The Byzantine Catholic Serra Club chose to join with other registrants March 7 at Mount St. Macrina House of Prayer in Uniontown, Pa. for their annual Lenten Retreat Day.
The Lenten Saturday Morning was led by our chaplain, Father Valerian Michlik, who had been invited by the Sisters of St. Basil the Great to present the conference. Serrans comprised 21 of the 30 registrants.
Father Valerian chose the theme from the familiar Lenten Psalm 141: “O Lord, I Cry Out to You, Hear Me!”
He began his presentation with the familiar retreat taken by Our Lord Himself prior to beginning his ministry, the 40 days in the desert cited in Matthew 4:1-11.
It prefigures our 40 days of the Great Fast. Our Lord sets an example for us. He fasted during those 40 days.
In Mark 6:31, when the disciples returned after laying the beheaded John the Baptist to rest, he called to them, “Come with me, by yourselves, to some remote place and rest a little.”
As another example, Father Valerian recalled the story of Saul’s encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus.
Saul was blinded upon his fall from the horse, and had to be led to Damascus, where after three days of rest, Saul’s sight was restored through prayers of Ananias. So, in retreat, we follow the Lord’s call to come away and rest.
To cry “Hear Me” always comes from a place of suffering. And what better example of this do we have than in Job, the Long-Suffering? He cried to the Lord from his place of pain, but he had faith that God is the Lord of both good and evil – whether or not Job was relieved from his pain.
This brings us to the value of prayer. In prayer we find intimacy with God.
In 1 Samuel, we find the story of Samuel’s mother Hannah, who for years, remained childless while her husband’s
other wife bore him many children.
Year after year she worshiped the Lord and persisted passionately in prayer and vowed dedication of her yet-tobe-conceived son to the Lord.
As we pray, God honors our promises and produces a change in us, if not in our situation. He is a comfort in our loneliness.
You would think in this interconnected day and age that loneliness would not be possible. Instead, loneliness and isolation are prevalent where face-to-face communication is lost.
While we may struggle and wrestle with the Lord in prayer, he is ever-patient with us. This strife can push us into sin, lack of communication and/or rejection of God. That is why we need a time to set aside to rest in Him.
We need to focus on Jesus Christ, be honest with God and not hit the panic button.
In any stressful situation,we need to pray, assess the situation, act accordingly, make ourselves friendly and develop an action plan.
Following Father Valerian’s conference, there was time for quiet reflection and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
We then gathered in the chapel for a penitential moleben (prayer service). Serran Deacon Thomas Klacik assisted Father Valerian.
The sisters prepared and served a light lunch and opened the Religious Gift Shop for the afternoon.