Sharing the Retreat
Week 6

 

Week 6


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.  

Barbara - Week 6

I feel a deep down love and healing from Jesus this week.
Something I've needed for a long, long time.
I took the advice of Week 5 to know my sins and immerse myself in God's mercy and forgiveness,
and thus seek and find the healing I've needed.
Thank you, Creighton, for your retreat. - Week 6


Justice and Peace - The Kingdom of God is Justice and Peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, Come Lord and open in us, the gates of your Kingdom!

This prayer made always always in a divided world of haves and have nots and the dilema of taking action which entails speaking out amongst and with the haves in defence of the poor. Further in doing so. why is it that this perspective can be wrong in me, a sinner loved by God, who reminds me that it is He and not me who is my guide and the one in control.  Take care that we need to respect others by not being self righteous.

However my drug addict has been reprieved, despite one of his employers being against this and in subtle ways, is trying to replace him with others.

Need to be watchful in supporting him.

As to my awful appalling ongoing sinfulness, seen in that wicked tempter jumping up and down, waiting to catch me out with his wicked wiles. At the same time, I am reminded of the Word and  I am so aware of the love and mercy of our Lord, waiting in the wings and keeping me safe from harm giving me His Grace and the Love of Him in my prayers. Thanks be to Him always. - Week 6


This week 6 is difficult for me. I can enumerate the offenses I've committed and the omissions as well but more at a cerebral level. It's very hard going trying to get it to an emotional/gut level for me, let alone to a freeing and liberating of the soul that all this promises to deliver IF we can get to that gut level. Bob. -Week 6

God save us from hotheads that would lead us to act foolishly, and from cold feet that would keep us from acting at all. ~ Peter Marshall


As I begin Week 6, in prayer I realize that I have spent too much time steeped in sin and little time in God's Mercy, Love and Grace. As I begin knowing my true self with God's help, I consent and open to this amazing grace of God's mercy and love. May I forgive myself as God forgives me so I may forgive others and move from living in shame to living in freedom. I am truly blessed. God loves me, a sinner! -Week 6


This week we are to look at personal sin, but we are also to look at the cross and to look at God's mercy. He has not destroyed me, so I have experienced his forgiveness and grace. I yearn for the road back, which I was sure I was on until being tested once again, I failed. So I am here. In need of mercy once more. God, give me the strength to love. -Week 6


I found something beautiful on the Internet as I began a bit late reading the Preparations for Week Six. It is a You Tube Video Documentary (Parts I and II) narrated by the Actor Martin Sheen on the Life of Saint Paul of the Cross, Founder of the Passionist Order. It brought back memories for me of my days in Zaragoza Spain, when I lived next to a Passionists Monastery and met a Holy Priest named Father Pablo. It also brought memories of my retreat last Easter at Christ the King Retreat Center, a Passionist Hermitage in downtown Sacramento (Citrus Heights Suberb actually) California. My point being that the Cross of Jesus and His Passion really made it easy for me to focus on my sins without despair, but with real shame.
I'll try to remember all of us this week, as we share the Online Retreat. -Week 6


I am also doing the retreat alone and without a spiritual director. For those of you who have shared and wondered if anyone ever reads the posts or if your post had an impact, I have read them and yes, they have had an impact. I have felt so discouraged at times, and week 6 is a hard week. Knowing that many of you have experienced the same things that I have gone/am going through has made a tremendous difference and has given me the encouragement I needed. Thank you, and God bless you! -Week 6


Forgiven-Week 6

How do I recognize sin,
Especially my own,
And expose my shame
To the world and to myself?
I have long hidden behind
A veil of rationalizations,
Desiring respectability
In the eyes of others;
And the beautiful self-image
Of trying to be good.

If I go back to my childhood
And continue to my present,
That is surely a lot of digging;
And I will be tainted
With the dirt and the mud
And the pain of my lurid past.
How can I know more fully,
Your mercy and love
By digging out and recognizing
The sinfulness of my humanity?
This is confusingly mysterious!

From my youth, have I not made
Enough tearful confessions
That washed away my sins?
The prodigal Father should have
Told His prodigal son to first
Take a bath and wash away the
Filth of the foreign lands where he
Squandered away his inheritance,
Then celebrate his return from death.
But He did not!

Filled with compassion and joy,
He ran to his son as He saw him,
Met him in the fields and
Had a coat, ring and sandals brought out,
Celebrating with the fatted calf,
He restored the son to His house.
And I felt I too was forgiven
By a love that is just waiting
For my heart’s door to open.

But I also saw myself as the second son!

Angry, disappointed and envious,
Because I did not even have a goat
To partake of with my friends,
While I was I with Him, serving Him.
I refused to enter His house,
To share with Him this time of joy.
I could not help it.
I too needed a bath
To wash away the clinging
And envious dirt from
My work in the fields.
Not realizing that being with Him
Was itself a fulfilling joy.

I am just too human
To know the difference
Between sinning in a foreign land
And sinning in my Father’s house.
When in both instances
I put distance between me
And You, my loving Father.

Maybe I will never overcome
My humanity. But You, Father,
Are forever present within me.
The more often I open my heart to You,
The stronger my love for You will be.
Forgiven, Your child I will Forever be.

Many thanks.
Chacho


I started week six yesterday but as with last week am finding it difficult to concentrate. It's as if I'm shying away from sin, afraid to face it, and then it occurs to me that's a recurring sin, I have often lied if I have broken rules or done things others would disapprove of, so they will not think of me as bad. I suppose that the approval of others is very important to me. And yet God loves me just as I am, I need to accept that and also to realise that is enough. Thanks be to God for that insight.


Week 6: Even as I look upon the deep and dark sins of my lifetime, all I feel is the intense gratitude of seeing Christ redeem me over and over again. I have received the grace of tears this week. I hear this prayer a lot "Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so."


Week 6: 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


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.

I'm coming to a close on week 6.  I have been delving in and out of it for the last 14 or so days.  But I feel that I have concluded it today.  Realizing that :
 Sin abounds, but Grace overflows and conquers through Jesus Christ our Lord and King.  

Life in all it's fullness includes pain and the mundane, but it is never meant to stop there, and in fact, in Christ, that is just a springboard into the Glory.  

Praise the Lord for His faithfulness as I continue on this journey in prayer through the Ignation Retreat.  
Christine M.


I am on week 6. I want to praise and thank God for all who put this on-line retreat together.  I've done some of it before a few years ago, and now I am back.  What a blessing. Thank you and Thank God.  Amen.


Week 6: Surely it is no coincidence that as I reflect on the thoughts for this (for me) week of the retreat, I am also hearing about the devastation and destruction caused by Sandy, about the mother who lost her two young children, swept away in the raging waters after being refused help, but also about the strangers who helped each other. What a striking example of both sin and its destruction, and the redemption wrought by love.


Week 6: S - self-centered replaces selfless sharing  I - isolation replaces inclusiveness N - negligence replaces nurturing sin blocks GOD working through me to reach out in love to everything and everyone. Epiphany: You mean, those self protective, bullet proof, glass walls I've spent a/my lifetime building around myself do not serve you Lord... Joshua fought the battle of Jericho - Jericho - Jericho - Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and the walls came tumbling down... and I cry...Lord - your killing me here...and HE answers...yes..."...that you might have life and have it to the full." Jn 10:10 Is that a Rams Horn I hear??? FIAT !!! Lord, I soooooo love you Loving me - loving you - Loving me   :-) Annie


Week 6: This week got off to a slow start for me and the sharing section was probably the most helpful in pointing me towards my weekly "aha" moment, so thank you to all those who take the time to submit these insights.  This week I have recognized a long standing pattern of worry and "what ifs" and "if only's."  This pattern of self doubt has haunted me for years and has always had "me" at the center of it.  I have been to self centered to recognize that God has the situation under control and to have the faith that He has a plan for me.  All I have to do is to learn to trust in Him which is not quite as easy as it should be for me after all these years of feeling that I had the control (or lack there of??).  Hopefully, I will get better at this over these next 28 weeks...


Week 6 & beginning of 7 as well as lenten retreat are doing wonders for me. I lost my teaching job in gov. Now I understand that this was meant to give me more time with God. I am not in a hurry at all. God is talking to me and creating me thru this retreat and through this waiting period. If I had been working I would hurry off & come back tired. On the subject of sins. I have just been awakened to the fact that have been sinning in "secret and yet in God's full view" because even darkness is light for him and he leads me even to the ends of the earth (Ps 139). Yet he calls me a sinner "precious" Isa 43:4


Week 6:In one at least of my poems I wrote once of the sly and disguised face of evil. Today I was led to reflect that I have been taken in by that spell, and I thought I was “immune”. Hypocrisy. It sounds so obvious and blatant – as it is – but it disguises itself so subtly and this week’s guide alerted me to look for the subtle forms of “rebellion” and behold! once pride was put in its place (I would never be guilty of that!) hypocrisy was revealed hiding behind it. Alas! This week has been a very hard one. Hard to confront the sinfulness that is such a part of my life – “my sin is always before me; what is evil in your sight I have done”. Hard also to grasp that it is this very sinfulness, this rebelliousness, this antithesis of praising, reverencing and serving God that Jesus knows, understands and died to ensure that this sinfulness – mine and the world’s – not only can be, but is, overcome finally and definitively. Hard to stand beneath the cross and to know that whether I chose to be there or not, God so loves me and so desires my salvation that Jesus would die for me anyway. Awesome!

Week 6:This is very difficult.I can understand that my God is merciful and forgiving but I am holding on to the pain of my sins and struggling .My humanness is overwhelming.I read somewhere yesterday that anxiety is self centered.Thus looking at my own sinfulness and the anxiety it causes is again,selfish and not focusing sufficiently on Christ.Lots of work to be done this week.Thank you to everyone who is sharing their struggles this week also.


Week 6:This is a week that is very important, but very hard, depending on the person.  For me, the hard part is the "pouring out our hearts, friend to friend -- with growing gratitude" (p. 45).  I now know that this is a grace I need to pray for, the grace to share my heart, friend to friend -- with the Lord.  It is not something I do easily.  When growing up, I learned well to protect my feelings and sharing was not always well-received, desirable, or expected.  

But, it is clear that (p. 47) "I want to feel your (the Lord's) love the to the very depths of my being, so I know that first I have to feel your (the Lord's) forgiveness."   Thank you all for your prayers that I receive two inter-related graces this week: the grace to want to share my heart with the Lord and the grace to share my heart, friend to friend, with the Lord.  

One last idea: When I connect my reflection of my own sins to the social sins of Week Five, it seems more meaningful for me: the idea that the rebellion from God we see in the world is the same rebellion in one's own heart.  In these times of great rebellion around the world, it helps to know that there are good rebellions that can bring us closer to God (and to each other) and other kinds of rebellion that take us away from God (and from each other).  This is a third grace to pray for today: to know which rebellions are good ones and which are not, in our own hearts, in our own lives.  


As I begin Week 6, I feel flat, a little worn out and pulled in many directions.  I have felt a deep connection and peace when I have been with others this week but this same contentment also feels overwhelming.  Is that the love of Christ?  An overwhelming contentment that leaves us spent?  How can I be okay with just this moment and not continually evaluate it in terms of output or activity?  How do I become symbiotic with God's love to live it out in my actions and not just crave the wonderful thoughts/feelings it gives me when I am praying/reading/thinking alone?


Week 6 Haiku

Out of darkness
To a Light of a new day,
with thanks to Thee, God.

-Ellen H.


Week 6

This week is hard for me. I wrote pages on my sins and how I have made people's lives bitter. And yet I was so busy.. too much absorb in myself.
On his part, God's love is enourmous, I am still alive, breathing and walking around.

Oh God please forgive me, give me a chance to confess and be cleaned. I love you and hurting your feeling is never on my list on things I want to do. I never want to make you sad dear Jesus, but I have failed to closely watch my actions. I really want to repent. I am grateful that you have lovingly remind me. 


Day Week 6 Sharing
Thank you Lord for the many blessings given me on this retreat.
Your call for renewal reaches at the very core.  I have seen how I sabotage my self through self-gratification- overeating and not exercising, overconsumption in useless buying sprees.  Could it be that my neglect of self-care meant lack of self-love, poor self-worth.  It could also stem from my fear of rejection, my need for acceptance, pleasing others to the point of losing ones self-identity.  Works of charity and unceasing activities to help others are made visible to the point of forgetting personal needs.
Lord, I am sorry for my habitual judgement of others, criticizing others, making negative comments, lying, gossiping, procrastination, envy and laziness.  All these I surrender to you Lord so I may continue to work effortlessly to help establish the kingdom of God.
My heart sings in gratitude for Your forgiveness, mercy and compassion.


Week 6:Years ago, in his wisdom, our Parish Priest had the Monstrance exposed in our Church between 4pm and 6:30pm on Fridays.   No rituals, no music, no readings and no Benediction service.    We were invited to be there, for any short or long amount of time we chose, and be in silence.   In those days contemplation and meditation were unknown to us as Parish members and we truly didn't know how to handle the peace.   

With perseverance the gift of this time to me came as a realization as I sat in the Church, there was only me and Jesus.   This was my very Creator, so why pretend - why hide who I am.  Why spend so much energy living a lie.    The creator knows what he makes and God made me.   God became a God to trust for guidance.
 
This attitude has served me well up to week six of this retreat.  Now I learn that God loves me, not just as a created and "owned" creature, but God meets me in a love bigger than my sin and greater than my shame.   In my meditation I looked into Jesus' eyes as He hung on the cross, expecting to see His physical pain and feel a personal remorse.   He looked back at me - past all the blood and pain and sweat - with a love that simply thanked me for being there.


Week 6: First, I want to thank all of you who have shared your insights.  I have been helped greatly by them, nearly always finding someone who seems to be speaking directly to me.  I have had a hard time in Week 6 feeling sorrow for my sins, I think because they are mainly sins of omission- promptings of the Spirit which I turned aside.  But I have been prompted this week to look more closely at my "moderate drinking" (usually 3 glasses of wine per day) and face the fact that this has been my way of desensitizing myself to the needs of others and deadening any creative responses to those needs.  This is how I block out what the Spirit could be saying to me.  Currently, I seem to be having some success in reducing this habit - by recognizing the habit as a sin or a temptation to sin - and  am grateful to the Lord for breaching my defenses in this retreat.  Neil

Week 6: I was thinking of the subtle ways I sin in week 6. I am discovering that sometimes I do things for recogniton and when I do some good deed and it goes unrecognised, it hurts. This hurt feeling comes very easily and all sorts of things can happen. I keep that record of wrong, I hold on to the grudge and retreat to lick my wounds and I  plot some kind of revenge eg I am not going there again or I'm not talking to him again... I dont feel free, I clam up, go inside my self.  There I see the need for forgiveness immediately. God loves me, recognizes me, accepts me and forgives me immediately.  No need to linger God's love is always there immediately.  Alleluia. 

-Lynda


Week 6: This is about personal sin. If I really get started I'll be at it a long time.  I've been warned about scrupulosity.  Funny how knowing the real meaning of the word changes things. I always thought to be unscrupulous was a bad thing so the opposite must be a good thing.  Not at all as I've found out.
If we had no free will then God would be the puppet master and everyone would be perfect.  How glad I am that He didn't arrange it that way!  How can love mean anything if it's not free?  Even though I've fallen many times He brings good even out of my imperfections. If I'd never sinned I'd never be able to start to grasp the depth of His Mercy and Forgiveness. And even
as awesome as those are, personally I've found that His forgetting is even more amazing!  Eternity won't be long enough to thank Him for His great love that puts up with me and still welcomes me back into His arms and into His family.

I am week 6. Last night, Holy Thursday, I gathered with many to celebrate. These 6 weeks helped me celebrate with more awareness than ever before. During the Gospel, "Do you realize what I have done for you?"(John 13:12), jumped into my mind, heart, body and soul powerfully. I believe that the "background" exercises done so far prepared me for this Good News question. My answer is incomplete and a new beginning.

How timely is week 6!
I simply offer this weeks retreat for me and my siblings but mostly for my "little sister" as she completes her couples retreat today and we pray that God's grace and forgiveness intervene and protect her family, two little boys and husband from the destruction of sin and personal rebellion. Her brother and sisters are no stranger to her same pain. I humbly ask God for forgiveness for my own rebellion as well as that of each of us that struggles to walk with Jesus
--Mark

Week 6: I'm new to this sharing business, but reading what others have shared has made such an impression on me, that I finally decided to try.


I'm in Week 6 -- have been for the past 3 weeks. So many sins in my past and present life! I spent a lot of time trying to analyze and list them. Here's the result (next week I'll probably add some more!):

-Being self-centered, rather than "others-centered" -- failing to see Jesus in everyone I meet and treating them accordingly.

-Unwillingness to help others spontaneously without first considering the effort and discomfort that that will cost me.

-Emphasis on "having fun" rather than engaging in pastimes that would improve my mind, my body, my heart, and most of all my immortal soul.

-Impatience and unkindness -- losing my temper at the slightest provocation and launching into verbal abuse in an attempt to hurt him/her who is the cause of my anger. How petty I can be!

-Wanting to plot and plan every detail of my life, rather than leaving that to God. I don't have faith/trust in God's ability to look after me as well as I think I can by myself. I am unwilling to "let go" and trust God to work his Will in my life. I guess I fear that I may not like the result. I want to retain a "veto" power over what God wants me to do or not to do. I want to be "in control" over every aspect of my life. Maybe it's that old sin, Pride?

-Sure, I want to do God's Will -- but I still want to overeat and overdrink, gamble, miss Mass on Sunday when it interferes with my vacations, have sexual freedom, and generally ignore what the Church teaches us about our moral responsibilities. Why can't I realize that "No man can serve two masters"?

I need your prayers. I need to continue with this Retreat -- it has already started to change my life for the better. But I need to slow down -- I sped through the first 5 weeks but now I realize I've got to give God's grace more time to work in me. I don't know how much longer Week 6 will take, but I'm sure God will let me know when I'm ready to move on.

I sure do like to read the comments of all the others who are making this retreat -- I feel bonded with all of them in a type of spiritual kinship I've never known before.
-- Joe


Week 6: This is my second time through the Exercises. The past few weeks have been hard but I know that our Lord only gives us what we can handle. And he shows us where he wants to heal us. So, yes, looking at sin is difficult but the beginnings of healing are tremendous! When I started to look at the patterns of sin in my life, I prayed to find the deepest roots of my sin. Where had I been malformed? What lie did I believe along the way? I was told once by a religious that fear is the root of all evil. So what I am I afraid of? As I started to connect the dots in week 6, it came to me. “You are afraid of not being loved.” The more I contemplated that statement the more it became an answer to, “why do I do the things I do?”It took me a couple of days to come to terms with this truth. The Holy Spirit was very generous with gifts of understanding and knowledge. I read all that the website had to offer, I realized I had believed a lie. I am loved! My heavenly father is crazy about me! I don’t need to control my relationships or conversations. I don’t need to be extra sensitive to how I am being treated or spoken to. I can even knock off the self-deprecating humor! I wasn’t carrying it off well anyhow…I used to see myself as the older son in the parable of the Prodigal Son. That is part of my pride. Upon further reflection and mega doses of knowledge, piety and wisdom I see that I am the younger son on my way back to my father. For the first time in my life, humility feels wonderful.

Dear brothers and sisters in God,
This week I am in 6th week. As everybody says " a very difficult one ". In my country there are no Jesuit priests, that is why I mail to you, for certain topic, that I need help, support and lead.First two days in this week, I spent on my deeds and sins, I did till I became 18th. Suddenly a thought came to my mind " since I was not baptized at that time, those sins are not existing for God ". In fact I baptized myself, when I was 29 years old, at 1989. I was really led by God to do so.Now my question is whether to consider the time before my baptizing as a blank period for sins or bad doings, because in fact I did not know God and His will and commandments and the scriptures. In the communist times, that was even forbidden. Or I have still to contemplate at least the bad behaviour of mine against the other people arround me. Pax Christi!
-- Sofia

Week 6: God is with me in such a special way today. Playing music from the St. Louis Jesuits in the background, I picked up the book: "Healing Life's Hurts" by Dennis and Matthew Linn, S.J. A book I've had since the 1980s--but never read. NOW is the time I need to deal with the "healing memories" approach used by these two Jesuits. "Healing of memories happens when we discover that a painful time of our past need no longer cripple us but can bless us. In coming to appreciate how every moment can gift us, we discover for ourselves what spirituality and psychology has recognized as key to the healing process."

I picked up the directives for Week 6 of the 34-day retreat again and re-read the guides given to us. This time the directives really grabbed hold of me. The grace of this week is "to experience deep gratitude for the profound depth of God's love and mercy for me." In reflecting on the theme of this week, my thoughts reverted back to the awe-inspiring image of the crucified Jesus on the wall of the chapel in the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh. The image compels us to take notice of the profound love, faithfulness, and generosity of an all-forgiving God. Yes, by letting myself feel the sin in my life--crying copious tears of repentance--I received the grace to "know God more intimately…as I was overwhelmed with God's love for me there--as a sinner." Yes, sin is how I violate, ignore and freely choose to replace God's prior relationship with creatures using my own "self-centered blue print."

I then remembered the song of Mary Magdalene in “Jesus Christ Superstar:” – “If He said He loved me, I’d be lost, I’d be frightened. I couldn’t cope, just couldn’t cope. I’d turn my head. I’d back away.” --feeling totally unworthy of His love for me. I pray that I may grow in my understanding that "God intensely desires us to come more and more alive, alert, aware and sensitive to His presence in His presents (gifts)… Forgiving us is God's judicial side; continuing our personal creation is His compassionate side.""God, I am most grateful for your ongoing redeeming love that both cancels the debt against me and that opens me to have life and have it to the full." Help me with your grace and your love.

Week 6. This week has been very challenging. I am overwhelmed by the disorder of my sins. I am surprised to discover that my sins of omission-"in what I have failed to do" bring the most guilt. I imagine Jesus sitting beside me holding my hand as I address and ask for forgiveness for my sins. May all of us emerge from week 6 with forgiven and reconciled hearts.
--Adele

Week Six: Who ever said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, should have added sin to the list. Despite my best intentions, I sin. I should be completely depressed with such a defeatist attitude, but I am not. While sin can be the death of a soul, I prefer to think of it is another opportunity to turn to my Savior. Even when he cures me and says, “Sin no more,” I interpret that as a hope that I do my best. And whether it be the sins of society or my personal sins, I know the Original sin has led me down this path of sin and death. The only cure for both is “dying to myself” which I seem to instinctively resist. I know I am called to not be instinctive, but to act deliberately, weighing the value of my actions for God’s Greater Glory.

Week 6: I have reflected during the week on the nature of sin. I sought out the definitions: Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, the Church Catechism. My favorite is Augustine’s commentary that it is the absence of God. It seems especially true when I think of those central tenets of love: of reaching out with compassion to those in need, of turning the other cheek; of becoming known for the love that we show each other.

In meditating on this I couldn’t help feeling that my daily commute between home and work is a great battle plain in my struggle to exercise these tenets where I so often encounter the absence of God in my behavior. So many times I have set out on commutes, sometimes directly from church and deep meditation, with the firm intention of exercising these Christian virtues that I hold dear to my heart. But then someone cuts in front of me, or dodges in and out, or lazes along while talking on their cell phone. I almost always fail after a mile or so. I rant, I shake my fist, I honk, I squeeze the space in front of me- no matter how hard I try. It happens every day. At its core, this behavior of mine is putting forward my own ego. How dare they! At its core it is no different than long bitter family feuds, at its core it is no different than the ancient conflicts between peoples, or the random violence of terrorists. I really believe this. Putting one’s self before others is at the core. It is the absence of God in my decision making. Who knows how we might act when faced with different circumstances when we constantly think about our own self first?
-- Dan

Week 6: After getting through 6 weeks I have had to start from the beginning..The confusion and doubt as to what was happening had created a bottom which there was no other way to go.After returning to the beginning a flood of pictures from the past became overwhelming.Writing these down this time has given this retreat new meaning and a direction in which to go without the confusion.Knowing that God is there and helping has been a comfort in itself.Everywhere I look I am seeing what I needed to see the first time but was too insane to see.Having someone there to share with while I have been taking this journey, I am grateful for.An accident which one of my children would most certainly lost her life in and came out with only scratches was God's doing and has giving them a belief which was not there before either.I have to thank God for the ones he has worked his wonders through by giving me this retreat.
-- Cathy


Week 6 has been hard for me. I find it easy to welcome distractions and not think about what I need to. I feel like I have spent the past several years focusing on my sins and this is confusing. I just need to pray for God's guidance in showing me what he wants me to see at this time. I always try to focus on the mercy of God in my daily life. It is my hope and strength. I think maybe I need to look at my attitude toward myself, in loving and accepting myself despite all my shortcomings. May God help us in helping ourselves. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!


I have found that making use of various links and ministries increases my concentration.
I also tend somehow to choose things that relate but they don't have to. A talk I went to suggested varying spiritual practices. anything done often enough seems to go smoother when spirituality applications are varied.

I feel like God's begining to come in closer which just makes me smile. To change the world we have to start with ourselves. It's like in the gospel where it says about how can change what is blocking our neighbor's sight until we first change what is blocking our sight.

Six weeks completed.

Week 6 contained this statement:"...sin is the action which flows from the attitude that my selfish, greedy and irreverent relationship with any of God's creatures replaces God's own relationship with them."
So here I bump into myself. I depersonalize people who impinge on what I value. Yes I see the contradiction in that , given that I maintain that my deepest desire is to do God's will. We are talking about sin aren't we. I realized that I seem to have defined myself by my stand against those who are dangerous, controlling, disrespectful and arrogant. Consequently I have to retain their sins; keep their sins alive in my experience. That keeps me bound into my own sin.
I need to let God define me instead of letting sin do so. The retention or forgiveness of sins is interesting. It shifts the impact or effect of retention or forgiveness from the sinner to the sinned against. The sinner may have long ago ceased to sin and been reconciled to God, but the sinned against, by holding onto the sin , that is retaining it, continues the effect of the sin and so continues the sin.

Week 6: Again, I find this week difficult particularly since I really like self improvement programs and I recognise patterns of sin in my life that just don't go away. What have I being doing? That's where I found the short excerpt from Father Kavanaugh, "Our Sinfulness and Our Goodness" useful. It's equally as problemmatic not recognising being loved as not recognising our sin. So I feel greatful for God's love and I realise that I need to give up the idea that avoiding sin and the occasions of sin is not a self improvement program. In fact, a good deal of the root of my sin lies in being so anxious to do something or what will happen next that I ignore everyday situations as opportunities to praise, revere and serve God. When I do that self indulgence and self-centredness takes over. I need to rest more in God's love for me and let that grace really take over.


Week 6: The intro to week 6 makes very little sense to me. This is because I AM one of the ones on "the bottom of the totem pole".......I don't live a comfortable life and I do give to others.....anyone who does paid or unpaid work for a parish office can tell you horror stories of how unChristian both lay members and clergy can be.

And, no, I DON'T see this big love God has for me......not if I am to get it from the examples of my fellow parish members, or even from members of the clergy.

This past weekend, a priest mentioned something about if we could allow ourselves to do small things that only God sees......such as picking up a piece of paper off the floor and throwing it away......shoot, I've been doing stuff like that most of my life, without thinking about it, it's just something I do. The problem is with church persons who think I'm daft or someone who they can take advantage of, not merely because I am "that way", but, because they also know that besides what I naturally do, I also try to do "extra". And then they treat me like dirt, because they know that I will attempt to forgive, even if/when I get angry. Where's God in that? I don't know.

I guess that's my exercise for the week, to seek God in the midst of my experience of being rudely treated by my fellow Christians. Well, that puts me back in St. Paul's prison letters, I suppose.


Week 6 I realized late in life that being a sinner had less to do with shame, wrong-doing, and judgment, and more to do with a love relationship. I thus became a sinner late in life – only when I truly experienced god-like, unconditional love.
-- Anita


Sixth Week - hard but get relief from discovering my arrogant rebellion and history of aggression or flight when I don't get what I want - all through the grace of God of course.

Week 6. Talk about sins with some friends and about confession. We don't seem to go to confession. I said to myself that I would go this week but too busy and did not set the time for it. I seems to be to busy, veryl ittle time for God. I fall down again and have to pick myself up with Jesus help and try again next week.


Week 6
: During the week, a thought prompted by the liturgical readings get popping into my head. "If I know all I know about Jesus ....why do I not change immediately ....? Why do I repeatedly return to my rebellious ways? I see what is required. I want it". Then traveling for work this week reminds me that at the root of a lot of my rebellion is my self absorption. Somehow, traveling presents little vignettes that get repeated over and over again, from assumptions I make about others (often erroneously negative) to just plain focus on getting my own way (when God's way might be the alternative). I relate deeply to the scene of "auctioning off the cross". I imagine that even in the noise that is surrounding this event there is someone there who sees the deeper meaning of the cross. I see in my own life that often when I have been auctioning off the cross there are ironic graces there. These are often people who bring me back ... get me out of that place of sin and help me to return to the Lord's grace.  But I also think more deeply that in the repeated patterns, which can be easy to rationalize, the really "shameful" parts are the consequences on others ... some who are even these "messengers of grace". So when I am at my most self destructive, I am inhibiting what I can give to others. When I am feeling physically violent (whether or not I physically harm someone) I am preventing peace from really flowing. As I reflected last week ... the seed of peace start internally ... rationally debating the "real politik" of war does not bring the radical change that I think the Lord is calling us to.  At any rate, I continue to be thankful for the graces that keep appearing in my life to turn me away from auctioning the cross to actually reaching out to buy it and maybe carry it out of that hall.



When I did an overview of WEEK 6, my thoughts were, "don't go there". As a gay man as soon as I think of sin I think of my orientation. As much as I have spent a good deal of time trying to integrate, the old tapes if you will, keep coming on and cause much pain. The institutional church has never been a help and only a hindrance. So my thoughts have always rested with a God who made me as I am and loves me as I am.
This week however I started to hear another voice the voice of Wisdom/Sophia that basically said, "get over it". As long as I keep thinking of my orientation as sin I don't look at any other part of my life. There is plenty there to look at and ask forgiveness for. My orientation is like my lack of hair, it does not define me.
This week as part of my prayer I would spend time holding a cross given to me by my closest friend, who died this week five years ago. As I stared at the corpus I became aware of my Lord saying to me, "I love you just as you are!" From that moment I started to look at my life, and found a man who dresses as a "warrior" when dealing with issues and does not take them to prayer. So my actions cause pain to others pain that I have always reject in the institutional church, I was no better than Rome.
Still my God says, "come to me and live in the light."
Instead of this week being heavy with sin, my sin has become a passage to freedom and a way into the arms of the crucified Lord. Praise be Jesus Christ!
Thank you for the gift of this week.
--R of RI



I am finishing the 6th week.....seems God is always spoken of as a person and how can a person be everywhere and part of us....the image doesn't work for me......this past week I have struggled, as always, to believe and know that God loves each of us as we love out own children....."the God within" is in many readings ...that was a hard image for me to grasp......as I was struggling with this the other morning the thought, image or whatever one want to call it, came to me that God is the force that lives in all of us everywhere .......the force is love....we have heard that too, that "god is love".....when we act and often badly and for what we see as for our own good the force transforms us (resurection ?) and our acts to heal the effect caused.....that gives us hope that "all will be well" as Julian says and that love, which is God, is always working for our well being and is always with us....when i take the personhood out of my image of God so much becomes clearer and more hopeful....I have a grown son with schizophrenia and for such a brilliant mind to be so afflicted has been a 25 year struggle and when this new image of God came to me I finally could see that God was with him and caring for him....... his family's care, love and concern for him was the force of God and we are the instruments.....his father died when our son was 19 ......I try to feel he is still involved but I believe he is.....I hope this makes a bit of sense to my fellow retreatants wherever you are,,,,this retreat is a wonderful oasis to turn to each day.....P.S. Last week I took two
young grandchildren to the observatory to see some events going on in the sky ......it is a spiritual experience to observe the awesome power of this force I am seeing as God.....what is in store for us in eternity?



Week 6
:As a contract worker, I entered this week's retreat knowing that my assignment was ending on Friday and with no prospect for another one in sight. It seemed quite appropriate that we've been meditating on our selfishness & self-centeredness. I've been a recovering alcoholic for more than 23 years and it's been part of my recovery to learn to "get out of self", "help others", and "it's not about me." On the second day of the retreat, I found out that a friend in recovery, who was somewhat of a recluse, was found dead in her apartment! She had died a week before but it took that long for someone to check up on her. Because of this week's retreat, I began to feel shame and guilt on top of sadness! I had been so self-centered last week that, even though I had thought of this friend several times, I never took the time to call and check up on her! I believe the Holy Spirit had been trying to reach me to reach out to her. But I wasn't listening! I realize today that I couldn't have done anything to save her. She was already dead by the time the first thought of her came to me. But maybe somebody could have found her sooner! Tomorrow I will attend her memorial service. And the next day, I'll help another friend clean up our deceased friend's apartment. Taking those actions, I'll get out of myself and help others for a while. I won't have time to think about my job prospects. I know my God will give me what I need. It's not about me!


After sharing my struggle with sin in myself and in others and asking for the prayers of all who are making this retreat, I went on to read the sharings of so many who have been or are now dealing with the work of weeks 5 and 6. Just had to stop and thank all who have shared. Your revelations particularly the image of Christ at the center of all have helped me greatly and I have not even finished them all. I thank God for the grace and the movement of the Holy Spirit in the vehicle of this retreat. The international internet , what a blessing. What a reminder that Jesus is Lord of all, God is the father of all and the Holy Spirit the guide and comforter of all.

It is amazing to me that it is taking me months instead of weeks with this retreat. I began last summer and have restarted again and am still only at week six. Still it has been a blessed journey. Around week 3 , I left my home for what I thought would be another of many short trips from my home on the west bank of New Orleans. I was blessed far beyond so many of the Katrina victimes and evacuees. My husband insisted on relocating once we had experienced the ramifications of katrina and our adult children had experienced the consequences of Rita. Subsequently so much of what had been familiar for almost 60 years has had to be redefined. Unfortunately this has included my faith. New Orleans was a very Catholic ciity and now I am in the bible belt where protestants are a distinct majority and the cultural mores are still rooted in "separate but equal" . Here Sunday morning remains the mos segregated time of the week. Consequently as a Catholic who is african -american and has been accustomed to multi-cultural worship experiences, I am distracted during the mass and feel uncomfortable in either parish ,both of which maintain their historic racial identityapparently by choice. I grew up in a baptist church where the leadership was very active in the civil rights movement. I have always been a seeker of unity among all of God's people. I haave met a few people who seem to be struggling to change things here. Still it seems superficial to me when this separate worshiip continues. Week 6 has aided me in seeing the resentment that I hold toward all tha is racist. I am truly stuck. I don't even know who to turn to for spiritual direction. I have a history of clinical depression and am trying to follow the suggestions for this weeks retreat. May God have mercy on all of us as we press on tooward the prize of holiness in the face of so much th at is sinful.. I know that this resentment must be healed. I ask the prayers of all who journey on this retreat.

It's the 6th Week, and I'm having a difficult time. I've been trying to figure out what it is that God is showing me. I think I'm 'getting' it, but I'm really perplexed as to how to deal with it. If the problem (sin) is what I'm thinking it is, I really need grace, because it would likely require an 'overhaul' of my personality. How do you change who you are? Who you've been all these many years? Even after committing to Jesus Christ.

I need 'intervention' Lord! Your grace, please.

Specifically, ever since I gave my life to Christ; and became 'sold out' as St. Paul said, studied, prayed, studied and learned the scriptures, I've come to believe in speaking the truth as I know it and see it. I don't sugarcoat situations, stories, etc., for myself or others. (I don't want this to sound harsh.
I hope it does not. The Truth is beautiful, but people sometimes don't want to hear it, and when they do, it's too 'severe' to their liking.)

I try hard to 'go by the rules'. Desiring to be obedient to Christ and the Church. Sometimes I lack patience with individuals who live their life making up their own rules, with respect to our faith, etc. "Cafeteria-style Catholics".

I mentioned this in confession.

I'd come to confess my sin, that I was quite annoyed with a friend because I knew my friend had voted for ProChoice candidates because of party loyalty; letting party loyalty reign over Christian responsibility of protecting life.

My friend knew the vote was wrong. Did it anyway, then went to confession. Where's the integrity in that? I really was annoyed. Then troubled by how much it bothered me . . . (talk about how sin spreads, and affects others!) so I went to confession, and the priest thought my confession sounded like I was prideful.

I was hurt and confused. (Am I prideful? I don't think so. But we don't always see ourselves the way others do.)

I'd like the truth. Please Lord, if that's me being prideful, tell me clearly, and please help me. Thank You. I don't want to be prideful. Strong in your Word and Faith, like St. Paul, but not prideful, please.

Another similar thing happened and a priest suggested that it sounded like "I'm trying to earn my salvation". That's not it. I believe positively that I am saved through Jesus Christ and his Cross, and Him only . . . none of it of my doing, but all only through His grace, and His love. No doubt in my mind about that.

This is not presumption. This is faith and confidence in the power and promises of the words of Jesus Christ. Standing in belief on the promises of Christ.

The current issue? Confusing? Yes. How is it that a priest in a confessional would misinterpret what a person is attempting to express as a matter of confidence in obedience, yet confessing sin, could then be fine-tuned (or, translated) and the confession, according to the priest, sounds like "earning your salvation"?

I'm not blaming the priest. I was hurt. Yes. But I'm paying attention. God's priest is speaking, and I need to listen. "I need Your help, Jesus."

I am a seeker of Truth. God knows that.

Maybe I don't express myself clearly enough? I can work on that, through God's grace. The pride thing, though? . . . "Lord, if it's there and I don't recognize it, but others do, I really need your grace!"

Can it be that the person who points to the Truth is the problem? Please show me. (As Thomas Merton said, "I believe that my desire to please you does indeed please you." And that is my goal, Lord Jesus.)

Please Lord, I really need your grace. Thank You.

I so want relief from some of my most bothersome sins that I become easily upset with my slow progress in this weeks retreat. It seems I get temporary relief only for the sin to return again. I'd forgotten about my perfectionistic attitude and about my"desirings." I need only to desire "to praise,revere and serve God",but most often I tack on a whole bunch of other desires.
I beginning to get small glimpses of the cost of my sins. I'm someone who likes a bargain and sin sure isn't one but this retreat certainly is.
The last few weeks I have been holding out on you all and have not been sharing. I'm working on correcting this. Thank you all for sharing. As soon as I started reading your experience,strength and hope I started feeling better about myself. My "terminal uniqueness" is one of my first casualities when I read of your struggles.
Pray for me I'll pray for you.
-- Bob D.

i have written each week so far but this week i feel horrible and cant seem to think straight. i feel alone and unsure of how to go on so i am just ' checking in ' but dont know what else to do . yours nell

As I started week 6, the first day, I was nearly paralyzed with fear. I thought of past sins that I had never confessed and actually almost forgotten and was overcome by my separation from God. By the second day though, I felt the presence of God reassuring me that we could be together again. I still have to go to confession but I think now I have the strength to do it, which I never had before. It’s scary but I know, through that moment of grace, that God walks with me to the confessional and He’ll be beside me as I speak. Thank you God!

One of the thouhgts that kept popping up this week for me focused on healing. I remembered a time when I was praying intensely to God for healing of a family member who suffered with depression and Parkinson's and who went from being a an optimistic, cheery person to a person who rarely spoke or smiled. As I prayed for her healing and wasn't getting the results I hoped for, I grew more and more frustrated at God until one night when I "had it out" with God. I cried and screamed at God until I was exhausted. Then I felt a peacefulness come over me and I heard an inner voice say, "I will heal you so you can love this person as she is and not as she was." I had a whole different attitude and released the heavy load I was carrying and focused on being a loving person to this family member. I got to thinking later that most of the problems I face are not from outside, there's a lot of interior stuff unresolved. I gave permission to God to heal me first so that having been healed, I can in turn be a healing presence for others. To love as I have been loved. Jesus said "Love one another as I have loved you." My ability or capacity to love others is dependent on how I allow myself to be loved and forgiven. I can't give what I don't have.

Week 6: Struggling with depression and without the benefit of a spiritual director, it was tempting to say, “I don’t need this” or “I can’t continue”. As the Psalmist says, “My sin is ever before me.” But I do need this and I am determined to continue. I am focusing on my sins not as failures but as evidence of my profound need for Christ and as proofs of the chasms he can leap to reach my heart. During this week, I was spontaneously reminded of that little verse we sing at Eucharistic Benediction: “He has given us bread from heaven Containing within it all sweetness.”Christ’s heart is like a candy shop! “Containing within it all sweetness!” And we, WE, somehow, ARE HIS SWEETS!Tom, Pennsylvania

I have asked Jesus, why don't you come down from that cross? Why did God want a bloody sacrifice? I had it all wrong. It took me so long to receive the grace to see the beauty of Jesus on the cross. Now, I see my sin in the way of joining Jesus on the cross. Week 6
- Christine

I really resisted this meditation: I don’t WANT to think about my sin! Furthermore, I have a convoluted brain that tangles around issues: am I not doing more to serve the poor because of sin or because God knows I would be too proud of my “holiness” for doing it?So I asked God to bypass my “smart,” confused brain and give me an image. The image that came to mind was one from a family camping trip. We were trying to start a fire to cook our dinner. One minute it was burning just fine. I sat down and looked away—and just a minute or two later, the fire had changed to smoldering, smoky logs. We were so frustrated with that fire and the way it just wouldn’t keep burning!I think that illustrates my life and my sin. I feel comfortable with my log state and don’t want to abandon myself to the fire. God lights a fire and I refuse to burn. I am smoky rather than light. I cling to the “safe” and familiar (and unattractive and useless).I don’t really know what the fire IS, I don’t really know how I am dampening it, but I feel the truth of the image and pray that I (that we) will BURN!
Love to you, fellow travelers! Some day I hope to be a warm crackling fire to comfort you on your journey and provide a place where you can be fed.

Last week was a struggle for me as I was asked to think deeply about my past sins and the shame and guilt of them. I finally realized the problem I was having was related to the fact that I have been abundantly aware of God's graces in my life and his forgiveness. I have spent intensive weeks and hours in prayer over the sins I have committed and the shamefulness that is mine. The power of forgiveness has been experienced in my own heart and life so vigorously that it wasn't really possible to go there again, because it was unnecessary to try to revisit the shame and guilt that I have been forgiven of. It seemed more an exercise than a spiritual awakening because I am already so aware of my need for forgiveness and God's grace through Jesus to save me from sin. Forgiveness is such a loosening of chains of bondage, that until experienced, it isn't possible to truly reveal to someone else how freeing it is; not just our own forgiveness, but the ability to forgive others their sins against us. The ability to truly pray for our enemies and to pray for their conversion and change of heart in the spirit of Christ is an act of love we cannot accomplish on our own. Jesus lends us his love and mercy when we ask in true humility and honesty; and it will happen spontaneously, immediately without any further effort on our part, if we have asked out of love and a need to do His will and not our own. The forgiveness and peace that floods your heart is not of this world, not something you can attain through any striving or efforts of your own, but a graced gift from God. It won't even be possible to re-kindle the rage and anger you felt 10 seconds ago, the transformation is that complete. My prayer would be that everyone could experience that forgiveness, could understand in our frail human way the depths of God's love and mercy. It sustains, it nurtures, it pulls us towards him as a magnet affects the metal around it through no effort on its part. But unlike metal attracted to a magnet, God wants us to choose. His power can't be accomplished without our consent. For God nothing is impossible except to force us to choose Him. And he created that restriction himself. The step forward is up to each of us. We can only be forgiven when we are ready to forgive those who have hurt us. I can only say that taking that step is the only sure path to Life.

This is my 6th week. Each week has been refreshing for me, I am beginning to see more of my inner being. As I read the writing of others, I see how much we all are alike in spite of our differences; we all have inner pain, sin, disappointments, and grief. Most importantly, we all have a loving God to turn to for help, we have Jesus as our savior and friend, and we have the wonderful Holy Spirit as our comforter, counselor, and helper.

The reflection for today was especially healing for me, in allowing myself to open up to my own inner pain, and disappointments from others, I can now lay those sorrows to rest and allow the Holy Spirit to move me forward in God's plan. As I reflected on the reading for today, I was led to pause and pray for each person making this retreat, and I believe each of us will emerge as stronger beings in God.

I am finding week 6 to be a difficult struggle. It is hard for me to move past the overwhelming nature of my own weakness and sinfulness, to think of God's love and mercy. I know it is sin in itself to become this despondent, but I feel that I try so hard and yet always fail, and that I can never satisfy the standard of perfection that God seeks. Never even close. I just become overwhelmed with feeling like a bad person and a failure. Again, I know that obsessing about my own failings and not seeing past them to God's love is itself sinful, but I can't seem to move past it. I don't feel the acceptance or love that is discussed. I don't know what to do. To be honest, I'm just sharing this and waiting for this week to end. In every thing I do this week, I see how it falls short of what I should do, and in my spare moments, I think of the past and all the other ways I have failed. I am so tired. To be honest, I get angry that it feels so impossible to be a good person. What is "good enough"? Can I ever feel it? I know that my anger is sin too. It's neverending!

This week has seemed very strange for me. I did learn to pray and ask for the grace to be able to "see" more clearly exactly where I have separated myself from God. I went to confession and said how I feel that I am not close at all to God. I have seen areas where I held resentments still toward people. I have prayed for them to be blessed. Mostly I feel like "I" didn;t do well this week. But I think I am begining to get a hint of understanding that is isn't "me" who can progress as I go through the exercises of this retreat, I can only pray to "Let Go" of self , and grab hold of the tiny bits of hope that seem to come for just a second as new "pieces of stuff I can't explain" gets into my heart. Thank you so much for a place to share this. It helps me. Week 6.

I had done this retreat a year ago with a spiritual director, but didn't really go that deeply into Week 6. I "did" the week, and then moved on. While I have "acknowledged" my sins, I never really thought of myself as all that bad. Since I finished the retreat, I've been praying that God would bring me closer to him, especially since I have always struggled with knowing his love for me. Several days ago, I became overwhelmed, for the first time in my life, of my sinfulness. I reviewed Week 6, and I see now that this is a grace from him, and the only way for me to grow closer to him is to finally truly understand my sinfulness before him, and to experience his forgiveness. It's very hard to realize my true level of sin. Please pray for me. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.

This is the end of Week 6 of the retreat for me and there was a lot of "stuff" going on at work & home so I didn't think I was progressing. I found this picture of Christ crucified with rays coming down from the cross over the world. I see it as depicting His deep love for all of us. Although I haven’t been able to focus on the retreat images & work in the background like I did in the earlier weeks, I was able to focus on this image and tried to see myself standing next to the cross and feel myself being enveloped by those rays of love. It was consoling &, I think, a major grace this week. And now that I reflect, it seems that even though I’m thinking I didn’t “do the retreat right” because the events of this week seemed to be distracting me, they were in fact God’s answer to my prayer to shine a light on areas where I need to look—at repeating patterns of sin. At least this time, I did think of God and going to Him. Lord, I do need your forgiveness & love so much….and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help me to see more about breaking these patterns. I really need the grace to trust in God & His help.
Thanks again for providing this wonderful Retreat opportunity. My prayers go out to all of you responsible for this site and for those participating in the Retreat. Please pray for me also.

Week 6: This week talks about sin, global sin and personal sin.  I find it really difficult to reflect on. The 911 event is a big sin and I wonder how people could do that.  I did pray for the dead and wounded, as well as their families and friends.  and I asked God to healed all those involved in this event. As for presonal sin, Theoretically, I admit that I am a sinner but deep in my heart that sense of pride is still there. Lord, please forgive me.

I am just starting the sixth week of the retreat.  I have always thought of myself as a good person, and wondered what sins I had that I needed to reflect on.  I know that God knows all my sins and then I suddenly realized that I do not.  My eyes opened and I realized that I was feeling a pride that I counld not take credit for.  Everything that has been happening to me as of late was not because of what I have done, but because of what God has done.  Thankyou Lord for guiding me and for opening my eyes to my sin!!!

I have just finished Week Six.  I had been on retreat at a Retreat Center a few weeks ago and spent time in a small chapel sitting alone before the Tabernacle 'confessing' the sins of my life before God.  However, I found that I did recall some other sins this week in addition to many of the ones that I recalled previously as I prayed to God to allow me to remember all of the sins that God wanted me to.  I know that when I prepare to go to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I get very embarrassed as I contemplate telling my sins to a priest.  (What will he think?  What will he say to me?  Will he think that I am scrupulous?)  I know that the point of the Sacrament is not what the priest thinks but seeking and receiving  the forgiveness of God and being reconciled to God and the Church.  However, I do not feel that type of embarrassment, that I am equating with shame, when I contemplate in my mind my sins before God.  Maybe I should feel more of this type of shame before God?  I do not know if perhaps I might let this contemplation be too much 'me centered' and not enough 'God centered' in order to feel this type of shame?  However, I think that one of the reasons that I do not feel this type of shame when I come before God with my sins is because I feel that God already knows everything.  God knows what I have done and what I have failed to do.  God knows who I really am and will not leave me.  I know that I am not worthy of everything that God gives me and that God gives me more than I deserve (including multiple chances).   When I acknowledge these particular commissions and omissions as sins then I am being honest with and about myself before God.  I am glad that I can somewhat easily come before God with  my sins in the quiet of my mind and I pray that I will be more at ease with confessing sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation where I can tangibly know God's mercy and forgiveness.

I have just realized that I do very little penance, until reading over the sharing words.  I spend time in prayer each day and follow my spiritual director's suggestions but I never actually say to myself I will do penance.  During Advent and Lent I try to spend more time in prayer but I still never actually do penance.  Lord help me.  Week 6

I have a life-long practice of being invisible to the world. I consciously show only only that part of me that I feel acceptable. It never dawned on me that Christ, including Christ crucified, is present in ALL of me and is God's message through me. To the extent that I have hidden Christ in me I have auctioned of the cross. I will this day stop hiding.Week 6

Week 6 is just beginning - last night (Monday) I faced up to many things in the past I had been avoiding.  It is very painful, especially considering the results of these sinful situations, and how they have affected others.  Today I am fasting and praying and I feel the healing of Jesus Christ setting in, and that He does not want me to punish myself endlessly, but accept His love and healing.  Especially do I want healing of whatever it is that makes me behave in this way.  I have no power over this sinful behavior except through God's grace and mercy to cure it.

 
I have been following this online retreat for the past few weeks, but always hesitant to write and share my experiences. It just seemed too personal. But today I read 2 things on the sharings that moved me greatly and I wanted to say thank you to all of you for sharing. They have been blessings. Someone wrote, 'St. Ignatius said that the desire to desire to change our heart is good enough for God', and another talked about how he/she had always seen himself/herself as the victim rather than the sinner. These 2 things struck me so deeply. I'm currently going through a very difficult time trying to forgive someone close to me. All this time I have seen myself as the victim - my hurt and pain were too great that I couldn't even see my own sins - how could my small sins compare to this other person who has hurt me so much? But God began to point out to me - ever so gently as he always does - how I do have so many sins of my own, how much I needed forgiveness too - that I even thought my sins were more forgiveable than this other person's - for that I needed forgiveness, because who am I to judge that? I know this person has been trying to be better, but somehow that's not enough for me, not enough to make up for the hurt caused, not enough to guarantee they won't fail and disappoint me again. Again and again, these words keep ringing in my head, 'the desire to desire to change our heart is good enough for God'...if that's good enough for God, how can it not be good enough for me, another sinner also in need of forgiveness? 
 
Thank you for this online retreat and these sharings. They make God so real and alive in all of us.

Week 6: I am not a patient person. Falling into the same sins over and over again causes me to lose patients with myself. This causes me to become indifferent to my own sin: why bother I will never change. Reading Luke 7:36-50 helps. I see the humility of the women who pours perfume on Christ’s feet and I am humbled. Lord, help me to not sin and when I sin give me the courage and grace to continue to run the race for repentance and forgiveness. The Lord said: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Mt. 11:28-30. Sometimes I humbly approach God as a miserable sinner needing mercy and sometimes as an angry child wanting justice, but I spend most of my prayer time with Jesus, my roommate, and Jesus, my friend. That is the Lord I look for when I go to pray. During this week, I have been given the grace that I should be more humble. Not that I should give up my relationship of Jesus as a friend, but I think it is critical I rely on him more. I need to be more mindful that I am a putting that needs to humbly pour perfume on his feet and that I am a child needing his protection.

Week Six: This has been a great grace and yet a tremendous challenge, I am taking a little longer with this week , because it has raised deep issues in my life and I need to proceed slowly.  I did go to the sacrament of reconciliation this week which was a wonderful grace.  I will seek some help to navigate this for the next few weeks and that is also a grace,something that I was afraid to do for awhile.

I have been guilty of many sins in my life and struggle on a daily basis with sin.  I had thought that I was doing alright ,but the great fear of not being worthy and somewhat afraid of God at times proves troublesome. I love God and I am beginning to understand the concept that his mercy is above all other works. Being too ashamed of sin and not seeking his comfort is something I have struggled with and my prayer this week is to learn to be open with my sinfulness and my goodness. I pray that I can look at the cross and realize that his mercy is so much greater than my sin... hopefully with time , I will become so aware of his divine love that the patterns of my sin will change .  I will be so indebted to him that  I will seek not to offend him by my  sinfulness, and yet  go running into His arms for love , reconciliation and mercy when I stumble and fall.

I am a sinful being , and I need the confidence to truly feel God's deep and abiding love for me.  I pray for joy to realize His unimaginable love.

The first day of Week 6, and what a start! I was given a foretaste at Mass yesterday. I was kneeling in my pew, feeling the weight of my failings and wondering at my apparent inability to overcome them. Then I read the opening prayer for the day:
Father, you taught us to overcome our sins
By prayer, fasting, and works of mercy.
When we are discouraged by our weakness,
Give us confidence in your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever, Amen.
I was overwhelmed with God’s mercy, at His continuing call to be made “perfect, as He is perfect.” When I realize that only He can make me perfect, and understand that all I can do is choose to cooperate (or not) with His will for me, I know that I must continue striving to be the person I am called to be. Failure hurts, but it is the effort that matters. With His grace, I will continue getting up when I fall and pray that I fall less hard and less often. I also ask for the grace of gratitude for His love and mercy. 

I've been working on week 6 since Holy Family Sunday.  The reading that day hit me particularly hard when Paul speaks about not holding any bitterness in our hearts regarding our spouse.   My heart has been full of bitterness for years.  Week 6 provided the key to the start of releasing that bitterness:  I looked at my own sins in the marriage...and was deeply humbled for I saw my part in the disharmony whereas before I always cast myself as the victim.   It is truly a wonderous and amazing grace to remove the blinders to our own sin.  What freedom it gives...to move on and to change...for now I see how much I need to decrease so that Christ can increase in me.  And through His grace the process begun in week 6 will continue.  Thank you for telling us to focus always on Jesus and the Cross while doing week 6:  the horror of my sins and the sorrow and pain involved in their uncovering would have overwhelmed me to the point of paralysis if I did not keep Christ in the center.  Thank you.  I trust that you keep all of us on this online retreat in your prayers daily.  Please never stop for your prayers are needed. 

I am in week six . I am asking God to help me experience the times I have been rebellious, with emotion; to help me explore concrete actions, attitudes, consequences of my decisions, habit that I developed and haven't change and opportunity to love, passing up the way I was deaf to the cry  of the poor, my pride and judgements, bad single sin or the pattern of sin I am so aware of. To focus becomes a way for God to show me His Love and Mercy, it will be a profound grace.  Please don't let me resist the temptation to stop there, with that single bad sin.  Please unveil my whole life here.  For the ways I am rebellious in my failures to praise, reverence and serve God are often quite subtle.  I want to know and experience God's love for me as I am, not just because  I do this or that. I want to experience love and mercy for who I am - who I have been and who I have become.  Finally, Thank you Lord for loving me, help me love you with my whole heart and soul,speaking to you as my best friend and wanting to do all for, with and be with my Lord always.

The picture of  Auctioning off The Cross hit me deep down inside...Is this what I have done with the sufferings of Jesus?  And the answer was YES - in hundreds and hundreds of little ways.  I have been content with being a "little" sinner...what arrogance and self love!  The helps for the week helped me to begin to see myself as a sinner in need of forgiveness.  I am a religious and some of our founder's words to us are " Be There  for the Whole Church, be there as a pardoned sinner..." I began to understand better how my sinfulness effects my ministry - how could Jesus have continued to love me and forgive me...but he did/does...I have had so many second chances.  Lord, help me to see where I need to change and how. 

I was considering my sinfulness.  I was thinking about  my "progress" in this retreat and how "well" I was doing and how dedicated I have been to this point.  Maybe I have been slacking a bit, not giving myself totally.  Then it hit me.  I am doing as good as I can do.  Even if this was the best retreat of all time, at the end of the retreat I will still be a sinner.  Hopefully a more enlightened and in tune to God, but still a sinner.  Despite all of this, God will still love me!  To be honest, it is difficult for me to comprehend.  Please God, help me to better understand your ways.  Thank You for your love. (Week 6) 

I am in week 6 of the retreat . My greatest grace has been the realization that God has always been with me loving me for nearly 70 years . It means that my life was always about God not about me . So now I caan peacefully remember events and periods that I normally gloss over out of shame for sin. This is a great joy .

While reading the reflections for week 6,  I realize that I have been guilty of both of these attitudes which make up the arms of the cross. Many times,  I have felt so worthless... as though God made a mistake in creating me and should not have suffered and died for me. Other times, when my life situations seemed difficult, I resorted to devious and privately dishonest methods to resolve them, and taken great pride in doing so. Pride in my  own cleverness and ingenuity.  This  instead of turning to or trusting in God.  I did not wait upon Him. I see now that  I still have a great deal of trouble waiting upon God.  Help me Lord to see both the horror and the beauty of the cross  and your sacrifice for me.  Help me to realize that I am accountable for my actions and for my lack of action.   Help me to see you in those I meet today and to fully realize that we are all worth saving in your eyes.  Forgive me Lord for my sins and be with me today because I cannot do it without you.

When I first opened week 6, my heart sank.  How do I go back over my sinful life?  Nearly 50 years of rebellion and rationalization?  In prayer I realized, because of God's mercy I only needed to go over the gift of forgiveness and the lessons I learned because of those sins.  It brought tears to my eyes to feel His compassion and love for me, a loved sinner.  I also felt gratitude and hope. Gratitude that I have been given the opportunity to change.  Hope that the love I feel can be expressed by me towards strangers who are suffering.  Mostly, I add prayer that I might be given the courage to proceed in honoring and acting upon God's will for me. 

Yesterday, I encountered something that was revolting.  my first reaction was to condemn the person for the act.  I tried to quiet my mind to get to a place that I could hear God talking to me.  I prayed under my breathe and tried to see this person as a child of God, too; just like me.  Then it dawned on me, that someone could have done the same thing for me.  Sometime in the past, when I was doing a "no brainer", someone (probably my mother) prayed for my soul.  That thought took a load off my mind, because then I knew I had something precious to give to this person. Thank you for this retreat.  The format works very well.  I can participate on a flexible schedule and enjoy the gifts that it produces.  I am in week six, and it is a tough one to look at sins that I have buried and tried to forget.  Looking at myself everyday and trying to catch the sins that I still generate; isn't fun either.

Week 6 has been difficult to really get into. I have expanded the time to two calender weeks because it seems so important. Remembering the sins in my life is not a problem (unfortunately) but truly feeling their sinfulness and God's mercy has been elusive.  

There is nothing more welcome than reading the struggles that so many of us share in our humanness.  There have been gifts in every week - some more difficult to see or accept than others, but available, nevertheless.  I am only at week 6 in the journey and I know I have so much to learn and grow from, if only I can allow it to happen.  I have always been on the very self-sufficient side and can barely make a request of anyone, knowing I can do it alone, if not better than anyone I would hand it off to.  I have had very few people in my life that I have allowed to contribute to me - and only in the recent past have I allowed that to happen more. It is just overwhelming when I let down the guard, trust, and let somene give to me.  And I know I have not done that with God- always wanting to be in control myself (or deluding myself to think I am) and not letting God move in my life.  I am working on letting go of that notion - and I know it will take time for me to get where I need to be - but I do recognize it more and more now having worked on the retreat.  Please pray for me in this regard - I so want to allow God to use me and to accept what is offered from everyone in my life, especially the Lord.  The story of the Prodigal Son this week is a favorite of mine. I read the book by Henri Nouwen on Rembrandt's painting, the "Return of the Prodigal Son", during an especially difficult time in my life and it made a tremendous impact on me. God Bless each of you who has opened up and shared your thoughts.  I count each one as a gift. 

I have just begun the sixth week of the retreat.  I had not had a problem looking at my sinfulness.  When I go to confession, I make a thorough examination of conscience.  However, something that I did realize from the reading is that most people do not really think of the little things as sins anymore.  I had been told by someone once that I make too big a deal out of the little things that I do (giving into envy, etc.). I know that people see me as a holy religious person and that sometimes makes me feel even more like a hypocrite when I know the feelings or things that I have done.  I had also been told that if you believe that it is a sin then it is a sin for you and if someone else does not believe it is a sin then it is not a sin for them.  Not to make myself sound more pius but I believe that I partly know how the saints felt when they recognized themselves as wretched sinners when everyone else saw them as saints. (I am not saying that I am a saint. I know that I have a way to go.  But I am saying that I maybe can relate to this idea)  It makes me wonder, and I don't mean this in a self-centered way, if I am truely a better person than I sometimes think that I am. I also wonder if it is even good to think that way. I know that the Lord said that the tax collector went home justified and the Pharisee did not in the one Gospel story.  It makes me wonder where I really am in my life with the Lord.  

I had stopped my retreat...just left it behind  but God had not given up pursuing me.. The other day...I went to my bible... I don't know where it came from but a desire to read the old testmnet kind of just stirred my interest.  I cannot believe I sat down and just read for hours about the story of David.. And then a few days later?... I wanted to return to the retreat.  When I did I thought I will just brouse on thru this stuff.. but I got stopped on week 6..(i think the opening dialogue was about the story of David.. then I knew that is where God was trying to direct me too... Its how I treat others.....that is why I have no friends... it's a lonely life........when you run around with a strong critical parent in you......... well........that is all I have to say.........that is where he wants to take the knife to me.. and that is what causes me the greatest deal of pain for me....... I just thought I would share.  Merry Christmas everyone........and keep going.......don't give up.......if you try I assure you God will just keep on hounding you........you see he sees something valuable in all he creates.....he can see thru the smuck..

When reflecting upon my past life (6), I am 50, I see nearly only the good things: how lucky have I been! A good family, good friend, a good work. I didn't marry, even if I think I could have been a good wife, but I didn't find the right man. was I too exigent??
 

  I thank God every day for what He has given me. I passed of course bad moments: the death of my little sister, the death of both my parents, but after some time I accept all, as life is so. I don't find yet any moments I am ashamed of; I don't think I made bad choices in life, family and work. I don't find God's presence in any particular moment, I Thank Him for giving me faith, which I sense is a gift of God and not only an effort by us.
 My English is not very good, as I am Italian .

Week 6 has been extremely powerful for me.  The week long examination of my life has been very revealing as I've had to face the patterns of sinful behavior woven throughout my history.  However, the stronger picture that emerged was the pattern of God's faithfulness - His protection, His gentle drawing me closer to Him as I chose paths to run from Him.  I thank God  the Father for not giving up on me; for seeing me as someone of value to Him.  I thank Jesus for his willingness to go to the cross for me, and I thank the Holy Spirit for guiding me.

I am ending week six and have found out a lot about myself, mostly how God has kept me in His hands. I have been given so many graces throughout my life that I can never thank enough. I am nearing 69, twice widowed, live alone as my children live and work in different  places and countries. I have always relied completely in God´s love and providence. I know that what I am sharing is irrelevant and boring but being sleepless and lonely it seemed a good idea to share the loneliness, which I am sure is true for many other people. I pray for all of you who are also doing this retreat.  

Just finished week 6. Found it hard, dificult and demanding . Extended the week to two weeks. God help me I do not feel shame for my sins sorrow, repentance but not shame. Moving to week7 more in faith, hope and love than with real conviction. Perhaps this where a sprititual director would be helpful.  

I just finished week six and wanted to share that a few months ago I was doing a lot of thinking about my own sin.  I was really wanting to be closer to God, but something was 'gettin' in the way' . It was like a wall blocking things every time I tried to pray. Then, I was compelled to go to confession, so I wrung my hands and cried for a week before I finally called up my priest.  He said, "Why don't you come now"?  Despite my nervousness, I went and told him what I called "old stuff".  At the end of my confession, Father said "know that your sins are hanging on the cross, so you don't have to worry".  Those words reached out and took hold of my heart.  "My sins", I thought, "Jesus Died for ME"?  It personalized it for me, so much.  I felt so humbled, so reverent, but mostly, I felt grateful.  More grateful than I had ever felt before.  When I walked out of there, my sins were gone.  And so were my tears. I learned so much that day.  Jesus is there, waiting to pour out his loving mercy on us.  And yet, for so long, I've resisted. I want His gift now, and then, I want to give Him a proper Thank You. 

I am in my 6th week and I have recently completed my photo gallery for the past 59 years.  There were some things that I am proud of and also a period of my life that I am ashamed of.  But the exercise was wonderful. It was amazing what I remembered...getting a licking on a Sunday after Mass for dirtying my diaper (we had chicken soup that day)...lying on the side of the hill at about age 8, looking at the sky and feeling the strong presence of my guardian angel. One ommision that I felt sorry for concerned my brother who was a missionary up the Amazon River, got bit by a poisonous spider, was sent home weighing about 100 pounds...looked terrible.  I was happy that he didn't die but I never did discuss his feelings about not being able to do this type of missionary work, something that he wanted and trained for his entire life, gone.  God bless. 

I have rehashed the big sins of my past (6) so many times, trying to figure out how I could have done what I did.  But not until I did it once again in this retreat did I  feel fully free of those sins.  By seeing my life differently now, with Jesus as the center and myself and my sins as the frame to the picture of God's love for me, everything is so beautiful. I, too, have become more transparent in my relationship with God.

The hardest part of this week (6) has been the realization that the notion of "patterns" in my life means that this stuff has not only been there for a while and is deep, but it's a more realistic picture of who I am.  I always thought it was "unhealthy" to look at the "negative" stuff.  The picture I have of myself after the last two weeks is the most unveiled I've been to myself.  As I try to be more and more transparent in the key personal relationships of my life, to be completely transparent to myself before God makes so much sense.  And it feels great!

The 6th Week helped me realize that I sinned because my faith was weak, or nonexistent. I must not forget, even for one minute, that I live in the world created by God, the world in which He is constantly present.      Abba, I have sinned against You and against other people. Forgive me. It happened because I did not live in Your presence, I did not seek Your ways, I disregarded Your commandments.      Help me O God, repair the results of my sin wherever it is possible. Please, give me the grace to know my sin in all its dimensions, and the ways to compensate others if they were hurt by my sin.     Above all, I beg you Lord to help me live in Your presence, to follow Your commandments and to always seek Your ways. Amen


As I entered in my sixth week of the Online Retreat I've been immersed in "one of the specialties of Saint Ignatius" as an intercessor to us, the ones who do the Retreat, according to the contemporary physician and mystic A. Speyr. I am very confident on the active and lovely presence of God during this beginning week. The center here is Jesus, who died on the Cross for every one of us, and my sinful life and attitude is to be seen from the light of this picture. How often "I have auctioned off the Cross"... But he offers himself with actual love and is always here to save me. 

I feel compelled to comment on what has touched me deeply, this morning ... and, that's the photo by Fr. Don:  Auctioning of The Cross, Week 6. I am moved by the accuracy of the portrayal in the photo, and it's symbolism. My first impression (before I enlarged it) was of a rally or some sort of protest.  And, at first glance the individuals looked oppressed, tense, even fearful or angry. Second impression, after enlargement:  Complete disregard, disrespect, ignorance of The Cross.  Perhaps a hint of awareness by the man holding it, as his "indifference" is tinged by his obvious discomfort in holding it.  One man actually has his back to The Cross.  Scanning the photo, no one is looking at it!  No one, except the unseen photographer. Third impression:  This photo reminds me of the sins I don't like to look at, and I find it unpleasant and I'll move on quickly. EXCEPT ... then I notice the beauty of the Light, high above The Cross, gently flowing in, highlighting, spotlighting it, in all it's Glory!  And, I'm aware of God's Presence and my undeserved redemption  through His Love and The Cross.  Praise God!  Thank You, Father! Thank You, Jesus! Thank You Holy Spirit!

It seems every time I ask God to lift the blindness from my eyes, to see what it is I am missing, what sin am I not looking at, I go back to my relationship with my mother.  It's a hard place to be because I have never been good enough, or I don't have any rights to feel, or she just judges everything I do or say, and then she gets mad at me.  I have wondered what sin is here that I am missing.  I know I keep going back to this because I am missing something, and this week I realized that I too am critical of others like her.  I judge not only God's intentions but my own, I am my worst critic and I never realized what a sin that was.  I know God has healed my blindness here and I have hope and faith I won't be back, I can go forward now and see all my sin for what it really is.  As I finish the 6th week of the exercise I know God is mercyfull and loving, and there is not anything that will keep him from loving me. 


I am beginning the sixth week of this beautiful spiritual experience.  I thought I may have to put this off two weeks ago when my sister died, but soon realized how important this is.  I haven't shared before.  My brother, daughter, and nephew commited suicide.  My daughter would be 37 this week; she shot herself in the heart at age 30.  I still weep for her.  I know how important this spiritual journey is to me and I want to thank those who have made it available because there is no other way at this time for me to make a retreat. 

I have struggled to make Week 6.  I chide myself with the 'on and off ' nature of my commitment and rely heavily on the prayers of you to keep me fuelled.  I would like to share the thought that persisted with me throughout the week.  In considering my particular sins, I was so blinded by one particular type of sin that I could not see the many others that also need to be addressed. Thankfully I have others around me who do not hesitate to point out my every fault.  This has caused me to get so angry with them that I cease to hear what they say.  But now I can hear them and see that they are right and I thank God for the grace I have received to be able to do so. 

I'm on Retreat # 6....One of the first things that comes to mind  is "All Sin and fall short of the Glory of God" Romans3:23 - 24 ...Well that tells me I'm not alone....BUT...as Christians we have a helper to help us overcome, Jesus, thru the Power & Influence of the Holy Spirit....God's Grace.. My second thought....my sins .....they seem to come and go and I believe the Holy Spirit keeps me informed when I do a no no...or such.  Resistance or Rebellion seems to be a biggy & as in Retreat # 1 could see it happening in my youth. ... I did it again....and here I am,Lord, again, eating humble pie.  What more can I say except....keep reminding me Lord thru the Holy Spirit & one of these days I'll get it right.
Thank You for this On Line Retreat  & Thanks be to the Holy Trinity for keepin me on my toes.
PS:  I"ve included Internet Families & Intentions on my Prayer list now,also....please do the same for me too.

Having finished week 6, the image of Jesus bent over the world on his cross is the most soul enlarging. I can see a little my own sin and those in our world, but they become more real when I can look into his face, see the pain there and the .love. It has moved Jesus from 33A.D. to 1999 A.D. Redemption continues, is NOW.

My God Owing to illusory self, impatient and imprudent conduct on my part, (6) I have created a world which was estranged from Your presence .  I was not so attached to You. I turned aside from the path You wished me to go on. As a result of my sins , I was unsatisfied and without joy in my heart. Now, as I look again , I know that You are always loving me, I can feel an opportunity is lying there if I so wished , in the basement of my heart . Oh Lord Help me to unlock the door of the basement of my heart and to go on the path where only Jesus Reigns. Help me to co-operate with Your working through me for the complete elimination of suffering and evil
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