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At any time this week, if you have anything you'd like to share, that has touched you, you can share it by leaving a note here, even anonymously.

The Latest Sharing


Week 8
“The quality of Mercy is not strained, it droppeth as the gentle rains from Heaven “.
I learned this in my studies at high school in my English class learning Shakespeare. It has always remained with me .. the only thing I remembered, and now I understand why.
Thank you my Lord for welcoming me into your arms.
Thank you for your prayers, I continue to pray for you.
Jane NZ


The end of week 7! Thank God! This week has been a really difficult one and I found myself caught up in self condemnation struggling to see how I could be forgiven. All of the sinfulness in my life seemed to stem from my need for acceptance. Acceptance from others, people who I saw as meaningful and wanting to be like them, I abandoned the cross and followed their rules.
I felt the need to go to reconciliation and in this wonderful Sacrament God’s mercy finally shone through.
Our Parish Priest is a beautifully observant person who noticed my deep sighs even after the absolution. He said that it is important not to become self absorbed. To become so focused on yourself that you can’t see Gods love there for you.
I had been prepared to remain with week 7, but after speaking with him am moving on, into Gods loving Mercy.

Thank you Lord for the gift of reconciliation and the wisdom of your loved ones.

During this first week, this quote appeared in my Facebook feed, and it seems particularly appropriate:
       JOURNEY OF THE SOUL
“One of the qualities that you can develop, particularly in your older years, is a sense of great compassion for yourself. When you visit the wounds within the temple of memory, you should not blame yourself for making bad mistakes that you greatly regret. Sometimes you have grown unexpectedly through these mistakes. Frequently, in a journey of the soul, the most precious moments are the mistakes. They have brought you to a place that you would otherwise have always avoided. You should bring a compassionate mindfulness to your mistakes and wounds. Endeavor to inhabit the rhythm you were in at that time. If you visit this configuration of your soul with forgiveness in your heart, it will fall into place itself. When you forgive yourself, the inner wounds begin to heal. You come in out of the exile of hurt into the joy of inner belonging.”  John O'Donohue, Excerpt from Anam Cara


Greetings from England. It is such a privilege to take this retreat in daily life , and I have to say, that the generosity of the Jesuits, in making this course available for free, is staggering .!!

I have just come to the end of my first week . Very uncomfortable airing painful memories, but taking Jesus with me and imagining Him there as the events took place was a great comfort. Just to see Him walking with me in the times when I thought I was abandoned, and to see the Lord carry me when I was too exhausted to go on, was a revelation. As for the times when I made idiotic decisions and regretted all the mistakes I had made, Jesus' response was compassion not judgement. This brought so much healing !  A week of being invited to forgive those who hurt me and to seek forgiveness too. I am so thankful for the love God has shown me !


I love the story of  Zacchaeus because it gives me great hope that I will be forgiven and reach Heaven at the end of time.


I’m late to this... but I don’t want to just jump in on the current week so I’m going to start at week one. 

My earliest memories were mixed.. coming from a family of 5 girls there was a lot of sugar but also a lot of spice.  My 3 older sisters could be very catty and mean and my mother rarely came to my rescue.  And so I tried to be invisible through much of my childhood.  Until I discovered... horses (no not boys : ).  My younger sister and I saved up our birthday, Christmas and allowance and bought a horse, Gina.  I can honestly say I sailed through adolescence because of that old mare,  but more than that, she taught me so much; ability to not take a back seat in my life, and yes, acceptance.  It always floored me this huge beautiful animal let me ride on her back when she could easily just say “no” and toss me off.  I’d like to think it’s about trust more than controlling another entity.  They say a horse needs to “accept the bit” in order to be a good ride.  But I think it’s about accepting the rider.  It’s humbling to think of the acceptance of these beautiful spiritual creatures and how they accept us... and how much more powerful to know that God accepts me. 


Week 4

The question was asked:  Are we free enough to face our unfreedoms?  And we are told "Be not afraid"..

My gallery included:

1.   Sister Norma Pimentel:  She is serving the migrants at the border.  "The Caritas Campaign is a great opportunity for us...to promote and encourage others not to be afraid, to welcome, to understand why (migrants) come, and not simply block the idea that they are people, they are human beings like you and me".
2.  Pope Francis : "If you follow these 3 ideas (Go, Do not be afraid, Serve), you will experience that the one who evangelized is evangelized, the one who transmits the joy of faith received joy."
3.  Mother Teresa:  "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one".
4.  My Mother : She stayed faithful to her faith, she was humble, persistent, wise.
5.  St. Francis of Assisi :  "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."


Thank you so much for this on-line retreat. AS I reflect back on my memories of my life I am immediately taken to my childhood where I was abused. Thank you for the grace to see today- that God did not cause it. Thank you that today I know I was not alone. He was with me helping me to survive. I am grateful.  


Week 3 Reflection

The bigger picture.   Last night at sunset I was struck by the colors in the sky. It was the color of a fillet of a fresh caught salmon and an indescribable turquoise blue. I was sure I've never seen anything like it before. I was sure I had not ever seen such a vibrant color of blue. Perhaps these colors were in the sky many times before but I didn't have eyes to see. Maybe it was God providing me a moment of grace to help me with this week's lesson because it did draw me to ponder the greater picture. It did make me ponder the fact that I was created for a purpose, and my life somehow fits into his great plan for all creation. I found solace in the moment.

Week 2 has ended and a week which was filled with Gods love, presence and Grace. I was attending another retreat but the tenure of each day totally fitting the subject of this retreat, and I felt God holding me in His love each and every day.
Gods blessings on everyone who is taking part in this retreat Jane NZ


Growing Well here I am at the end of week 1, and I praise God for answering my prayer to receive the Grace which was sought for this week. It hasn’t been easy, but I was able to find times of joy and love where in the past there has only been pain, sorrow and resentment.  Thank you to all who organise this retreat.
On Thursday I walked in the fog on the beach in the early morning, and it came to me that during my life there was a time when I was walking in a fog where God wasn’t able to be seen. He would occasionally come into vision but I would pass Him by unnoticed. He remained with me throughout this time patiently waiting for me to recognise him, welcome him and set up a conversation and relationship with HimSteadfast and loving me even though I was living a life far from his ways of love.
Now that my relationship with God the Father,Son and Holy Spirit is established and  growing, I can see how God has blessed me through the good times and bad. Today is an amazing day and I look forward with confidence and hope to the coming week.
God bless you all

Jane


Last week our four kids told us what they would like for their next birthdays. They asked us if we would be willing to respond to a question they posed every week and write about our life story. That would be our gift to them. I was overwhelmed that they would want to know my story, that they would consider that a gift to them. I felt I counted, I felt greatly loved. 
Then on Sunday with Mary’s help I took Communion to some people in a local nursing home. We approached a lady who was just lying in bed and who seemed disinterested in the world. We identified ourselves and asked her if she would like to receive Communion. Her whole face lit up with a big smile.  After a short prayer service and Eucharist, she told me she was just thinking of all those people who could get out to church and she was feeling sorry for herself that she couldn’t - and then we appeared. I felt so honored to be present to her. I felt I mattered. Her smile was a gift of love to me.
I did not grow up feeling loved and it wasn’t until I met and grew to love Eugene that I came to know what it feels like to be loved and to know God’s love. In the readings this week I have come to realize that I was always greatly and deeply loved by God and by my parents too but somehow I just didn’t feel it. It is humbling and warm and comforting to be so loved.


There is something about this retreat that keeps me engaged in it. I believe it is the feeling of companionship on this journey. I read and reread the lessons throughout the week, but if you asked me what they were about I would say, “sin” or “mercy” or “forgiveness” or “acceptance” -- standard stuff.
I believe what strikes me most about the retreat other than, it is totally well prepared and planned out is the amount of love and time it took to put it together. A lifetime of caring, praying, and self-sacrifice has gone into this retreat. When you throw in the intense amount of sharing, the mere participation in this retreat is an entrance into a love-fest (dating myself here). I pray everyone devoting time to this retreat knows not only the love of God but also his will for you because walking together with God’s Spirit is the best journey ever.


This past weekend I spent three and a half days in silent retreat with Fr. Larry Gillick. It was humbling, yet uplifting. I pray that I may continue on the right track, Christ’s track for as long as possible. I hope that this on line retreat will assist me in doing so.


Dear JB.
We  must be related! When  you said  that you could not recall memories, for years I felt that I had no past!.. It seemed that my life was the present day and of course the details of the immediate present. Just pray, all the past will come forward. But ask for the strength to accept each memory as it comes to you.

Follow the suggestions given, you will feel a whole lot, but I would be greatly surprised if you do not eventually see your past, both good and bad.

But do what I do, practice emotional control. I can emote!!!! Big time, but what controls me is the obvious and undeniable fact that apart from being loved and blessed by God, my cross has been ever so light! Look around and you will see greater problems in the lives of others!
Blessings on you.........BT


Week 6: the daily sins that we commit, sins against charity, as an example, are forgiven by the penitential rite at the beginning of mass (i.e., Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy). These are sins failing to see Christ in every person. These are the sins against the unity of the Holy Spirit (e.g., divisiveness, cynicism, neglect, selfishness). Meditating on sin at this level is to hear Christ preaching: "The thought of adultery is committing adultery"; "The thought of murder is committing murder." If one reflects on the thought of sin of committing as offensive to God, then a new relationship of holiness, of spiritual perfection is taking hold in one's heart. This level of spiritual maturity is a late stage perfection of the individual spirit.


Week 3 Only a personal loving God would have created this universe for me, which is why I don't subscribe to intelligent life beyond earth. There is the very real problem of the as yet undeveloped technology that can overcome incredible distances. (Star Trek/Star Wars are such outrageous fictions in retrospect.)
I believe that we are so precious to our Lord that he has created just us: we have been singled out; we share his life form. 
Anyway, if there were some other life, Jesus is their Savior too: there is only one, begotten Son of God who saves us; no one else is coming; except Him, who is meeting up with us again on his return trip.


[Week 3] God intensely desires to reveal to us his purpose to save the world with our help. It is difficult to accept that we could matter as much, but this is what is revealed to us by Jesus Christ. 
How else could we ever know God's saving plan if he did not show us? Jesus Christ is the fullness of God's plan to restore the harmony and peace lost through sin. Are we on this mission with Christ to win back our Father's lost creation? -- Richard


Week 2: By God's grace I am who I am for myself today. --Richard


I'm beginning the retreat today. Acceptance is trusting, tolerating the annoyances, doing the task instead of complaining about it. Doing it for Christ rather than for another's appreciation, recognition. Richard


I'm just about to start week 3 and having read through everything, I thought that I would read some of the sharing for this week. There had generally been in weeks 1 and 2 so many positive comments that I wondered why I didn't feel necessarily the same. Reading week 3 sharing, I found myself very moved by so many of the comments and wanted to thank so many who had courageously expressed their struggles. May God bless each one of you. Thank you for your openness and vulnerability which has encouraged me in my own journey. Thanks be to God.
Ted


Week 2: As I read the shares and answered the questions in week 2, I realize I am not unique. What happened to me in my early life is not so different from others, but still damaging to the being God brought into this world.  I am tired tonight so am not going to share a lot, but I do want to say I am grateful.  Everything in my life feels so overwhelming and hard to carry but through the last two weeks I now believe that God will carry it for me to lighten my load so I can be the woman he meant me to be. My first step is letting Him lift this heavy weight.  Not  sure what this weight is but do know it is strangling me.  Thank you for being there for me to share.


Thank God I found this retreat on line.  I wanted to go on retreat during spring break, but was working so hard, I didn’t take time to make plans.  So I found myself at home online trying to find a place to go on retreat.  When I could not find a place near my home, I finally decided to try to find an online retreat.

Wow! Was I lucky!  The Jesuit influence in my life has been huge!  So when I saw the word Jesuit I clicked on Creighton’s online retreat and there was an answer to prayer.  This first week has been very difficult to me with so many sad memories from my childhood, but memories still of a mother who tried to do her best to create a home filled with FAITH AND GOOD FOOD despite being repressed and abused by my father..  Despite the dysfunctionality of our family life and our poverty, she took us to church and gave us a good formation in the Catholic faith.  I will be forever grateful to her for those two gifts.

What has finally emerged from the memories is a realization that even though I did not open myself in prayer to God, HE was always working  through other people and my own perseverance to help me grow and survive. 


WEEK ONE
Flipping through the photo album held many surprises. I saw things that I hadn’t remembered for a very long time, delightful things. With an overall impression of a sad childhood, this was a grace. As I continued through the years, the photos got more difficult to look at. Even the happy moments had an undertone of pain. I didn’t want to continue the exercise. I never made it to present day photos, and I think that’s ok. I think that’s all I can handle. Today I begin Week Two, with a bit of trepidation, but I will begin. 
Linda in MO


In my second week, I have found a real rich relationship with God.  I just cannot wait to see my dreams to come true.  I love the questions and the signs from God.


I'm so glad I'm doing this retreat. Even in the times I feel like I don't want to keep it up, or it's not really doing it for me, once I get back into it, I'm refreshed. I think one of the best things I've gotten out of it so far, is how I look at the MS in my life. It's only taken me 3 years (since being diagnosed), but I've finally figured out that it doesn't define me. And in the end, being healthy or not doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter. Living my life to serve God is what defines me. And following Jesus on my path to heaven is what matters. And that happens regardless of MS, or really regardless of whatever struggle I have. I must take up my cross and follow Jesus. And I'm thankful to be on this journey, where everything is a gift, but above all these gifts, is the giver of all gifts.

So, all that is easy to say, but harder to live every day. So I guess I'll just take it one day at time!


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.  
Here is a portion of the insights I received …

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.  
I am so grateful for this LOVE.  I welcome this embrace.  Thank you Jesus for your welcoming Presence.  
B Hubbell


I've started week 1
I love the picture. At this time in my life, my best friend, with whom I always talked "spiritual talk" with whenever we would go on our neighborhood walks together has pulled away from me. We've been walking/talking partners for over six years. 
She's starting pulling away from me back around Advent and it hurts.
However, I've concluded that maybe we've changed; that I have become kind of tiresome. Perhaps I need to be a better listener.
Anyway, this first week leaves me with the feeling that God's my friend. He's so accepting. Always has been. 
I'm looking forward to walking and talking with Him, and all of you on the journey.
I'll keep you in my prayers. God go with you all.


Week 1 - My birthday is tomorrow. My mom visited with me.  She always reminds me that it was  very cold the day I was born and how happy she was that I was her valentine baby; how I  was special because I was her first born.  Hey, there are graces and difficulties that come with that so I'll take the graces too😊. She always speaks so lovingly of how blue my eyes were and how platinum blonde I was ( cotton top) and how she longed to hold me.  She had a cold so back then she could only look at me for several days as a precaution.  Today she also talked about how my grandpa would ask if I was sleeping better at night because she said I moaned and made fussy noises all night which woke her repeatedly. When she'd honestly tell him " not really", he would just silently nod his head in acknowledgement of her struggle. So like my pa-pa.❤ In those days it wasn't common for men or fathers- in law to bother with such things but then he wasn't just any grandpa. He had a soft heart and he had a soft spot for me because, u see, I was his first grandchild. It renews my faith in the power of our souls to persevere for I was born during difficult times. In spite of that there were tender moments of caring and  love galore. God blessed me with a family who loved me and each other unconditionally.  Not perfectly of course for difficult times bring out the good and the bad in each of us. But they loved faithfully.- to each other and to our Lord.  And so they taught me and now I teach my family to love the same way.  What a huge blessing God has bestowed upon us.  That, in a "nutshell", is the story of my life.


Week 19 - As I contemplated the story of Jesus' leaving his home in Nazareth and then entering into the sacrament of Baptism, I remembered a time when I left home to do mission work. I eagerly left my family, because home wasn't a happy place. I went to Switzerland first, a foreign country with a language I had studied in school but was only learning to speak. Being immersed in a different culture, in a position of service--I worked as a maid and kitchen assistant in a retreat center, it was like being baptized by the Holy Spirit.

I was the only Catholic and had to take a bus or boat to Mass every week. The prayers were in German, but they were still familiar. The familiar was merely expressed in a different language.

I spent the second half of that year at a Navajo mission in New Mexico. Again, I left home eagerly, heading out to serve the People in the name of Jesus.

In both of these settings, the work was hard, and Jesus bore me up. 

The cultures were completely different from each other and from my own. I learned to respect people and take the time to get to know individuals.

I experienced Jesus in a new way that has never left me. I've never been the same.


Week 17 - I am confused by the juxtaposition of this week because I don’t believe that God gave us each talents so that we might play “small” in life.  Wanting poverty that is.  We are here to improve the world by using our gifts - and for some, that may bring wealth, recognition and fame.  I believe the challenge is to remain humble and not enslaved by the trappings of ego.  The trick is to always remember that we need to be a light and the hands of God.  I am working on myself to be able to put situations in perspective, to resist being ego driven.  I am a leader at work - and it is important to give praise and recognition to others to encourage others development and attainment of goals.  Everyone wants to be happy and have enough - it’s everyone’s job and challenge to help those that need it.


I have found my real love to God through the Jesuits.  I also want to share about my crisis as a pain in the Cross of Jesus and it has a merit.


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.  
Here is a portion of the insights I received …

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.  

I am so grateful for this LOVE.  I welcome this embrace.  Thank you Jesus for your welcoming Presence.  
B Hubbell
Lancaster, Ohio


I am meditating on Week 23, Jesus as lover and healer, and it is so cool because my Kingdom Community (who is not doing the online retreat) went down this path in our prayer hour yesterday. Jesus as lover and healer! We had a week of prayer and fasting in our churches this week and 200 people are showing up every night for prayer. Jesus is healing. Love how this intersects with where I am in the online retreat.


Week 31

Hi, I'm Anne and I have been blessed to find this retreat and have benefited from everyone's sharing.  I would like to share with you all a meditation on this weeks theme that can be found in the book THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE by Morton Kelsey entitled "The Road to Emmaus".  It is a beautifully written meditation that complements the material presented.  I hope you can all get a chance to read it.


I am in the 3rd week of my retreat. It had been a busy week and there were times I could not reflect on the task for the week. However I know our Lord is still with me and showing me that even in the busyness of daily life He is present with with me each and every moment.


I am in the first week and grateful that I found this online retreat. I need to discern as there are stirrings inside me that I need to take on a different pathway of my life to move into mission and humanitarian service. As I reflected on my past life for the first week I realized how our Lord had been with me guiding me gently in the ups and downs of my life.How in the past years, events had actually happened so that I would grow stronger in my faith. It’s been difficult to focus on the retreat in the busyness of my life but even while I struggle I know our Lord is there guiding me. I find the prayers and readings in the first week particularly helpful.

Mary
Penang, Malaysia


I am a prayer guide for the Exercises. And these past two weeks I have found myself in such desolation. I had my adult daughter here at Christmas and for whatever reason she was unrelenting in her unkindness towards me. I began to doubt (not a sign from God!!) my ability to guide anyone in the retreat, wondered whether I was supposed to even be doing any of this. The susipe seemed to mock me and I began to go inward and pity my situation. My son died unexpectedly a year 1/2 ago, my husband of almost 50 years has developed two kinds of cancer and with my daughter's unkindnesses, I felt overwhelmed and unworthy. BUT! The lessons of Ignatius are very clear about what to do and what not to do in desolation and I took those lessons to my heart ~ I have made no major decisions, have prayed more, have rebuked the enemy of my serenity, have brought back to mind the comforts I've experienced during times of consolation and have reminded myself over and over of God's enduring love for me. While there is desolation, the Exercises have taught me how to sit with the pain and the discomfort and the emptiness, have taught me how to recognize this for what it is, and not to allow it to run roughshod over my heart. I know God is with me, loves me, and that I love Him, and the rest will play itself out. I have asked for the grace of consolation, knowing it is nothing I can create for myself out of sheer determination or the like, and have prayed that whatever it is I am to be learning from this experience at this time be revealed in a way I can absorb. So while the Exercises do not guarantee a trouble free, or desolation free life, they do teach us how to manage when things are difficult, how to recognize what is happening and give us the grace to somehow find an acceptance within oneself that this is all part of the process of being human ... and at the same time, allows me to remain in love with our Lord. That is the gift of the Holy Spirit, through the generosity of Ignatius, that was given anew to me this Christmas. 


Week 16 — proves an enigma to me — try as you want Jesus is God and the second person of the Trinity — I would love to know much more about the hidden 30 years but quite frankly putting Jesus as another kid on the block who cheated at something stretches the imagination a bit — the hidden years a hidden for a reason — I have often wondered about the trip to Egypt and their lives in Egypt — the part that particularly disturbed is where I read that Jesus and His Father had to rethink something that they thought was a good idea at the time but needed tweeking!!! Excuse me is this the god we pray to and created the universe. Imagination is good and thinking about Mary pregnant is something that I never thought about — however, angels coming to you. Being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit etc. I am sure Mary and Joseph fully realized what needed to be done and kept all things in their heart — imagination is good and if it helps fine — but somewhere along the line while letting our imaginations run wild, we must realize that is God and not some 2 year old throwing a terrible twos tantrum — while I have learned much week 16, its readings and sharings have left me wondering if we truly understand what God has done for us — Remarkable, extraordinary, and loving — imagination about the lives they touched while in Egypt — imaginings what was God’s plan for Egypt and not somewhere else — are inviting — Jesus as a rough neck — bare chested stud — please!!!!!!!!!


Week 27

As I contemplate the Last Supper this week, I feel as if a terrible thorn pierce my heart. Wanting to convert to the Catholic Church, after some years of thinking, praying and having catechesis , the Eucharist itself forms the last obstacle. E.g., it is my state of being remarried to a woman, who herself is remarried too, - it is this, which makes my conversion so extremely difficult. Having both our first marriages nullified would be very hard for some people, and, besides, my wife does not think she has a good reason for having her first marriage nullified. I can do little or nothing about all this. I just pray Jesus to have mercy upon me in my situation. I am a Catholic in my heart, but I now have the choice of either converting to not being able to receive the Eucharist or being in my Lutheran Church, with my heart elsewhere. It is not as simple as some think, to get marriages nullified. It has some human costs for people involved.

Please pray for me.

Greetings from Norway.


Week 12:

To my Retreat Companions,
Thank you so much, each of you, for sharing from your hearts.  I believe we gain so much in many different ways from each other!
This week I have been physically sick, but I have had the opportunity to be able to go online and read and reflect some. And God has has been swirling in my thoughts and being as He always does.  
I think the first idea that The Lord brought to me this week is stated quite obviously in the title (and writings) of this week, but God needed to do a little work in me to fully begin to comprehend with my whole spirit. “God’s Compassion Missions Jesus”.  I began to fully realize the meaning of this statement while my brother shared about a CLC morning of reflection he attended that I was unable to participate in.  He said that Fr. Kevin Schneider brought up the point that Jesus ASKED the Trinity to be with us! -To be incarnate. In my mind, I had pictured God like a general fighting a war,  commanding Jesus to be with us and He went dutifully.  But No! The Trinity  in all Their love and compassion looked on us, and Jesus ASKED to be with us, with me! With tender love, compassion, and affection He said I want to  be with you, every one of you that I have created and you, dear Kristen, I want to be with you in the joys and the sorrows of your life, with you in sickness and in health of your life, I want to be with the better part of you and the worst part of you throughout your life, and then that you will ultimately be one with me. Will you help me to complete this mission that I have been sent?  ...How can I say anything but Yes! Yes to all that companionship and love and purpose!

As today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception I would like to add this.  A few years ago I attended a funeral of a mother of my daughter’s classmate.  I did not really know her because of her sickness with cancer and subsequent death, but she has left a beautiful mark on my heart.  The priest, during her eulogy, spoke of the Virgin Mary’s Fiat and of this woman’s personal fiat.  During that mass I asked the Lord, what is my fiat?  I believe that night as tragedy struck my family to the core God began to reveal what mission he wanted me to help Him with and I answered yes.  And so it has become over time, my personal fiat to love, forgive, be merciful as only I, a broken, conflicted, human person can do,  with Jesus. I am to guide, protect, preserve and rebuild my family in hopes that one day the hardships, sorrows, and wounds will melt away like snow leaving only beautiful blooms of love on my family tree- strong and  full of faith, love and mercy for the world.


Week 12: In my 20's I had the opportunity to work at a Navajo mission in a tiny place called Thoreau, NM. The most important lesson I learned was to serve Jesus in my work there. If I try to serve people, I get burned out. I got that notion from the writings of Henri Nouwen.

Anyway, working with the very poor people in our own country and learning about their culture changed me for life, or, as the Jesuit Volunteer Corps says, I was "ruined for life."

I have also worked extensively in a public charter school in Nashville. Again, I was blessed to work with the working poor. I also approached that job as service to Jesus.

We're called to be priests, prophets, and kings, but some say shepherd in place of king. I think we're all called to serve Jesus in our interactions with each other. If I serve him, I can follow him and do his will. In this way I can answer God's invitation of love and be with him always.

Kathy

Week 1:
Just stumbled on this online retreat by chance tonight before going to bed. As it happens, I was putting together a photo album of pictures of when I was a child tonight-strange coincidence then that the first theme used this analogy. Then I read one of the readings about God being with us as we walk through the fire - I again coincidently was reading that passage in a book last night by chance.
Gives me hope that God has used these synchronicities to show he is with me. I need hope … I believe, help my unbelief!


Week 10:
“I am listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?
All week I have been thinking I would like to do something for Jesus, however small, to start. God must have a sense of humor because in the middle of the week, before Mass, I was asked to be altar server as - Joe, a retired parishioner who serves at weekday morning Mass -  did not show up that morning.   I am also retired, with limited altar serving experience from a long time ago, but was assured that the priest would give signals on what to bring to the altar, etc.  So I agreed and proceeded to join our Pastor in reciting the Prayer Before Mass during which I could feel my heart burning or about to burst, a new or rare experience for this 66-year old.  The experience was repeated while praying the Prayer After Mass. What joy!


Week 12.  A sense of alienation from the retreat has been growing over the past few weeks. I find the idea of concocting an intimate love relationship with Jesus very off-putting; even creepy. At best, it feels fake and forced for me to generate an image of a male Jesus to fall in love with; it seems to me this will inevitably lead to idolatry—fashioning God after my own image of what I think I want in a love interest. Inextricably entwined with this is my awareness that the catholic church—to which I have tried my very best to belong, for some 35 years— is lorded over by men, men who insist that their maleness makes them God's chosen stand-ins for Jesus Christ on earth. Stand-ins for the God they call Father. I have suffered significantly—professionally, emotionally, and spiritually—at the hands of these men and and their attitudes and actions toward me—a woman. All this whipped-up devotion to a male Jesus makes we want to scream and vomit. I’m reading The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed: Uncovering Liberating Possibilities for Women by Katherine Dyckman, Mary Garvin, and Elizabeth Liebert as a companion in making this retreat. I am working with a therapist and a spiritual director as I once again take stock of the impact of parental neglect and decades of sexual harassment and abuse on my work and life, and try to move forward in hope and renewal. We’ll see where it leads. It is no fun. It is not “attractive” in the Ignatian sense.  I do believe that God has given me my particular experiences, perspectives and insights as gifts of power and grace for the world. I got just as wet as any man when I was baptized. It is “my duty and my salvation” to keep faith with these particular gifts. So perhaps a next step here is for me to proceed with the retreat’s invitation to imagine Jesus by imagining her as a woman—or better yet, a post-gendered person. Or perhaps—me.


Week 11 – I am loving this retreat. My heart is YES, YES, YES! God may be calling me to be a support for my abandoned nephew. Our family can offer so much more stability than my brother’s family can at this point in time. I am still listening to God about this, but I am willing.


WEEK 7: I have deeply realized the pattern of mistakes, which have touched my heart. Yet, I am a loved sinner. Jesus is truly accommodating. He is in my many life angles. " O, God grant me grace to desire more your Son in many ways and patterns of my conduct."


My 10th week blessing came in timely with my mother's confinement in the intensive care unit. She had congestive heart failure and still unstable. The call to be with me resonates the call of my ailing 98 year old mother. My siblings and myself after dialogue with my mother's physician agreed not to submit to extraordinary measures prolonging unnecessarily her pain and stresses. The call to be with me is my prayer that we will be around with my mother when her earthly time is going to end. It may be soon or not too soon. I ask our Lord to lead the way and give light if we are in the dark as far as journeying with my mother is concerned.


Week 32 "Dear Lord, I love you and I trust you.  I lay all of my troubles, worries, and concerns at your feet.  I wish to serve you.  I wish to share your Easter Joy with all of those around me.  Give me the strength I need, Lord; show me the way.  Thank you for your great mercy and love.  Amen"


Week 9: There was some resistance to moving ahead.
I lingered on the lost sheep
How the Lord left the 99
To go find the one that was lost.
What joy there is in being found,
Rescued, redeemed.
A loved sinner.
Thank you.


Am on week 9 and just read the reflection. What moved me was relating to God's love, forgiveness and healing by using the analogy of driving to a doctor for healing advice. I am battling cancer and am driving to Chicago tomorrow to get test results from a specialist. The Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways. 


Week 8
During the last week, I really wept for my sins. In so doing I found that this act was almost synonymous with experiencing God's mercy - so much love burst through that I was unable to fully focus on everything I had done wrong (even though I do have some awareness of the scope and depth of the patterns of my sins)! This week I have realized that the way in which I encounter God is predominantly tactile - it feels like being hugged tightly by a loved one. I was very moved by the image of the repentant son reciting his apology being met by his father, who has spotted him from a long way off and run as fast as he could towards his child, his arms open. I feel like my experience and understanding of God as a loving parent is becoming more secure - I can almost relax in the presence of God's love now.


WEEK 4:  My life has been in many ups and downs, particularly during my younger years. Now, this Retreat, made me more to feel conscious on how to balance.  That it is God’s Will as it comes to me through people and events in my daily life.  Fine tuning is needed in order to stay in Harmony with God and Jesus Christ.  I realized that Harmony in all dealings with living things and non-living items is crucial and that, I must always see the presence of God.  There is purpose for each object, nature’s condition, environment change, people’s movement around me and that I am responsible to making sure that my thoughts, desires, and every activity throughout the day are in harmony with God’s Will.  Hard though, but impressed by his holy Will.  They say, “it is a jungle out there”; “fast lane”; day-in day out”; “people change”; “tweet”; “holy macro”;.. and many more.  Harmony: Living in Balance.  This Guide has indicated to me the importance of my own Freedom, that when I come low in tuning, right up I have to exercise my freedom to consciously surrender my erroneous tendencies; that I then stay course in the Habits of my Heart with God.  Yes, God always call me wherever I am, for He is faithful to me.  Could I be always, that’s the fine tuning towards Harmony.


Dear Companions,

Week 7: I regret that this is only my second time I have written to all of you!  I have received much from your sharing and feel compelled to now do so for you in hopes that God may bring about blessing for you from it. 

These last few weeks have not been easy contemplating sin. There were times I avoided contemplating it, avoided talking with Jesus about it. But deep in my heart, I had a desire to be with Jesus and so I took some time with Him.  As always, Jesus loved me through it!  He graced me with the ability to truly open my heart to him and from there He gently and simply opened my eyes.  

Lord, show me what I need to face - Oh I sin in so many ways and my heart is so conflicted! I have caused others to suffer because of my actions and inactions!  And what have I lost or what have we lost because of my temporary gratification from sin?  Please forgive me!
And His love and mercy were there! Oh dear Jesus I am so grateful for your forgiveness! I can not live without you in my life!

God also gifted me with the interceding presence of St. Monica through this week as we prepared and celebrated All Saints Day and I am most grateful!  Thank you Papa God! Thank you for continuing to love me!


WEEK 6: I contemplate imaginatively being the prodigal son. Each time, I sin, I tend to go away from my Father. After all, it is the prodigal father as the main flesh in the story. My Father understands my vulnerabilities.  He welcomes me each time I come back to Him. My Father, is faithful, forgiving, compassionate God. His love and generosity cannot be outdone. The love of the Father, is revealed by the death of his Son, Jesus on the cross. Over and over again, my sin is washed off by the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus. I am always being His prodigal son.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing Archive

Read the Sharing for each week of the retreat, as people have shared their graces over the years.


Week 1 (Part 1)

Week 1 (Part 2)
Week 1 (Part 3)
Week 1 (Part 4) 
Week 1 (Part 5)

Week 2
Week 2 (more)

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Week 13

Week 14

Weeks 15

Weeks 16-17

Weeks 18-19

Weeks 20-21

Weeks 22-23

Weeks 24-25

Weeks 26-27

Weeks 28-29

Weeks 30-31

Weeks 32-34