Oblate Faith Sharing Encounter 3 –
Saint Eugene transformed Crises into Opportunities for Ongoing Formation
Crises come to us in many shapes and forms. They can help to form us and have the potential to bring growth. Crises can provoke conversion within us. We probably learn and grow more from hindsight after a particular crisis rather than right in the middle of it! We are invited in faith to remember God’s presence with us always, and with God’s grace we struggle to accept crises, to face them and grow through them. In spite of getting knocked down or stunned by a crisis, we try to be mindful that it is part of the spiritual journey and they can actually help us grow. Friendship with Jesus, our life of prayer, the Word of God, consistent spiritual direction, openness with community assistance and the support of good friends all sustain us in facing and accepting a crisis with grace.
Lord Jesus, as we gather to share our faith we ask to be strongly united by your Spirit in the richness of our differences. May our time of listening to one another and the reality of personal crises in our lives help us to deepen our solidarity with each other, our compassion and our communion of life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen
The Word of God The Agony in the Garden: Mark 14:32-42
Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch.” He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; he said, “Abba, Father,* all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. Then he returned once more and found them asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. He returned a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand.”
This is one of the key moments of crisis in Jesus’ life before his death on the cross. He withdraws to pray with the Father and seeks the support of three of his closest friends. A dialogue with the Father takes place while his friends snooze. Jesus, utterly alone, asks the Father to remove the chalice before him. If it cannot be removed, he accepts his Father’s will with love and in obedience. It is a true agony, not just theatre, and Jesus was frightened, in great anguish, offering up to God loud cries and tears (Heb 5:7) and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground (Lk 22:44). We are told that he prayed with all the greater intensity in this crisis.
OMI Constitution 34
Faith moves us to accept for love of the crucified Lord our personal sufferings, the various trials of the ministry and the daily demands of community life (cf. 2 Cor 12:10). Moreover, we will heed the invitation of the Lord when he calls us to practice other forms of voluntary penance.
Silent Moment of reflection:
Consider the following taken from Article 20 of the OMI Constitutions and Rules, paragraph 2: “When faced with the demands of our mission and the needs to be met, we may feel weak and helpless. It is then that we can learn from the poor, especially making our own their patience, hope and solidarity.”
The animator invites each (person) present to share what has inspired them in the reflection and around the questions:
– What do we notice in the way Jesus faced crises in his life?
– What have I learned, what wisdom have I gained from crises that I have suffered? – Describe how crises help to ‘form” us, shape us and call us to conversion.
Reflecting on our own poverty, and a sense of having ‘enough’
– Share how you have experienced your own poverty in times of crisis. – What have you learned from the poor?
(Time Permitting) Thanksgiving/Prayer Intentions
We thank you Lord God for the gift of each other as we share our struggles and joys. We thank you for the geat gift of your call to each of us.
BLESSING (by group leader).