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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


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.


Now nearing end of my 7th week. Thanks be to God! The grace being asked is feel fully or strongly the compassion of our Lord for my sins - I was able to make a confession during my 6th week and still affected more this week. Sins of indifference to the plight or pleas of the poor (in spirit and heart) as I sometimes get impatient attending to all pleas. Maybe because I feel so "good" about myself. At times, I get so exhausted - all because I think and believe that I am kind, sweet, helpful - not knowing that I go beyond the bounds of God's expectations. Simply put, I have also to be honest in saying I am not superwoman in a very polite way and not just express exasperation with anger or burst when I am already tired.

So this week, I felt that I should love more the poor (in spirit) in a very patient and truthful manner. It is not for the show but to be authentic and real in affection and disposition.

Thanks be to God!


Week 7

So far, these exercises have continued to reveal God to me in surprising ways. Just when I think I can no longer be surprised by God, God appears to me in a light I had never seen before! I have experienced God's love in a new and powerful way as a result of my time in prayer, and I remain grateful to him, trying to trust him more and more, determined to turn my focus outwards towards other people. The continued daily time in prayer has often been a lifesaver during busy working weeks, creating stillness and peace and helping me to understand my thoughts and feelings.

I remain amazed by the indescribable power of God's love, which I think I have experienced through a growing awareness of my own (and God's) vulnerability.


I have a mood disorder, and I'm stable, but my spiritual director recommended that I go back to Week 1 and recall the times when I knew God's love for me.

Two things came to mind today. The first is a memory of being six years old, outside my Sunday School classroom. I heard a clear question in my head: "Are you going to care, or not?" In that moment I chose to care. To me, it meant doing what God wants me to do. It has been the first defining moment of my life.

The second is that I used to sit in my room and read the Bible. I am adopted, and I was remembering how consoled I felt about the reading from Romans about God giving us a spirit of adoption. That has always made me feel equal to every other child of God. We're all adopted, and it's not "weird" to be adopted into the family of Christ.

I was really surprised to read that very reading this morning. It made me feel very loved and a precious child of God.


Week 6.  The introduction to the week says that the goal for the week is to know our sin so we can know the depth of God’s love for us personally. The Practical Help section for this week says,  “For those of us for whom past experiences of having been shamed, in its debilitating or even its abusive senses, has caused great damage to our sense of self, this grace needs to be experienced as totally different from that kind of destructive experience. The grace of this week can be very healing to a shame-based view of ourselves.”   I wish the guide said something about how that might happen. I have suffered lifelong psychic damage from long-term childhood neglect and abuse. I am working closely with a licensed professional therapist in a companion process with making this retreat. I am full of sorrow, rage, and regret for all the waste of my talents and skills, for the devastating isolation and loneliness, the crippling depression and lack of confidence—all consequences of what was done to me through absolutely no fault of my own. When I reflect on my life, I don’t see rebellion against God. I see astonishing, miraculous leaning toward God, the way a crushed and parched plant will still lean toward the light with each last living cell of its being. Overall, I have done the best I could. In any case, most importantly, I leave it to God to be the judge of the worth of what I have done and who I have been. I make the best choices I can in each moment, and let go of the rest. Going forward, I want more joy, more laughter, more music, more community, more comfort and ease in my life. I want to take more pleasure in daily things. I want to feel satisfaction in a job well done or a relationship well-nurtured. I lost my job a few months ago, and I want new work for which I am justly paid in which my deep passion and gifts and the world’s deep need meet. The work of the retreat for me right now is to own my history; to make peace with it; and with each pain and grief and loss to look for and focus on the “leaning to the light.” I am challenged to pray with Psalm 78. Can God spread a table in this wilderness? I want to trust God to lead me with a cloud by day and fire by night to a less constricted, more fruitful, more joyous and generous life. I want to recognize and praise the wonders God has already worked in my life. I want to take action today, each day, as if I had faith, as if I had hope, as if I trusted God to work miracles in me—even though I do not now feel faith, hope, or trust.


Sixth Week: It is my first time that I am following a retreat online; the in-depth reflections is a real eye opener for me to delve into the hidden pockets of my life which were safely tucked away; since I do confess my sins to the Lord on a daily basis apart from receiving the absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I am relieved that these have finally emerged. The corresponding readings for the week has thrown new light and a difference perspective in identifying my own sinful nature. I thank the Lord Almighty and the Holy Spirit for their guidance and thank the authors of this Retreat for helping me to strengthen my spiritual journey. 


In the first week, I began with memories of teachers who had a positive effect in my life: Sister Lorretta, Sr Jean Mary;  Brother Damian;  Br. Patrick Terrance;  Br. John Dunning. In another moment, I recalled some painful times in childhood;   the relocation to another State; loss of friends; and diffculites in early adolescence.

The desire is for  silence. 
There is a desire for clarity and focus.
There is a desire for  assistance in decision-making regarding  priorities in life at this time.


Week Four: There are several elderly people who live lives of praise, reverence and service.
It is an honor to be near them.
TomG


Week Five: Am moved to reflect on sin brought about by human weakness and frailties that expands to widespread social problems  such as wars, terrorism, drugs, corruption, disregard for human rights. What is shown in the photo resonates well with the conditions in the southern part of my country. And weakness and frailties are very much apparent in Philippine society right now. While some quarters are now jubilant about the "end" of work in the south, I am still wary if it will really end considering the depth of pain and wounds inflicted to the victims and affected including terrorists and criminals. And, seeing Jesus on the cross convinces me the reason why he died for our sins. I pray that those in pain and inflicting pain will come to be one in the cross of Jesus so that conflict, divisions, and differences will be eliminated from this planet Earth. Am I too hopeful? I guess this is what "unfreedoms" from the 4th week is all about. Freely I dispose myself to the love of Jesus. Lord, help me be an instrument of your love whatever and however you want to use me. Jesus please help me overcome my fears and hesitations. Amen!


Week five has been a struggle.  The paradox of sin and grace was different to grasp and fleeting attempts to think of historical atrocities made little impact.

Then this morning when I sat down in front of the window to meditate my eyes were drawn to the particularly beautiful sky.  Overcast, it was the softest baby powder blue, as if painted on with infinite care.  I was thinking how much awe and love for God it inspired in me and then in the back of my head I mused how hard it was going to be for me to look at sin again today.  Then it came to me that this same sky was there in Auschwitz, in Hiroshima, in Nanjing.  In Las Vegas.   How today it watches over Syria, Myanmar, North Korea.  I wondered if the victims would see it and find comfort.  And how the evil doers must have their eyes firmly downcast because there is no way one could see this sky and not be moved by God's presence.   I thought about how, just like this sky of His, God casts His gentle gaze over the suffering and His sorrow on the unrepentance of the perpetrators.

 I think this week is finally beginning to make sense. 


Week 5 was not what I was expecting it to be and I was not looking forward to beginning the week as I had in the past. Was afraid I would get stuck in the sorrow of remembering the horrors humanity can do. But I, with this week more than before, remind myself to stay on task. I know it can be easy to loose focus but when following the guidelines laid out for how to begin and end the day it helps a lot. I am feeling more than anything the grace of God's immense love for us, just as we are not as He would like us to be. That is salvation, that is unconditional love.


End of week 4 and it has truly been a blessed one. Each day I recalled memories of loved ones and the values they portray, the life they lived, that attracts me. They were honest, they were faithful, they loved much and loved very very well. They are vibrant and alive and living testaments to Christ. I want to be all that, those who have moved on and those still with me. I am drawn I find to the social activists, those who stand up for the children of God some people want to shut out, those who take a stand and are willing to take the heat for what they feel is right. Pope Francis, Father James Martin, Saint Theresa, Dorothy Day, St. Theresa of the Cross.....so many. And last but NEVER least, our Blessed Mother, Mary. Remembering my consecration and renewing it this week. Truly a blessed week. Looking forward to what week 5 has in store.


Week 3. Finished with personal gratitude. I found being more compassionate with all the creations, the many colors around me, the sound and sight of nature. God gave them all to us, incredibly abundant.  The many natures of His creations indicate that God's generosity cannot be outdone. By caring his creations--to me is serving Him. The three foundations, Praise, Reverence, Serve sum up to giving Him back my love unconditionally. Manny (san diego)


WEEK 2.  Slow but guided well.  Finished Week 2, here I found that God really gifted me with the talents to be able to understand many difficulties during my growing years. That, those difficulties are part of what I have become, being real, unmasked to be working harder to draw closer to God and his Son, Jesus.  That these sufferings are part of my self-sacrifices.  From one of the Readings, (BEGINNINGS), it is a reality check for me--I was able to release every painful thought of the past. A complete Review each day with the Daily Examen helps me to see myself, free from pains and sorrow.  Lastly, I learned to forgive those individuals who hurt me in the past, which I understand that they are also human.  That, I let my heart out open to others, particularly to my loved ones.  O, Yes, I ordered the book: Retreat in the Real World, just waiting to come in. I am really excited to go forth reading it and be able to finish more weeks of the Retreat. Manny, San Diego


Day 3 of the third week. This is what I have been waiting for since I was first told about this online retreat and I am loving the journey even if it is not always easy. I looked back over weeks one and two at parts of my life I am not proud of and acknowledging that God was there....and still loves me anyway was powerful. He loves me as I am while calling me to grow into who He calls me to be. Blessed beyond measure. Appreciative of all who share, I read through a few each night and some I could have written myself, a few I feel no connection too other than that I offer prayers for this stranger and give thanks for my life. No, it is not perfect and I have lost much but I am so rich in what really counts. God's unconditional love and forgiveness. I pray that everyone taking this journey comes to feel this truth.


Week One
Retreat Friends,
Here is the sharing of my reflections for this first week.  It was a week graced by God.  I was loved into creation and continue to be every day. I am from love.  My God has been  with me for my entire life, and this week I became more aware of His loving presence in particular memories of my life whether I was aware of Him at the time or not, whether I was turned towards Him or away.  My attitude and actions had no bearing on his presence and love for me in my life.   He was there and will always be with me.  I am blessed with a childhood that included being part of a loving family and my God continues to bless me. His love and presence and these blessings have fortified me to serve him in the ways he asks.  God is with me and loving me more than I can truly imagine!  I am so truly grateful for every moment because He was there loving me!
KW


I have just completed the First Week. It wasn't like going through a chronologically organised photo album of my life but more like taking photos out of several shoeboxes. Images and memories would come from different periods of my life. I was surprised to find that even painful incidents no longer have a painful impact on me as I recall them now - I remember feeling pain, anger, fear - but I no longer relive those highly fraught feelings. In going back over the last 12 months, I was also astonished to realise how many good things have happened to me - people that God led me to encounter and the events that came about following these encounters which have made such a positive difference to my life.


When I began this retreat last week I had a great sense of peace and also of anticipation. It seemed that I was setting out on a 34 week journey with God and it could only be good. I have a strong sense of trust and believe that my loving God is always present.
Gratefully, Colleen - Week 1


Week 1 was filled with many graces in walking through my life. I reflected on my development in a different way than I have before. I have always been aware of the blessings of my life but discovered some new things about an under current feeling of fear and not good enough. Along with that though, I could clearly see how God wove people in my life to love and encourage me. My struggles of fear and anxiety actually contributed to a special gift of empathy and understanding for others. It reminds me of the Scripture, Romans 8:28 , "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”. I believe that and have experienced that. But the week’s reflections helped me accept myself and step deeper in trust and acceptance of God’s love…especially when I go through times of suffering and uncertainty in my life and in the lives of those whom I love. - Week 1


Yes, my journey is onward to get closer each day to God and Christ. As mentioned, in the weekly guide.., this online version places simple exercise and with humility, it becomes a Habit of the Heart.., morning and evening examen prayers. Scripture Reading, Meditation, Contemplative Prayers--make up my Daily Journal, A Call Of Jesus. -- Thank you. Blessings. Manny - Week 1


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. All these things are part of living on God's planet Earth. Are we prepared to take care of it? The eighth corporal work of "Mercy" : take care of your home, Earth.


Middle of the first week and feeling the presence of God in all aspects of my life. The times I failed to live up to my potential, the good times, the bad times, times of loss and sorrow, times of joy and love - in all times - God was there. Grateful for this reminder of His loving grace that is in me and His forgiveness that is always offered. My prayer is to do a better job of keeping my focus on Him through all situations - past, present and future. In keeping my eyes on Him I can be a better person and see Christ in every individual. Not just those easy to love but in those who push my buttons and who I find it hard to like, much less love. Will continue to ask for the grace to see God in all people, places and events in my life. - Week 1

Thanks for inspiring material. For all that my life has been gratitude is the only response. Looked at old photos of family and saw one of me age five standing next to my brother's big bike. Was I thinking how I wished to grow fast so I could ride a big bike? Years go by too fast, often I neglect to see the gift of years. Why? Perhaps the pains and problems overshadow the joys. - Liz


I began the Online Retreat today for the first time and it made me go down the sad memory lane of my early childhood (viz. From around the age of 5). From my early days I missed togetherness in my family; we were always separated from each other, the five siblings and the parents, mainly due to financial constraints. I hardly saw my father although my mother and one other sibling was with me at that time accepting the generosity of food and lodging from a maternal aunt. But it was not my home. I never had any books to read or toys to play with and sadly looked around while others at my age enjoyed what a 5 year old would normally long for. As I grew up my life was no better as it continued from one sad story to another and it is too long to pen. But since I started having a daily journey and a relationship with the Lord my God, I know that He was there right through it all and that it was meant to be according to His Will and not mine. I say Amen to that as He has taken me through all the hardships and heartaches and continue to do so. I only know that HE IS ALIVE, not only with me, but IN ME. So, I thank and Praise You my Lord and my God! - Week 1


REMEMBERING MY LIFE: The Lord immediately showed me being in the womb- right before delivery- He reminded me of how I had heard His voice- saying it’s almost time to go (I immediately got sad and wanted to cry- I like it there) I had so many familiar sounds smells tastes lights - but the voice said I didn’t tell you- you were leaving so you would be sad I told you so you could be ready when the time came and look around now and remember- you won’t be back here the same way ever again. so I spent that night (I don't know if it was 1 night - or days) remembering all I could- saying goodbye- until all were repeating goodbyes- UNTIL: I was basically pushed- forced out of the safe womb-and then I heard them all cheering me on again you can do (I believe was one of them calling to me) BIG IDEA: How like that is of this time in my life- formerly comfortable at church- raising hands, singing/worship and prayer even prayer in heavenly language yet...God wants to take me deeper -into the heavenly realm /ascending. REVELATION: So as the womb was one world away /one layer from the exact same world yet so different- (same Mom voice when I was in the womb) but now same Mom still there only now more dimensions to Mom ! and so on you get the idea… HOW DOES THAT RELATE?: Just like the womb was inches yet a WORLD from being out side of it so is the kingdom of heaven-  It’s right there- yet we have to step into it. Wonderful contemplative time!
Thank you - Bonnie - Week 1


Looking back on my past is painful. I do not like doing it. However, I have felt I was always alone. Now I realize God was with me protecting me, comforting me and helping me heal. If I had not gone through so much pain, I would not be this strong and have such a strong faith. I pray every morning. Father “Use me till I am all used up.” I always hope to learn to think like God does.


Week 18: I am at the beginning of this week, and I am deeply moved by the fact that being worried also can be an attachment. In heaven, where I hope to come, I won´t be sitting regretting that I didn´t worry even more than I do, where I am now, in the midst of my earthly life. I pray to learn to see beyond my own worries, towards God.

A thankful retreat follower in Norway. - Week 18


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!


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.
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.

Sharing Archive

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


Week 1

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Week 2
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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