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As I read “Our Sinfulness and Our Goodness,” from week 6, a few rogue (yet sacred) thoughts came to me which brought me deeper awareness and compassion for my own sinfulness and goodness, as well as a greater receiving of Christ’s Love and compassion.
The cross – the arms on the cross –one representing our deep sinfulness and the other God’s great Love – the suffering causes them to be as far apart as humanly possible – humanly. Yet – the Love of Christ compels this suffering to come to a final conclusion – death. This death allows the arms to be brought together - ending the separation. And further more it compels the arm of the sinner and the arm of the Divine Love from that cross to not only come together, but around us. Around me. The embrace of Love. Bringing together death and life – rejection and love – humanity and divinity. The final acceptance of both is within myself.
This morning I was gifted with a memory that proves God's loving fidelity to me. I was about 8-9 years old and traveling home with my parents from a family trip to visit relatives down state from us. It was a 5 hour trip. It was before all the vehicle safety laws because I was sitting in the back seat of the car on a small suitcase. My father was driving. I was right behind him. It was a hot day and we didn't have air conditioning and I was hot. I was also feeling really sad because I had gotten my hair cut and thought it looked awful and that there was nothing I could do to but wait for it to grow back. I had laid my head back on the seat while we were stopped at a toll booth. My dad caught my eyes in the rear view mirror and told me that I was so beautiful. My family life got a little chaotic not long after that trip and I had forgotten that moment with my dad. Today God reminded me. God is bringing healing to our family in many ways. Today, not only do I adore my daddy but how much more this memory means to me knowing that my Father God was behind the comment, telling me His thoughts towards me. All the struggles I went through as a child and young adult fade in the Light of the knowing that God was with me, at every moment, preparing me for such a time as this. My confidence in the gift of faith God has given me is growing at a tremendous pace right now. God is drawing me ever close to His heart. I don't understand it all right now but I must say that I know God is preparing me for something that will bring many people to Himself and very much glory to His Name. Amen. Please pray for me. - Week 2
Amazing grace continues to fall from this online retreat. I do not share much because I am still so ego bound, if mostly in a negative manner. I love St. Ignatius, but must confess wariness of many of his disciples, as the evil of relativism pounds on the churches door. I also know that St. Ignatius and my life saving teachers, Fr. Saint-Jure and St. Colombiere, would tell to be anxious about nothing, trust in Jesus, and surrender your life to the Holy Spirit. This is my deepest desire today and this retreat is great blessing toward that desire. Thank you. I pray for all the retreatants and ask for your prayers. - Week 1
I so enjoy my early mornings with the Lord! I thank Him for the blessings He has placed in my life. I one point I could not grasp “joy”, the essence of the word escaped. Searching to know His joy in my life, I read, prayed, listened and accepted that He did give it to me. I now rest in His peace and joy. He lives in me!
Hi, I know I’m doing this online retreat off schedule, as I decided to start in January rather than September. But, it was recommended that we share for this week (Week 5), and so I thought I’d share a (probably not so original) thought.
This week reminded me of the phrase in Matthew (Mt 5:45) that reads, “…he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust” in that whatever our circumstances, we need to acknowledge that there is sin around us while still seeking out Jesus.
That was my initial thought. But when I initially looked up this verse to submit my thought, I realized that I was taking that phrase somewhat out of context. The thought starts in Mt 43 and goes all the way to Mt 48. No need to retype here, but it is all about the need to love one’s enemies (a concept I’m still struggling with). Specifically, “but I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes his sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust.” (Mt 44-45) In that context, it’s really about loving everyone, because the Lord seeks to draw everyone to Himself.
Thanks - Week 5
I am just about to start my 34 weeks, starting tomorrow, planning the best times today. Please pray that I will listen to the Holy Spirit enough to complete it and benefit from it.
I wasn't always nice to my husband in the beginning of our marriage. I used his being an alcoholic as an excuse for my behavior. He always seen the best in me and pushed the worst of me to the side. I think God helped him do that. We are still married today and we love each other so much. I can't believe he stayed with me thru all the bad times. It's a real miracle. When those memories of our early marriage come to the surface I break down because I still haven't learned how to accept them and move past them. But God helps me along the way and holds my hand thru those memories.
Week 17 is a relief from the madness of this world/society that we live in. The issue is trust. Do I trust God enough to desire the very opposite of what the world says to desire? To the degree that I can do this, I will find peace and freedom from anxiety. - Week 17
I am supposed to be on week 6 but I feel I didn't meditate enough for week 5. So I keep back tracking and not sure this is how to do this. But there are photos of Bosnia. And I keep thinking of the greater sin of abortion. All of these babies that have never and a chance to live. I feel this is the greatest sin we are dealing with in the present time. I feel strongly about this because I had my sixth baby in 1973 when abortion was legalized. And at that time I knew someone who's parents took her to get an abortion. And she was in the same trimester as I was and I was feeling life in my womb while another person was going through this procedure. We need to remember and pray for this atrocity to be stopped and pray for these poor women who feel compelled to do this for whatever reason they feel they cannot go through this pregnancy. Maybe we need to dwell on this sin that is world wide. - Week 5
I'm grateful for the Nativity. Today I'm also especially grateful for the good people at Creighton University who lovingly and faithfully make this retreat possible.
Reading the story of Zacharias in Luke 1:18-20, I am reminded that I should trust God in His promises, even if I can't see how he will answer them. This is great for dealing with anxiety and worry, as we are commanded not to be anxious. Mt. 6:25 - Week 14
I used to have such a great imagination. Now that I am older (38), I feel afraid that I won't be able to make these gospel stories come alive in my head. I pray to God to help me make them come alive because I know how powerful this could be for me. I know what Joseph felt like when he found out that the love of his life was pregnant. This feeling of betrayal had to have turned his world upside down. How could Mary have done such a thing? Where was God in all of this? I think he had to have hit rock bottom. And at the bottom, while sleeping, God breaks through. God tells Joseph what he must do and what these events mean. Joseph is still uncertain of what is to come, but Joseph has encountered the Lord of Hosts and has been filled with His Spirit to carry out this task. God does meet us when we hit the bottom, and He does give us strength to carry out His will. I pray that all of us on this retreat encounter the Lord of Hosts so as to be filled with His Infinite Wisdom that will lead us to Him and allow us to perform His will. - Week 14
Weeks 6 and 7 have been particularly difficult to deal with, especially with the end of the school term approaching and fatigue setting in. I did feel ashamed and embarrassed when naming my sins and discovering some of those patterns. What I am discovering is that my fear of being alone, my lack of self worth and my decisions to hide from life under the guise of being the "good little boy" , embarrassing as they may be for a man of my age, can now be viewed in a different light. For even at the core of it all Jesus is letting me know that maybe this shame and the recognition of the sinful patterns can trigger true love for people. Even more liberating is that, when reflecting about my life, I can also see patterns in that direction. RS - Week 7
The third week I thank God for my CCD 3rd grade class. Thirteen beautiful creations of God. Innocent and sweet children of God. I look forward to waking up and being able to see what God will make me aware of so that I may praise Him for all that he has created in my life and for me. - Week 3
This week helped me to take step 3 of the 12 Steps of Al-Anon. (The parallels between Ignatian Spirituality and the 12 steps are known, starting with Father Dowling and Bill W.) The insight (I think from one of the supporting links.) is that surrendering myself to Christ is the path to happiness and fulfillment, to being my true self.
If Anyone needed proof they were not in control, this week should give them that proof. I write this as the wildfires in Gatlinburg, TN are being brought under control while, simultaneously, thunderstorms and tornado warnings have filled the airways all night long. The rain that puts out fires is the same rain that floods farmer's fields and restores our water table (no rain in 4 months). Thunder just shook my house and lightening lights the sky. I pray it does not ignite more fires.