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I just began week 10. As many before me have written, I came from a home filled with hurt, shame and evil. I was good, I remember, but I made a decision at age 2 or 3 to be 'bad' because that's all I'd ever heard from my family. I was the scapegoat. And I sinned during my college years and stopped receiving the sacraments. All mistakes because I thought myself unworthy of love. Now I know better.
Susan - Week 10
I have received the grace of forgiveness of my past and current sins and the grace of patience with my husband's mental and physical disabilities.
I finally met with Ted from the Chemin Neuf Community who has agreed to walk this journey with me. I was able to name some of the important graces experienced during the first three weeks and, through his questions, discover, or rather rediscover, how God has always been present in my life through the gift of hope. I am so very grateful for God's presence and love.
RS - Week 3
A difficult week. The centre of trouble. Confessing anger and difficulty in forgiveness of wrong accusation, am advised to draw a line, forgive others and at the same time, accept my justifiable anger!
Listening to reflections on line on absorbing God's Mercy and feeling His love, I am reflecting that Jesus, despite His suffering and being beaten, by His Stripes we are healed.
So how is it that we must believe it, when another says it is that because we too are loving, we are doing God's work! I must take this on board and in my resistance to accept this wholeheartedly, feel it is also a sign that, through the Mercy of God, not only am I a sinner loved by Him, but also, thro' his Grace in this way, He, through me, is able to shine for others!
A big journey in this week. The mountain was hard to climb and I stumbled and fell many times on the way. A bit to go to teach the peaks!!! - Week 8
I remember how my mother used to be so stern and disapproving of almost everything I did. She was such a brutal disciplinarian. I looked at my sons, and I realize I am in a unique position to understand childhood and parenthood. I often find myself behaving like my mother towards my sons. I realize that I am sometimes guilty of making my children feel inadequate, insecure, unloved. And I realize my mother loved me so much, wanting only the best standards for me, hoping to shape me up to be the best I can be. My old pain and feeling of inadequacy cannot be denied, and I shouldn't allow my sons to feel that from me. But the love I have for them also cannot be denied, and I'm sure my mother felt the same. Only by making them feel loved and secure can I encourage them to become the best they can be, something all parents want for their children.
I remember how my father used to spend time with me, fishing, talking. I looked up to him, wanting so badly to idolize him, but seeing nothing more than his drinking and fighting with my mother. He was a great inspirational speaker, though he didn't work on it much after leaving the religious community he and my mother eventually took part in. I was young, I didn't see the quiet heroism of his working everyday, the silent agonizing of being away from his family, of seeing us grow without his guidance. Being a father now, and fiercely proud of my sons, and willing to do anything to see them grow up whole and capable, I can be more compassionate towards what I perceived to be my father's seeming absence and shortcomings when I was young. I can forgive his fits of anger and his harsh words.
RM - Week 1
I love this week #3 of the retreat and it's well timed as it has been a beautiful, warm week in autumn in the Midwest and the fall colors have been the absolute best this year. The reds, oranges, golds, bright yellows of turning leaves have been brilliant and actually stayed put for a good length of time with just beginning to fall as I type. Even the red oaks, white oaks, pin oaks, have turned and will hold their leaves much longer than usual. It's been easy to get out and take long walks in the forests and woodlands here. I have always felt God's presence in nature but now that I actually thank Him for this beauty, I sense His happy response that I'm enjoying and giving gratitude. I sense His Presence deeply, His goodness, His power and majesty are surrounding me both as I walk and as I drive thru towns and neighborhoods. I feel His hug, His love, and His joy as I thank Him for His creation in all forms. I have not turned on the radio as I drive; instead, I focus on His presence with silence in the car which that alone has increased my capacity for joy each and every time now. Practicing His Presence thru solitude and gratefulness thru out days these past several weeks has been a beginning of a transformation for me.
No doubt, the enemy has observed my spiritual growth and increase in joy as I have also experienced a harder time to remain confident and not begin to worry. I have sensed a fear or concern for loved ones more lately which is a surprise. I have had to work harder with prayer efforts and refocusing my thoughts much more often this week which has been new and surprising for me. Yet my periods of sensing God's Presence has also been to a greater degree as well. Witnessing and being included in a prayer effort for an unborn baby who had experienced a diagnosis with a very poor prognosis early on in the pregnancy was just born this last week and is totally healthy!!! Our Lord is so good, so very, very good! Oh the joy I experienced with the Lord as I received this news lasted for such a long time; I now know what it means to rejoice in the Lord, again, I say rejoice! The waves and the swells of outpourings of joy was a completely new experience for me and I have to thank this retreat, this process of spending more time and finding out how to spend time in prayer and authentically connect with the Lord that helps one grow in relationship with our Almighty Father, Our Savior, our Holy Spirit.
I am so grateful for these exercises! They are essential for life in today's world! - Week 3