PARISH LENTEN RETREAT - March 10-13, 2019
"I Am Beloved"
6 p.m. English
St. Mary's Church
With Fr. Michael Hinkel, SOLT, JCL
Fr. Michael Hinken, SOLT, JCL, is a priest of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, a Society of Apostolic Life (SOLT) serving the Church worldwide in areas of greatest need. A 1979 graduate of Notre Dame and a former Architect, he was ordained in 1996 and has served in various SOLT missionary apostolates in Belize, Mexico, Honduras, and the U.S. as pastor and judicial vicar. He is currently assigned to the SOLT Retreat House, "Domus Trinitatis", in Carroll, Iowa, as a retreat master and spiritual director. Fr. Michael serves with three SOLT sisters and his yellow Labrador Retriever, Rafael.
1st Talk: "God is Love"
God is love. His very being is a unity of love: love between a Father and a Son. A love that is not merely something but someone: the Holy Spirit. This is the world’s greatest love story, and is one that we share in by baptism. Baptized into Jesus, we become the beloved sons and daughters of our one Father. As the Father loves the Son, so the Father loves each of us, uniquely and specially, as if each of us were His only child. Only God can love this way but He longs for us to return His love. We hold to this truth by faith. And that faith brings hope, a hope that will not disappoint, for God is love, and He pours His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit already given to us (Romans 5:5).
2nd Talk: "Let God love you"
The spiritual life is a journey from mind to heart… a journey that begins with faith in His love and arrives through hope to a union of love with Him in my heart. By baptism I became “beloved”. God is love and He means for each of us to come to know His unconditional love for us. Growing up in an imperfect world we find it difficult to understand or embrace such unconditional love. I feel unworthy of it at times or distrust in it because of how others may have hurt me. But the wonderful truth is that God’s love us differently. He says that we come to love Him because He first loves us (1 Jn 4:19). That means He loves me even in my struggle with sin… just the way I am. This means He loves me not because I am already a saint, rather his love makes me want to become a saint. When will I begin to let God be God and truly believe in His unconditional love for me?
3rd Talk: "Loving God in Jesus our Eucharist"
Growth in sanctity is a growth in love. It is reciprocal, not one way. God first loves us so that we will love Him in return. What better way to grow in this love than for God to come to us directly and commune with each of us personally. God became man so that man might become like Him, loving Him as He loves us. Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist to feed us His very Heart that we might love with His Heart. He who is Love Itself hides behind the Sacramental Sign. He waits for us knowing and loving us just the way we are. Jesus in the Eucharist is the fast road to sanctity because it is a communion in His love.
4th Talk: "Loving God with Mary"
We were not meant in this life to journey alone to heaven. In heaven we have a family: brothers, sisters and a mother who have all gone before us and show us the way. All of us are born of a father and mother in this life; and so it is in heaven. The Father gives us Mary as a mother to show us a mother’s heavenly love. Mary’s loves us in God’s love and so protects us as any mother would her children. Because she was never under the dominion of Satan, he especially fears her and all children who love her and consecrate themselves to her. In all her apparitions Mary comes with one purpose: to lead us to Jesus that He might reveal to us His Father and all His brothers and sisters in heaven.