|Jesuit Refugee Service International Assistant Director Fr. Ken Gavin, S.J. celebrates Mass earlier this year in the home of St. Ignatius in the Church of the Gesu in Rome. (Christian Fuchs — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)|
(Washington, D.C.) November 28, 2012 — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA invites you to celebrate Advent with us by taking part in our online spiritual retreat. First developed for our 30th anniversary in 2010, the retreat allows participants to reflect prayerfully on the ways in which we discover the presence of God in our ministry with refugees and displaced persons. The first Sunday of Advent is this weekend.
We recall fondly Father Pedro Arrupe’s sound advice when he founded Jesuit Refugee Service to "pray, pray much," as he encouraged the struggling first generation of JRS team members in Southeast Asia to bring the overwhelming challenges of their new apostolic work to the Lord in prayer.
During the next four weeks we invite you — day by day — into an experience of "prayerful storytelling" as we share with you the grace-filled stories of God’s powerful love for all of us in JRS.
Each day of this online "Thirty Day Retreat" will offer us the opportunity to reflect prayerfully on the situation of refugees through the lens of The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.
The Spiritual Exercises have been described as "a journey of transformation and conversion."1 More than a book of rote prayers or lockstep exercises, Ignatius’s little book of exercises was designed to help people get in touch with their experiences of God, become more and more sensitive to them, and to see how God has been and continues to work within them. It is with this spirit that we approach the coming thirty days.
Guided by the experiences and stories of JRS staff members—past and present—you will be invited to join your own story and lived experience to God's story, especially as it is told to us in the life of Jesus.
As you begin this JRS retreat, we encourage you to be open and generous, asking the Lord to create within you deep desires to do great things for God and for those who are most vulnerable in our world. Remember, as you progress through this retreat, that God will direct you and touch your soul with love and challenge in a truly personal way.
We trust that the graces of this retreat will renew us and transform us into the heart of Jesus, deepening our commitment to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people.
You are invited to join us each day in prayer for the coming four weeks. May God move your heart through the thoughts, desires, memories, and feelings that come to you in these days of "prayerful storytelling."
Reflections for Week One can be found here.Reflections for Week Two can be found here.
Reflections for Week Three can be found here.