Sharing the Retreat
Week 7

 


Week 7


Weeks 6 and 7 have been particularly difficult to deal with, especially with the end of the school term approaching and fatigue setting in. I did feel ashamed and embarrassed when naming my sins and discovering some of those patterns. What I am discovering is that my fear of being alone, my lack of self worth and my decisions to hide from life under the guise of being the "good little boy" , embarrassing as they may be for a man of my age, can now be viewed in a different light. For even at the core of it all Jesus is letting me know that maybe this shame and the recognition of the sinful patterns can trigger true love for people.  Even more liberating is that, when reflecting about my life,  I can also see patterns in that direction. RS - Week 7


I have received the grace of forgiveness of my past and current sins and the grace of patience with my husband's mental and physical disabilities.
I am so grateful for these and other blessings! - Week 7


The process of being created has been both painful and joyous in my life. Growing up in a tight-knit ethnic pious family brought a spiritual richness to my inner life. A relationship with Jesus became an important reality. I find it hard to reconcile this with the pain of the disease of alcoholism. I have learned that even the effects of that sadness and pain can be an expression of Jesus' love for me if I allow it to be.
My own addiction and recovery are daily expressions of His loving care for me and the desire to see me grow

God bless! -Week 7


As I review the patterns of my without grace moments, His Grace is sufficient for me. His power is made perfect in weakness. So much protection for my restless heart. So much protection as I looked for better and found worse. So much protection as I wandered far off the road. So much protection as I sought love in all the wrong places. I am now seeking stillness, awareness, becoming, slowly. -Week 7


I am a Catholic convert, have been Catholic four years now. A tremendous grace was to examine my life, confess all those "big sins," receive absolution, and move on. When I started Week 7 of the retreat yesterday, my first impression was "I have to revisit all this again?" This morning in prayer I realized that was not enough, I have to change my thought patterns and behaviors, recognize the many ways I still fail to praise, revere, and serve God. In some ways this is even harder. -Judy -Week 7


This week I saw some remarkable juxtapositions in my life. I am finishing three months in a new job. I need to share with my colleagues my observations and my thoughts about direction for the future. I have a rel sense of being part of a movement where we are "women and men for others".

But I need to complete in the rhythm of this retreat a deeper view of my life and my sin. As I write my observations I know that I succumb often to the temptation to act to build monuments to myself. I recognize fantasies of greatness and why? Probably a greater need to not be alone, to be someone, to be recognized or a fear of not being recognized. Why would that be important? In being recognized I find an identity but I also see the trap. Because in all this even though the monument starts out dedicated to God, His presence soon disappears. These are drives which can just as likely separate me.

I also see that in sins that keep reappearing what reappears with them is how I make people objects. They are there to serve me. At the heart of all the times I have been unloving, impatient and truly bad tempered I do not recognize them as real persons. They are there to satisfy my needs. I have made them objects. But if I believe God is present in them I have made God an object or separated myself away from Him.

Then I think of greed. I like to think that I am quite balanced so it is much more subtle. But I can really justify needing things now. I am brought short reading a reflection of Father Rolheiser in preparation for Feast of All Saints:

"When we stop seeing our lives as being completed by something beyond the present world, it becomes natural to become more frustrated with the limits of our lives and to begin to demand, however subtly or unconsciously, that our spouses, children, friends, careers, jobs, and vacations give us something they can’t give, namely, complete fulfillment, full meaning, final satisfaction, joy beyond frustration, ecstasy, heaven"

So I see at the root of my greed is to try to get something more from all these things and my frustration about them not being able to deliver which leads me on many occasions to find something or someone else who will deliver that fuller meaning. Of course, the antidote is to return again to the feet of the Lord who seeks insistently to bring me back and shape me to go out into the world on His behalf, even though I may be on my occasions a miserable servant.-Week 7


I am on Week 7 of my retreat. I am accompanied by a Spiritual Director who I see fortnightly. I have noticed a shift in the way I am seeing things. The Lord has given me the grace to see the sinful patterns and attitudes in my life, things which I had seen before but never thought of as sin; bad habits, perhaps. Not being able to rejoice in another’s good fortune or blessing, hoping that another gets his or her just desserts for hurting my pride, for not affirming those closest to me, or praising them when the opportunity arises, for having wicked thoughts of vengeance and allowing myself to become envious. I realise now that these were all and still are sins. They block me from becoming more charitable, more the loving person God is inviting me to be. The big sins I saw before but mostly I bypassed these uncharitable bad habits. All I can feel is gratitude for God’s extravagant mercy and love; that in spite of all my sinfulness, the Lord loves me.

A wonderful grace I received from the Lord, something which I am truly thankful and will keep close to my heart occurred towards the end of Week 5. I was in the shower when I recalled how this friend of mine had behaved very childishly on a group trip last year, how he kept nit-picking another couple friend and was being very rude and mean to them throughout our stay. Suddenly, that image was replaced by my nit-picking on my sis-in-law and how I have doing it over and over again. “Yes, Lord” I said, “and I keep going at it over and over and over again!” I verbally uttered. In that instant, I imagined the face of our Lord, laughing lustily at me. My immediate response was to laugh back, at myself. It was all so funny and when I saw the irony of it all, I realised why Jesus would have found it funny too. My Spiritual Director told me to keep that image close. I told her I had never seen or imagined the Lord laughing. It felt so real. I was prompted to share this and am doing it only now. There’s resistance for you.

This retreat is timely. I feel called more and more to become a wounded healer wherever God is inviting me to be. The more vulnerable I choose to be before him, the closer I move towards him. The more he reveals to me about my own sinfulness, the more gratitude I experience for his mercy and love. I love the freedom that God is inviting me into. I love the person that I am, now, warts and all. My journey started with the death of my dad in 2009, followed by the death of my mum in 2011, and my beloved dog(I am married but with no children so my dog was my fur-kid) in 2013, the same year my husband lost his job(he is working now). I was totally lost and confused after the death of my mum but I let the Lord step in and my life has never been the same. I am indebted to him.


Week 7: This week I saw some remarkable juxtapositions in my life. I am finishing three months in a new job. I need to share with my colleagues my observations and my thoughts about direction for the future. I have a rel sense of being part of a movement where we are "women and men for others".

But I need to complete in the rhythm of this retreat a deeper view of my life and my sin. As I write my observations I know that I succumb often to the temptation to act to build monuments to myself. I recognize fantasies of greatness and why? Probably a greater need to not be alone, to be someone, to be recognized or a fear of not being recognized. Why would that be important? In being recognized I find an identity but I also see the trap. Because in all this even though the monument starts out dedicated to God, His presence soon disappears. These are drives which can just as likely separate me.

I also see that in sins that keep reappearing what reappears with them is how I make people objects. They are there to serve me. At the heart of all the times I have been unloving, impatient and truly bad tempered I do not recognize them as real persons. They are there to satisfy my needs. I have made them objects. But if I believe God is present in them I have made God an object or separated myself away from Him.

Then I think of greed. I like to think that I am quite balanced so it is much more subtle. But I can really justify needing things now. I am brought short reading a reflection of Father Rolheiser in preparation for Feast of All Saints:

"When we stop seeing our lives as being completed by something beyond the present world, it becomes natural to become more frustrated with the limits of our lives and to begin to demand, however subtly or unconsciously, that our spouses, children, friends, careers, jobs, and vacations give us something they can’t give, namely, complete fulfillment, full meaning, final satisfaction, joy beyond frustration, ecstasy, heaven"
So I see at the root of my greed is to try to get something more from all these things and my frustration about them not being able to deliver which leads me on many occasions to find something or someone else who will deliver that fuller meaning. Of course, the antidote is to return again to the feet of the Lord who seeks lovingly and insistently to bring me back and shape me to go out into the world on His behalf, even though I may be on my occasions a miserable servant.

Week 7 then 8.
I am not finished with 7. I don't know whether to go forward to 8 or not. I think I will never be finished with 7. I read the opening to 8 and know I will never be finished with god's mercy either.


I'm Maria Teresa, a 52 Brazilian mother and grandmother and, first of all, I want to thank all the Ministry team that have spent time, commitment, hard work and love, preparing the Online Retreat! It is the real proof that we can find deep, serious and reliable sources for us to grow in our relationship with God! Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!
I'm deeply impressed by the depth and the honesty with that you are helping us to work within ourselves! I'm really touched!

I'm at the 7th week, just starting the journey. I've been experiencing the love of God embracing me, as I look at myself in truth, in such a way that the center of my attention is not myself, but He!!!! It's interesting because it's the first time that I'm actually experiencing that: looking to myself is not necessarily self-centering, it can turn my attention to Our Lord! It fills me with love, and peace, and a sense of gratitude that provokes in me a desire to give back, to love back, to serve back!

I'm not sure if I could communicate or express myself...English is not my first language and to talk about such a deep experience in a language that is not our mother-tongue, is not easy...... But at least, I tried! Out of gratitude! God bless you all!


Week 7: I have just started week seven.  I read many of the reflections of others and would like to share my start of the week.  I feel deeply my unworthiness and have looked at the muck and mire for a long time before the retreat.  My deepest flaw is my lack of faith!  I know that if I was a rock I would accept my crosses and be delighted.  But I often don't follow because I haven't had the courage and honesty to really believe.  At present I am committing my life entirely to Jesus hoping that He really is.  I deeply regret all my past life in that I didn't bother to really ask for the Grace of Faith.  I pursue the narrow path today instead of the many offshoots of the this path that take me away from doing the loving act that somewhere in my depths I know will bring the only real happiness and peace.  I am grateful there is someone out there that will listen to me. 


Week 7: I often think of posting my thoughts but do not drum up the discipline to put words down. Finally.

I love the sharing I read here.  It helps me understand myself better, that I am not alone in thinking certain things about myself.  This week was about reflecting on personal sin and the patterns that lead to repeated negative behavior.  The reflection exercises I have performed, as the Lord leads me into contemplation of my past, my nature, my actions, smarted somewhat.  Am I really so shallow?  Am I petty?  Why do I not make the time for the poor?  Well, sometimes I am, and I have noticed these patterns.  I may have justified my actions (or lack thereof) by noting how busy I was, how my job has me flying around, how Mother has placed certain demands on me because she is not well.  But, that is no excuse.  I reflect and think through if there is a way to shift priorities somehow.  How can I establish achievable goals that support what we as Christians/Catholics value (volunteer, serve the poor in time or tithing) while taking care of the myriad of other demands in my life? 

Sometimes is a simple shift in mindset – well, not so simple.  What I am looking for is change in my actions – as that then shows true repentence.  Lord, I pray, that you may guide and help me as I seek to be more like you in nature.  In Your Name I Pray, Amen.


Week 7. Painful to finally look at myself and reflect on all the harm I have done over my lifetime. What I found most enlightening was not just looking at my sins but the root cause. The pattern of my life became clear in that almost all my sins dealt with insecurity, the seeking of self pleasure..what is in it for me. How can I look better. by cheating? I now am startingt to understand how self centered I have been and not really looking at anyone else unless I could gain something by their friendship. Having said this I am now asking Our Lord for the grace to just not understand my weakness but for the grace to understand whom I am and for the grace to change.
Today I am fighting a cold and some other health issues, so I did not want to look at this weeks retreat. I am so glad and blessed that I have done it, or I would not have had this wonderful experience with our Lord. He is there despite myself.


Week 7: This week is even more difficult than Week 6.  I can see the pattern of my sins.  And today's reading emphasized it more when Nathaniel asked:   "  Can anything good come from Nazareth?."  Such has been the pattern of my sin.  Condescencion.  Those persons I perceived as 'low class' turned out to be the more generous lot than the rich people I know.  Those persons I looked down as those who belong to the 'uneducated' lot turned out to be more 'educated' than I am.   They have more faith,  hope and love than I do.   Truly,  not only something Good will come out of Nazareth,  but the Greatest of them All!  The Son of the Living God who became one of us.  Born of the Virgin Mary,  in a stable,  whose first visitors were shepherds.  With my kind of attitude,  would I have been welcome to adore him in that lowly manger?  In that  stable where cow's dung would have smelled awfull? Will I be able to sing "  O come let us adore Him",  with the shepherds?   Lest I forget,  the baby Jesus' arms were opened to all.  So yes,  I think He will welcome me as long as I am sorry for all my sins.  Thank you,  Lord Jesus!  


Week 7 I spent 2 weeks on Week 7.  The reading that struck me was my sins would pop up like mushrooms all around me and that is what happened.  I was a little shocked at what I was made aware of.  But I spent another week on Week 7 because I could not figure out how I approached sin and what the pattern was.  When I finally was given insight as to the nature of my sins, I thought maybe that is all for now.  So after 2 weeks I still did not know how I approached sin and what the pattern was, but I went on to Week 8.
- Marie


I have yet to share thus far. In actuality I am in the beginning of the eighth week, but I felt led to go back to the end of the seventh week to discuss my patterns of sin.  I found myself over many of the years of my wrestling with the sin of adultery and fornication.  I periodically I am drawn back to the love of my life, my soul mate I call him, but he is now married.  I have not been with him in two years (yes, he was married  then), but I felt moved to just “talk” with him lately and he makes me feel good, loved and connected.  In truth, I have disconnected myself from others in so many ways by keeping a wall up.  For a long time, I did not feel loved by God, so I sought the arms of another.  Now God is calling me to himself. I want to feel like God is enough, but sometimes I feel so lonely.  Help me not jump to quickly to the resurrection and skip the cross.  Lead me and guide me.  I have even talked to my spiritual director /pastor.  He said it was all right to talk to my friend – that God was not offended.  I don’t think he knows that I now converse with him nearly every day several times a day.  I don’t feel like I will commit the sin of being with this man again, but I guess I am still playing with fire and think I won’t get burned.  Help me Lord to do your will and really get to the eighth week with your mercy and grace.


I am in week seven of the on-line retreat. I've been sighing a lot for the last couple of weeks. Deep sighs as I go through the exercises. I don't know what that's all about but I've had moments where the the words of these exercises come close to expressing my experience, and I am grateful for this. Sometimes I anticipate the words and sometimes they provide insight. My prayer is to sustain the courage I sense (in these moments of reflection) as I attend to the responsibilities I have been given.


Week 7:

Dear Jesus, much of my life has been motivated by fear. Yet, in your Ministry here on earth, you always stressed to your followers the importance of belief, of always having faith and trusting in God. When Jairus, an official of a local synagogue came to you to seek healing for his little daughter, you told him, “Do not fear, just believe.” (Mk. 5:36) Lord, give me the grace I need to overcome the fears I have in my life that cause or bring about sin. Help me to always trust in You, to have faith that there is nothing in my life that I cannot overcome if I believe in You. Assist me in my weak faith, O Lord,  that I may at all times turn to You and realize that fear is useless. May I recognize that what I need in my life is a strong belief that You can handle things in my life better than I am able, if I only believe. Take care of me Lord, as only You can. Amen.


week 7 haiku:

            Busy, busy me....
      How, and why, am I sinning?
                  Pause a while, reflect!

-Ellen H.

I am coming to the end of week 7 which has opened my eyes to the fact that all my sinful past resulted from my deliberating turning  away from God and spending  40 years in the “wilderness” on a steadily downward  spiral of sin and frustration. I can now see God’s presence was there all through the good and bad times even though I refused to acknowledge Him. I pray, Lord, that I will never be allowed to drift away from you again.


I’m in the seventh week.  Yesterday I chose Luke 9:23-25 for my meditation.  What caught my attention was “Deny yourself and take up your cross daily”.  How many times I have read or heard this passage.  But this time it struck me in an entirely different way.  “Deny yourself” has always meant giving up something.  Deny a pleasure, skip a dessert, lose a little sleep to spend a little more time prayer.  It meant things outside me.  But this time I realize it means I must deny myself – my very being, my selfish, controlling personality!  Those things that make me who I think I am, and that interfere with loving others, is what I must deny myself.  I’ve got to deny myself the cherished image I have of me.  I have to get myself out of the center of every picture I have of life.  It seems it’s part of what James Martin SJ describes in his book on Ignatian spirituality “living simply”.  
And my cross?  I’ve always looked for something dramatic to adopt as my cross; something painful and heroic.  But this reading made me realize that my “cross” is simply my life as the Lord gives it to me.  I simply must live my life with a new view of “denying” flavoring it. 


Day Week 7 Sharing
This week’s retreat asked for patterns of sins and why we hold onto them.  The image I saw was a scene in grade 3 where I fabricated lies about a classmate and reported to my teacher.  This stems from my need of acceptance, low self-worth, and call for attention and admiration.  I put down others so I can raise my self-image.  This pattern has persisted in my high school days and work environment dealing with my boss, peers and officemates creating separation and hurt feelings.
Another pattern I see is my need for self gratification.  I overindulge.  I repent of not taking care of my physical and emotional health: lack of balance in nutrition, rest and exercise; perhaps the unhealthy suppression of anger, resentment, jealousy, envy, resistance, disappointment.  I wearing the mask of self-righteousness in my judgement, criticism, malicious gossip to cover my unwanted feelings of unworthiness, public acceptance and being right.  I have a very strong need to please people, to flow with, thus losing my self-identity, values and beliefs.  I am unable to stand on my rock in my need to please others to be accepted.  This pattern comes from a culture of lavishness, excess in food and extravagant buying and the strong need for attention and acceptance influenced by my mother in my early childhood days.  I call for attention and acceptance to gain recognition from my dad.
I am sorry for the times I have suspended God’s grace, creative acts and blessings when I lie, exaggerate, deceive, invent and put down others for my glory.  My inability to listen puts words in my mouth that is not real and only the creation of my imagination coming from my need to set forth what I desire.  This creates disruption and fulfillment of God’s purpose in my life.
I have also put attention in criticizing and judging my husband.  This has created feelings of non acceptance and lack of self confidence in my husband and my family.
In committing these acts of unkindness and unloving behaviour I completely separated God from my existence - not consulting Him or praying for guidance.  I took him for granted overconfident in His compassion, mercy and love for me.  I can do these because God will forgive me.
Thank you Lord for the awakening and this day of healing and liberation.


Week 7, Tuesday after Easter - during the Agnus Dei - the words had new meaning! The picture during those words was at His feet. Pray for me that this will repeat throughout the day. His Peace IS ours. --Joe
I finished week 7 this morning and was filled with a great feeling of relief. I have always felt I needed proof of God's love for me and also felt I wasn't accomplishing much to show love for Him. All of a sudden it cane to me.....God has always poured love out to me with the beauty of nature around me.......I have always felt this, but it came in more positive this morning. This coupled with my family and friends love for me also entered into the spiritual feeling. My dog also entered into the love from God equation as he always has shown love for me. All this added up to fulfillment of God's love for me. Now as for my psyche of not giving enough love to God....the reverse of the above has lifted the burden of feeling not complete in my quest to give Him love. I now don't feel guilty and inadequate .....hope and pray it continues. It was a great and almost miraculous spiritual revelation this morning. I even read Fr. Gillick's reflection with vigor and contemplation. Thanks for uplifting and empowering me to fulfillment this morning.
I've just finished week 7. This retreat is having such a profound effect on me, especially the weeks on sin. I have a very difficult time dealing with anything emotional, I have a tendency to just push life aside and go on. After having breast cancer last year, the emotions just took over my life pretty much and, I have had to face a lot of things that have happened over the years and looking back, I've realized I have hurt a lot of people with my "aloofness" and non caring attitude, especially my family. I finally reconnected with my aunt and cousins whom I haven't seen or talked to in over 20 years, it was so incredibly sad because we were like sisters and my aunt was like my mother. My mother and aunt had some argument over money and the family went our separate ways, I didn't have to, but chose to, to keep peace in my own family, and as a result my children don't know what a wonderful family they do have, never having met them. I've asked God to forgive me for being so hurtful, and have made a promise to him and my aunt and cousins to always keep in touch no matter what. Hopefully, my mom will be able to forgive someday and reconnect, so many of my prayers have been answered, why not that. God Bless everyone, I'll pray for you, please keep me in your prayers too.
--Patti


I am at the end of week 7 now but like many other sharers I found it to be the hardest week. When I read through the reflection for the week I was immediately reminded of a deep sin which I had conveniently forgotten. I had never asked forgiveness for it as far as I can remember. It is strange that it should come to my mind at this time but this whole week I battled to get it off my mind. It started eating at me and I knew that I needed to ask God to forgive me. Even after asking for forgiveness, the sin and its consequences kept coming to mind wherever I went. It was the focus for my entire week. I began to understand the meaning of asking God's grace when we seek forgiveness.

Every time we say the "OUR FATHER', forgive me my trespasses as I forgive those who tresspass against me. These words reminds me of my need to forgive others as much as I seek and need forgiveness for myself. I also learnt that forgiveness in its totality means that I am given the grace to forgive also myself for the offence. I have thought about the badness and wickedness of my sins and how it can affect my relationship with God and other's because of the way sin blocks the Graces of God from flowing through me. Sin separates us truly from the love of God. At the end of my week the Holy spirit revealed to me that God had already forgiven me my sins and that it was I who could not forgive myself. God has already freed me from all guilt of the sin but I could not let go. It was only because of this retreat that I fully understand how sin separates me from God and I never want to feel like I did this week again. I am so greatful for the Grace to understand what I have done and to learn to forgive myself and allow God to heal me.


Week 7: I haven't shared anything yet but feel moved to do so this morning. Strong emotions in a quiet calm flow. Sin is such an ugly subject and so unfashionable for a child of the 70's like me! But what graces have flowed through these weeks. Seeing the patterns of sin is the most helpful. I am not an evil person. I don't have a list of grave sins to recount. But the patterns in my life that keep me from growing closer and closer to God are emerging. The root is forgetting who I am. I am realizing that when I forgot WHO I AM I can so easily feel threatened and then feel the need to protect myself. I have this image of me as a small desert animal who puts up spikes when I feel threatened. Spikes of jealousy, judgementalism, needing to be smart, right, important, good looking, an authority. But since this intimate experience with God who loves me, I feel softer. Feels like the spikes aren't as necessary as I realize I am protected already by God's all-encompasing love.
Week 7: I am finding peace within myself having brought to the forefront my feelings of anger about a family member, and now I realize there is another person in my family that I need to forgive/love. I have resented her for a long time & I really need to be free of this, with the help of God. It's hard but I really want to do this.
I am constantly amazed how many times I am recognizing "statements" in homilies, or presentations, that fit in perfectly, & reaffirm, with what is going on in a Retreat week I'm working on. It's as if God is giving me a whole bundle of insights & graces on this journey! I am so thankful for this Online Retreat - Praise God - & thanks to all who put this together, & for the sharing of so many.


Week 7: After coming face-to-face with my sinfulness, I needed to "uncover the way I approach sin." I prayed for the grace to understand the patterns beneath my sinfulness. Here is where I discovered the need for deep healing--beginning with the woundedness of my early childhood which I now believe is the root of much of my sinful life. I was "overwhelmed with the mystery of how God could possibly love me"--a most unreliable servant--who has struggled for years to His faithful servant. It was here that I discovered who I am and realized my need for a Savior.

The "basement" tour was an especially powerful image for me. Though I've reviewed my life many times over in past retreats, this is the first time I walked with Jesus through my history-holding tightly to His hand. To hear Him say He loves me--even in this place, was a great grace. To hear Him say He loves "all of me--the whole me," made me realize that I am "a loved sinner." It helped me recognize that the mystery of God's love goes far beyond our human understanding.

In the past my prayer was more like a recitation of cliché statements that rarely moved me beyond a surface relationship with God--a God far removed from me, a sinner--an impersonal God. My inability to regard all God's gifts--God's creatures--as "personally offered to me by a personal God," has led me to use these gifts recklessly--without reverence and respect for the Giver of these gifts. The song "O Beauty, Ever Ancient" recently published by the St. Louis Jesuits (c 2005) has brought this message home to me better than ever before. One line in particular:
My unloveliness I ran from,Turned to seek you in all things, Things you fashioned as a pathway, Yet I lost myself in them."

"Before Jesus can meet [me] in a healing way, [I] have to meet [myself] in a humbling way. [I] had to face the truth of my own personal condition… Like the prodigal son, [I] had to come to [my] senses and return to [myself] first." Indeed, "Jesus meets those who have first met themselves… Honesty is not humiliation, but a prelude to being engraced."


Week 7: I am coming to the end of my 7th week and for me this has been the hardest week so far. Looking at the patterns of sin and seeing the same things crop up time and time again even though I say I am sorry I get drawn back into the same cycle. My biggest demon is that of self gratification through masturbation. Why? I use it as an outlet to express feelings I don't know how to express in any other way.During this week ,however I have been able to look at what I am doing when the cycle begins and usually its nothing. I am watching something mindless on TV and my mind is empty which gives an open invitation to the devil to step in.When thoughts enter my head instead of blocking them and changing what I am doing I allow them to develop until it gets past the point of turning them off.
The Cor Reading of'' when you are at your weakest then I am at my strongest 'makes me see that I need Jesus in my life at all times,so that he can be strong for me when I am unable to resist. His constant presence in my life I have learnt over these last weeks helps me to focus on Him and keep Him in the background of my life all the time.
Week 7: I thought I had completed week 7 and looked deeply at all my sins, but as I tried to move into week 8 I became more aware of my sinfulness. I have found it hard to sustain my focus on the retreat this week and perhaps I haven't looked deeply enough at my patterns of sin. i often feel I am letting God down, I am lazy and don't seem to be able to commit myself to anything for long periods - so I suppose even gettng this far in the retreat is an achievement for me. My self critisism also gets in the way of fully recieving Gods Grace and I know I need to let go and trust in His merciful goodness.I remember someone once gave the analogy of holding onto something physical in both your hands prevents you from recieving a gift from another person. We have to put the object down first, to let it go and then recieve the gift. I pray that I can let go of the barriers I create that prevent me from accepting the fullness of God's love.
I have just finished week 7. It was a hard week to ponder on ones sins. Yet what was a big help was just to wash ones self in the mercy and love of Jesus. It was a wonderful week but I felt that my thoughts, feelings and actions had sins in them. As I looked at the patterns I now want Jesus to wash me with His mercy and love and to help me overcome these patterns.


As I finish week 7 of this retreat I am glad that I am being persistent in continuing the work. So often I begin and then stop. And although I had invited others to join me they appear to have dropped off, so I go it alone. The weeks on sin have been difficult because there is so little that is new. After Communion this morning I realized that part of the difficulty right now is that I feel disconnected and almost hypocritical because it is a dry period. And I remembered something my spiritual director told me once. It is the fidelity that counts not the feelings. That helped. When life is going easily and brightly, I am filled with connection and praise and genuine gratitude and find it easy to pray and converse with Our Lord. When life is gray and there are obstacles and fear wells up I tend to go the other direction and hide in the tree like Zaccheus. That lack of trust is one of the sins I have suffered with for many years and know the reasons for and need to continue to work on. It is a self centered fear and goes hand in hand with a need for control. So there I have said it out loud! NOW to go and ask ur
Lord for help in living with it and allowing Him to remove it as He wills.
Pray for me as I do for you
--Cathy


Week 7: I tried hard this week to let the Lord help me see the pattern of my sin. I could see many connections ... and I tried to ask to delve deeper. It was difficult ... not so much the pain of sin and how I seperated myself from others as a result. This is bad enough but trying to understand the "why" in the pattern. Then I had a "grace filled" moment when I was in fact thinking about my parents on All Soul's Day. I had a vivid image of God loving them very much and of their being so happy now in that love. I realised that there was the kernal I had been looking for. I had been seeing the pattern of my sin as obvious rebellion ... coupled with intense self-centredness. But at the heart is a relational problem with God. I don't see God as a demanding ogre but I do see God as demanding. I'm always puzzling out what this is ... earlier in my life I rebelled against that demand. But at the core what is the greater pattern of sin is not seeing God as the all embracing loving God. When I see that I have ignored that intense love ... and yes I believe and trust in his forgiveness many times but then I saw that as a chance to get back on the "God bus" again rather than being swept up in his love. His love is a gift which when I move away from it leads me to self-centred paths. His love is a gift in others which when I fail to see that I move out of relationship with them and also with God. "Lord, help me to bring your intense love to others rather than my self centred concerns and attractions".
We are a group of 9 participating in this wonderful retreat under the guidance of our Parish Spiritual Director. We are up to week 7 and we will be meeting about every 5 weeks to reveal the graces received as we journey these 34 weeks together. Two of the group have already done this retreat. As spokesperson of the group, I will be sharing with all of you some of the graces we have received.
At our last meeting, we have ALL commented that we have seen God working through each of us as we are becoming more aware of His presence in our lives. It has brought a feeling of protection to one, patience to another, peace making to another and has made each of us see that we are each exactly where we are supposed to be and that is OK.
Some expressed wanting to quit - thinking that they are not dedicating enough time into the retreat. Thankfully, through the guidance of our Spiritual Director as well as encouragement form the rest of the group, they have come to realize that you do not need to put much time into this - to reap the graces that are waiting to be revealed
As we are praying for all of you, please pray for our group as we journey through these 34 weeks together.
--Tricia
I just completed week 7. It was difficult trying to find what was behind my pattern of sin. I found no easy answer. My sin is always before me but why do I sin? Would understanding what is behind my sin help me not to sin? The only thing clear to me from my reflection this week is that I am a sinner and I repeat my sins. To a degree I could see a pattern of sin trying to make myself feel good or as an escape from painful issues in my life. But so what! Everyone has problems. What I realize is I love God but feel so ashamed with my continual sin. I guess I have learned to accept first that I am a sinner and that I will continue to struggle but I will do my best with the grace of God to overcome temptation. I am now much more aware of my pattern of sin. I cannot stop my pattern of sin on my own but I place my sin at Gods feet, the feet of his cross!
Week 7: This was a difficult week I especially meditated on the darkest period (so far) of my life. Of course, I start with thanks that I have been forgiven many times over especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. But I wanted to explore whether the seeds of a lifestyle that did not embrace peace were actually in that experience. I started to see that the underlying behaviors really started with a great gift. I have an innate curiosity about other people and how they live, what forms them, how they see the world. I was willing to question assumptions and as a result I easily empathize with others… even people living different lifestyles. But there is one step in which this turns from a gift into an obstacle. Empathizing is one thing … adopting other lifestyles is another. What I was "curious about" became the thing in itself and I lost touch with God. My own self-will became dominant. I see the same pattern in other elements during that period. Gifts like friendship and alcohol become abused because my will becomes paramount. Of course, that period in my life is over but there are times when I still experience real restlessness and especially impatience with others. So I also meditated on this aspect in my life. I see that everything has to be perfect at least in my mind and if its not I react out against it. Again it is easy to lose sight of others' needs and fulfilling my needs become paramount. I finished the week doing the Stations of the Cross. Somehow, I felt closer to Jesus and also felt overwhelming forgiveness. I truly hope I can use this healing in His service.
Week 6 and 7: This retreat has been a big blessing as I have looked deep down within myself. Weeks 6 and 7 have been the most difficult one as they make me look at myself as a sinner something I choose consciously not to do. The shock of my sins was too strong for me, that I chose to withdraw for a couple of days but this was actually not a real withdrawal, but a moment when I asked myself “WHY?”. I realized how judgmental and self righteous I am as a Christian. I have been living a life full of lust and greed. Being involved in a sexual relationship with a married man with a justification that he is separated from his wife. I have avoided this thought during the last 3 weeks, but finally, I could not keep it out of my head. Just sharing this with you is like opening me up in a manner I would rather choose not to do.
My pride prevents me from admitting that I may be wrong but yet, very judgmental to others who are in the same shoes as I am. Week 7 has made me realize that my desire to be loved, accepted and successful, has allowed me to compromise myself in ways I need not as the love of God supersedes the love of man. I have lost my childhood freedom and joy in my life as a result of trying to fit in these societal demands. Looking back at my early weeks reflections, I need to set myself free and be like a child of God again, to receive the love and grace He offers. I pray that all those taking this retreat may find the peace and joy of being God’s favorite child.
-- Sue
Looking back at week seven I feel I am still skimming the surface of my life. However it did make me think about what it might be that creates my patterns of sin, what it is that makes me react sometimes in an irritable way, when being shown kindnesses especially by people who love me. A childhood where we moved several times and a family that finds it uncomfortable to express emotions or express love except by doing things for each other, has left me feeling insecure and unlovable. Also my need to be in control and find the answer to all problems, makes me fearful to attempt anything in case I am found wanting. But God is so gracious. I continue to be amazed that God still loves me despite all my limitations, and I pray that he will help me to move forward spiritually, that I will be more aware of his love and be prepared to take risks.

One of the suggested readings this week was the healing of the Roman officer's servant. This story has always spoken to me, of the officer's great faith, that he did not want to bother Jesus to come to his house but only needed Jesus to speak the word and his servant would be healed. During my time of reflection I began to think of how the officer must have loved and cared for his servant so much that he would risk the possible shame and ridicule of approaching a Jewish person to heal him. It somehow brought the emotion of the situation to an otherwise seemingly 'controlled situation' - a real insight for me, allowing me to feel an emotion I hadn't otherwise anticipated or 'allowed'.

God IS helping me to move forward.
Week 7 This is my first posting. I have been amazed at the impact this retreat is making on my life. I have recently returned to the Catholic Church after 30 years. This retreat has helped me so much, especially this week. The main pattern of sin I have found in myself is self-gratification, it seems to be the root of all my transgressions all my life.
I am a recovering drug addict I had 8 years free from drugs and alchohol before starting the pattern all over again. I have been 'clean' again now for now for about 3 months with the exception of smoking pot once a couple of weeks ago.
The other life long problem is masturbation (which I didn't even realize was a problem until I returned to the Church). When I give in to this temptation (which has been every couple of weeks or so). I feel God is more hurt by this than when I smoked pot that time a couple of weeks ago.

When I first returned to the Church in August (3 months ago) I made a personal vow to Jesus giving over to Him my entire self, body, soul and spirit; this vow helped me get through in the beginning. But then as I get closer to Jesus, I realized the my "Idea" of myself was and is a lie. Now I am trying to find my 'true' self so I can really make an act of consecration. This retreat has really helped me to do this by giving strucure and pattern to the process. Thank you Sain Ignatius.

Please pray for me and I will pray for you all too.
--Skeeter
I am not quite half way through my seventh week and this is the first time I have felt compelled to speak out. I feel a powerful urge to express my thanks to all whose sharings I have read so far. As finish every day with meditations on the mysteries of the Rosary, thoughts come back to me from my morning visit to the retreat that perfectly fit what I am contemplating.
--Loring
I really don't know where to start for iam feeling so emotional right now. God is doing so much in my life. He reveals Himself un to me and it's so great. This week has done so much for me, more than any week. There are patterns of sin in my life that i have come to realise, like desire to be loved, to have everything, to be successful,to be respected and people to recognise me. These desires makes me do some of the things i never intended to do. For example, desire to be loved leads me to sex as i wouldn't want to disappoint my beloved or i feel like it at the moment. God loves me that is why He has revealed this un to me. He can do for you to .I put my life in his hands now to do His will in my life. I would like Him to take control of my life as iam so weak but very strong in HIM. His mercy is sufficient for me, for he reveals Himself in weakness. Corithians 12: 8-10
Week 7 - Not a “week” but rather 2 months. That is how long I spent struggling, trying to find, and name, the 4 to 5 basic patterns behind my many sins. The naming of these patterns was very helpful and is a promising area for sharing. Naming creates the conditions for an internal “spiritual” surgery or cleansing restoring heart and body and finding peace. For those who like me yielded to a pattern of lust that in my case led to terrible sins of adultery that were very damaging to my family, the issue became how cut this pattern out of my life at the very root. How to replace it with trust? Although I stopped the overt behavior years ago, there were deep, hidden patterns that seemed emerge at unexpected times.Yesterday, instead settling for the worn term “lust” as a category of sin, I tried to give it a name that made it more personal and reprehensible. Lust became “selfish, lusty insect.” This dark insect has lived inside of me for years, and for the period of my unfaithfulness, I would feed it regularly. It is an insect, because if you shed light on it, it will run and hide. It is selfish, because that is the nature of the lust urge, if not linked to a truly loving relationship. But it lurks and comes out at night, and continues to live in the dark corners of my mind’s desire. But by naming it, I can begin to ask for Gods grace and begin to confront it and control it.Examples of other names of “sin making” parts of myself are “Mr. Know-Better/Controller”, “Raging Bull”, “Wounded Lion”, “Master of Nothing.” These creatures are the names of underlying tendencies in me that have created sin throughout my life. But what to do? Do I hate this part of me and wage an internal war or do I make peace with my ugly pets?I learned from the Buddhist tradition to accept the unattractive parts of myself, take deep breaths, in and out, and then let go. In prayerful meditation, I learned something about centering my thoughts and stilling my mind. I began to notice these beasts within lose their power when named, and almost disappear when named and “loved” or accepted as part of my internal nature. This helps me integrate body, mind and heart. I am now able to increasingly focus on Jesus, the spirit of love and life restoring me and healing me.I share the grace of the process of slaying my internal demons and now hope to move on, move steadily on without undue fretting and delay. When they surface as I am sure they will, I will recognize them, name them and let them go. Maybe that is what Christ meant, when he said, “get thee behind me Satan.” The sin is behind, and my eyes can now look to God without the separation created by the sin.Though a newfound relationship with God, I am finding a new simpler trust in his grace (Matthew 6: 24-34) and finding in Him the power to conquer sin after accepting and my imperfect nature. For me to restore trust to my marriage, I have to trust myself, but only through God. I can’t do it alone. I have proven too selfish and self-serving for that. I therefore want to have a creaturely relationship to God our father spoken in Jesus’ teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. I am learning not to worry about my sinful patterns, but to examine and co-exist with my weakness By sitting at the foot of the cross, I feel comforted and see the face of Jesus and feel connected again to my God our Lord. I have resisted God’s graces for years and only recently am I changing this pattern by trusting in Him.
I'm starting the 7th week of the retreat. And I'm beginning to see why most of you ask to be remember in our prayers. I pushed through last weeks retreat and almost decided to spend two weeks on it for lack of progress. The topic of sin paralyzes me. I see now that without a lot of help from God I'm not going to go anywhere with this no matter how hard I push. As a matter of fact I think that "pushing" will only hold me back.
Thank you God.
Pray for me, I'll pray for you.
-- Bob
i have just fnished week 7 and have found it very difficult. i havent been able to connect the dots at all so it seems to me. i am trusting that its working and i just cant yet see the patterns. its 2 weeks since my son and his little family moved to another town and i dont know where its the retreat affecting me and where its the loneliness and uncertainty about what decisions to make in my own life. i am noticing the lack of a spiritual advisor and have been very bleak and unsettled.
the comfort and certainty of divine assistance and love with which i am familiar have deserted me and nothing seems to make sense at all.
my sleeping is disturbed and i seem far less than what i would like to be.
i am just plodding on and knowing that others take the same journey is very important to me. i am ok when i come home . my home is a true and very beautiful sanctuary. but i am detached and vague with other people - even my primary support people. i dont know whether i am to follow my family or stay here. and the pattern of sin and rebellion seems tightly linked to it. i have twice walked away from my children. and all the old griefs and guilts and shames are threatening to overwhelm me. this week i do not feel like a child of god. at all. i feel like a failure. god help me into the next week. i know there is some way of viewing this which is just eluding me this week. through the glass darkly it is for me.
-- yours nell from the tweed
Week 7 Filling the void. I've used alcohol, people, things, work, food, all kinds of distractions. Nothing works. Nothing. I'm learning to turn to God when I loose my serenity; when the void consumes me, and sends me searching. It's a frantic reaction, when I find meself unbalanced. Reaching out and grabbing, almost anything to save me. But now, I'm trying to 'reach in', to God. To God within me. God's love fills me, if I allow it. It's up to me to let it in and be saturated with it. God fills the void; with love and trust and faith. And Grace.
I am just finishing up week 7 and I am aware of some very subtle changes in me and in my thinking. Approaching personal sin is always difficult for me but the reflections and guides have helped me look more deeply because I know that I am loved. I did a presentation recently where I referred to Jesus' baptism where he is referred to as "My beloved." I was able to look at areas/patterns of sin in my life because I know that I am God's beloved. Reflecting on this during this season of autumn has also helped. The letting go of the leaves is a reminder of the need to let go of the control that I hold onto...that it is only in letting go that new life can come.

-- Mary
Week 7: What is the cause of my patterns of sin?I usually go back to St. Augustine’s pears. Remember, in his Confessions, how he describes stealing pears when he was a kid? Not because he needed them or even wanted them, but because he desired the love of his friends, who thought it would be fun to steal some pears. It seems to me that’s why I do a lot of my sinning: out of desire for someone’s love. It’s the old “mistaking the creature for the Creator” thing: I want the infinite love that is God, but people, being made in his image, are seen as a ready substitute. It seems a sin that God would find easy to forgive: here I am, desiring him, desiring his love, but accidentally loving instead something he made in his own image. Oops! Yet sin it is. The devil knows I won’t find evil attractive, so he lures me with a lesser good. In my relations with others, I suppose I could look at Jesus in his relationship with Peter. When Peter says, “You are the Christ!” Jesus replies, “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church.” Yet when Peter says, “God forbid that any harm should come to you!” Jesus replies, “Get behind me, you Satan!”In the first instance, Peter recognizes the Truth about Christ; in the second, he misunderstands or denies it. If only I could be like Christ! Then I could embrace my friends only when they know the truth of me: my vocation to “know, serve and love” God. Yet I could reject with Christ’s self-awareness all attempts to divert me from that call.Tom, Pennsylvania
I was traveling for work for a good part of this week which is not necessarily conducive to reflection. But I did realize that a big pattern that underlies sinful parts of my life is similar to what I experience traveling. I am excited about the possibilities in exploring new places … new experiences. I recognize earlier in the week that most of my reflections centered on much earlier experiences in my life … days I have previously characterized as my days of exile from God. Then I was really traveling in a metaphorical sense trying to experience and explore new places. Incorrectly perceiving that the places where I had been brought up and were familiar were not where I wanted to be. Clearly they were not satisfying and so I ask myself, “Why did I take that turn and miss these signs?” Then I saw clearly the dark side of exploration … exploration without God … in my life leads to dark corners … it’s like the directional signs were clear and I ignored them. But I also see real grace in these experiences. In each of these dark corners there has been someone who has gently prodded me back onto the path. I have felt God’s forgiveness very concretely in my life. I was also touched earlier in the week reflecting on St Alphonsus Rodriguez whom we remembered on Monday. In a lowly role as doorkeeper for Jesuit college in Segovia at any knock he would cry out, “I’m coming Lord”. I remember once being a janitor during college vacation. How I hated it. But what grace I missed not following St Alphonsus’s example. And I have missed the opportunity for that grace over and over again in how I have approached everyday situations.Then in the readings, I keep coming back to the phrase, “If any of you want to be my followers, you must forget about yourself”. Many times I do the opposite. Sometimes the self centeredness starts innocently. Many times I’m impatient for change. But at the heart of my darkness is a feeling that “I’m not satisfied with who I am” and then the critical deception, “I will be someone else”. Often that other person is not who I really am. Certainly I know it is not who God knows as me. Many times it leads to the really sinful areas in my life. So I start again and see that it does not matter whether or not I am satisfied with myself. What really matters is whether God is satisfied. Having viewed all the journeys I have taken so far in my life and how God’s loving presence has been there whether or not I saw it at the time, I give up my impatience with myself, and commit to letting God shape my journeys. At least I pray for this grace.
This week's retreat asked us to reflect on the pattern of our sins and why we hold onto and repeat them. Last week I recognized and admitted to sins of pride, selfishness, materialism and being judgemental (so much for sainthood!). This week I've spend time reflecting on each. I can see how my childhood and youth (coming from a poor, dysfunctional family) played a part in my pattern of sins, as I was ashamed of my family life, I wanted nice things, and I saw everything from the world's view of success and happiness.
I reflected this week on how now, as a grown woman, I still struggle with these sins whenever my needs for acceptance, self worth, love and autonomy are in question. My reflection time, however, revealed my greatest sin to be not recognizing, at these times, that my God would never allow anything to happen to me that He wasn't aware of. He knows the circumstances of my life at all times. He knows my needs and every thought and has repeatedly asked for me to give them to Him. When I turn to Him, especially in conversational prayer, I am not only forgiven my sins but His guidance and peace re-directs my thinking so that I only want to please Him. When I don't turn to Him, I foolishly suffer. I have no peace and contentment in acting out in pride, selfishness, etc...
I'm so grateful for the first time I recognized and understood Psalm 51.
I find it consoling and uplifting that God can create in me a clean and pure heart. I smile knowing that I am a work in progress.
I pray to God to grow in my ability to follow Jesus.
Yet I fear and resist change.
How can I grow without change?
I pray to God to grow in my love for my neighbor.
Yet so often I resent intrusions from others into my world.
How can I grow in love when my heart is a fortress?
I keep asking God.
He keeps giving me exactly what I ask.
I refuse, turn away, or resent His gifts.
Act as if He is handing me a snake, when He hands me a key to the narrow gate.
Lord, forgive me my sins.
Help me to learn to accept your grace. Denise
The personal patterns of my sinfulness were already becoming evident these past weeks of my retreat. I seem to judge others when they don’t live up to my expectations. I say I trust in the Lord with all my heart, but still worry and cannot believe or accept His grace. He says “Do not be afraid, I am with you always”, but I do fear. All the things I hate in others are the very sins that I commit or have committed. I say I forgive, but I still hold onto things of the past. There are so many things that, by God’s grace, He has helped me to see because He knows I have to heal completely and I can only do this by looking within. By doing this and then focusing on God’s eyes looking at me with pure love, embracing me, and holding my face in His loving hands, I have found a peace like I have never felt before. Because of this, my outlook on life has drastically changed…the things going on in my life have not changed…just the way I am able to handle them. “My grace is sufficient for thee, for power is made perfect in weakness” 2 Cor. 12:9 (also, read verses 6-9) Yes, His grace is more than sufficient, but my hardness of heart made me unable to see or grasp it. But, now, I am holding onto it for dear life and praising God every minute of the day for His gift.
-- June
I am on week seven of the retreat. This has been a very good experience for me. Weeks 5, 6, and 7 have been about sin. Sin in general, personal sins and my own patterns of sinfulness. The thing I have struggled with is that it is fairly easy for me to see sin in others but not in myself. I know in a general sense it is there and I see some of the specifics but I think there is a lot I do not see. So I talked to my spiritual advisor ( a priest/friend) about not making progress in this area. He said the fact that you are thinking about your own sinfulness is a good sign as most people won't even think of their own sinfulness. So maybe I am making progress. I remember reading when starting the retreat not to "demand progress."

The picture of "Auctioning off the Cross" intrigued me more than any others even before I read the meditations for that week. I wasn't sure why at first. Then it occurred to me that the reason that picture intrigued me is because I am guilty of auctioning off the cross in so many ways.

I pray for all who make this retreat. God Bless you all.
The biggest pattern I see in my sin , is the way I just easily don't give to others the respect and love they deserve. I keep myself apart. I pray this will change. Help me God. I have been praying to learn to love Jesus, I think I must only learn to "Love My Neighbor" . Help me God. Week 7
I am a sixty year old priest. I am at week 7 at present and struggling badly! I have shared nothing so far, as I find it difficult to open up even to myself. I thought this morning it would be a good idea to 'revise' from the beginning and try to share. I took two weeks to do Week 1. I am glad because the second week brought back to me many blessings I had received through lots of people I had forgotten about during the first week. I finished the second week with a sense of gratitude for being so blessed and enriched throughout my life.
I feel like I've finished week 7, but then in some ways I don't feel finished. My heart feels raw... not broken, not healed, just kind of raw, in a state of flux. It's hard to exist this way, but I'm trying not to rush the healing process. It is important that I heal and not just coat it with my own vices. Dear Lord, I patiently await your healing. AMEN
Christine -AK
When the darkness is complete
seeking you comes easy
I can say with Paul
"When I am weak, then I am strong
When all is brightness and sunshine
I run to you with love, grateful for your gifts
God is good! How great is our God! But the cloudy days of plodding endurance...
those I claim for myself
days not cold enough to take cover
nor warm enough to give gratitude
in these days my sin has foundation and growsand what does my sin look like?
a fortress I have built around my heart
the stronghold I retire to on the dreary days.
its walls somehow and mercifully admit entrance to
support and encouragement of those who love me
but limit the love I can return
and blind me to the needs of those near
but just outside.I need to be free of my desire to be strong alone.
within my fortress that desire is strong
and drowns out your call to be friend and disciple.
I can not tear down the walls alone
and alone, I don't really wish to
But You will not storm the gates
You wait just outside the wall at the weakest point
Calling to me...It may be too much to ask of this week that we can tear down
the walls so long in building
but I pray that I could at least find you waiting
and calling at the smallest opening,
and allow you to draw me out of myself
and into you so that I can see clearly
what keeps me from you
at least for a time.
i've surprised my self by making it this far...i'm usually not good at sustaining an effort. for the last two weeks i have acutely felt the pain of the rebellion of sin..feeling cut off from god and from those i love and have sinned against. but i have also experienced what can happen when i turn to god in need. this week has really forced me to see one of my most destructive patterns, and that is trying to do it "my" way when things are "good", thinking i can play both ends against the middle. when i become complacent, the margins of right behavior blur and i cross the line, thinking my actions won't really hurt. i become swept along in my own emotions, yielding to them without pause. i have also discovered that when things are "bad", i dont seek the help of god or utilize the tools he has given me until catastrophe strikes...and then i come begging. i live a reactive rather than proactive life. i do not follow the words of the act of contrition "to avoid the near occasion of sin"..because i dont want to. how stupid and self destructive this has been for me! someone once told me that if evil was dressed up in horns and a tail, no one would want it, so evil often feels good and satisfying. but how empty it feels in the end. if i am to make spritual progress i have to turn it over to god and change the patterns of my life, one day at a time. i never thought it would be so much work and how actively engaged i'd have to be in it. but i acknolwedge that despite the many troubles in my life, god has given me much...and therefore i am responsible for honoring what ive been given. change has been agonizingly slow for me, but i can feel it in increments. for this i am grateful to the god who loves me as i am, sins and all. Week 7
I am in week seven. I started only checking in each week --- thinking that it would be good to learn the process of the retreat. But I have found myself living this retreat. I had been feeling disconnected from Jesus and as I finally allowed myself to depend more on Jesus and less on myself I realized that Jesus is always there... always connected... I am the one that disconnects.
Week 7:  I find it difficult to reflect on sins.  Perhaps it is because I don't really want to look at them.  I have been deaf to God's word for a long time though at the back I know God is always there.

Today I got mad at almost everything.  I was off so I supposed that I was relaxed and free.  But inside my heart there is lots of anger and I cannot figure out what it is - what is the source of my anger?
 
I pray to God to hold me in His loving hands.
Week 7 has revealed a sin I never considered a sin.  It is an attitude toward others (not everyone) of superiority.  How can I rid of it--it is so ingrained and seems not to be willful, but a part of my being. So I will pray about this now.

Anyway, the attitude comes from my upbringing where criticizing of others was commonplace.  It gave me a feeling of "we" and "they" (everyone else) and "we" were special. I felt very loved, safe, warm and fortunate.  Yet, I have a fair amount of low self-esteem.  How do these two go together?  I've been told by a counselor that the criticism set forth the parental expectations which I have tried to meet all of my life. Those criticisms could be of me if I acted or looked a certain way.

I'm also beginning to see that disappointment in my husband over the years has been influenced by this "sin."   And not thinking that the attitude showed was probably naiive and that it has affected his feelings and confidence. I'm suddenly realizing that I have gotten quite a bit out of week 7!
my patterns of sin has been aagainst my wife. i have connected the dots and what i see is a young man growing old by himself. the image of the man on the beach;in this weeks photo, could be me wondering where i went wrong.i did not acknowledge my sins.i did see myself as a"big sinner". it was my wife who suggested i do this retreat.the first time i tried the retreat i did not think it was for me.this time i have removed my mask and saw myself for who i truly was.coldhearted,unloving, self centered;yes this this was me. for twenty five years my wife has put up with this monster.i beg GODS FORGIVENESS and my wifes that i receive a second chance.i sit at the feet of JESUS hoping to experience his forgiveness.i beg GOD to hold me and heal me for i'am truly broken.my prayer is that i could be the man on the beach with his loving wife by his side and not the old man alone asking GOD how could this happen. Week 7
I realized during week seven that the underlying cause for many of my sins that kept reechoing though my mind was that I worry too much about my appearance before others.  While I knew before that this was a one of my problems, I did not realize quite as fully as I do now what impact this has had in the sins that I commit.  There were some sins that I could easily trace back to this but as I dug deeper into some of my other sins I found this to be below the surface as well.  While there were also other patterns that I could find this one seemed to be the most prominent.  It seems ironic that I could offend and strain my relationship with the One who is the most important while I was so concerned with the perception that others have of me.  As I sit here typing I realize that gaining recognition, approval, or a good image in the eyes of others would mean nothing if I am offending God in the process.  Now I must continue to work to put this realization into practice which will not always be easy.
Week 7: I believe that part about people not getting up each day with the intent to do evil things. We all want to do good, to be good. The part that hits the nail on the head for me is that we feel needs that feel unmet, we have fears that sap our confidence. This is the meaning of "sin" for me. These unfulfilled needs and nagging fears make us lose sight of the fact that God is with us, loving us offering us the help we need if only we could be conscious of His help around us. Losing sight of our loving Father, that is "sin" in my view.

The prayer "In these or similar words" brought tears to my eyes. The visual was strong and positive. Me sitting at the feet of My Father asking for the strength to get up again and try to do good, be compassionate even if I am sick or tired or hurt from being ignored, be watchful of other's needs and help if only with a smile of encouragement, have courage because the All Powerful, All loving God cares for me and intends for me to care for His creation in return.
To reflect on patterns of personal sin is not something that most people want to do and that includes me, but I believe that it will prove to be life altering if I approach this week or so with the idea that , I do need a conversion of heart and a much more profound awareness of how my inability to love the way God intended me to love is hampering me from being the creature that God intended me to be.

I  want to delve into why I sin, what is my weakness or inclination. Most of the time , it is through selfishness, or fear that I tend to lash out, judge, or mistreat my brothers and sisters.  Though I often pray for trust in God, I often forget and then the sin will  inevitably rear its ugly head. It will be a life long journey to place total trust in God who deserves nothing less than my absolute trust in His Mercy and Love.

I am grateful for this week and I pray that I will not be afraid to look at myself honestly, and remain constantly aware of Christs ultimate and great gift of Himself to me. Thank you and God bless all who are making this retreat and those who facilitate it.

I read the sharing of others in Week 7 today, the first day of that week for me. Again, God’s timing amazes me. One person wrote of a rut, blockage, procrastination, and even failing to start a project. Others shared experiences similar to mine. One used the analogy of ‘connecting the dots’ to describe this week’s work. I too am in a rut. I need to connect the dots in my life. The patterns are not yet clear, but are beginning to come into focus. I pray for the grace to see the patterns in my life and to steer myself out of the ‘rut.’ All praise and thanks be to the Lord, my Saviour! 

The seventh week was difficult for me. I felt deep sorrow and scare when the hidden things in my mind that I never wanted to remember was disclosed in front of  God and myself. But on the journey I discovered my habitually repeated sins resulted from  not only admitting my failure and mistakes and disability  but escaping from them. In fact I have hidden my injury and frustration. It grew bigger and bigger and without knowing controlled my mind and made me disguise myself .... far away from God. Though I have participated in many church activities, I realized I didn't show myself as it is even to Him and began to wonder whether or not my love for God was wrong. Throughtout this week I -as a sinner- wanted to be healed all of mine and  renewed by God's Mercy and Love. Talking about myself with God, I could discover that I behaved as I 'd like to regardless of His desire. I really want to buy the cross auctioned off  by me. The picture that I see again on the last day of the journey seemed to tell me God is coming across the river to meet me-as a sinner and give His love.  And my eyes got wet with grateful tears. What a great gift !! 


I am very excited by this process.  I have  made many mistakes in my life.  I can "understand" some of the pyscho-social roots of my sins...but now I want to be able to learn from them.  I also have to be careful not to judge myself too harshly....my father  used to tell me I did this and my friends tell me the same.  Yet, I know what the truth is and yes, sometimes I am hard on myself but many times I take a path that has to do with utter fear and stubborness.  (7)

The exercise for this week has been very difficult for me.    There have been many times in my life when I felt I was dying to self, doing the will of God, only to feel like a hypocrite afterward.  I drew much consolation from the prayer by Thomas Merton -about not knowing if I was pleasing God, but the fact that I was trying to please Him, actually did so. I hope I am not expecting too much from this week's exercise, but maybe, just maybe it might help me discern God's will for my life and to feel His forgiveness for the times when I sinned against Him - even when I felt I was doing the right thing.  (7)

Tears.  I haven't filled up with tears, gotten that tightness in my throat, and the welling up of emotion from inside, for a long time.  (7) This time I felt joy.  Tears of joy.  How I had wanted to never again look at the serious sins of my past.  Today, they tell me not only what I have done, but they remind me of the One whose death frees me from those sins. 

Week 7 -- Time to connect the dots of patterns of sin in my life; what a gift this is!  I have come so far in the walk to wanting to live a life of holiness that I had gotten stuck in mediocrity.  This week, these reflections, are a difficult but wonderful gift for new growth. Yes, the pattern is subtle but consistent.  I am lovely in the "front room" of my life, but there is a need to stroke my ego (pathetically self pitying from the early teen years) that rises to inflict itself on those who are weak if they don't give it the recognition it craves.  Dear Jesus, having seen this more clearly, help me to rest in your friendship, and to see real value in living for you, so that I don't need to rise on the pain of weaker brothers and sisters anymore.

Yes, I am filled with hope and confidence, yet I recognize that my confidence is easily shaken.  I often end up feeling inept and impotent when confronting my spiritual and moral shortcomings, and so I simply give in.  I pray that I can gain strength through this retreat and become a better man, father, husband, and child of God. I know you are with me today, Lord.  Amen.

I am in week 7, it was my usual time to spend with the Lord in the adoration chapel where I begin my retreat each week.  As I read the words in the "In these or Similar Words" section, I got choked up couldn't get through it reading it silently.  I tried reading it aloud and it was worse.  I just can't pray the third paragraph to "..let me feel the pain and alienation of being separated from you..." 
I have been there before and I never want to be away again. Please God..melt whatever separates me from you, please don't let me walk away ever again.  I love to hear your words burning in my heart.  It is only through the miracle of  you Lord that I am able to see the good in others instead of the faults, that I am able to  feel your love for them instead of my own indifference.  Please  Jesus, I can't stand to feel the pain and alienation of being  separated from you.  Please draw me close and don't let go. 


This retreat truly is becoming the background part of my day, and I didn't even know it.  Yesterday at work, we began sharing faith stories, and I was called upon to defend our Faith, to some who profess to be Catholic, but admitted that they don't follow all of Her teachings.  It was a moment of exhilaration, joy, and sorrow all mixed into one.  How good is our loving God!  Then, when I went to Mass later that evening for All Saints Day, I commented to Father, "Doesn't it just make you want to cry sometimes when you stop and ponder upon the awesomeness of our God?!"  How grateful I am for all He has given to me-the joys and the sorrows-everything! 

I have just started week seven.  (How much easier it is to identify the WHAT of my sin than the WHY).  So far, although I have not learnt any new facts about Jesus and His love for me, it has been very worthwhile to become immersed in it throughout the week.  I had shared the url for the retreat with many in my parish, hoping to be able to go through it with people I knew, so we could discuss it, pray through it, and keep each other accountable.  Not even my husband wanted to join me. In many ways, this has been a blessing. I have kept to a flexible timetable, spent 10days on some parts, 4 on others. However, I had not read the sharing of others until yesterday. It is SO reassuring to see that others are praying for all of us on this retreat. I am inspired to do the same. Especially in this confronting section, I need to know that others understand the fear, the guilt, and also the relief that God still loves us.  Thank you to all those who have shared, and to those who have prayed.  I add my prayers to theirs - for each person on this retreat, and for their families.  Sue

Week 7.  I live in a retirement community and am coordinating this retreat for residents who do not have computers.  We have faith sharing on the 1st and 3td Friday afternoons.   So only two persons came to the sharing.  But it was great!  Several of you were there!  After a short prayer, I read some of the sharings These helped us share our own graces.  I'm one of the younger residents (71) and the two women who came are much older.   They shared how different our sin list becomes as we age.   Someone suggest that we could use a booklet --"An Examination of Conscience to Seniors."    We all agreed that being crabby, intollerant, judgmental, "tied up in knots" self-pity, and rage are sins we can relate to now!  (Andy, are you a senior?)   Perhaps one of the older Jesuits on campus could write the book. But as to sharing, one of the women called me last Sunday.  She said that she read the retreat guide three times -- it was so beautiful!  Then she prayed for half an hour or more. I said that when I connected the dots, I realized that I take God for granted.  I take both is forgiveness and his constant help for granted.  The other woman said that's because I trust God.   Isn't it wonderful when someone puts a better light on our sins! Another woman was moved by Kay's sharing and asked for a print copy.  She was especially moved by the line "I realized that I need to spend less time on trying to make myself a better person and more time on asking God's forgiveness and help." -- she probably doesn't have a lot of time left, so she wants to use it well! I really grateful for this opportunity to learn more about the spirituality of older adults.  This knowledge will help me to have helpful spiritual conversations --both ways! 

The most difficult thing for me to do is to  share my weeknesses with with others. When I share my inner most fears, prayers, angers with my husband, we seem to meet me on a level playing field. He knows me so well. He accepts me with gentleness, caring and understanding. He is my sounding board and often tempers my fears and disappointments with gentle acceptance.  When I have tried to express myself to others I fear that what I might say would hurt, be judgemental or be misunderstood. As I reread the words that I have written I realize that I have just shared with you a big  part of my sinful nature - my pride. Please pray for me.

Yesterday afternoon at work, my spouse called me from home to say a difficult disciplinary incident had just transpired with our 9 year old child, who is intelligent and normally cheerful, and also very headstrong.  After discussing the circumstances with my spouse, I spoke briefly with my child, asking what happened, and then saying that I was "very disappointed" in the inappropriate behavior.
Later, at quitting time, and before leaving for home, I went to the On-line Retreat website, in which I have thus far worked my way up to the Week 7  page.  There, I came across the prayer titled, "You have brought us together to receive your mercy and grace in our time of need."  As I read the prayer over, it occurred to me that it could also serve as a fitting reconciliation prayer that our family could pray at the conclusion of the family discussion we were going to have to have that night over the disciplinary incident.
I made three hardcopies of the prayer and went home.  After we finished dinner and homework, we sat together and thoroughly discussed the disciplinary incident, complete with angry-and-honest-but-not-hurtful words, tears, words of apology and forgiveness, and, lastly, the necessary corrective parental instructions.  Then, as we continued to sit together, first we each silently read the prayer (so we had a sense of what it contained), and then we read it together aloud.
At the conclusion of our joint reading, no lightning struck or thunder boomed, yet there was a discernable Peace in our midst.  Afterward, while preparing for bed, my child still had a few more tears of frustration to shed over the incident as we continued the work of "getting over it."
In this "family healing" work, your On-line Retreat website was the medium of a particular grace from God that helped our family members to reconcile with one another, and to begin again to live as a family united in love and respect for one another.
Thank you, and God bless you all for your work in making this website available to people like me.  In our busy world, having a spiritual resource as this available on-demand anytime either a few spare minutes appear or when the Spirit moves us, is a true gift from God.

I just finished week 7. Up to the moment it was the most difficult week to follow. It took me two weeks, because when I finished the first one I felt I still had more to think about. The most important thing was to feel the courage to take the Lord's hand and walk through my failures and limits. I could see this week a pattern of behaviour that was very liberating for my whole life. It is a real grace to be able to follow this retreat, specialy if I think that I am in the Northeast of Brazil!


It's Week 7, and a major breakthrough.  For years, I've struggled with my propensity for leaving certain tasks unfinished, and, in some cases, not started at all at both a professional and personal level.  The material both last week and especially this week has enabled me to understand the very complex rut that I've found myself stuck in, and, even more importantly, how to get myself out of it.

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