Easter Season Centering Prayer Retreat Day: The Healing Balm of Divine Mercy
The mercy of God does not come and go, granted to some and refused to others. Why? Because it is unconditional—always there, underlying everything. It is literally the force that holds everything in existence, the gravitational field in which we live and move and have our being. Mercy is the very heartbeat of God resonant in creation; the warmth that pulses through all things as the divine Mystery flows out into created form. ~Cynthia Bourgeault
Vincent Van Gogh had this to say about the inner and relational barriers we encounter: “One cannot always tell what it is that keeps us shut in, confines us, seems to bury us, but still one feels certain barriers, certain gates, certain walls. Is all this imagination, fantasy? I do not think so. And then one asks: ‘My God! Is it for long, is it forever, is it for eternity?’ Do you know what frees one from this captivity? It is very deep serious affection. Being friends, being brothers, love, that is what opens the prison by supreme power, by some magic force.”
As we continue our liturgical journey from the cross of Jesus through the Empty Tomb into the Resurrection Life, we are reminded that the places of entombment or being shut in that we experience can burst open through one act of kindness and mercy. How can we cultivate within our spirits a mercy that is big enough for our own and others’ woundedness, a kindness that offers acceptance to life as it is unfolding and yet supports our own and others’ transformation?
The contemplative practices of Centering Prayer and Lovingkindness Meditation will be explored during this day of prayer. Both beginners and experienced practitioners of centering prayer are welcomed. Our day will be a flow of sharing, silence and prayer, with time both for solitude and being together as a group. We will reflect on our God as Mercy, present to us in all circumstances; that God does not “have mercy;” God is mercy, as God is love. How does this inform our prayer life and our relationships with God, others and ourselves? In this Easter season, how can we move to a place of greater gentleness, expansiveness of heart and inner freedom from all that holds us bound? Guided by Amy Kulesa.
Amy Kulesa, M.Div., M.S.W., serves as the Director of Associates for the Sisters of Bon Secours, USA. She earned a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Master of Social Work from Rutgers University. She is a graduate of the Epiphany Certification Program from the Epiphany Academy of Formative Spirituality in Pittsburgh, PA, and is a Secular Franciscan. She enjoys facilitating retreats in which participants have the opportunity to discern the narrative of their own lives within the larger story of God’s abundant healing, grace and mercy.