2019 Retreat – Lord, open my lips.

On September 14th the Lay Dominicans of DFW held their 2019 Retreat. The theme was Lord, open my lips. The inspiration for the retreat came from the readings for the 24th Sunday of Ordinary time, specifically from the responsorial psalm, Psalm 51. The contributions from the members of our group were tremendous. With council contributions such as artwork contributed by Jana Sullinger, music contributed by Jeremy Childress, general event organization by Roy Johnston, liturgical and sacramental assistance by Jenny Norton, general oversight by Natasha Childress and breakfast provided by numerous members of the laity, a memorable experience was had by all.

After a brief ritual calling to mind our baptismal promises, Fr. Jude Siciliano, OP worked with the retreatants giving a brief introduction to the lectionary. Our retreat was dynamic and communal experience. We talked and shared at length, sharing our experience with sacred scripture and the impact it has had on our lives.

As we moved forward, we began to pray deeply with Psalm 51. Each reading of the psalm brought the retreatants closer together with heartfelt sharing. A time of reflective silence and meditation was offered with simple instructions – Each of us were asked to write our own psalm. These instructions were intentionally excluded from the workbook. The only individuals aware of this exercise were those involved in the planning of the retreat. Dwelling on inadequacy being a favorite human pastime, it was decided to omit mentioning this so that individuals could approach the idea whole heartedly. Though many had trepidations about such a task, each individual ‘retreated’ to the quite places in the priory to write their personal psalm.

All of the Psalm writing leading to a deep sense of trust in the Lord, and quite the appetite. Individuals brought their own lunch, snacked on leftover breakfast and got to know each other in the Priory day room. With 34 retreats, 5 of which were novices and 12 of which were not lay members, one of our favorites of Dominican spirituality was embraced – Community.

Our retreat finished out after lunch with more discussion on Psalm 51, more singing, and a love offering for the priory. During our closing ceremony of the retreat, individuals were given the opportunity to share their psalm with the group. Going into this part of the retreat in prayerful and sacred silence, retreatants shared their hearts with each other. Some psalms paraphrased Psalm 51. Others embraced rhyme and meter. Some were penitential and others lifted hope and praise. Collectively, our chapel was consecrated with the hearts and prayers of all in attendance. After prayer and an anointing for the journey, the retreatants went out to the world with a renewed heart and opened lips.

2019 Retreat photos

Retreat Psalms

After the retreat, we invited individuals to share their psalm for this post. Below are a few to enjoy.

Psalm 51 – 5~7~5, by Mr. Mark Connolly, OP

O merciful God,

You know I am a sinner.

Yet, you love me still.

My soul is shattered,

I am helpless in my sin,

I cry out to you.

Grant me your mercy,

Remember not all my sins,

Renew me this day.

Am I not worthy?

You made me, make me again.

I want to love you.

A Dominican?

You want me as a preacher?

Am I truly fit?

Well, no, not hardly.

But if You wish, here I am.

Gonna need your grace.

Order of Preachers!

Let us set the world on fire,

And bring Truth to all.

Psalm by- Dr. Jana Sullinger OP, MD

O’ merciful God,

Forgive my sins against you.

Cleanse what I defiled.

My sins I know well…

Ever present before me,

Against you alone.

Right is your judgement!

Before my birth-a sinner,

Seen and known by you.

Those in truth-you love.

Your hidden wisdom-teach me.

That I shine-wash me.

With joyful music

You fill my broken spirit-

Blinded to my sin.

Create a new heart…

For me, a right, new spirit.

Cast me not aside.

Lord, renew my joy.

Do guide and strengthen my will,

So that I may preach.

Remove my sorrows.

Open my lips to proclaim

Your praise and goodness.

My gift, does not please.

A shattered spirit, I give.

A new heart, welcomed.

In love, renew us.

Recreate and reshape us.

Lord, open our  lips!

A psalm to my Lord by ~ Roy Johnston

Eye me with compassion, Lord. That which I withhold from others.

Those transgressions against them, against you – done without shame, those sins suffocate me. My guilt robs me of the breathe freely given by you.

With perfect clarity you know, see and understand my selfishness; born of pain, pride and arrogance – wrought with guilt and shame.

Redirect my passions; align my compass, my orientation to you alone.

I know that the river of your grace flows into an ocean of mercy that must drown me if I am to every breathe freely.

May my lungs burst from your compassion. Let my consumption overflow like a song, reaching all that would hear your praise.

My offering is my poverty, the broken pieces I have remaining of my misdirected will.

Turn not away from me.

Transform those things.

Let not my offense keep us separated, but your grace bind me to you and all that lives in you.

~Forever

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