Place to Share
The Latest Sharing
I have started this on-line retreat many times…and never make it past the first couple of weeks! I am praying that this time I can finish the entire retreat.
Now, it took years of praying, praying, therapy….to get there! but I am here at last!
I just started my First Week. The Courage to Accept Acceptance, spoke clearly to me. It seemed like it was written for me. I am far away from accepting myself but I made the first step in the right direction. I am blessed that I have found this site. I feel that I have learned a lot within the last week and I am grateful for these shared insights. I pray that I will keep this enthusiasm till the end. Thank you for this fine program.
As Jesus and Mary talked there were tears and hugs. I was aware of Jesus’ strength, but also of his tenderness and vulnerability toward Mary. It seemed like Mary had some premonition of the grief that would soon come upon her. Then Jesus left her to find a quiet place to pray. The stars and the moon were bright. He was completely alone and in that place between what had been and what would be. Profoundly lonely but absolutely surrendered to the will of the Father. I saw him fall asleep under the light of the stars and the moon which seemed to be looking down upon him waiting, and the trees seemed to be leaning forward in anticipation.
Returning to the scene later that day, it was very different than the first contemplation a few days before. I was immediately aware of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the room with me. I was in the scene in the shadows around the fire and from the shadows I asked my question, Mary, what will you do now? Jesus turned his head toward the sound of my voice and said, “Come out of the shadows, little one, and sit next to the fire with us.” Then Mary turned to me said to me, “Don’t be afraid, little one, it’s just us.” Soon Jesus departed and I was alone with Mary. She turned to me and said, “Come closer. Don’t worry about me, little one. I will be fine. You are the one in need of strength.”
Mary was seated and motioned to me to come closer. (By this time I had moved from sitting at my desk to kneeling.) Her arms were open to me like a mother and the most natural thing for me to do was to kneel beside her and rest my arms and head on her lap. At this point I had a very unusual and powerful experience of the presence of God filling my body and the sense of human hands resting on me and of Mary praying for me.
Week 1: Just expressing my inner thoughts especially since the time I've been through the family album....( background for week 1, which i began on the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola,2014)... I'm grateful to God for surrounding me with the fragrance of His Bouquet of Love....in which each unique flower is each individual member of my family & by extension all those whom He's placed in my path through the years. I'm more blessed than i deserve.....I've never faced my past so bravely & honestly... Thanks also to all who've shared their experiences here & especially to all who've put all the content online...May God richly bless all...Please pray for me as i begin Week 2 tomorrow, 7th August, 2014...
I did not realize how sinful a life I have led. I am very happy that I found this sight and The Lord is working on me already Thank you Lord. --Jim
Week 6: As I begin this week of our retreat I am aware of the many choices I make (or do not make) that create distance between God and me. This is how I choose to define my sin. More of an interpersonal/relationship process. Acknowledging the distancing effect of my sinful behaviours and patterns and yet emphasizing my desire to be connected and in moment by moment relationship with my Lord. This helps me notice the nuances of my sin, its subtleties and its effect on my communion with Jesus. It is not that God has created this distance but rather, it is me. God is there...always available, moving toward me, arms wide open, safe, willing and kind. By His grace, I am growing in my understanding of these things. If you are reading this perhaps you would take a second and pray that I will grow ever closer in my intimate relationship with God.
Yesterday was quite spiritually and emotionally challenging. I didn't have much physical energy. I wasn't motivated to accomplish the tasks on my to do list. The questions and unsettledness, surrounding what was just beginning to unfold in your call to me, were swirling in my heart and head. Conflicting thoughts made me again unsure. Uncertainty resulted in hesitancy. I mistook this response for lack of motivation, maybe laziness, and certainly timidity. I tried to avoid these negative feelings. Thankfully you gave me a day to process photographs and the wonderful memories that came with them. You blessed me in so many ways, I was deeply grateful for my family, friends and all of the experiences that shaped me.
Today is a new day. In morning prayer, you have once again assured me there is a time and place for everything. If I am listening to you and trying my best to serve you, I must not allow negative emotions to drain my energy and dissuade me from confidence in my ability to hear you and discern your call. I need to continue in stillness and remain steadfast in the uncertainty, honoring my "tender timidity". As Father said in his homily on Sunday, "If it isn't alright, it isn't yet finished."
Today's reflections help me to regain firmer emotional and spiritual footing. Today's suggested lectio divina points to Jesus' response to his leaving his home in Nazareth, and then his baptism. In my prayer time, I recalled the pain around my separation from my almost 10 years of ministry in one Parish. Leaving, and not knowing what I was going forward to, added to the challenge, as did the pain of rejection by someone who could not accept my leaving. The tears, the looks on their faces spoke of their love, and their need for reassurance, both that I was okay, and that they would be okay. I know that going forward, I will not see those persons as frequently, some, likely never again. But, those relationships are now a part of me. I bring them with me in prayer and in who I have become.
Today, I enter into Jesus' baptism. I recall my own journey over the past months of pealing away the layers of self that I had carefully constructed through my childhood, my formal education, my personal and professional life experiences and my spiritual journey. I let so many people influence me in not such healthy ways, shaping me according to their needs, desires, preferences and motivations. I had to go back to my core, to find myself and re-discover you-in-me. Imagining Jesus coming-up from under the water I recall that moment of profound communion with self and with my Creator. I was reassured that YOU created me in Your likeness and image. You breathed the breath of life into my lungs. When I am not a daughter, sister, wife, mother, etc - I simply, and magnificently, exist to give you glory. I am my Father and my Mother's daughter. I am tremendously loved. I can hear your voice. In my baptismal grace, I remain tethered to the Holy Trinity and Our Blessed Mother. Drawing on this unbreakable bond, I can remain steadfast even in the ups and downs of uncertainty.
I believe that I have been given the boldness to take some steps to move forward. I have been standing in a doorway. I walked from my past ministry, but was not yet sure of where to go. I knew with certainty that I wanted to serve your Mother and the will of our Father. As options began to be presented, I was excited, but still unsure. Now, for today at least, the hesitancy and timidity of yesterday are gone. I know they are likely to return when I face future challenges, but you will help me Lord to hold my timidity tenderly. Give me the grace to accept my hesitancy, not as unwillingness or laziness, but as waiting for your smiling encouragement, your reassurance, your anointing. Without you, I can only give of my limited self. With you, I can give the depth and breadth and height of all that is truly blessing - the inexhaustible riches of your love.
I wrote this during week 27. I also watched the movie of Gods and Men while my CLC group was (is) experiencing week 27, Jesus Gives us His Body and Blood. The combination of these two experiences has been powerfully moving. We now plan to watch this movie together as a group.
Tonight Iam very aware of God's love and etch. My husband is I the hospital, and as I walk the halls, I am surrounded by very sick people being so lovingly cared for by nurses an helpers of all kinds. Mostare old,frail and not too appealing to look at, but they are being cared for with such kindness and patience, it is beautiful to see. may I keep this vision with me through my days of care taking. Thanks be to God.
I fell into this retreat while using the Online Ministries during lent this year, I’m about to start my 9th week and I’m in the autumn of my years, retired but not what you would call busy. Maybe this retreat is not for me but here I am anyway. What has brought me to this moment was a desire to have a generous heart, I have been blessed by God’s generous gifts to me and I have a deep sense that I have been less than generous in using those same gifts to help others. To share. I suspect this is the challenge for all of us, to let go, to be selfless. As I reflect on the changes that doing this retreat has brought about in me, I see a calmer self, a more helpful partner in the home, doing jobs without being asked, even in very small things, the need to do them well. This is very different from the person I was two months ago. My short fuse has got considerable longer and to my surprise I find myself aware that I am allowing frustration and at times anger to wash over me. I pray that God will continue to unpack the person that I am to expose the person He made me to be.
Week 1: Looking back at my past made me realize what a great sinner I am. There were so many things I did that hurt my God, myself and my loved ones. But in spite of all my mistakes, my failures, my weaknesses and my sins, I now see that He has never left me.
Jesus as Water:
It seems as though there is always something new to learn from the reading about the woman at the well. This year, this year of significant anniversaries, that Sunday of Lent with the reading about the woman at the well fell on the weekend that was the 50th anniversary of my first communion in the Catholic Church. My thirst for this communion had begun four years before it was satisfied; and that was what I thought about and remembered when I was choosing the music and during Mass that Sunday (I am a music minister). I remembered how, when I was preparing to join the church, sometimes tears of longing formed in my eyes at the consecration. I remembered how my whole body ached with longing for communion. And so this March tears of joy streamed down my face, starting with the consecration and continuing for the rest of Mass, especially through the songs I had chosen, songs of longing for the Living Water (not too easy to sing while you’re crying, but I managed).
My problem is that I am still in the world, and I find it so very difficult to not be of the world. Why do I have to be converted again and again? Really? Why can’t it all just “take” for good the first time? I have seen the truth; I have drunk the water; I have been “dead” and brought back to life more than once. Why can’t I stay on the path? I'm getting old now (71); shouldn't I have it figured out? *Sigh*
Just started my 1st wk. So much memories of early childhood. As I was reading the "curage to accept acceptance, tears came from my eyes. I want to have the book and share it to the world. The scriptural readings are all I need to read.i love you Lord for being with me always.thank you for this awesome retreat on line. God bless you all!
The only thing “in retreat” until now has been my happiness, my confidence, my marital bliss, my joy. Sometimes I wonder how it is that I am able to be so capable in my work under the circumstances...how capable might I be with the grace and freedoms of acceptance, trust, gratitude and intimacy? I have a foot on the gas, a foot on the brake and I am burning out. May God’s grace bring me what I know I cannot bring myself...may I see Him more clearly, love him more dearly...day by day. Until then, I will structure my faith walk with this retreat. God I step back into your embrace. Please transform me and heal my life.
Week 13: I don't think that when I said God, here I am send me all those many years ago, that I would end up being the gift that someone else needed or earned. Yet I know that the time I got to spend with my father before his death was a gift for him. And in being that gift, I received so much more in return.
I know that I have been a gift to others and as painful as it is now, I know I will receive a gift from God in return if only to do his will and receive his grace.
As the prayer says, I would be silent now and expectant that I may receive the gift I need, so I may become the gifts others need. Amen.
As I sat listening to my husband play worship music in the living room, I sat at my table where all my stuff sits. As I sat there singing along and meditating, I heard the spirit say, “ draw a tree.” A tree? I thought. then a weeping willow came into my mind and I got out my pencils and my paper which was sitting right here. I began to sing and draw along with his playing. I drew a tree and I noticed that one side was bright and cheery and the other was darker and mysterious. As I was struggling with the lopsidedness of the tree, my thoughts went back to my grandmother, she was my person as a youth. She was everything of security in my life. Her yard held this huge strong weeping willow and I started to remember how I felt when I looked at that tree. I loved the way it is formed, flexible branches that danced in the breeze, reaching the ground, and yet still full at the top, then thee is the pulling to hide under its branches, I so wanted to find the solitude and hide there, but the fear the gripped me as I stood looking at it usually paralyzed me from doing so. What was under there, what if it was a snake, etc. I do believe that I made myself overcome that fear and go under that tree only once or twice, regrettably, but when I did I so enjoyed the mystery and the peace and alone time( I have 4 younger brothers). Then I began to see how it was fear that usually stopped, and stops me from doing the things that interest me. As I continued to work on my drawing with these thoughts going through my soul, mind and heart, I found myself releasing to the Father, any fear, and emotional effects of my grandmothers death, which was sudden, that may be lingering in my being. I was devastated emotionally by her death, and felt that I had just lost the one person that really loved and cared for me personally. (Ok, even as I type this, the light bulb is going on to when some of my being alone state of mind started.) I asked Him to release me from these things and remove the fears and darkness that hinder me from the joy and life that He has for me. I will include the picture of the tree, prayerfully the technology works. But I was so encouraged by this experience with Jesus this morning, and see the need for further prayer and releasing as more details continue to uproot themselves..
This past November, my daughter had a stillborn baby girl. I have never known a loss so deep and a grief so painful. I mourned for my granddaughter, but I also would have done anything to keep my daughter from her suffering. I have spent many months pulling my daughter out of a dark well of anguish and depression. I went through Ash Wednesday with the words "you are dust and into dust you shall return" having such a different meaning to me this year. I searched for God in a Lenten discussion group at Church. I grew to understand that there could not be an Easter Resurrection without a crucifixion and death. And then recently my daughter announced that she was expecting again. It was joyous and frightening. How could I possibly walk these next 34 weeks with her? And then I found your website. "This is the beginning of a 34 week journey." Week by week I will keep in close contact with Jesus. He will be my guide through this unknown territory. My daughter needs me and I need Him. I will not walk in fear. I will walk in hope. I ask for your prayers during this 34 week journey knowing that whatever happens is His will. Week 1
I am just beginning the first week of my retreat. I have come in with my faith worn to shreds, finding it hard to handle pain and suffering of my own and of others throughout the world. Thanks to the online readings and sharing, I am beginning to find glimmers of hope: "The Courage to Accept Acceptance" reminds me that the burdens are not mine alone to bear, but that God in his infinite love and wisdom can help me if I only become willing to let go; and even more basic than that, Luke 11:1-13, God is "ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks." Even though my confidence is shaken, if I am persistent in prayer, I may rediscover my faith... Looking forward to continuing this journey.