All women in Victoria and the surrounding areas, not just Catholics, are invited to a Morning of Reflection at Our Lady of Victory Cathedral from 9 a.m. to noon March 20.
The day will begin with the rosary, followed by eucharistic adoration, reflection, confession and Mass for women ages 18 and older. The event is hosted by the Women’s Discipleship Team of the Diocese of Victoria, a group of six women, which formed about eight months ago.
“What I hope to get out of it is really just recharging as a woman of God so I can come home to be a better mother, wife and friend,” said Gabriela Meyer, a member of Holy Family Catholic Church who plans to attend the morning event. “I think we’re lucky to have these types of reflections because we have not had them in the past. We had to go to bigger cities, so we’re very fortunate this has started, and hopefully, we will keep doing it.”
In the past, Meyer has had to travel elsewhere to attend such events. In Houston, she attended Morning of Recollection events hosted by Opus Dei, a Catholic organization of mostly lay people who believe everyone is called to holiness in ordinary life. She is excited to have a similar event right here in her backyard.
“When this popped up, I said, ‘I’m going,’” she said.
In the process of taking care of oneself, sometimes the physical aspect is dominant and the spiritual aspect is secondary, Meyer said. Nail and hair salons and movie theaters attract attention while spiritual activities are put on the back burner.
“We are so focused on the physical being that we forget about our souls,” she said. “As a mom, it is hard to find quiet and focus at home, so this Morning of Reflection is able to give me that refreshing renewal that I need.”
Meyer called the upcoming morning a “spa for the soul,” a line she borrowed from a conference she attended. She continued that women need to be refreshed and renewed by spending time with the Lord, and God speaks through the priest during the reflection.
“It’s a group of women at different stages in life, but they say, ‘He spoke right to me,’ and it’s amazing. God always knows what we need to hear,” she said. “It doesn’t matter where you are at, God speaks to you where you are in that moment of life. It’s a cheering on from God. It’s amazing how the Holy Spirit is working through him (the priest) to send a message — what you need to hear at that moment.”
Eucharistic adoration, a time to rest in the presence of God, will be offered.
“Jesus is truly present — body, blood, soul and divinity — in the consecrated host,” said the Rev. Dalton Ervin, parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Victory and director of the Morning of Reflection. “It’s spending time with your friend. Jesus said, ‘I no longer call you servants but my friends,’ and friends spend time together.”
The reflection will be on John 4, which is the account of the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. The ancient practice called lectio divina, which means sacred reading, will be used to experience the scripture. The four parts of lectio divina are lectio, oratio, meditatio and contemplatio. Lectio is reading the passage, oratio is praying over the passage in silence, meditatio is reflecting on the passage through meditation, and contemplatio is the fruit of the time of prayer.
“They can take the fruit of the time of prayer with them, and in their daily lives, live it out in the midst of their careers, roles as mothers and wives, single women, whatever their stake in life is,” Ervin said. “The real hope is that by doing this together as a group, they are able to practice lectio divina on their own — reading, praying, meditating and contemplating every day if they want to on the scriptures. They are building something they can take and use daily in their lives.”
Confession, which is a way for people to evaluate their relationship with God, also will be offered. It’s a time when people look at their attitudes or actions — their sins — that hold them back from abundant life. The morning will end with a Mass, which includes the Eucharist, as a time of thanksgiving to God for all he gives. Women who attend may choose to bring a Bible, a rosary, other prayer materials or a journal. In response to COVID-19, participants will wear masks and keep their distance from one another.
Laura Reyes, a member of the Women’s Discipleship Team who is helping organize the Morning of Reflection, said the idea for the event was born out of a retreat she and other diocese leaders attended.
“We had a moment of reflection with one of the priests, and all the women loved it and wanted to recreate it,” Reyes said. “ I just think of moms who are busy and never get away and feel bad for leaving their families. This is a good, holy excuse to get away and take time for themselves — self-care and self-love — while being spiritually nourished.”