Breakout Group Introductions

  1. Name, year, major, where from…
  2. Do you have a family name, nickname or ethnic name? Add this name to your zoom name (ex. Bob – the builder)
  3. What’s an important topic for you currently? Why?
  4. In one word, describe how you are coming into the retreat.

Tonight, as we all begin our retreat, we will start off with a spiritual practice called Visio Divina. This might be new to many, as we are retreating, we are growing in desire for something different, moving away from the ways of doing things that drain us and retreating to something that is life-giving.

Visio Divina is a form of divine seeing in which we prayerfully invite God to speak to our hearts as we look at an image. This is an old Christian practice that is still practiced in certain Christian traditions.

Why Visio Divina?

Visio Divina facilitates a relationship with an image or subject, patiently being with it, receptive in mind and heart, perhaps even in dialogue with it. In stillness, we allow the image to reach beyond the intellect and into the unconscious level of our being, a place that can’t be accessed directly. In wonder, we are invited to look at every aspect of an image and ponder it as an encounter with God. It is a way of seeing an aspect of ourselves in God at the non-verbal, heart level. The canvas then becomes alive with personal meaning meant just for us. This is the same movement of the Spirit we can experience with Lectio Divina and Scripture.

Gail Fitzpatrick-Hopler

What to expect?

  1. Read the passage together
  2. Center and prepare yourself to be still
  3. Gaze at the image
  4. Silently reflect, contemplate, and journal
  5. Share with each other

First as a group, read the passage together

The passage for Visio Divina the moment that Jesus retreats to Gethsemane the night before he is crucified. Tonight we will take note of how Jesus retreated and seeked refuge in God.

Matthew 26:36-46 (CEB)

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane. He said to the disciples, “Stay here while I go and pray over there.” When he took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, he began to feel sad and anxious. Then he said to them, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying. Stay here and keep alert with me.” Then he went a short distance farther and fell on his face and prayed, “My Father, if it’s possible, take this cup of suffering away from me. However—not what I want but what you want.” He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, “Couldn’t you stay alert one hour with me? Stay alert and pray so that you won’t give in to temptation. The spirit is eager, but the flesh is weak.” A second time he went away and prayed, “My Father, if it’s not possible that this cup be taken away unless I drink it, then let it be what you want.” Again he came and found them sleeping. Their eyes were heavy with sleep. But he left them and again went and prayed the same words for the third time. Then he came to his disciples and said to them, “Will you sleep and rest all night? Look, the time has come for the Human One to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up. Let’s go. Look, here comes my betrayer.”

Now, next on your own…

Now look at the picture below, you may play the song provided for you below. Spend a few minutes and centering yourself with the song. Take more time for yourself to disengage from whatever is on your mind currently. As you are ready, silently gaze at the image, jot down things that come to you (feelings, memories, thoughts, etc). You can also imagine yourself in this image. Spend a good amount of time here contemplatively looking at the image.

On your own reflect and journal the following questions that stick out to you most

Questions while looking at the image:

How do you feel looking at the image? What do you notice about this image?

If you were in the image, where would you place yourself ? What do see? What do you hear? Smell?

Questions that contemplate on you and Jesus:

Notice Jesus. How is Jesus feeling? Imagine yourself next to Jesus and he says, “I’m very sad. It’s as if I’m dying.” You are becoming more empathetic to Jesus and you being to feel the loneliness, tension, anxiety and stress that he is feeling. What other things are you feeling on Jesus’ behalf?

Jesus retreats to be fully vulnerable with His Father. What emotional burden, a troubling question or deep sorrow is causing you sadness, anxiety, loneliness or tension? As you stay with Jesus in his vulnerability, ask him to stay with you in yours. How do you want to show vulnerability to Jesus? Ask for the Holy Spirit to illuminate the meaning of your own sorrows, tensions and burdens.

You hear Jesus saying, “My Father, if it’s not possible that this cup be taken away unless I drink it, then let it be what you want.” When have you felt like the weight of something was too much to bear and you desperately wanted it to pass? What is it like for you to know that
Jesus has felt similarly? Tell him.

Right now, is there something you want/need to Hand over to God? Pray for that grace. Imagine that you are holding it now in
your hands and like Jesus, expressing it to God, the Father.

After praying the first time Jesus says, “Where is it that your spirit is willing, but your flesh is weak?” Ask Jesus for the kind of strength of will and character that he received in this prayer.

Lastly, spend some more time praying and asking God to reveal to you the same strength, courage, and hope that he revealed to Jesus in his personal retreat with God.

Share your experience with each other

Discussion Questions

  1. How did you feel looking at the image? What are some things that you noticed?
  2. How did the image help you understand the passage more?
  3. As you feel comfortable sharing, what resonated with you most? Why?
  4. What are you realizing about yourself? What are needs, burdens, feelings do you need to address in your retreat this weekend?
  5. How will you continue to be expectant of God for strength and hope during your retreat? Has God revealed to you hope or encouragement?

Head back to LG Main Session at 8:45pm Zoom Link