Troubled Hearts: Introduction

Retreat Overview

During the Last Supper, Jesus gave us his New Commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34, 15:12).

It was so important that he repeated it more than
once during that sacred meal. We all know about that commandment, and we all know that it touches the core of our identity and mission as followers of Jesus Christ.
But he also said something else during the Last Supper, on the eve of his passion, death, and resurrection. Jesus also told his Apostles: “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:1, 14:27).
This admonition — which, in a certain sense, also sounds almost like a commandment — was also so important that he repeated it more than once during that sacred meal. And the second time he mentions it, he turns his attention to what should be in our hearts, instead of trouble: peace.
“Peace I leave with you,” he explains, “my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid” (John 14:27).
Isn’t it strange that Jesus would admonish us, indeed almost command us, not to let our hearts be troubled?
He doesn’t say, “Don’t worry when your hearts are troubled,” or “Having a troubled heart is unavoidable sometimes, so don’t sweat it.” No — he actually tells us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.”
He knows that we live in a fallen world and are constantly struggling with confusion, disillusionment, rejection, sadness, and discouragement — all of are things that trouble our hearts.
And yet, he still tells us: “Do not let your hearts be troubled.” If he says this, it must be possible: But how?
That’s what this Retreat Guide will explore.
In the First Meditation, we will reflect on how St. Paul understands this teaching of our Lord.
In the Second Meditation, we will watch and learn from how Jesus himself calms his own troubled heart in the Garden of Gethsemane.
And in the Conference, we will reflect on why it is so hard for us to follow this instruction of the Lord.
Before we get started, take a few moments to thank God for this chance to spend time with him, and ask him for the grace you need to grow spiritually, to — as the 13th century saint, Richard of Chichester put it — know him more clearly, love him more dearly, and follow him more nearly.

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