“Convert and believe in the Gospel" are the words that we Christians heard when receiving the imposition of the ashes at the beginning of Lent.
In the first week of Lent, a group of adults and lay people from the Home of the Mother from Lumezzane, Brignano, Cremona, Milan, and Brescia participated in a retreat that we organized in the Sisters of St. Dorothy’s house of spirituality, in the town of Bovegno, Brescia.
The Retreat began on Friday, March 15th, at 8:00 p.m. Father Matthew Nobrega, Servant Priest of the Home of the Mother, led the retreat. After dinner, he began with a short introduction to explain the logistics of the retreat and the importance of maintaining an atmosphere of exterior silence to help make interior silence. Next, Father Matthew gave the first talk in the chapel followed by a time of prayer.
Saturday was the intense day where the different talks were interspersed--following the scheme of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola--into meditations, times of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, free time for personal reflection, spiritual reading, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary, The Way of the Cross, etc.
During the meals, we listened to different audios of the lives of Saint Teresa of Avila, Blessed Lucia of Fatima, and of the modern-day martyr Shahbaz Bhatti.
Of course, Mass was the most fundamental part of the whole retreat, but there was also another moment of intense prayer. Many graces were poured out during the all-night adoration vigil from Saturday night to Sunday morning, where young people and adults took turns praying before the Blessed Sacrament.
On Sunday morning we had the last meditation and prayer time before the Blessed Sacrament, the celebration of Mass and the Rosary. The retreat ended at lunch.
To conclude, we had a meeting to share all that we learned and received during the retreat: the moments of special closeness with the Lord and with Our Blessed Mother, where the batteries of our spiritual life have been recharged, to return to daily life with courage and renewed strength to give witness to our Faith and joy in the Lord.
In that final meeting, the tears of joy and gratitude were not held back, since the Lord and Our Heavenly Mother had poured out many graces. The spirit of Lent is precisely this: to allow ourselves to be transformed by the grace of the Lord, to convert ourselves, to leave sin and to turn to the Lord. As some shared: "The Lord does not make new things but He makes all things new."