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I am in the 6th week and it is difficult. Some painful reflection has stirred up old buried feelings. Somehow this time I feel that I will be deeply refreshed by the Holy Spirit. I am so grateful for this website. --Tony S.,UK
Week 3: The day I decide to quit drinking I open up to the third week and there is the photo: two chairs, a view, a bottle of wine and two glasses. I had to laugh. God must be my wine now. The poem by Denise Levertov ending in "and what I heard was my whole self, saying and singing what it knew: I can." Yes, I think God is speaking to me here.
"It takes a long time to believe that we are accepted by God"
I found this encouraging, in that I am not there yet. I am yearning for acceptance, and not yet convinced about it in relation to God...but it takes time, a long time. "We have come to know and believe the Love God has for us." (1 Jn 4) Lord I believe, help my unbelief!
Week 2: It is a funny wonder to me that what I need to hear, God always tells me in Sunday mass (or daily mass). Last week I heard in my deep thoughts and heart (which is God's), that Heaven is much more than our restricted imaginings tell us it is. The last laborer is paid the same as the first laborers. In my heart I heard, do not judge for myself. God has a whole lot more to show and give. It made me reconsider my plans, and you know what? A peace came over me. And I wanted that more than anything.
Week 2: Like "Bruce", I also have difficulty with the idea that God created all this wonderfulness "for me". Surely, if I died today, the beauty of this place where I am privileged to live, the beauty would still exist for other eyes and hearts. How can this be for me, as me? Is there not a risk of "Jesus and me" spiritual narcissism?
I'm Maria Teresa, a 52 Brazilian mother and grandmother and, first of all, I want to thank all the Ministry team that have spent time, commitment, hard work and love, preparing the Online Retreat! It is the real proof that we can find deep, serious and reliable sources for us to grow in our relationship with God! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
I'm at the 7th week, just starting the journey. I've been experiencing the love of God embracing me, as I look at myself in truth, in such a way that the center of my attention is not myself, but He!!!! It's interesting because it's the first time that I'm actually experiencing that: looking to myself is not necessarily self-centering, it can turn my attention to Our Lord! It fills me with love, and peace, and a sense of gratitude that provokes in me a desire to give back, to love back, to serve back!
I'm not sure if I could communicate or express myself...English is not my first language and to talk about such a deep experience in a language that is not our mother-tongue, is not easy...... But at least, I tried! Out of gratitude! God bless you all!
Week 2: My first "wake up call" came early this week. As I read Father Gillick's reflection I thought to myself, "I remember this ... Yes the Valentine message". I have a few thoughts about how I need to keep sending messages ... maybe postcards to God. But then in praying about this I completely turned around my thinking. While my first thought was that this was about me being in frequent contact with God, I suddenly realised that this was more about God wanting to be in frequent contact with me, wanting to communicate and desiring to share His love.
This formed the basis of my reflection for the rest of the week. I feel the dark noise behind photos are when I centre just on myself (and that unfortunately is a frequent noise). But as I look deeper into the photo album of my life I feel more than blessed. I see the events and people in the context that God is using them to communicate His love. I find this almost overwhelming.
So I am thankful that God placed people in my life at critical junctures. I am thankful that he has energised me in situations of learning, creating and leading. I see also that the focus on my pictures sharpen when I allow God to be the at the centre. Why I do not let this happen more frequently is something I really need to consider in prayer.
I have just started week 3, I am having a bit of a problem relating to God who created me to praise and honour Him. It sounds a bit like parents who live their lives through their children's achievements rather than love their children unconditionally. Then I thought of the old catechism answer to Why did God make me? To know him love Him and serve Him in this world, and be happy with Him ever after in the next. This to me is a more useful way of thinking about it. What I am saying is that to think of God creating me out of love, to spend my life journeying towards him, leads to praise and thankfulness. But then I think who do I think I am to question St Ignatius. Maybe things will become clearer as the week goes on.
At the end of week 2 I have to admit that I am having trouble keeping the retreat reflections as a background to life. It is easy to give in to the urge to try and analyse and repair rather than witness and accept that there is only one just judge and it is not me.
I am nearly through the second week, and find myself overwhelmed with deep sadness. I see patterns in my life where I have worked so hard to overcome the effects of of childhood trauma, the fear, the sense of worthlessness, the shadow of despair... and now I'm seeing that the efforts I've made, the very hard work to "break the cycle" and nurture lives of joy and peace for my children, those efforts have been worse than naught...those efforts have in many ways, set up those I love for trauma and tragedy of their own. What brings me to profound grief is seeing those patterns, replicated in my children, harming my grandchildren. Where is our hope?
This week I have reread what I wrote during Week 1. I remember a lot of self pity during my life because I did what I thought people wanted me to do. As I look back over some events, I was not being my true self. Moving from false self to true self means I must drop my masks. God's presence in my life is helping me accept things in my life and look at myself honestly without all the self pity.
How is it possible to love others when I cannot love myself? --John O.
Just on week one and still wondering if I am doing it right.