Sharing the Retreat
Week 9

 

I had a dream this week (Week 9) where the Lord, in the guise of my spiritual advisor, gently kissed my forehead and let me know that I was loved unconditionally. I didn't need to do anything to earn his love. He didn't need anything from me to be happy or well. We just sat together in mutual enjoyment of each other.
This perfectly captures this week, and it fed my soul. I found myself spontaneously saying the words of the Psalm mentioned this week: "What return can I make to the Lord for his goodness to me?"
Michele -Week 9


For 23 years I prayed for healing for our daughter who suffered from severe mental illness. She took her life in September. So I see healing in a new light. It can be expressed in many ways of course but the new way for me is that healing can be a goal -Week 9


Feeling the healing, it began with the acceptance of the problem. Then acceptance of the cure. Then belief in healing. Now slowly, I am being restored. In more than one realm, the healing is simultaneous in mind body and soul. But so necessary is my cooperation. Healing cannot be forced. It is renewal from within. -Week 9


Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I begin Week Nine on November 9th, 2015, on the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica. The readings have instilled in me a desire to fashion a spiritual "Whip of Cords" to drive out the evils from my soul. I hope to join all of you and "Gather at the River" the Beautiful, Beautiful River.
As I began my Morning Prayers and Offerings today, I came upon Pope Francis giving a Homily at the Lateran Basilica several years ago, as he began by saying it was his first at his Cathedral. It happened to be on the occasion of Divine Mercy Sunday. This reconfirmed for me the healing power of the Lord. and the beautiful song "You are Mine" filled my heart.
I feel so full of joy today. My prayers throughout the week will be for all of you my fellow Brothers and Sisters on Retreat.
Love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Frank, California -Week 9


There was a lot going on at my work this week which made working with this week's theme quite challenging. I had moments of inspiration when I let myself be free ... Healed ... Renewed completely by our Lord. Then there were moments of confusion when I was irritated that everything was not going my way. Why confusion? Because my self absorption imagines a world free of trouble. It takes praying at the foot of the cross to realize that this is a dangerous mirage.

I had a meeting this week with a lawyer who had spent much of his career prosecuting white collar crime and particularly insider trading. He remarked that it never ceased to amaze him that humans have such a capacity to partition their world. He told me that in his experience not many people he had prosecuted actually started out deciding to be dishonest. Rather they found it easy and carefully partitioned their life to accommodate that. While I am certainly not engaged in dishonest activity I could see how easy it is for me to also partition my life. I want so much to believe that Jesus is constantly with me. But conveniently I do not let Him into some parts of my life.

It is on this realization I asked for healing. I find it comforting to believe that Jesus indeed wants to heal me and that this is a healing journey I am on.

Also this weekend is the 25th anniversary of the Jesuit fathers and their companions murdered in El Salvador. Our homilist today asked us to imagine them living there and what they desired and he answered that they would see the inevitability of these actions because they were driven by their love for Jesus which in turn drove them to their strong solidarity with the poor. As I look through the partitions in my life I ask for that same depth of love and wonder where He will lead me in solidarity, comforted knowing this is a journey of healing.-Week 9


My week 9 was the week of the Nepal earthquake. My arthritis, especially my right shoulder, was really acting up and I was in a lot of pain. I was trying to shake it off and thinking about how much worse off so many people are, trying to pray for the earthquake victims. But as I tried to keep healing in the back of my mind, I realized that God is big enough to be compassionate also to ME. I don't have to choose for Him who to heal He can work with the Nepalese, and feel for my shoulder all at once. These flashes that bowl me over are a sure sign of God's appearance, I am so grateful. -MAP


Week 9: I am part way through week nine and the thing that keeps coming back to me is the phrase "this is not a self help programme" . Our culture is abounding in such programmes,  but to realise that what I am called to do here is to place myself in God's hands is remarkably freeing. Thank you so much for this retreat, it is as if I have suddenly found the right path home after not knowing where I was.  God bless you and fellow retreatants. 


Week 9: Spent last night mostly either awake or in a semi dream state: really stressed about a new business that I opened through having no other choice as I didn't have work. No glory, no great ambition fulfilled, lots of "What am I doing, have I lost the plot, why can't I be a normal person and just teach, get a wage, go home?"
And then I handed it over to God. My entire life when things got too much I ran away. Last night I was terrified but had to break the pattern of my past behaviour. So I handed to business over to God and appointed myself as His Steward/manager - to do my best to ensure that it serves the community that we operate in, and if it doesn't then that was a lesson I needed to learn and I get to run away anyway.
What a relief to let go of the possession, hand over the stuff to God and this is my year to serve him and do his will. The lease is for a year. I'll try my best for him, and trust that we'll have food on the table and enough to get by.
If you haven't got anything urgent, and you have a second, please pray that I am given the courage to serve as many vulnerable people as I can even though the thought of it makes me feel sick with fear, and that I have the trust to know God controls it and I just follow.
Thanks guys, and thank you for sharing your posts as I find them a massive comfort in my more difficult weeks. Love M

Week 9: There was a lot going on at my work this week which made working with this week's theme quite challenging.  I had moments of inspiration when I let myself be free ... Healed ... Renewed completely by our Lord.  Then there were moments of confusion when I was irritated that everything was not going my way.  Why confusion? Because my self absorption imagines a world free of trouble. It takes praying at the foot of the cross to realize that this is a dangerous mirage.

I had a meeting this week with a lawyer who had spent much of his career prosecuting white collar crime and particularly insider trading.  He remarked that it never ceased to amaze him that humans have such a capacity to partition their world. He told me that in his experience not many people he had prosecuted actually started out deciding to be dishonest. Rather they found it easy and carefully partitioned their life to accommodate that.  While I am certainly not engaged in dishonest activity I could see how easy it is for me to also partition my life.  I want so much to believe that Jesus is constantly with me.  But conveniently I do not let Him into some parts of my life.

It is on this realization I asked for healing. I find it comforting to believe that Jesus indeed wants to heal me and that this is a healing journey I am on.

Also this weekend is the 25th anniversary of the Jesuit fathers and their companions murdered in El Salvador. Our homilist today asked us to imagine them living there and what they desired and he answered that they would see the inevitability of these actions because they were driven by their love for Jesus which in turn drove them to their strong solidarity with the poor.  As I look through the partitions in my life I ask for that same depth of love and wonder where He will lead me in solidarity, comforted knowing this is a journey of healing.


I am only in Week 9 but I have already noticed a pattern of messages from God that come to me. Sometimes they come in a Scripture quote, or a reading from The Divine Office, or something that someone tells me or even in events. It gives me encouragement that God has me where He wants me.


Week 9: I found it hard to engage with week 9 at first due to lots of problems at home and at work, and I was feeling the pressure of moving on to week 10 without having really 'done' the week properly.  It got to Sunday and I found time after the Church service to sit quietly and really pray about it.  The grace that was given to me was that instead of spending the week worrying and going round and round in my head, wondering what I could read, pray, do or think to sort my head out and be healed,  all I had to do was to trust God, and wait for him to heal me in his own time and in his own way.  I also understood that, compared to where I was two years ago, the healing has already started!  I am indeed a work in progress, and I move into week 10 with hope, love and gratitude in my heart. - Penny


Week 9: These last 2 weeks with the focus on God's love for me have actually been the most difficult so far.  At this point in my life, I have been struggling to believe that God does love me, individually.  I have been so focused on the areas of my life that I am unhappy with, that I have missed seeing the things that are going well. 

Several weeks back during the consecration at Mass, it occurred to me that just as God transforms the bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus, he has the power to transform me into a person who is able to not only recognize his love for me, but someone who can accept it and return my love to Him.   That is also a piece that has been missing for me.  turns out this relationship with God just doesn't happen-it seems that it is going to take some more work on my part.

This week as I was enjoying one of my guilty pleasures, Grey's Anatomy, I experienced an aha moment.  Dr Bailey (my very favorite character) was trying to lure Arizona back to work and compared here to a frightened little bird.  I am that frightened little bird and am slowly recognizing God revealing His love for me.  My last couple of weeks have been less stressful and I am more able to see the good things in my life and to celebrate and give thanks for them. 

Thanks to everyone responsible for making this retreat possible, and thanks to everyone who takes the time to share in this area.  I learn as much from all of you as I do from the retreat materials. 


Week 9: As I begin Week 9,  I enter with a deeper realization of sin.  When feeling  a deep sense of sin, it was given to me, that I am only more aware of my sinfulness than before this retreat.  This is God's gift to know myself as a sinner and to long for greater virtue, healing and love in my heart.


Week 9: Today I begin the 10th week of the online retreat.  I started off really full of enthusiasm it was the beginning of Lent and I can say it was a good Lent for me.  Then it started to get more difficult I kept going but thought I wasn’t making any progress it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind as it had been during Lent.  Today as I started week 10 and read the invitation from Jesus on the opening page, I found it was in complete response to what I had written in my journal in week 9.  I felt so elated I know Jesus is with me always – but it feels so good to be given consolation. I just had to let people know carry on Jesus is working in you and he can work wonders if you just open your heart to him.  Love Carmel


Week 9: This is week 9 of my on-line retreat. I want to express the wonder that I experienced when I realized this next step that I have journeyed to: you are forgiven, but you are also healed! My heart skipped with joy when I realized that Christ promised to stay with me on this journey. 
I recognize that I have read these words In the past. I have heard them spoken, but I have never grasped the message until now. I am grateful for the gift of grace that enables me to hear the richness in the words of this retreat. It is life-giving to be healed.


On lesson 9: I asked my sister for forgiveness for leaving her with a man who had not respected me.  Sure enough, he had wrestled her and she did manage to not be physically molested. How ashamed I can be for all of my time with that man, and how much more ashamed that I endangered my sister.

Thank God I am present to the promise of wholeness. Without forgiveness and the sanctifying of human life, itself, through Jesus, all of my time would be spent in discomfort and despair.

With wholeness as the promise, I admit what I did and didn't do with that man and my sister. I trust that I am forgiven. To really trust I am forgiven takes something. If I hesitate that I am forgiven, I listen again for the joyous promise of wholeness. We see it in any new born baby!

Jesus loved the world with every atom of his body. God SO loved the world, he gave Jesus. Life, itself, is the gift.


Week 9  Healing mercy

Long before I got into Week 9 I was already experiencing His healing.  So when Week 9 came,  it was as if I was reviewing what in the past the Lord  gave me and has been been giving me ever since.   With His outstretched hands extended  to me,     I  grasped His with my withered hands,   healed of all the angst of my being.   


I'm beginning the 9th week of the retreat. I'm very grateful to God because he leads me and He is showing me His grace. I'm very thankful for everything He's already done during these weeks. It is so wonderful He is using everyday life to draw me closer to Him, to show His love and mercy, His grace and healing. I'm thankful to be able to share this with you, because I'm doing this retrait on my own and it is important to be supported and to share what God is working. God bless you all who are making this retrait and may the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious unto you.
-Agnes


As I finish reading the chapter for Week 9, I glance at the mini rosebush next to me on my patio table.  It catches my eye as the sun highlights the leaves.  I immediately have this thought:  The journey to God is like this plant.  The stems and branches are tiered and layered.  I think of these as the many experiences I have had in life.  The end of the branch is a place where I ended that is; ended an experience, bad habit, relationship,... The blooming rose at the top of the plant is my full blossoming in the eyes of God.  It is my fulfillment.  The sun has receded and the moment is gone.  I thank God for this moment of grace.


Week 9:

A short prayer during times of temptation:

Lord, heal me from my pattern of (_____recurring sin_____). Give me the wisdom, I pray, to recognize this behavior when it happens, and the strength to overcome it. Help me to realize that I am not alone, and that you are always with me, ready to help me if I call upon You. For you have said, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will give you strength, I will bring you help, I will uphold you with the right hand of my justice." (Isaiah 41:10) Please Lord, cure me from this failing and all the transgressions of my life. Amen.


Week 9 Sharing:   God’s Forgiveness and Unjust Mercy
Yesterday was especially difficult for me to focus.  I have gone back to my patterns of not caring for myself.   There are too many things going on in my mind, doing unimportant activities that do not help in my healing process.  I so desire to become closer to God and to be clear and convicted on His purpose for my life.
I have allowed myself to slip in over gratification – eating unhealthy food, not dieting and exercising, controlling - writing a text message to my daughter to make her conform to my will, hurting her feelings and mine.  I have also allowed others to control my activities in order to please them to be accepted.
I have lost my focus on the Lord attending to emails, watching TV, hosting visits and preparing meals.   The remorse and knowledge of God’s forgiveness is there but the will to do right fail.  I am too complacent in God’s love, resting in His unjust mercy and unable to do my part to embrace God’s healing process.  I am expecting God in His redeeming love and unjust mercy do all the renewal slipping in my responsibility to act.
Lord, I ask for Your strength in this struggle to free myself from patterns of bad habit that draws me away from You.  Come Holy Spirit restore me in your gifts of patience, fortitude and forgiveness of myself.


Week 9: I'm amazed at how many layers Jesus is peeling away of a determinedness to help and heal myself. This week I want to respond to his love for me, and still I find myself wondering how to be more self-disciplined, but on my terms - to make me happier, more peaceful, more joyful, you name it - but not for him, for me. Ugh! Please take away my self-centredness, Jesus, and help me to understand that it is only you who heals and saves me. I have no hope of doing these things on my own and I'm grateful, but please keep reminding me of this.


Week 9...When the Lord says,"I love you" He means so much more than we are capable of giving without His grace!!!  Yet, He is here, continually offering that grace and mercy.  My goal for the retreat was to learn more about God's love so I could love like He does. I am a Grandmother, now and the deepest, clearest memories of my Grandparents is their love, lit be their faith. I hope I can leave that memory with my loved ones, too. 
I had a beautiful consolation early this week.  It was as if our Lord said, simply, "I love you."  After the early weeks of  the retreat, taking an honest look at my life has led me to experiencing Gods true love, through the reality of Jesus.  I have a desire to stay close to Him, living and present to us in the Eucharist. Frequent spiritual communions helps!  Thank you for this on-line retreat!     
I am in week 9. What can I return to the Lord? For a few years my aunt & uncle have been sending me The Upper Room, a daily devotional that comes every few months. I don't read it each day, but today I did. It helped to answer my question. I can return time. Thank you Lord for bringing me to Ruth 2 1:13 and a reflection on it. Your unending mercy helps to heal me. Today I am very aware that mercy comes through other people. Many thanks to all those that pray for us doing this retreat. May Jesus help me to pray fervently for others. -- Joe
Week 9 - the prayer "Soul of Christ Sanctify me" is especially meaningful to me. Maybe it is because of the special Lent and Easter seasons - more full of grace because of this retreat. Last night I awoke to worry. Believing that God accepts me even in my worry, I recited the "Soul of Christ Sanctify me" prayer. I must have fallen to sleep before I finished. About two hours later I awoke again with worry. I thanked God for accepting me and repeated the prayer. I especially remember contemplating the line "From the wicked one defend me." This morning I awoke to see a humming bird in the tree outside my window. Part of the Responsorial Psalm this morning is "Let all the earth cry out to God with joy." This week is making that Psalm meaningful for me. Thanks, God, for the better sleep and less worry-filled night. Thanks for embracing this sinner. Thanks for all Your creation and showing me the worry-free humming bird.
Week 9: This week I am in 9th - God's Love for us -- Healing Mercy. It seemed easy, went through a bit with no much emotions, but suddenly God showed me that I need more to consider. A conflict happened with my wife and big daughter, that I really thought " I am not guilty for ". Hours went on and the biterness in me growing, I asked myself " why that happened ", than started asking Jesus to show me the reason and to heal me from any coming from me. Instead of " the week when real joy and gratitude come together " I have grief and questions. Suddenly start coming to my mind old memories," wrong behaviours", several things that I did not recognize before, in weeks 6 and 7. Seemed very much, that before healing, I still have to open some old boxes. I decided to stay one week more, in order to get more. I witness, the healing happens, but I am not sure how long it will stay in me. So, I have to continue. I did the same with others weeks as well, those prolonged, since the result was not enough good for me. I started on 11.09 and now I am in week 9. I do not have spiritual director and sometimes is very difficult, specially in week 6 and 7. Frankly speaking at that time was awful... But from today's perspective everything looks great and can't stop anymore, I have to finish. I see the world in different prospective, all is different. Even my family. And things very much attarctive for me before 11 of September ( 2008 ) are not anymore such now ! To do things, having intention all to be Ad majorem Dei gloriam, seems not mission impossible anymore ! --Valentin

Week 9: made me relies how much Jesus is with me. In every moment and every second. I felt joy at the knowledge I had a friend working with me at every moment. To me all I had to do that week was close my eyes and I could feel His love close to me.


Just finished up week nine and God has blessed me with such a healing gift.

Saturday evening I went to Mass at a different parish, sometimes when we are still grieving a loss of a loved one it's easier to go someplace else. It's been hard for me to share my grief with people in our parish because we are to suffer in silence, and still put on a happy face even when we are still in pain. Anyway, at the end of the Mass the priest invited that anyone who had experienced the death of a loved one in the past year, to please come up and place some grains of incense in the sensor next to the Book of the Dead. It was hard to do that, but I went up and placed the grains then came back to my pew and cried. It was very healing for me to do that. I thank God for nagging at me to go to Mass that night, because He knew that I needed some more closure.

When I came home my niece had a left a message on the machine to please call her, she lost her dad, my brother. I called her back and she shared how hard it was for her to talk to her friends about her grief, she didn't want to lose them as friends, that she had to pretend she was doing just fine. I told her about my experience at Mass, and she thanked me for going up and doing that for her daddy. Both of us cried on the phone. We are both blessed to have each other, and sharing that it is still hard for us to be "okay" around others. Both of us have felt God wrapping us in His arms, but this very special, it was a group hug for us.
Thank you God.


Week 9: I spent the first part of the week a little depressed even though I had a major presentation to do at work which ended up going well. There was an element of rebellion in my heart. Do I really want to do this? Can I do this? I laid out for God my weakness and depression and asked for healing. Then in the middle of the week I had an image that I needed to see how I approached each day as an opportunity to help others. I actually planned my day from that perspective. I felt revived. I have a tendency to want to do everything on my own. If I see my life as a garden with some nice spots but also some weeds and these weeds do keep coming back I can trust God that he will be a judicious gardener. My role is to praise, revere and serve. Thanks be to God.


Week 9: Lk.13:10-17 Christ heals me from deep within, in my temple where there are many critical pharisaical voices.
Also the photo this week speaks of my intimacy with God/Christ – an intimacy that finds expression in poetry. Like T.S. Eliot (and I quote) “What I want is a literature which should be unconsciously, rather than deliberately and definitely, Christian.” THIS is my poetic vision.


God's mercy. All sin is communal, so as I look at my sins I have to remember the people my short sightedness has hurt. As I do this God's mercy takes on life because it is alive in the people in my life who love me as I am. They love me intensely and this allows me to love myself and move forward. I thought I would come through this part of the exercise feeling very low, but I experience a heightening of joy, renewal in spirit and a growing patience with the people around me. These feelings come to me through the simple things, such as my child's or spouse's hug, smile, ....loving patience. I know I am blessed. Thank God. Amen.
Week 9: I have really enjoyed this on-line retreat. Learned some new things about myself. Some weeks were uplifting others more difficult. I am finishing up today with Week 9. Week 8&9 on forgiving mercy and healing mercy have been my greatest struggles. While I am very aware of my patterns of faults and sin.I am finding I have a brarrier to accepting God's loveing embrace and healing touch. My self protection in tough to break. I am read the daily scriptures along with this reteat and I am amaze at how well the readings have enhanced this retreat. I have been led to so many readings on God's forgiveness and healing these past few weeks, so I know God is leading me. I ask for your prayers and assure you of mine. God Bless.
Week 9: I am happy to let you know that I am on my 9th week in my spiritual retreat.
Today, I have the joy and profound peace during my encounter with Jesus in my prayer. It so assuring to experience God's faithful love in my life and to realize the "true motivating inner power" in my ministry. Isn't this a wonderful "Christmas gift"?The other weeks had been very difficult for me especially that I am still grieving for I lost a person so dear to me and at the moment I am confronted with a lot of changes in my ministry. But today, I felt like I am guided by that "luminous star", the same star that directed the shepherds and the tthree kings to encounter Jesus in the manger.This spiritual journey is a wonderful gift from God.
Thank you and may the blessings of peace, joy and love that comes from Jesus be with you.
I am just beginning week 9 of the Online Retreat. It has been such a blessing to me even though I feel I haven't done it full justice. I can feel the thread of the retreat drawing me on to a deeper relationship with God. And I feel so good to have arrived at a week where there is the glimpse of the possibility, that I might be given strength, to get somewhere near to being the person I could be. I won't say "should" because that smacks of the legalism I want to firmly leave behind. I feel confirmed in my thinking that any work in me must be a work of grace. I pray to be open to that grace and pray that the retreat will lead me on to a place where I will know that to be so. Praise to my loving God.
-- Mavis
I found the reflection this week very powerful and a welcome background in a week which was very busy at work, in my personal life and with my parish. I don't remember in previous meditations feeling the depth of God's mercy and feeling the assurance that all will be well when we are with the Lord. I fought against the tendency to over-intellectualize this. I relate to Cardinal Newman's prayer: "I shall go from bad to worse, I shall fall from You entirely, I shall quite harden myself against my neglect of duty, if I rely on my own strength". I pray that I can give myself completely to the Lord ... and this will result in His will being done, not mine.
Thank you for this opportunity to share what I am learning on this retreat. It helps me realise what I am learning, as I have always needed to write things down to clear them in my mind. It also helps feeling part of a group going through this experience as I read the sharing of others. Thoughts about week 8 and 9. As I considered God’s love for me in Week 8, I realized that I hold in my emotions all the time. But I had recently been very upset for my son when his relationship with his long-term girlfriend seemed to be foundering. Are my feelings starting to open up? If so they are really raw and it is painful. When I asked God to show me where and how he loved me I felt him saying that he knew me to be a sensitive soul so he had surrounded me with good friends and let me hear of awful things at a distance. The care God shows me as an individual is so amazing. I feel I do not deserve it. I can only stay with it for a short time. Perhaps I need to be grateful for these short glimpses and know that God is moving in my life. A lifetime of feeling unsure of my worth will surely only open up gradually. How would I like to move forward? I would like to be able to express my feelings more to my Mum and Dad – to be more openly loving to them and not just in ‘serving them’. I am convinced that as I become closer to God this will help me become more loving to others. I need to allow myself time to experience God’s love. Please pray for me as I pray for others on the retreat. Week 9 has been a blessing as I realize that God is able to offer healing into my perpetual patterns of behaviour, which seem so difficult to change. The difficult emotions that I hide from, my anger, violence and fear of argument, can be looked at more closely – not on my own but with God beside me. That became real to me this week, and has started to release my fear.
--Christine
Week 9.
Today evening after Reconsillation I have done this:
I commit You, My Lord, all my entire will. I want to agree and to do Your wiil for today and all days of my life. Thank You for your holy Being.
--A.K.
Week 9: My study group just read the closing commentary on the Collegeville Bible book of Job, and I was struck by a sentence that connected me immediately to this week’s exercises: “When we experience brokenness and negativity in our lives, it is only after we face it and speak it in some way, only after we lament, that healing can really begin.” Thank you for this retreat and the opportunity to heal. Peace and prayers,
-- Barb
I was working my way through the readings for Week 9, and I was struck that the difficult week that I have had is about my shame and lack of remorse (ie getting away with it) with my actions. I made a decision at work that affected many people on my project -- a decision that I made based on how it would affect me rather than what was the best for all involved. A co-worker, wrongly I believed at first, challenged my rationale for making the decision and asked for proof that my was decision was reached appropriately. I notified Human Resources, believing that they would find my co-worker guilty of harassment. I got my manager involved in trying to justify my actions.Old-seated patterns die hard, especially if they are self serving. I am now beginning to accept that I need to bring this broken part of myself to God, ask for not only mercy and forgiveness, but also for that healing love that will allow me to become whole. And in becoming whole, I can share that brokenness today with others (including my co-worker) knowing that I have sinned, knowing that I am forgiven, and knowing that I am called to do better.

During weeks 8 and 9, I had been experiencing what is best described as 'restless, irritable and discontent.' Everything people near and dear to me might say I took personally, as insulting or ridicule. The more I read the gospel verses for week 8, the more uncomfortable I became. On Friday, it was hot and muggy here in Texas, and I had a particularly horrible ride on my beautiful horse, she and I 'fit to be tied.' The next day I did not ride, but our sons came over for supper. My younger son's wife is with her father who is very ill and bereaved of her mother just last August. That night I awoke with just one thought: how could I be so selfish? I am worrying about a horse show while my dear daughter-in-law is walking through hell with her father's failing health. The next day, Sunday I called twice, couldn't get through to her. Finally she called back that night, her Dad has gone to the hospital, where she has been at his side for two days.For the last two days, my thoughts often return to "what can I give in return, dear Lord, for all you have given me?" This has been a deeply moving two weeks. Thank you for your Online Ministry.
-- Anne, Texas
Reflection on my response to God’s healing mercy.- How can I express my goal in life in light of the past few weeks? To find a way of being. To love. To serve. To be at peace. To be ready for anything.Some observations….kindness and good will are needed to connect and to listen. Humility before the truth is needed to work with the truth. Transformation depends on this connection. Yet strength needs to be found in one’s gifts and special talents to build outward and inward, to equip one for the two journeys, and to find that balance that is necessary in order to be truly useful in God’s creation.Renewal is critical. There are so many layers of being and of personality that in order to truly transform oneself, it is necessary to slay one’s demons and move on, and move steadily on, with out undue fretting or delay. Hope is the looking forward to the power of love to heal and make whole. Our inner lives ultimately yield and surrender to this power. We become instruments but the work is done by love itself, through God’s grace, not by a willful person. Yes, mercy is an “unjust grace”. Pride and vanity continue to surface. Remember, I have done nothing to deserve this. I am ashamed and confused….by my sins. But I joyfully, gratefully and peacefully accept God’s healing mercy, even with the memory of my past rejection of it.I have been persistent in self-improvement. But now I am perplexed. Does some level of goodness reside in me or does it come from God? I recall that I have been confirmed as a “soldier in Christ” when I was young. Maybe now I am discovering what this means.
Good evening,

The past hour or two I've been reading Sharings. Such encouragement!

I'm reminded once again . . . we are all sinners, saved by grace. How much we need each other! (Isn't that just like our God to provide for us through His Body which He instituted through the Church.)

Tomorrow begins my tenth week of this blessed Retreat. I look forward to digging deeper, and listening more intently. Seeing Christ (as Mother Teresa said) in all faces. (I try, but am not always successful. Please pray for me, and I will for you.)

At this point I'm realizing how very much Jesus, and the Father, love us, regardless of who we are, or what we have done . . . "or failed to do".
What a family THEY have created! Awesome God!
Our diversity is beautiful!

Together in prayer, I believe we can help to 'turn things around'; not only in our own lives, but in the 'lives' of others . . . even the world! (Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Israel!) We can, through our prayers, and the power of the Holy Spirit, be a beginning of another significant breakthrough!

"Pray brothers and sisters, for the Peace of Jerusalem!" Psalm 122:6
I'm noticing that God's mercy,forgiveness and love for me is giving me the ability to take a closer and more objective look at old sins. I've done moral inventories before but was never able to see my sins so clearly. I feel healing has at last begun. God's promise that He will heal me gives me hope.
Glory to Your long suffering Lord.
Keep praying for me. I feel it working. I'll pray for you.
-- Bob
this week brought my daughter to me for a long weekend from sydney. the message of the weeks has begun to truly be a bakground for me and not as consuming or difficult to integrate. so as we spent time together i was aware of the healing. i am a heroin addict and the lives of my children when they were little were reallybad. its many years since ive used drugs and we have been healed in many ways - but again this week i could feel the healing between my girl and me. she is 27 now and i am 56. the scars are there but only a few wounds are still infected. this was a special time for us . my son and his family are normally here and we have wonderful and loving times but this time - followiing thier move she and i were alone. healing mercy to me - was my young lady asleep on my bed . meeting my friends and sharing in the life i have here. cooking meals and laughing in a way that most people thought would never happen. healed and blessed far beyond what i have earned.
i knew when i moved into this little cottage one year ago that it was as they say a ' god job'; and that good things would happen here. and so they are. and when my sons family moved away from the area - i held to the belief that god had work which he needed to do for them and for me. and here already is this lovely time wiht my girl. on these beautiful southern autumn days in australia.
love to you all. Nell from tweed
Bartimaeus is one of my favorite people in the gospels (Mark 10:46-52). For years, I have frequently found his prayer the cry of my heart: “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” As time passed and I lost my friends, however, I found the few remaining acquaintances I had treating me with pity. Suddenly, I found my favorite prayer repulsive: “I don’t want to be pitied!” And the cry of my heart fell silent.Then, one Sunday at Mass, I heard Psalm 86, verse 16:
“Turn toward me, and have pity on me;
Give your strength to your servant
And save the son of your handmaid.”
This followed close on the heels of Wisdom 12:13, 16-19 with, in its few verses, the word “might” three times and the word “power” twice. Then came Romans 8:26: “the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness.” That day, God’s word taught me that when you ask for his pity, he gives you not the helpless look and clucking tongue of human pity, but God’s infinite strength. Since then, the words of Bartimaeus have returned to their rightful place in my heart and I pray them with new confidence in God’s healing love.
I found this week’s reflection more difficult. I was restless and impatient. I had to reread the instructions and supporting materials on several occasions. I kept coming back to the fundamental promise and reminder that this is not a course in self-improvement. This week I think I was so much into looking for perfection – the perfect work week, the perfect retreat, the perfect relationship with God. Then, of course, I was disappointed. I felt let down by some people over some things at work. I wasn’t feeling perfect. I realized that it’s quite easy to fall back to patterns of sin. So I really needed to hear the promise that it is God who is seeking me. It is not my efforts at perfection that bring healing. Rather it is God’s work in me and my cooperation.
I was reflecting on how I return this love and was moved by a story in the magazine America about a Jesuit priest Father Dent who had been a missionary in India, returned to the US because of a serious health problem then spent 30 years petitioning to be allowed to return to India. The writer is confused by his absolute obedience to his community but deeply moved by his witness of faith. Father Dent’s advice to the author is to say the prayer he prayed constantly, “Lord Jesus, I love you with all my heart”. As I read the article I thought that I do not feel the same compelling call that Father Dent had or at least I do not discern it as clearly. But this prayer is a good prayer to adopt as a response to this week’s reflections. Week 9
I can barely type this through my tears this morning. They are tears of love and gratitude to my dear Lord for this love He has for me that I cannot truly understand or fathom. To know, for certain, that He has always loved me, through it all…the muck, the mire, the beautiful, the blessedness, the ugliness, the sadness, the happiness and on and on and on…He has never abandoned me and never will. The healing mercy I focus on this week…to feel this wounded soul of mine being cleansed with the ”blood” and the “water” on an old scrubbing board, so gently, up and down, up and down, baptized over and over, even though I know there is only one baptism. How I can see so clearly how God is using everything and everyone, as He always has, to touch me. The people who are on this same journey with me, their sharings, their prayers, the bearing of their souls to help me and all of us…those spiritual people who planned this retreat to bring us all to our wonderful and loving God, right where we need to be. My son, Steven, who planted the seed about St. Ignatius’ retreat many years ago, and then, Anne Bingham of Living Faith Daily Reflection who wrote about this in one of her reflections and watered that seed…and St. Ignatius, himself, for using his gifts to lead us to the Cross of Jesus and find joy and peace there. God is blessing us all, I am sure…June
The words from Isaiah 43, seems to touch the hearts of many this week, including mine. The words, "Do not be afraid, I have rescued you," were exactly what I needed to hear today; they go along with the second reading from Sunday, Romans 28 - nothing can separate us from the love of God. I must keep these scriptures in mind for there are so many distractions that will try to pull us away from God. For some time I have been dealing with a very delicate family situation in which someone very close to me is being drawn, not only away from me and family, but away from Jesus and the Church; I know this is intended to distract me from God's plan, and it has been a very painful situation to deal with. but this retreat has helped to keep me focused and continuing the journey.

I still pray for all on this journey, and ask that you keep me in your prayers. Week 9.
Week 9 I am in the middle of week nine. What a beautiful thing happend to me . As I shared at the end of week 8. I said how I dreaded moving on to week 9, as I was "waiting for the other shoe to drop" As soon as I clicked on week 9 there was the photo and the first words under it was. "Do not be afraid". How wonderful my God is.
i'm in the middle of week 9...or should i say i'm in the "muddle" of it? the entire retreat seems to be a blur so far, with all my emotions running together this week and memory of what the teachings have been confused and hazy. but i still see change. the retreat has enabled me to do something that i always wanted to do but never have been able to: pray every day. just using the readings and prayers has been helpful in that regard. i find that as i gravitate towrad the retreat, i gravitate AWAY from other activities that have the potential for sin. my struggle has been faithfulness...both to god and to my wife. in both i have often failed miserably. right now, i am in a separation that came about by my own design and through my own infidelity. in past weeks, the retreat reminded us that no one gets up in the morning and says "today im going to sin", and that sin often appears as something we think we need and is good for us. thats why it is the great deceiver. and i have allowed myself to follow that deceit. so much of it makes no sense, and now that i have truly realized my sin, and am seeking to make amends, it appears my wife wants no part of it. i may lose everything that is truly dear to me. but, and i know this sounds crazy, had i not felt so alone and desperate, i most likely would not have found this retreat, i might not have entered therapy, nor would i be as hungry as i am to get to the next level spiritually. today, i will be visiting a priest who i have known since i was a child...to make a detailed confession, and to ask him to serve as my spiritual director. none of this would have come about except through the suffering i am feeling from my own sins and their effects on those whom i love most, my wife and children. i want to be free of my long held patterns of sin and failure and feel the acceptance and love that god has for me. i'll keep going, no matter what. he keeps calling me...maybe finally i will listen.
This morning I was so touched by the picture and the words(Is.) for week nine. I was so filled with joy and happiness that I had to write and share it with someone!
"You belong to me, no one can snatch you from me"

Incredible good news!
Unbelievable good news!
It's like a homecoming!
Home at last,
To myself and,
to the source of all that is.
Unconditionally loved,
Scars and all!
Made one forever.
What a gift!
Words fail me........

Wishing you joy,
Carol, UK
I am beginning week 9 today! This is the second time around for me doing this retreat (Only made though Week 20 first time). Yet again, as I pass through last week moving into Week 9 the sense of joy and overwhelming and enveloping peace is tremendous. The view of the falling child getting back up with the encouragement of the parent, and the healing forgivness offered to me by our loving Father leaves me with a great sense of wonder and mystery, but a fulfilling love. I hope others can feel this at some point along this jouney. Even the glimpse of what is to come is fabulous.
Week 9.  Yes, I need God's healing mercy.  Whenever I was rejected, I could not help withdraw myself and became very fearful.  It is because when I was small, my mother refected me and pushed me away and it was the time I needed her to listen and care for me.  So it was the root of my emotions and fears. Though I know that now I am grown-up and can take care of myself, the experience still haunts at me. 
 
I pray to God to heal this memory and embrace me with his healing mercy and healing love.
There were a few things that stood out to me in week nine of the Retreat.  It really touched me to read the words under the photo for the week from the prophet Isaiah "...I am God now and forever.  No one can snatch you from me or stand in my way."  I am safe!!!   There is not anyone (including myself) or anything that can snatch me from God or prevent God from doing what God wants (and God wants only good for me because God loves me).  God has the power to protect me and God wants to protect me because God loves me.  Moreover, this power will never be taken away from God because at this moment and forever God is God which means that I will ALWAYS be safe in God's care.  Additionally, it was so refreshing to be assured that God will heal me.  This means that I need not be caught up with struggling by myself with my sinful tendencies but I can trust in the God who is able to heal me.  God never said that I (or anyone) needed to heal ourselves and be perfect before we can come to God.  While I know this in my mind there is another part of me that sometimes seems to forget that God is in the struggle with me and is ready and able to help in the process of overcoming sin.  I am not struggling alone, therefore, even when it seems as though something may be too hard to overcome, I need to focus more on that trust that nothing is too hard for God who is fighting for and with me.
The printer friendly verson of Week 9 lies beside me on my desk.  I am just starting the week.  I'm startled by the photograph of shadow and helplessness set against reassuring grandeur.   And then I read, "I will heal your pride.  I will free you from the destructive patterns that bind you."  Tears fill my eyes.  Thank you, Lord.  I know how you want me.  I know how I need you.  Keep me in your grace.  Allow me to allow you to fix my brokeness so I may be with you.
I have struggled for a long time with the feeling that God is remote and disinterested -- globally loving, but not particularly concerned with me as an individual.  I have spent a great deal of time in prayer and with my spiritual director learning that this is not so.  Trust has not been easy for me.  So, it about took my breath away when I read the caption to the photo for Week 9 -- the verses from Isaiah are so clear and loving, and exactly what I needed to hear at this point in the retreat, and in my life.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude for his love.
This is the beginning of week nine for me.  I have been struggling through each of the weeks because for so long I have been drenched in the guilt of the recurring patterns of my turns from the grace of God.  I have great difficulty shaking the feelings of remorse, and I keep letting them overshadow the acceptance of the forgiveness of our Beloved God.  Even though today I slipped deeply back into one of the patterns, through this retreat I still realize the hope for God's healing to shed the grace on me to continue on this journey to repair my brokenness.

Lord, give me the grace to live in your loving mercy. Give me the heart to know that it is enough. Give me this peace.

I  just want to share some thoughts on week nine, God's Healing Mercy.  How powerful and wonderful to realize that God is not done with me yet ; He is healing me  in His time and in His way from the patterns that I have allowed in my life that interfere with His grace.

My fears, weaknesses, vulnerability are being healed little by little and with God's grace will continue.  It is a week of hope for me.  I so need to feel that with God ,all will be well. He will never abandon me , He will rescue me.  He will provide.  I need to keep mindful and cooperate with His grace.

Thank you again for this wonderful opportunity you have given me to come closer to God and to now explore how I can make a return for all the goodness He has done for me.
Week 9, Holy Week, 2003, WOW is the best description available to me. “What return can I make to the Lord for all the good God has done for me?” That is the reflection/question of the week, and what better week to ask that question than Holy Week? For so long I have felt like the servant who was given one Talent by his master, and, in fear, all he could do was bury it. How have I buried my talents, hidden my gifts? I lose count of the ways. Once, in meditation, I heard the Lord’s voice inside asking “What are you waiting for?” That voice, that question, has echoed for over 10 years now, and still, I must ask myself “What AM I waiting for?” How long will it take, how much more must the Lord do for me, before I give myself completely to Him? Before I accept His love? His forgiveness? What is this fear that keeps me from loving completely, as I am loved? Keeps me from giving of myself, carrying the tiny crosses He offers me? What I really fear is losing Him, yet my struggle to do His will continues. Lord, You know how weak I am. Strengthen me. Give me the courage to love, unconditionally. Make me truly one with you, with the Church, Your body on earth. Show me the way. Here am I Lord, I long to do Your will. Help me. 


At first in the ninth week, I couldn't recover the peace of my mind. Whether I will be healed and able to act differently from before or not still made  me embarrasement and discouragetment. But after I read that God's forgiving grace , mercy frees us  for living  with our memories of how we have chosen death in our past,  I could keep going this retreat. Especially the word, "I will heal you and always be with you" gave me a big hope and courage. The more often I  recalled both my sinful action and God's  graceful responses, the more my faith was renewed  and  the more free my thought got from my past sins. I was so delighted to know His promise, " you will never be alone.". I will leave for my future with God bravely. 


There was a special day, a special time during this week where I felt the peace of Christ.  It was a day filled with true compassion toward another, a trait which I thought only others possess.  My busy work schedule does not seem to allow me the time to really listen to others or to be attentive toward their needs.  I had no other choice, it was an unusual circumstance which was forced upon me.  I never thought that I would possibly be able to take a special needs child with attention deficit disorder to spend the entire day with me at work. This child has taught me to put on Christ, a new me filled with quiet gentleness and abundant patience.  If only this "new me" could stay on for longer. I am thankful that God is merciful for all my past short tempered actions and has guided me onto the right path. (week 9)  


As I work through week 9, I'm going through a very lonely time.  I've realized that to prepare for friendship with others I should focus on being a friend to Jesus.  I pray that a personal relationship and friendship with Christ will grow and spill forth in forgiveness and friendship in my life. 


Week 9 begins.  I have discovered a great deal about how much God cares for me and loves me.  The truth of this matter has always been there but I have not seen it clearly.  
I am closer to my Lord and Saviour than I have ever been.  I once questioned where God was when I struggled.  As I have reflected and prayed and retreated I am seeing an answer more clearly. As I draw closer I am able to know that God is right there...right beside me...holding me.  As I reflect on my Lord's suffering and His struggle I am able to feel love and gratitude. I want to embrace Him and go to Him and love Him. 

Day 64 Week 9  Other than by Evangelizer’s, I rarely hear Jesus’ Name spoken in public except in a scandalous or derogatory way. I am happy that in our Church the Name of Jesus is revered and loved, because we believe that Jesus is truly God the Son, the second person of the Blessed Trinity, and that he is fully present in the Holy Eucharist. In John 5:17-29, Jesus plainly identifies himself as The Son of God the Father.   Sometimes I pray that Jesus will show himself (a sign?) to "prove" that He is who He says He is.  Then I think of Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII, and so many "Saints" who lived and are living among us, whose lives were and are a living witness to Jesus, and His living Presence among us. Jesus Lives! Jesus is Lord! Dear Jesus I thank you for bringing me to this day, for this retreat, for this Gospel. I want to serve you in ways that are pleasing to you. Please guide me. Amen. 


At the  independent living retirement home where I live, we have a health center for those who are ill.  We have a ministry there, "Companion to the Dying." and we are called to sit with those who are dying.   Usually we're called about once a month or so, but in the last two weeks I've been called to sit with three women.  I hadn't known theme except to bring them Communion or mail.  Then a woman from ourside of the campus, whom I had known, died last week.  I know that all four were prepared for death.  And none were long term friends.  And we have beautiful funerals here.  And ever since my heart surgery two years ago, I have been at great peace thinking abour my own death.   Maybe it's because of all this and the WTC, the War, and the plane crash today in New York, but this evening I need healing of the sorrow I feel. I found consolation in the Week Nine photo and the words of Isaiah.  I imagined our Lord holding the hands of each of the women who die here, each victim of the attack, of the war, or the plane, and of me, and saying "I have rescued you... you are very dear. etc." I prayed for and with all who died, resting in the thought that some day we will all be united with Jesus in heaven, in the joy of his love.   I accepted his healing. Thank you for sharing with me.  I pray you may all be at peace.. 

I am in week nine and can feel the enthusiasm and passion I had for this retreat beginning to wane.  Perhaps it is the business of the season; could be I am expecting lights and bells and not seeing them.  The urge to get to the computer the first thing in the morning isn't as pressing as it was a few weeks ago; I get distracted easily by the paper or answering e-mail.  I decided to share this morning because the suggested readings included one from Paul to the Ephesians chapter two which reminds me that we are loved and treated much better than we deserve.  I sensed that Paul knew me in that I felt anger at the time of reading this passage.  How could he say that to me; I have been a good person and I work hard at being a nice guy.  I deserve something better than being admonished that I am loved inspite of my mistakes.  Underneath the defenses, I hear Paul's words and they strike a blow for humility.  In relative terms to what I read on the front page of the paper, I am good, but it doesn't take much effort and I see my failings.  Paul's words are finally comforting.  I can never win God's love; it is just a given.  It is there for me anytime I want.  Like a mother or father's open embrace, God's love is unconditional won by the sacrifice of Jesus. There, I can feel that enthusiasm picking up speed again!

I don't know if this is appropriate to share or not, but someone in the sharings has mentioned being in an unhappy marriage that they are staying in for the sake of their teenage son.  I would like for them to know about Retrouvaille, the ministry for hurting marriages, sponsored by the Catholic Church.  They can find the information for their area of the country by going to the webpage www.retrouvaille.org.  This ministry turned my marriage around completely and we have seen many miracles in other couples lives as we have worked in Retrouvaille for the past 11 years.  This retreat continues to be a real blessing in my life in week 9.  It is such a comfort to know that God's love covers all of my wounds and my sins.  I can relax and stop battling myself and allow His power to heal me.  Thanks again for the work of your staff.  May God bless you as He has blessed all of us taking part in this retreat.  

The first time I read the different texts, guides and prayers I thought "that's for me" and I started immediately. My enthusiasm faded a little when I came to weeks 5, 6 and 7 because I found them too heavy to bear : I knew too well that I was a sinner and that I had a strong part in the sin of the world. So ! I really was tempted to skip them and go direct to week 8. I didn't completely give in to the temptation but to be honest, I didn't stay long on these 3 weeks. I'll go back to these pages later when I am a bit stronger. 
I am now beginning week 9 and I know that the way is long to the 34th week but I can already say that I am experiencing slight change in my life. These words are truly mine : "What return can I make to the Lord, for all God's good ness to me !". 
Thanks for all your work.  Just one regret : not having the opportunity to discuss with a director about some difficult points that would need explanations. 

I am in week nine......forgiving love and now healing mercy.  Events and people seem to want to deny and contradict this good news.  The retreat helps to remind me  of who God is and the Scriptures tell a beautiful  freedom that is a freedom of a loving response to our God.  To be a loved sinner, past, present, future brings peace and a need to say to God...This is really about your love for us  which comes first and  knocks me over because of its abundance and faithfulness.  My heart is slowly opening more and more.  What and where will this lead?  There still is fear but it seems to be decreasing. 

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