Priestly Fraternity Retreat
Iesus Caritas of Spain
Galapagar, Madrid, August 2022
I What does the Directory say?
«It is, above all, in the Review of Life where fraternity exercises its function as a rule of life. There is much talk of Review of Life, but indicating different realities: different exchanges, Gospel studies, review of apostolic life. For us, in fraternity, the Review of Life is an act of common faith, in which we share events, concerns, hopes and disappointments, a common reading of life to discover in it the Lord’s calls (…)
The Life Review is, first of all, a contemplative look at the action of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And at the same time, it is the means of a permanent conversion that must also reach the best of each one, to be always available to the calls of the Lord, precisely there where they were not expected, where we had not seen or heard him until now. The Life Review helps us to discover the Lord who is always greater, always different and even disconcerting for us.
There is a unity of process between the Review of Life and the other means of the Fraternity. The Review of Life is preferably prepared in the desert, always in prayer and, if possible, in writing. It is better not to do it than to improvise it. It presupposes a climate of prayer, listening to the Word of God, attention to one another. There is no need to fear moments of silence. We must have the courage to question each other, delicately, but frankly, without fear of tensions and possible confrontations. False friendship is the death of true life reviews and therefore of fraternity.
Carrying out a Life Review implies a commitment from each one to carry out the calls received together. Each one must feel responsible and supportive of the others.
An authentic Life Review can introduce us to the mystery of Christ’s death and resurrection at work in us. And, sometimes, it will lead us to the sacrament of reconciliation».
II To understand RL as a school of listening, discernment and fraternity
Along with adoration, it is the strong point of the Retreat.
Its objective is to help us have a contemplative vision of life, of reality. See life through the eyes of God.
It is not a mere fraternal or group meeting technique. Try to educate a contemplative heart.
It is, therefore, neither confession nor spiritual direction. no tool to understand or interpret.
1. A way to search for the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives, speaking with our brothers so that, based on the search, they can help us find the will of God. It is not asking for advice, but discerning together. The RL is prepared in adoration and silence
2. A way of reading the Gospel in the lives of men, and a way of reading the Gospel in the Church. Read in the facts, and in a group, the motions of the Spirit.
3. An encounter with Jesus today, a Jesus who lives in the realities of the world and men of today.
4. A question about my way of being and living, through what others live.
5. A fraternal participation in the life of the brothers.
How do you prepare?
He prepares himself in adoration and silence. A time of silence in which facts of life and adoration are mixed.
III Fraternal life and RL
In the Fraternity, the RL must also be to share the way in which the rereading of life brings us back to the intuitions of Charles de Foucauld and of the Fraternity: adoration, Gospel, concern for the poor, and being brothers, like Jesus.
* Its theological foundation is the biblical experience that the Lord is sharing with his people and those who form his own history, making the history of each one a history of salvation. That contemplative gaze will help us learn to see the double face of every situation. There is a first aspect that we see, and in the background a touch of God.
* In addition to being the material we look at contemplatively, it is the means of a permanent conversion. Whenever we go to RL, we go in an attitude of conversion, ready to see what part of us has to change, that of others, to help them read the way.
* Living RL together is living an enormous experience of God through the situations that we are presenting in RL: we are seeing God’s providence and his friendship.
* This is why it will sometimes provoke a thanksgiving. Others, a request for forgiveness, or a request for help to carry out what we see.
* Words are as important as silences. No hurry. There are interesting silences, of one or the group, to respect, to internalize, to ask for help, to let what we hear sink in. We must respect the rhythm that serious communication requires of us.
Manuel POZO OLLER, fraternity of Spain
PDF: The Live Review, school of fraternity. Manuel POZO OLLER eng