These Retreat Conferences
begin with a short introductory prayer followed by a thirty-minute
conference based on the movements of the Spiritual Exercises of St.
Ignatius, with Advent in mind.
This retreat offers two presentations on each of the Sundays
of Advent. It may be made in a variety of ways, by individuals or
a 3 day weekend, early in Advent
8 days, one conference a day
4 weeks, two conferences each week.
TO THE RETREAT CONFERENCES:
To listen to one of the conferences, simply
click anywhere on the icon of a control panel, under each of
the conference headings. Your browser should automatically
begin to play the recordings. If
nothing happens, then you may follow the instructions here.
First Talk: First Sunday of Advent
God labors to come to us, respectful of our
freedom. We often come with an inferiority. How do we escape spiritual
inferiority? God is always faithful. We are precious in God's eyes.
We await the coming of God to give us ourselves. Love wants to give
the beloved all that the beloved is. Do I really want the new life
God comes to bring me. Do I want to be freer? Our Advent tension:
our resistance to change. Isaiah 63.
Second Talk: First Sunday of Advent
Tagore poem: Silent Steps. God wants to respect
our freedom and come close enough to attract us but not close enough
to force us. There are things than can dull our watchfulness and
attentiveness. One of them is security. All depth begins with being
observant. The gift of watchfulness comes from the gift of insecurity.
As I wait, I ask: "Am I at the right place?" Waiting is
a way of loving. The goodness of God is that God calls us to journey,
because that is what's lively for us. Real wisdom is to know what
God's gifts to us are for. We have to be alert and watchful for
all the ways he comes to change our image ourselves. "Live
according to who I say you are." Mark 13. Psalm 8. Gen. 1 &
2. Just looking around at things. Slow down to see again: in everything
is the hand of God.
Third Talk: Second Sunday of Advent
we look at our unfreedoms. It is hard to know how we should be.
Once we've tasted some kind of freedom, we know there is life somewhere;
it doesn't have to be this way. Is. 40: "Comfort. Give comfort
to my people." Mk. 1: "Prepare the way of the Lord."
One of the features of someone in addiction or an unfree relationship
is to say I don't know what life is like outside of this. They have
become accustomed to the unfreedom. How vulnerable will I be if
I am free? It can be frightening to be un-controlled from the outside.
What are the valleys and mountains for us? Jesus wants to give humanity
back its own identity. There is a movement of the evil spirit to
attract us to get a false identity. The root of our unfreedom is
envy. I want to accumulate myself, so I can point to it. Sooner
or later we need people telling us who we are. Envy says I want
independence from God, independence to choose my unfreedom. The
call of God who comes is to a greater dependence on God.
Fourth Talk: Second Sunday
2. We have received the Spirit that we might understand our other
gifts. The work of the Spirit is a wisdom of how to live in this
world. Mk. 1: There is going to be a new way. The One who is coming
will baptize you with the Holy Spirit, who will announce to you
what freedom is and the giftedness of yourself, give you your identity
and make you dependant. His way needs to be prepared. His coming
will be with a new wisdom. I don't always respond well. The coming
of Jesus calls for a conversion from what I depend upon - to let
go of those things I'm hanging on to for my identity. Gospel of
repentance. I will start from a stance of gratitude. The difference
between what I have, used to prove myself verses what I have been
given, used to express myself. The call to receive things, as the
gifts they are. Not only do I receive things gratefully, I want
to be open to the rejections and challenges to my identity and I
will do that gratefully. I use them for an affirmation that I am
a gift of God. Where am I going to get my name and what will sustain
me? In our prayer we try to listen to the Wisdom and the ways of
Jesus. What is it in the Gospel that I wish he hadn't said?
Fifth Talk: Third
Sunday of Advent
4: Rejoice. The Lord is near to us. What is the source of joy
in our life and what is the source of sadness.Our bad choices
seem to come from our expectations of how life ought to be. Can
I live with what is, with "the Lord is near," even while
I'm longing. One sadness is an inferiority that keeps us hidden.
The Spirit of God is trying to bring forth what is good in us.
Some of my sadness is isolation - that God can not touch me through
the needy, through the poor, through everything. Everything is
to bring me to a life that is joyful. I am sad because I have
expectations of others and no one can complete me. The One who
calls you is faithful and he will accomplish it. The coming of
Jesus into this world is still through human vehicles - you and
Sixth Talk: Third Sunday of Advent
graced person is graced to let the light within them shine through.
Part of the mystery is how Christ dwells within us and we are
to let Christ play through us - to be a sacrament. Prologue: John
the Baptizer says, "I am not he. Be alert, be watchful, for
all the prophetic metaphors of grace. God is coming." The
key is to live so as to allow mystery in our lives. There are
mysteries in our lives - things that can never be figured out.
We allow the mysteries of life to come into our lives, if we are
to let the mystery of Christ in our lives. Tensions are a grace
for us. What am I to do with mystery? Jesus is the light so that
we can see clearly. As sacraments, we can see the sacramentality
of everything. The opposite of sacramentality is judgementality.
Pray with your own sacramentality.
Seventh Talk: Fourth Sunday of Advent
meets us where we'd rather not be. We'd like to meet God, after
we've accomplished our own holiness. He leads us to where it is
good for us to be. That's what we are waiting for. Once God comes
among us the holy is among us.
It is a great praise to be a house of God into which God comes.
It gives up the necessity for great accomplishments.
A conversion from greatness to littleness as God makes
greatness from littleness. Jesus converts us where we are, from
flight to faith. There is a holiness
in receiving what he wants to give us. Pray where Jesus goes in
houses. Ps. 89. 1 Cor. 6. What of
your house do you most want to run out of? The place where he
most wants to meet us.
Eighth Talk: Fourth Sunday of Advent
verses Importance. He came down to a cottage in Nazareth. Luke
1. An interruption and a commitment. Use your imagination to get
there. There's something for all of us there. Mary is invited
into insecurity - into the mystery of her life. We're getting
close to Jesus by looking at the people who were significant in
his life. Jesus didn't come to solve me, but to save me - to comfort
me, lovingly. Mary trusts the promise, the invitation. Faith,
like love, is a real leap. Some things that come into our lives
throw us on our knees. How close do we let mystery, uncertainty
and doubt get? Fear is a natural response to interruption and
invitation. God was making a promise: "this is how I want
human beings to know me." Each of us is asked to play our
role: to give him birth. In order to be significant, I have to
let go of my desperate search for importance. In her simplicity,
poverty, emptiness, isn't she a symbol of the world in its vacancy?
That is redemption. A relationship: "I want to give you more
of yourself. We will show you what the deepest meaning of life:
significance." Mary's significance: she allowed what was
simple to be made much of. What we see in Mary, we see in her
son. He invites us to receive the grace to trust promises and
not be confined to the desperate search for importance. Advent:
life is still possible; the promises are still keepable.