Couples learning to pray together will be highlighted during a six-week online retreat that is being hosted by Father James Grogan, pastor of Nativity Parish, Fair Haven. The retreat begins May 20. CNS photo/Paul Haring
Couples learning to pray together will be highlighted during a six-week online retreat that is being hosted by Father James Grogan, pastor of Nativity Parish, Fair Haven. The retreat begins May 20. CNS photo/Paul Haring
A six-week online retreat starting May 20 aims to help married and engaged couples get into spiritual shape by strengthening their relationship with God and each other.

The couples retreat, “Facebook Live Marriage Retreat, Ignatian Spirituality for Couples,” will be facilitated by Father Jim Grogan, pastor of Nativity Parish, Fair Haven. It will focus on helping couples grow in their prayer life by exploring the principles of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which are a compilation of meditations, prayers and contemplative practices developed by the saint to help people deepen their relationship with God.

The retreat will use the book “Falling in Love, Finding God” by M. Bridget Brennan and Jerome L. Sheen, which can be ordered online or downloaded as an eBook.

Father Grogan said that couples will be introduced to tools of discernment using consolation and desolation – which “simply reflect on whether some moment or event draws them closer to God [consolation] or draws them away from God [desolation].”

“Any event in our lives could have elements of either consolation or desolation,” he said, and “many events have characteristics of both. So in our relationship with God, we need to decide, ‘Do I choose to allow this event to be consoling and draw me to God, or draw me away?’”

In addition, participants will be taught the Ignatian Examen Prayer, a process in which faithful review their day and try and understand not only whether a moment was consolation or desolation, but why. Ultimately, the couples will be taught how to pray the Examen together.

Another trait of Ignatian Spirituality that will be reviewed is “Ignatian Indifference,” which Father Grogan described as “surrendering to God the answer to our prayer, trusting that God only answers our prayers in the best way possible.”

“With that level of trust, we no longer care whether the prayer is answered our way or God’s way,” he said. “We reach that conclusion by gaining the understanding that God’s way, perhaps often different from our own request, is always going to be the best answer.”

The retreat will be held at 7 p.m. on the following Wednesdays: May 20 and 27 and June 3, 10, 17 and 24. There is no registration fee; the only expense is the purchase of the book, “Falling in Love, Finding God.”

Father Jim said couples will not need the book until the second session. Participants do not have to be Facebook users to log into the event, but those who are will have a richer interactive experience, he said.

To sign up for the retreat, visit Nativity Parish’s Facebook page here. The Facebook Live link can also be accessed under the parish website at http://www.nativitychurchnj.org/