I can ever long for.
These words in a way set the mood not only for our retreat--they set the mood for our whole life, a life that ought to be lived in the presence of the Blessed Trinity, a life where the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are privy to everything that transpires in it.
Guided by our Most Holy Mother Mary and with God's grace, we will strive to
In the presence of God, we are like lepers, sick people in need of a cure, wounded mortals in search of healing. Saint Mark narrates to us how "a leper came to him beseeching him, and kneeling said to him, 'If you will, you can make me clean.'" (Mk 1:40). Saint Luke says that this leper who was "full of leprosy" (Lk 5:12) not only knelt before Jesus, but "fell on his face and besought him, 'Lord, if you will, you can make me clean.'" (Lk 5:12). Domine, si vis, potes me mundare!
If we persist in our petition, our Lord will show mercy. After all, He is Mercy-made-Flesh. Saint Mark tells us that Jesus, "moved with pity, ... stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, 'I will; be clean.' 42 And immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean." (Mk 1:41-42).
Even before we come here in search of the Lord, He had actually come out in search for us, like the Good Shepherd calling the sheep back home. The retreat is His initiative, it was His idea. Sacred Scripture--God's Word--exhorts us: "Utinam hodie vocem eius audiatis: 'Nolite obdurare corda vestra..." ("O that today you would hearken to his voice! Harden not your hearts...")
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21 He who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. (Rev 3:19-20)
How important it is to heed His call. It is the only way we will find respite for our restless hearts (cf St Augustine). See what the Lord told the Israelites about not heeding His call: "'They are a people who err in heart, and they do not regard my ways.' 11 Therefore I swore in my anger that they should not enter my rest."
"Ecce ego, quia vocasti me.... Loquere, quia audit servus tuus." (I Sam 3:9,10) Here I am, because You have called me, because You have chosen me, because You have invited me, because You have asked me to come. "Ecce ego, quia vocasti me.... Loquere, quia audit servus tuus." (I Sam 3:9,10) Speak, Lord. Your servant is listening, your servant is ready for orders.
When Israel was in exile under the Babylonians, the Lord asked Jeremiah to reassure them of his faithfulness (Jer 29:1, 10-14).
1 These are the words of the letter which Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem to the elders* of the exiles, and to the priests, the prophets, and all the people, whom Nebuchadnezzar had taken into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.
10 "For thus says the LORD: When seventy years are completed for Babylon,
I will visit you,
and I will fulfil to you my promise
and bring you back to this place.
11 For I know the plans I have for you, says the LORD,
plans for welfare and not for evil,
to give you a future and a hope.
12 Then you will call upon me
and come and pray to me,
and I will hear you.
13 You will seek me and find me;
when you seek me with all your heart,
14 I will be found by you, says the LORD,
and I will restore your fortunes
and gather you from all the nations
and all the places where I have driven you, says the LORD,
and I will bring you back to the place from which I sent you into exile.
St Matthew narrates (Mt 19:16-20):
16* * And behold, one came up to him, saying, "Teacher, what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" 17 And he said to him, "Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments." 18* He said to him, "Which?" And Jesus said, "You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19* Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." 20 The young man said to him, "All these I have observed; what do I still lack?"
Let us not be afraid to ask (The Scripture says "Be not afraid" at least 366 times!): "Quid adhuc mihi deest?" What do I still lack, Lord? What else have I not done that I ought to be doing? What are Your expectations? What would do You want me to do? "Loquere, quia audit servus tuus." (I Sam 3:10)
We may find it useful to read again the summary of the commandments (Deut 6:4-7):
4* 'Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD; * 5 and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. 6* And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; 7 and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8* And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.'
What about these meditations? Let us take the cue from St Josemaría's prologue in The Way:
Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, obtain for me the grace to be open to the Holy Spirit's inspiration. Make my mind ready to see with His light. Prepare my will to be moved by His strength. Let me not turn my eyes away from His instruction. Let me not resist His gentle prodding. Mother of Good Counsel, pray for us who have recourse to you.