A day of joy.
Lower II’s Retreat on Tuesday 17th May was around the theme of ‘The Great Mandatum’. They gathered in the Chapel to think about their relationship with God and how we can all be closer to Him. The day was based around Jesus’ commandment to love God and love one another as He loves us. The first part of the day focussed on loving others, the second part of the day concentrated on how we can love God through prayer. Mrs Round led the Retreat, which took place in the Chapel and, on a very beautiful day, outside.
The example of St Damien De Veuster, whom Lower II studied during their topic of inspirational people, was shared. St Damien devoted his life to serving lepers on the island of Molokai, near Hawaii. On Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday, it is customary to wash people’s feet, following Jesus’ example. Every year, Pope Francis washes the feet of inmates at a prison, an annual ritual which he has used as a symbol of papal humility and his mission to the marginalised. Hence The Great Mandatum – we are instructed by Jesus to serve others.
The girls read, meditated on and responded to the passage from the Gospel of John, Chapter 13, where Jesus washes His disciples’ feet:
‘It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”
Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.’
Lower II asked themselves ‘Who can I serve?’ and walked together in pairs to discuss this. Outside, they gathered and washed each other’s feet, a sign that we are all here to serve each other. This is a powerful message to learn.
After Little Break the girls investigated the many different ways of praying, of growing closer to God. Telling God our troubles and joys and listening to Him. It is important to pray with the right attitude, not to look down on others and to be humble and ask for forgiveness. To exemplify this the girls examined at the Parable of the Tax Collector.
After lunch the girls gathered again in the Chapel and recapped on the different types of prayer: Thanksgiving, Petition, Praise and Sorrow. When the disciples asked Jesus how they should pray, He gave them the Lord’s Prayer, in which we give thanks to and praise God, ask for forgiveness, and say sorry to God. The Lower II pupils then wrote a prayer based on the Lord’s Prayer.
After this the girls gathered for the final session in the Prayer Garden, where they learnt about the Rosary, Mary’s Prayer, and prayed a decade together.
This was a wonderful day for Lower II to spend together, taking time in the Chapel and outside in meditation, learning and prayer.
Categories: Faith Life Junior Priory Post Whole School