"Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go, your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way."
According to Father Joseph Marcoux, the story of the blind man in Mark 10:51-52 reflects how we can grow closer to Christ — namely, by asking what we want of him. However, Father Marcoux added, we must first be certain of our request.
"What is your deepest desire from God? You can’t fill up the cup until you know what you want. You have to know what you will ask for," he emphasized.
Father Marcoux will lead a three-day retreat, "Jesus: the Center of our Lives — Filling our Cup." It will take place March 10-12 at the three churches in the Unity Council Planning Group of the North, located in southern Monroe and northern Livingston counties. He is set to appear March 10 at St. Paul of the Cross, Honeoye Falls; March 11 at St. Agnes, Avon; and March 12 at St. Rose, Lima. Presentations will run from 7 to 8 p.m. each night. The public is welcomed to attend any or all of the sessions.
During his first-night presentation, Father Marcoux will ask participants to journal about what they want from Jesus. The second evening will involve Taize prayer.
"We move into a deeper prayer, not so much finding the answer but listening for the response from Christ — creating that space where you can hear," explained Father Marcoux, who serves as sacramental minister in the eastern Wayne County churches of St. Michael, Lyons; St. John the Evangelist, Clyde; and St. Patrick, Savannah.
A communal reconciliation service will highlight the retreat’s closing night. Father Marcoux noted that reflection and prayer from the first two evenings is bound to bring out "something that is a wound, a hurt, some real pain — ‘wow, I didn’t acknowledge or recognize I was wounded.’ You’re going to need a healing of the horizontal with the world, and of the vertical with God."
He predicted that by the retreat’s conclusion, participants’ actual requests from Jesus will be much different than what they had originally considered.
"It will be very shocking for a lot of people. It’s not that superficial stuff, like I want to win the lottery. It goes into a much deeper understanding. Then your relationship with Jesus changes," he said.
A retreat is an ideal place to attain this depth, Father Marcoux added.
"Sunday Mass is not the time to do this," he said. "You’re never going to get there — it’s too hot, there’s too many words, not enough silence."
He acknowledged that retreat settings are not a regular part of most people’s daily lives. Therefore, he will challenge attendees to set aside five minutes each day after the retreat to work on their relationship with Jesus. Yet even this little bit of time is not easy to create for deep reflection.
"Everyone is overextended. I’m just going to lay it out there. It’s up to them to incorporate it," Father Marcoux said. "But if you’re going to sustain any relationship, you’ve got to put in the time."
Father Marcoux’s retreat theme serves as a complement to the diocesan spiritual-renewal program "Spirit Alive!" and its first-year focus on deepening our relationships with Jesus Christ.
"It’s so great that they’re doing it," the priest said of the renewal, which will run through 2010. "Just the simple fact the bishop is saying, ‘we need to get back, we’ve kind of lost focus’ — we’re distracted and we need to center again on why we’re doing what we’re doing as Catholics. A lot of people might say, ‘ugh, it’s one more thing for me to do,’ and I say yes, it is, but our relationship with Christ is really where we have to start."
Father Marcoux compared the spiritual renewal to the fervor displayed by Jesus’ early disciples.
"If we can ignite the fire again with God, we can keep this going another 2,000 years," he said.