UP Catholic 03 18 2016 E Edition Page 7

BY FATHER TIMOTHY FERGUSON DIOCESE OF MARQUETTE As we immerse ourselves this time each year into the reading of the Passion of Our Lord, we go with Him into the Garden of Gethsemane, where He prayed earnestly to His father. I grew up with the image of Christ at prayer in the garden as depicted by Heinrich Hoffman, one of the most copied images in the world. Our copy hung in my parents bed- room, and for most of my life, has remained burned into my consciousness as the perfect image of prayer itself. The intensity in Christs eyes and the pathos of his situation apparent in his posture moved my initial forays into prayer as a child. If only I could pray like that! I write these words now from a different garden, the Garden Peninsula, home of Marygrove Retreat Center, to which I have been assigned for the past seven blissful months. Here too, like the Garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives, is a special place wherein to retreat and pray. Generations of the faithful from the Upper Peninsula have come to Marygrove for a special period of prayer, whether it is on a parish retreat, a Cursillo, a Youth Encounter, family retreat, silent retreat, Marriage Encounter, or many other offerings that have been hosted here. A real sense of calm and peace pervades the buildings and grounds of Marygrove. In the Gospels we see that, frequently, Our Lord foes off to a quiet place to pray. I believe He did this, not only for His own peace of mind, but to provide for us an example. Life gets busy, both with the essential and necessary tasks put before us, and also the clutter of things that are less important, but still demand our time. Taking time to put ourselves consciously in the presence of the God who made us helps us to truly prioritize what is ultimately important, and what is clutter that can be pushed aside. A moment every day, a few hours every week, few days every year, set aside for prayer and reflection are essential for living a good and fulfilling life. In the Garden of Gethsemane, we see Jesus in pain, struggling to accept His Fathers will, knowing the agony that awaits Him. While a retreat time can be peaceful and calming, sometimes one finds on retreat more difficult moments, like Christ in the Garden. Pain is a reality of human existence, but as one retreat- ant recently shared, I know that the reality of my pain keeps me in touch with the millions of people suffering around the world, and more importantly, with the suffering of Christ Him- self. Being able to face our wounds, our pain, in a calm, supportive atmosphere, can bring tremendous healing to our lives. Holy Week is a time of spiritual intensity. Our Lenten fasting and penitential practices are drawing to a close, but now is not the time to slacken our resolve! We join in the liturgy of the Church with great enthusiasm, from the florious commemoration of the institution of the Holy Eucharist, to the drama of our salva- tion etched in Christs agonizing death on the cross, to the haunting silence of the tomb, and the marvelous joy of Jesus Resurrection. I hope that your commemoration of these sacred days in your parish will bring you the same spiritual fulfillment that we find on retreat, and that the joy that comes on Sunday morning will fill your heart so fully that you cant help but spread the Good News. Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Marygrove Retreat Center offers a wide variety of retreats for everyone. To register for a retreat, or to view a listing of offered retreats, visit www.marygrove.org or call, (906) 644-2771. www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC March 18, 2016 7 Each of us can find peace in the Garden as Christ did Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane as depicted by Heinrich Hoffman, which is one of the most reproduced images in the world. 2900 Third Ave. South Escanaba, MI 49829 (906) 786-5810 From the Staff and Residents of Bishop Noa Home and the Sisters of St. Paul de Chartres Happy Easter! Find full issues of The U.P. Catholic online at www.upcatholic.org

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