All in Retreats

Marysville after the bushfiresMichael Fallon MSC, on the final day of our retreat, began his presentation on Poverty by looking at a definition. Poverty is 'not having what is necessary for a meaningful human existence'. This obviously includes food, clothing, housing, but most importantly, it includes love.  However important economic factors are, we cannot limit poverty to economic poverty without limiting human need. Poverty is defined as unequivocally evil.


Michael Fallon MSC began his fifth retreat presentation looking at the roots of the word 'obedience' - in Latin 'ob' means 'right up against' and 'audiens' means 'listening'. Jesus and John at the Last Supper when John leaned on Jesus' breast, exemplify this experience of listening.  In Greek, obedience means 'humble listening' and in Hebrew 'listening, heeding, obeying'. On the other hand a contemporary dictionary definition would be 'doing what you are told'.

Today Michael Fallon MSC began his talk for the fourth day of our retreat by reading two articles from Vatican II's Document on the Church, Lumen Gentium, about Religious Life: 'The holiness of the Church ... is expressed in many ways by individuals who, each in his or heBr Pat Connell renewing his vows in December, 2011.r own state of life, tend to the perfection of love, thus sanctifying others (LG 39)' and religious are 'called by God so that they may enjoy a special gift of grace in the life of the Church and may contribute, each in his or her own way, to the saving mission of the Church (LG 43)'.  Michael's focus here is on love, noting the fundamental question for moral theologians is 'what is the next step of love for me?'. When Jesus chose his twelve apostles he said 'I have chosen you to be with me' (Mark 3:14).


On the third day of our retreat Michael Fallon MSC opened his talk on Baptism by quoting the Catechism: 'In baptism we are ... reborn as 'sons' of God, we become "members" of Christ and made sharers in Jesus' mission (N1213).' In Christianity there is only one priest of the order of Melchizedek: Christ.  We all share in this priesthood, we each mediate the Divine (cf Ex 19:3-6). Jesus is identified as a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek (Ps.110) which makes the Temple unnecessary. Marists therefore are a kingdom of priests (in the Melchizedekian sense rather than the sacristy or temple sense) whose goal is to make the whole land holy.   All the baptised share in Jesus' priestly mediation (of the divine). For, as Paul says '... God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God's gift to us (Rom 5:5).'

Michael Fallon MSC began his talk on the second day of our Marist retreat suggesting prayer is sharing in Jesus' communion with the Father. This experience, says Therese of Lisieux, gives energy: 'For me, prayer is a surge of the heart ... it is a cry of recognition and of love'. Theilhard de Chardin, in 1934, saw prayer this way: 'Some day, after harnessing space, the winds, the tides and gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And then, for the scond time in the history of the world, we shall have discovered fire'. In offering us his Spirit, Jesus is offering us Himself, and so a share in His own communiion with God, and His prayer.

On the first day of our annual retreat, Michael Fallon MSC spoke with us about religious experience. He explained the word 'religion' from its Latin roots 're' and 'ligare' - to bind back.  What does religion bind us back to?  Our centre, our heart, our God.  Religious experience, therefore is our experience of our communion with God. Teillhard de Chardin sees God as 'The Heart and Beyond of Everything'.  We can tend to make God too small.  'I've been with her for fifty years and every day she is more of a mystery' said a jubilarian on his golden wedding anniversary.