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JRS Online Retreat: Day 12 – Saving Grace: The Baptism of Jesus
Friday, November 12, 2010

“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.”

As you begin your prayer today, remember that you are in God’s holy presence. Become aware of how God gazes on you all the time, how tenderly and powerfully God regards you. Ask God for what you want in prayer:

Ask God to recognize and know the Lord Jesus as your mentor for a life of love and service.  

Reflections for Prayer

Pablo Alonso, S.J.
Former team member
JRS Guinea

Valladolid, 12 November 2010 – During the summers of 2003 and 2004, I had the opportunity to work with a group of JRS team members in Guinea as they accompanied, served and defended the rights of Liberian refugees: Valsu and Cova (Carmelites from Caritas–Vedruna), Christophe and Gonzalo. Through them I met Mary in Lainé camp. In Liberia, Mary used to run an orphanage for some 20 children. When war caught up with them, she walked with them into exile without losing a single one of them. In the Lainé camp she reorganised the group. They lived together in her house, which she named “The Saving Grace.” There she cared for and educated the orphaned children.

Mary’s faith and love have helped me to understand the experience of Jesus in his baptism. It was the first act of his adult life recounted in the gospels. Jesus says nothing, he simply listens. Everything begins with listening – “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” This message will mark His entire life. God’s love, which Jesus experienced and recognised, impelled him from that time onward to love always and to love everyone, sharing what he had received from God. God is Father and Mother; and we are his daughters and sons. This love received and accepted will flow forth throughout our lives in our words and deeds, touching those most in need of knowing and understanding that God loves them as a mother and father. Jesus continues to cure the sick, free the oppressed, feed the hungry and announce the Good News that we are all daughters and sisters, sons and brothers.

And this is exactly how Mary lived love. She believed that love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive. This is “the saving grace of God”: the love that we receive freely impels us in turn to love freely. In discovering ourselves as God’s sons and daughters, all of us become brothers and sisters. Let us ask our God for a deep knowledge of the Lord Jesus, so that we too may feel loved by God, and enabled to follow Jesus in His selfless service of others.

Address God as a friend speaks to a friend. 

Talk to God about your response, your own needs and your deepest desires.

End your prayer with the Our Father, the prayer Jesus taught us.

Suggested Reading for Prayer

Mark 1: 9-11

It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptised in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, "You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased." 


"Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive." ~ His Holiness the Dalai Lama