Advent week of guided prayer

December 19, 2022 in Featured News, News

Iva Beranek, Parish Manager in St Francis Xavier’s Church, Gardiner Street, Dublin shares the experiences of both retreatants and prayer guides during a Week of Guided Prayer. They report profound encounters with God in the Ignatian tradition.

The Advent Week of Guided Prayer took place in Gardiner Street Parish from Monday, 28 November until Sunday, 4 December 2022. We had more than 25 people who took part in the retreat, which is more than double from last year. Each person committed to praying with Scriptures 30 minutes each day. This was new to some of them, but the feedback is that people were truly blessed in their prayer times. Each person had their own prayer guide to talk to about their experience of prayer.

One of the prayer guides shared, “I met wonderful people and we shared our normal, everyday life experiences and looked at them in the light of Scripture. We discovered that looking at the ups and downs of life through the eyes of faith in God, and the Scriptures, was very meaningful and relevant. Pretty amazing when you think about it, that words written so long ago, ancient wisdom, still have so much to offer to the way we live today”.

If you have seen The Chosen (TV series about the life of Jesus), the experience of Ignatian contemplation is a bit like that; as if we enter into the scene where Jesus is interacting with those around Him. One of the retreatants said:

“The week of guided prayer was an incredible experience. I had never tried to meditate on the Scriptures by entering a scene and being one of the characters. The meditations were touching, profound, insightful and also fun! I felt Jesus’ life blending with mine and becoming love, safety, closeness, consolation, whatever I needed in that moment. I saw Jesus shedding light on where I am in life and pouring love on any wound that would come to the surface. My heart felt His closeness, healing power and comforting embrace”.

The participants expressed gratitude for the one-to-one guidance they received throughout that week and said that this was “an enormous gift”.  A few people who don’t live near the parish participated online by meeting their prayer guide on Zoom. We had a few people join from Donegal and at least one from England. We are greatly encouraged that people wanted to invest in their prayer lives. We are grateful to all the prayer guides who were so generous with their time and with sharing their heart with the retreatants.

Our next Week of Guided Prayer will be after Easter 2023. Email [email protected] if you wish to take part or check out our website closer to the time (Gardiner Street Parish »).

Iva Beranek

Parish Manager in SFX Church, Gardiner Street, Dublin