Salt & Light Retreat Resource Manual
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Praying with the Bible  
Introduction
God speaks to us first.  God is concerned for us long before we know ourselves and become concerned for ourselves, and God makes it possible for us to pray by placing within us a longing for God and by giving us the gifts of the Holy Spirit.  God speaks to us continually through:
•         Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh
•         the church, the Christian community, the people God has put into our lives
•         visible creation, God’s self-communication in the physical world around us
•         the events and experiences in our lives
•         the Holy Scripture, which is the main communication we use in our prayer
God invites us to listen.  Listening to God involves making the necessary commitment, preparing well for this important time, and paying attention to what God is saying in the Word and inside yourself.  Find a place where you can be quiet and alone, quiet yourself interiorly, ask God for the blessing of the Holy Spirit, and be at peace.  Don’t worry about distractions; just return to the scripture and to your prayer.  Thoughts and feelings about people and events that arise because of your prayer are part of your prayer.  Continue talking about them with God.
Open the Bible with a sense of God’s presence, find the chosen scripture passage, read it, the read it again, very slowly......entering into the sense, talking to Jesus, listening to what God is saying.  Pause whenever you hear God speaking to you directly, whenever you experience God’s love, when you are moved to peace or joy, or when you feel disturbed or struggling.  Don’t be in a hurry, give the Word and experience the time they need.  Don’t be discouraged if nothing seems to be happening.  God is still present as the Spirit works silently within us, painting the image of Jesus on the canvas of our soul. 
At the end of your time of prayer, recall what God or Jesus has said to you, speak to God as Father/Mother, to Jesus as Brother/Friend, and say your prayer of petition and thanksgiving.  You may want to write the highlights of your prayer in a journal after the period of prayer.   
 
Seven P’s for listening to God
Prepare a scripture passage ahead of time and have it marked and ready  
Place where you are alone, quiet, and free in God’s presence; the same time and place works the best
Posture.  Relaxed and peaceful, a harmony of body and spirit
Presence of God. Be aware of it, respond to it, call upon the Holy Spirit
Passage.  Read it once, then re-read it s-l-o-w-l-y and attentively
Pause.  Take your time, do not be anxious, do not worry about reading a certain “amount”, do not try to figure out the message, but listen, pause and let God speak, be attentive to your heart and let the conversation with God be free and relaxed
Pray honestly, using your own words. At the end of the time, speak in words of thanks and petition in a personal and loving manner to God, then jot down important words or experiences from your prayer in a prayer journal.
Prayers
 
Our Father
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.  Thy kingdom come.  Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen
The Hail Mary 
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you.  Blessed are you among  women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus.  Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.  Amen
Glory be to the Father 
Glory be to the father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.  As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end.  Amen
The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.  I believe in Jesus Christ, his only son, our Lord.  He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.  He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried.  He descended to the dead.  On the third day he rose again.  He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.  He will come again to judge the living and the dead.  I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins,  the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.  Amen.
Act of Faith
O my God, I firmly believe that You are One God in three divine persons, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit;  I believe that your divine Son became man and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead.  I believe these and all the truths, which the holy Catholic Church teaches, because You have revealed them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.     
Act of Hope 
Oh my God, relying on Your almighty and infinite mercy and promises,  I hope to obtain pardon for my sins, the help of Your grace, and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer.
Act of Charity
Oh my God, I love you above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because You are all-good and worthy of all love.  I love my neighbor as myself for the love of You.  I forgive all who have injured me, and I ask pardon of all whom I have injured.
Act of Contrition
Oh my God!  I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend You, my God, who is all-good and deserving of all my love.  I firmly resolve with the help of Your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life.  Amen.
Penitential Prayer
I confess to almighty God, and to you my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
The Hail, Holy Queen
Hail, holy Queen Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope!  To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve.  To you do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears.  Turn, then, most gracious advocate, your eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of Your womb, Jesus.  O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
St. Patrick’s Prayer
Christ be with me.
Christ be before me.
Christ be behind me.
Christ within me.
Christ beneath me.
Christ above me.
Christ to my left.
Christ to my right.
Christ in the fort.
Christ in the chariot.
Christ in the ship.
The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
A Morning Prayer
I bow before you in adoration, O my God, I arise to sing my love for you.  I absorb the light of this new day and soak up the love that ceaselessly flows out of your divine heart.  With gratitude for the wonder of this day, for the rich gift of life itself, I enter into silent prayer.
 period of silent prayer or meditation
O loving God, prevent me from judging this time of prayer.  Remind me that only you read hearts, that regardless of how poorly I have prayed, how many were the distractions or wanderings of my mind, that you take delight to be with me in stillness.
Present in my heart this morning are my concerns for the needs of __________ as well as my own needs: ______________.  I place these intentions before your healing love. 
Grant me the grace to look with respect upon all I will meet this day and upon every event I encounter.  Mindful that I am a pilgrim, may I treat each and everyone with reverence and love, as a manifestation of you to whom I journey.  May the work of my hands-and even the trials I experience-be part of the redemption of the world and its eternal liberation.  I dedicate this day to you and I begin it in a holy way in your Holy name and in the name of your son, Jesus, and in the name of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.   
An Evening Prayer
Loving God of all creation, I thank you for the countless blessings of this day: gifts of sight, sound, touch, and smell, for wonders without end.  I thank you as well for your endless patience with me and your pardon of my failings.  Awaken my heart to journey inward to you, the source of life and love.  May your Spirit lead me into prayer, as I now enter the innermost chamber of my heart
period of silent prayer or meditation
I surrender myself to your safekeeping as night draws close to me.  Bless with your presence those I love, especially _______________.  Come and be with me in a sleep that will refresh me for a new day and the work it holds for me.  Grant comfort to all who face the darkness of this night with fear.  Give shelter to those without a home and give peace to all. 
With gratitude and faith, I conclude this day in your Holy Name and in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ, and in the presence of your Holy Spirit.  Amen.
Pray Before Examinations
Lord, it seems as though our lives are one test after another, weighing us in somebody’s balance.  Save us from taking the coming tests too seriously or too lightly, but grant that we may reflect the best of the work we’ve done and the best of the teaching we’ve received; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen  
Relaxation Exercises For Exam Time
Sr. Joan Mahoney, CND,   (617) 552-4665
QUICK FIXES ( 1-3 minutes)
1.  5 deep  breaths - you may wish to use any of the following as you breath in and out:
            a.  light - darkness
            b.  wisdom - anxiety
            c.  peace - tension       
2.  Tense and relax body parts
Short version - as a whole - legs, arms, torso, shoulders/neck, face
Longer version - each part of the whole e.g. feet, ankles, calves, knees, etc.
LONGER RELAXATION (10-15 MINUTES)
1.  DEEP RELAXATION OF YOUR BODY AND YOUR MIND
· Breath deeply several times  - then normal breathing
· In your mind - be aware of the sounds in this place - go from one to the other - noticing but not dwelling on any one
· Be aware of your body - sitting in the chair or lying on the floor have a sense of your body as a whole and any tension spots in your body
· Then become aware of each body part , slowly and with care
· be aware of your external body parts
· right foot, ankle, from ankle to knee, thigh
· left foot, etc.
· buttocks, lower back, abdomen, chest, upper back
· shoulders
· right hand, fingers, lower arm upper arm
· left hand, etc.
· neck, right cheek, left cheek, mouth, forehead, cranium
· Then become aware of internal body parts
· brain, heart, lungs, esophagus, stomach, intestines, kidneys
· Feel a deep relaxation - if any body part remains tense or tight - breath into that part of your body
· Rest for a few minutes in this deep relaxation
2.  MEDITATION OF SHARING YOUR CONCERNS WITH YOUR GOD
(this can be done at the end of the above deep relaxation or done separately.  If done separately begin with some deep breaths)
· Imagine your God is with you - however you imagine your God to be.
· Name and/or visualize whatever burden you are carrying, e.g. worry about exams, and place this burden in your hands.  Feel the weight of this burden.
· Now imagine your God asks you to hand over your burden to God.  Hand over your burden to your God.  How does this feel - to be free of the burden?   
· Now imagine God telling you that you will hold the burden together and experience that happening.  How does that feel to share the burden with your God?
You may wish to talk with your God about what this is like for you or simply remain a few minutes in awareness of God's presence.
The Seven Sacraments
Baptism - by which we are made Christians, children of God, members of the holy Church, and heirs of heaven  
Confirmation - by which we receive the Holy Spirit, to make us strong and perfect Christians, and soldiers of Christ
The Holy Eucharist - which is really, truly and substantially the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, under the appearance of bread and wine.
Penance - by which sins committed after Baptism are forgiven
Holy Orders - by which Bishops, Priests, and Deacons of the church receive power and grace to perform their sacred duties.
Matrimony - by which a man and a women enter into a holy covenant: an agreement that the spouses make with God to establish a lifetime partnership.  This is the sacrament of Christian Marriage.
Anointing of the Sick - which, in serious illness, comforts the soul, remits sin, and restores health if God deems it expedient.
The Precepts of the Church
1.  To keep the Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation holy, by hearing Mass and abstaining from those labors and business concerns which impede the worship to be rendered to God, the joy which is proper to the Lord’s Day, or the proper relaxation of mind and body. 
2.  To keep the days of Fast and Abstinence indicated by the Church.
3.  To go to confession at least once a year.
4.  To receive Holy Communion at least once a year at Easter or thereabouts.
5.  To contribute to the support of the Church.
6.  To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage.