Sacred Space online retreat for Lent

February 16, 2024 in Featured News, News

‘Gratitude In All Things’ is the theme of the Sacred Space online retreat for Lent 2024, written by blogger Mary Murphy. On 9 January 2012, Mary Murphy started writing Grateful 52, a series of weekly blog posts about what she is grateful for. Seeing the remarkable effect of the conscious practice of gratitude in her life and wanting to share the good news with a wider audience, she collated these scriptures for this Sacred Space Lenten retreat » and wrote the reflections. She is grateful to be part of the Sacred Space community.

This retreat gives a few hints for prayerful reflection on a chosen scripture for each day during Lent. Readings from both the Old and New Testaments help focus the participant’s mood and thoughts on gratitude. It also offers a daily challenge to be truly grateful for something, no matter how small. To avoid duplicating the daily prayers and reflections based the Gospel of the day, (as in the regular daily prayer of the Sacred Space website ») this retreat will have daily prayers and reflections from the scriptures that speak to our Lenten theme of Gratitude.

Mary Murphy and the Sacred Space team note that for many, Lent is a time of sacrifice. “We give up our favourite food or drink. We try to break a habit or change some behaviour. We stop doing something. But what if, instead of stopping, we were to START doing something? What if we were to start being consciously grateful every day? Every day. No matter how desperate we felt. No matter how much we despair. No matter how difficult times are. Would it make a difference? Yes! Yes, it would.”

They also quote Pope Francis, “Let us not forget to thank: if we are bearers of gratitude, the world itself will become better, even if only a little bit, but that is enough to transmit a bit of hope. The world needs hope. And with gratitude, with this habit of saying thank you, we transmit a bit of hope.” The team therefore suggests that “Lent is a perfect time to renew our faith, hope, and love, and to focus on what matters most in life.”

The retreat can take as little as 3-5 minutes, or 15-20 minutes, or more, depending on how much time people have, and how deeply they want to enter into prayer. “If you have the time and the inclination, we encourage you to spend as long as you can with anything that jumps out for you from the reflections or the scriptures themselves,” advise the team, adding, “Stay with those words and let them settle deeply into your heart, mind, and soul. You might like to take notes or keep a journal. Perhaps you’ll stay with one word or phrase that resonates most strongly with you. Or come back to the prayers of a previous day, and stay with those for a few days. Or stay with the words or scripture of a particular day and meditate on them for as long as you feel you need. There are no rules. Listen to your heart and do what is right for you. It won’t matter if you miss a couple of days. Whether you join us from the beginning or go back and catch up, it’s up to you.”

Mary Murphy and the Sacred Space team conclude with a blessing, “May this simple retreat bless everyone who prays with it, and remind us that we are part of the Sacred Space family, united in prayer and thanks with brothers and sisters all over the world.”