We left out the prayer stations that the children had been using (see below), and along side them, set out the adult’s version. There were six ‘stations’. Five had extracts from the gospel for Lent 6, an extract from Communion with Christ and other readings. The sixth had the Sieger Koder ‘Last Supper’ laid out, surrounded by extracts from previous reflections on the Eucharistic Congress from ‘Communion with Christ’. The group was given most of the session to use each ‘prayer focus’ for their own reflection. The readings from week 6 of Communion with Christ can be found here. Below are some of the other readings used:
1: Going to the upper room.
There was an extract from this post from the Menanioa blog written by Robin Craig.
2: Washing of the feet.
The washing of the disciples’ feet isn’t in Mark extract so we used John 13:3-17
By washing the feet of His disciples, He summarized the meaning of His ministry, manifested His perfect love and revealed His profound humility. The act of the washing of the feet (John 13:2-17) is closely related to the sacrifice of the Cross. Both reveal aspects of Christ’s kenosis. While the Cross constitutes the ultimate manifestation of Christ’s perfect obedience to His Father (Philippians 2:5-8), the washing of the feet signifies His intense love and the giving of Himself to each person according to that person’s ability to receive Him (John 13:6-9).
From: this site. on Lent.
3: Judas’ betrayal.
Detachment from these things does not mean setting up a contradiction between “things” and “God”, as if God were another “thing” and as if his creatures were his rivals. We do not detach ourselves from things in order to attach ourselves to God, but rather we become detached from ourselves in order to see and use all things in and for God. This is an entirely new perspective, which many sincerely moral and ascetic minds fail utterly to see. There is no evil in anything created by God, nor can anything of his become an obstacle to union with him. The obstacle is in our “self”, that is to say in the tenacious need to maintain our separate, external, egotistical will. It is when we refer all things to this outward and false self that we alienate ourselves from reality and from God. It is then the false self that is our god, and we love everything for the sake of this self. We use all things, so to speak, for the worship of this idol, which is our imaginary self. In so doing we pervert and corrupt things, or rather we turn our relationship to them into a corrupt and sinful relationship. We do not thereby make them evil, but we use them to increase our attachment to our illusory self…
In trying to believe in their ego as something “holy” these fanatics look upon everything else as unholy…
The only joy on earth is to escape from the prison of our own false self, and enter by love into the union with the Life who dwells and sings within the essence of every creature and in the core of our own souls.
Fr Thomas Merton.
4: The breaking of bread.
“…Jesus ‘broke the bread’. The breaking of bread for all is in the first instance a function of the head of the family, who by this action in some sense represents God the Father, who gives us everything through the Earth’s bounty, that we need for life. It is also a gesture of hospitality, through which the stranger is given a share in what is one’s own; he is welcomed into the table fellowship. Breaking and distributing; it is that act of distributing that creates community. This archetypally human gesture of giving sharing and uniting acquires and entirely new depth in Jesus’ Last Supper through the gift of himself. God’s bountiful distribution of gifts takes on a radical quality when the Son communicates and distributes himself in the form of bread.”
From Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI.
5 Sharing the Cup.
“The blood of animals could neither ‘atone’ for sins nor bring God and men together. It could only be a sign of hope, anticipating a greater obedience that would be truly redemptive. In Jesus’ words over the chalice, all this is summed up and fulfilled: he gives us ‘the new covenant in his blood’. “His blood”-that is, the total gift of himself, in which he suffers to end all human sinfulness and repairs every breach of fidelity by his unconditional fidelity. /this is new worship, which he establishes at the Last Supper, drawing mankind into his vicarious obedience. Our participation in Christ’s body and blood indicates that his action is “for many”, for us, and that we are drawn into the ‘many’ through the sacrament.
From Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week by Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI.
6 Reflecting on the institiution.
These are the extracts used from previous weeks:
…there is a danger that we view the dismissal as a closure to our weekly worship. The Second Vatican Council in its Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium §11) teaches that the “Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life”. All our life, hopes and spirituality flow from the Eucharist (our source) and flow back into the Mass, which is the high point (or summit) of our lives. Therefore, we could say that the Mass does not actually have an ‘end’ until we take our place at the wedding banquet of the Lamb in heaven (cf Revelation 19:9). So the dismissal of the priest or deacon is not the last word, but our starting point for our weekly and daily journey in the world. The fruits and struggles of this journey are then returned back into the Eucharist. We can only do this because the Eucharist is the meeting point par excellence on earth with Jesus Christ, the Author of Grace, He who enables us to live the Christian life. The New English Translation of the Roman Missal enhances this meaning in the different options for the dismissal. We are sent to “Go and announce the gospel of the Lord” and to “Go in peace, glorifying the Lord by your life.” Before we can follow Christ into heaven, we are first charged with the responsibility to preach the Good News to the people we meet. How do we do that? We do this by glorifying the Lord by our lives. We may be the only gospel that people read and our example is a measure of the credibility of Jesus’ invitation to “Repent and believe the Good News”.
At the heart of our doctrine of the Eucharist is the term ‘Communion’. Far from being limited to the moment when we receive the consecrated elements at mass, this term expresses the whole reality of our life in Christ and what it means to be the Church. All of us are drawn into a communion which transcends time and space, reaching back to those who have gone before us marked with the sign of faith and extending forward to those who will come after us. This is what we call the Communion of Saints. Even in our imperfection and our struggles we share in some way in this profound unity.
So great a mystery cannot be put fully into words, and yet the Liturgy of the Word allows us to penetrate it. This ‘Word’ is the living Word of God. The story played out in the Bible is often described as the love story of God and humanity. As disciples of Jesus’ message, it is for us to take the good news to all people and to all creation.
This communion with Jesus Christ in the form and manner of a meal nourishes and supports our spiritual life, just as ordinary food sustains us in our physical life. God’s purpose in his great work of reconciliation through his Son is to draw us into that communion of love and truth, that fellowship with him and each other.
The Eucharist is thus the effective sign of our communion with the faithful departed. The faithful departed are not just people who have died and for whom we grieve “like the pagans do” (I Thessalonians 4:13). They are people who, because they were nourished by the Eucharist, will live forever
The end of the session was for people to share something of what they had noticed as they prayed.