Sharing the Retreat
Week 11

 

Week 11


For 3 weeks now this deep longing for 'home' has been coming up to my conscious mind. I have also had a deep drawing to reading a couple of books on loving yourself - aligning yourself with how God sees you. Little did I know the Holy Spirit was brooding over me - gathering me under God's wings to prepare me for a great receiving of grace. I don't have a parental home to go to so it is not a longing for home in that sense.

However as I read the first reading - Accepting Acceptance it dawned on me that 'home' is a place where ideally, you go and you are loved and accepted just as you are. Where you are able to be your 'true self' with no persona's. Where you relax into the rhythm of your parents love relationship and are fed and nurtured just by being around that love. It spills over to you because you are the result of that love. You are in many ways the recipient of their love for each other as well.

As i ponder this - the Holy Spirit has done a deep work in my heart. I never realised to the level this surgery of God went to, that I didn't accept myself. My true self. I had developed a persona. All children do I guess in varying degrees - depending on how freely they were loved and accepted when growing. So here is to the journey of discovery. Who I was made to be brought into the light - to live in His love and acceptance.

ps...i also was given this insight about being with difficult people in my life. It was spoken to me like this 'When you look upon someone who causes you to recoil from them, remember that they were once little children. They have been written on just as you have. They are not what you see presented right here right now. See the child and you will give them the dignity of at the least respect as a fellow human and at the best - love and acceptance of which you need as well. -Sheryl - Week 11


This week is about saying YES to Jesus. Yes to following Him and seeking the Father's will. At first in our inner circle of family and close friends and associates, and then in the wider circle of community. -Week 11


Yes, Lord.

I thank you for putting so many opportunities in my path to serve you. Let each of my days start with this posture of gratitude ... For the many gifts you give me ... And especially for your loving forgiveness.
I start my mission with you at the side of the Cross. You have invited me to work with you in your mission of love but you never want me to forget that your call starts at the Cross.
I reflect on the basic instructions for this week. Somehow I feel a real resonance to being called to be "outstanding" in what I do each day. "Outstanding" particularly if my work is performed on your behalf.
Lord, I have so many opportunities to bring your love to others. Be with me as I respond, "Yes". Thank you, Lord. -Week 11

Week 11: I truly want to give my whole-hearted Yes to my Lord. There is still that old nagging "what if" in the back of my mind. I still want to give to my Lord all he asks of me. Please pray for me.


Week 11: Yes, Lord.
I thank you for putting so many opportunities in my path to serve you.  Let each of my days start with this posture of gratitude ... For the many gifts you give me ... And especially for your loving forgiveness. I start my mission with you at the side of the Cross. You have invited me to work with you in your mission of love but you never want me to forget that your call starts at the Cross. I reflect on the basic instructions for this week.  Somehow I feel a real resonance to being called to be "outstanding" in what I do each day.  "Outstanding" particularly if my work is performed on your behalf. Lord, I have so many opportunities to bring your love to others. Be with me as I respond, "Yes".

Thank you, Lord.


Week 11: I am being pulled toward the "yes" that is trying to break open from my heart.  I can feel my resistance, but I'm hoping  that I will let myself be open to Christ's call. I want to say "yes" but I want to say yes tomorrow- not today.  I guess that's fear? I don't want to lose my control?

I guess my prayer is that I hope for the trust to listen to God.  I hope to let go of my need to be in charge. I've heard this message so often. I'm just starting to take it to heart.  I pray that this advent , I will push past the fear of letting go of the reins, and let god be my centre.


Beginning Week 11: I don’t think I’m grown enough to fully absorb the grace of each week, but I’m trying to just get what I can. I heard from my Centering Prayer director that God reveals our sins to us as if inviting us to clean house. At first, the room we’re in is pretty dark, and we can see a little dirt, and we clean a little. Later the Lord turns up the lights a bit, and we clean a little more. And so on. So far the lights are not that bright in my room yet! I’m ok to sit there in the semi-darkness for awhile. I’m 55. When I was 30, I looked vigorously for what God wanted me to do. I went to daily mass, and looked at other Catholics in my family and church, and listened to their advice (although they weren’t like me) and went pretty seriously awry because of confusion and pride. Now, 20 years later, I think we can either try to do God’s will purely from love, or from love plus pride (wanting ourselves to matter, wanting ourselves to make a contribution, as opposed to wanting a contribution to be made). Since we’re human, that pride is going to be there even though we try to root it out. Now I think we have to offer ourselves to God to do whatever He wants, even if it seems like a very humble, even invisible, contribution. And maybe I am making a contribution I can’t see. At 55 I am almost ready to say, “Ok, so if You want me somewhere, send me there.” Thomas Merton’s “The Road Ahead” from Week 10 is so made for me, I have to laugh a little. At 30 I didn’t get it. At 55, I find it profound. It begins, “My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going,” and every word is true for me.


Week 11: My heart cries out to you oh Lord. Oh Lord you hear my prayer.  Let me take the time this week to truly embrace your love. Lord you know how much I love you. You know how imperfect that Love is. You know my ups and downs. You know when I leave and when I stay. You know at one time in my life my "Yes" meant "yes" now it means maybe, If I choose to follow. I want to run to you because I know you have forgiven me. I know you continue to call me. I am aware you know me better than myself. I have searched my heart and have found no obstacles other than my level of trust in your promises to me. I know I no longer trust you to take care of me because of what happened when I first said yes and followed eagerly until I ran ahead of you trying to care for the world and losing myself and my soul in the process. Help me to trust that you will bring me no harm as I follow you. This is where I am weak please make me strong in you!


Week 11: This week 11 has been perfect timing for me.  My husband has become very disheartened with his job after 27 years in the same place with several job changes, but now it looks like we will be leaving.  "YES LORD" Whatever you want.  May my husband and I be lead according to your perfect Will.  Even though there is some fear, we say "yes" and we trust you Jesus as you have always been with us, you will continue to be with us always.  We say Yes to your will and calling us to a new area. Indeed, my husband and I have been called to a new place.  He has been applying for new jobs around the state and at the opposite side of the country.  I continue on this journey called "life" and am blessed to be taking part in this retreat online.  This could be the start of quite the change in my life.  And I am glad to be sharing this change with my retreat family.  Thank you for your prayers and know that my prayers continue for all on this journey with me.  Christine


Week 11:
The Lord has assigned work to me to which He has committed to no other! Although I may not understand, if I keep my focus on Him, I realize I am a link, a bond. I shall do His work,because I trust Him!


Week 11:
My spiritual director recommended I do this retreat. The first 9 weeks I went through them exactly one week at a time. The 10th week I met with my spiritual director and I hadn't understood what my invitation was all about. I spent two weeks on week 10 trying to get a better understanding what Jesus was asking of me. In order to fully accept this invitation I need to slow down or eliminate worldly distractions (i.e. TV, video games, chat rooms, etc.) It's a slow process but I finally understand by getting through worldly distractions I can have a closer relationship with Jesus. John Connor


Week 11:
I find I don't have much to say this week.  I have so many questions floating around in my head-I have always wanted all the details before making my decisions.  How can I say yes without knowing what I am saying yes too???  Then my thoughts are drawn back to Week one-"jump and  I will catch you". I have this image in my head if a small child trying to get up enough nerve to jump off a low sidewalk curb into God's arms.  Can I do it?? 

This week The Servant Song and the song version of the Prayer of St Francis have been playing in my head during my downtime encouraging me to say yes in those small daily moments.  Hopefully these small yes moments will strengthen my courage and desire to say "yes" to bigger and bolder decisions.


Week 11: A Response to the Invitation
"  To what has been,  Yes.  To what will be,  Yes.".  Quite a daunting prayer.  The past I cannot do anything about it anymore except to learn from it.  My past has made me into what I am today,  But to say YES to the future,  that is scary.  What if God sends me failure, tragedy,  disappointments,  separation from family,  etc?  

     I voiced out my apprehensions about that prayer to my friend.  And she told me that saying YES to God is the easiest thing to do. Such faith! You let go of everything,  you let go of your luggage and just say YES to Him.  We must continually say YES to Him,  so that HE will not hesitate to say Yes to us too.  Remember that He could not be outdone in His generosity.  An reassuring response to HIS invitation.  I thought that I should be the one to respond to him by saying YES to Him but he beat me to it.  He responded to my fear.  Like the hemorrhaging woman who feared touching Him because she is unclean,  in all her humility and in Jesus's power over evil, I too will be healed of my fear and receive his gift of trust.  
      
     Today,  let me be the Yes which will get cheap medicine for my helper.  Let me be the Yes which will visit the old priest in the infirmary. 

      Be my companion Jesus as I live my Yes to you today.


Week 11:  I am finishing week 11 today.  I answered a call to become a hospice volunteer several months ago .  Today I know that it is the will of God for me to do this.  I had the idea to sign up for one hour a week.  God had a different idea.  I really try to say yes when I can.  This past week I logged in 4 hours.  I love what I do.  And I am so at peace with myself and others.  This is a real blessing for me.  Jump in and take a step in faith; it is wonderful-not always easy, but wonderful all the same.
Peace to all on this retreat,
Marie


Week 11: I feel fairly confident that I can say “yes” to Jesus’ invitation to follow. However, I am not sure how well I understand the implications of that. From my reading either in Küng’s book “On being a Christian” or in the online retreat guides (or both?) I understand that to follow Jesus is to be committed wholeheartedly to doing what he did, viz. the will of God. And I have read there as well that doing God’s will is a daily, continual attitude and action involving whatever and whoever I encounter wherever, however, and whenever. So what I think I am learning is that I need to look a lot more closely at my daily life and its context so as to order it, actively and consciously, in accord with what God wills. I suppose it’s a sort of variation on “What would Jesus do?” but applied to every single moment of the day and night. Furthermore, I must always keep in the forefront of my mind and heart that the reason I am attempting to do this is that God, instead of marking my guilt and insignificance, has guaranteed through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection my hope that I shall enjoy eternal happiness with him and the whole Body of Christ.


Week 11: Sharing:  Response to an Invitation to Love
Dear Lord,
When you called me in my youth, my response was Yes, I will follow you. Throughout the years of adulthood, I heeded Your call and followed Your path with faith.  Today, I commit myself and say yes to your calling.  You are my rod and my Guide.  YOU LEAD ME to clear running water, refreshing my soul.  Thank You Lord.  Yes Lord, yes, yes Lord. 


Week 11: I am on week 11 and although I have thought of and even tried to share before, this is in fact my first sharing.
I have found this week both easy and difficult. It has been easy to say,"yes" to the Lord because He has been both merciful and forgiving in great measure these past weeks and I desperately long to give myself to the Lord in return. I want to empty myself and let go of all worldly possessions if that is His will for me. Here is the difficult part of the saying ," yes". Yes, I long to do these things but my husband has no such desire.
As I have prayed over my response I feel that I can say my Yes to accompany Jesus in his mission that he has from the Father by being faithful to whatever comes my way today, and I will love my spouse and children and accept the difficulties and challenges that he brings me in these relationships.
I am also feeling drawn to do something for the poor. This may seem like a great deal of Yes, but compared to all that He has given me it seems small and inadequate.


Week 11 – What a journey!
1990 – Made a deal with God. If he helped me know, I would help Him later. I thought we were talking about a financial arrangement.
1994 – 43 year-old Lukewarm Catholic, trying to prove that Jesus really resurrected. (I discounted the New Testament as biased.)
1996 – 2 years of reviewing Christian and miracle history has failed to provide the absolute proof I needed as an engineer. Then, realization that 10 of the 11 apostles died as martyrs provided the evidence that the apostles, all first-hand witnesses, believed that Jesus was God. I now needed to go deeper.
1998 – Ignatian Exercises at home helped me identify the need to become active, rather than passive, in my faith.
2001 – Cursillo Retreat - identified the need to evangelize, which was really out of my comfort zone.
2002 – Offered the Spiritual Exercises to the Father’s Club at Loyola High School in Baltimore
2003 – The father’s from last year’s Exercises start a Spiritual/Outreach committee within that same Father’s Club
2004 – Start to turn our farm into a retreat center.
2005 – Accepted in the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s Diaconate program.
2009 – In week 11 of the Creighton on-line version of the exercises as I prepare for ordination on May 23.

God has taken me further than I ever imagined. Every time I take a small move towards Him, He has responded with a big move towards me. Thank you God, for your amazing help, guidance and support for an average, lukewarm Catholic!
-- Jim

I am in eleventh week. First day, I said immediatelly my " yes ". It was easy, I considered myself with God, why not to continue. Next day immediatelly after I wake up, the cases started... First I did quarel with my family, than ....So, the whole day. In the evening, when reflecting, it was obvious to me, that Jesus showed me with all those cases in this day, that I did commit only in words, but not in deeds. I was so fristarted firstly, because I was not faithful.. Suddenly a thought came to my mind - great ! Lord is listening me ! If so much cases, coincidentally on the next day of my " yes ", that means Jesus has heard me and wants to show me, that my " yes " is not a real one. I continue... --Valentin
Week 11: Father in heaven we Adore you worship you and praise you God of power and might merciful creator of the universe; We Confess that we have been sinful servants and we beg you forgiveness; We Thank you on this Thanksgiving Day for all the many blessings and favors you have thus far bestowed upon us; We come today in Supplication begging for further favors:
Jesus, who has said ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find knock and it shall be opened to you, we seek we knock we ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as we go through each day, help us to see those opportunities presented by each day to do your holy will; give us the wisdom and courage to act on those opportunities once they are presented to us, to see you Christ our king in our neighbors and to show our gratitude for God’s gifts by sharing.

Week 11: As I was going through the meditations, this hymn, often sung in our parish, popped into my head. I hope that it moves you, as it does me. http://www.spiritandsong.com/musicondemand/songs/30338 In Christ's Love,
--Jeff

Week 11 begins for me today, Sun.. I've been "practicing" saying my "yes" to Jesus, and yet there's that tiny voice of anxiety within me. I feel that I've said "yes" several times over the last few years, but there's always some hesitancy I can't seem to let go of. Weeks 9 and 10 seemed so "easy" that I merely skimmed through the Sharing, but now, knowing what week 11 is calling me to do, I'm reaching out to the Sharing comments for insights, courage, & the comfort that others are struggling also, or succeeding. This is so helpful. Thank you.
--Jean
Week 11: I have reread the prayers and talked to You, Lord, throughout these days, living my life as before but looking at everyone I meet in a new way. I say to myself, "You are in me, using me to greet my friends and neighbors, and to love them". Some days are better than others but my focus is turned outward, away from myself, on You and my fellow human beings. My response to the "Invitation to love is small but I hope just a beginning.
Week 11: I wept for the mess I've made of my life and I begged God to sort me out. I moved on to celebrate the beginning of a new life with the sure knowledge that all is well and I can put all behind me and begin to live fully .
I had just downloaded week 11 of the retreat when I decided to again read some of the sharing notes. This time for week 10. In reading the notes, I found myself thinking, as I had all week, that I had no specific calling. Then it hit me, that Yes, I did have a calling, and I had answered it without being aware that it was a calling.
That calling was not to a physical place but to a place in my heart and soul, in my spirit. The call started with the reading of the schedules for Penitential Services for Advent, this past week, and continues even now. That call brought me to make a confession that involved a realization that I am a sinner, but that I am a loved sinner and of worth to at least some people with whom I work and the extended family. But especially it brought me to a greater realization of the love God must have for me, and in that realization, one day during the week after receiving Holy Communion at Mass, I had thought of the attraction physical matters had for me and then I thought of the special presence of Christ within me and I consciously said to myself that "I choose You" meaning Christ.
I don't know where this choice will lead to but I have to place myself in God's hands with the knowledge that He desires good for His creation, and He knows our needs better than we know them ourselves.
-- Quentin
From a spiritual point of view I really wanted this week to be uplifting. It is almost a year since I made the "yes" decision to change my career and move quite a distance from where I was living and still feel comfortable enough to call home. But it was more challenging than that. I have faced a particular administrative problem that should have been easy to solve but is proving intractable and it has some effects on our family relations. It has been going on for 5 weeks or so and didn't improve and as the week progressed I became angrier. Probably not helped by having a long drive where I had too much time to think ... and also consider that I was really sharing it with the Lord. OK I was but I really felt let down that I wasn't getting help from anyone I turned to. I think the crescendo was when I wrote a rather sharp email to one quite important person with whom I had been corresponding and asking for help, which is coming slower than I thought I deserved. Rather than that being helpful she got all offended. Oh well ... not sure that was the outcome I wanted. But as I step back from this I realize that a pattern re-emerges ... when I feel let down ... and blocked ... my selfishness rises up ... I keep thinking I am in control ... or I really think I want to be in control ... and I strike out in selfishness and not necessary what's good for me or others. That leads me back to the "yes" decision to come here and move out of my comfortable existance. As I think about Jesus' "yes" decision that was not easy and did not immediately result in a wonderful experience ... far from it. So why should my "yes" lead me to any more wonderful experience? I take Father Van Breeman's prayer for myself:
I ask you in his name
to be drawn to him
and to be pulled out of my selfishness.
Give me faith in the fruitfulness of his way of life.
Teach me to live love
not as an easy word
but as a genuine, costly deed.
Thus may his mission
come to fulfillment through me
today and every day, for ever and ever. Amen.
a friend recommend this retreat and i join on the same day. I'm on Week 11 and this is my first sharing and I'm not very confident in english. I really believe in the saying 'nothing happen by accident'. As weeks goes by I am blessed with many graces. I wanted to linger-on and absorb every thing in each week writings but something push me to move on. Gratitude is the one I notice the most and I am thankful for it. when someone realize the great debt that had been forgiven and the amount of gifts received nothing is going to be too hard to do for that person. Saying 'yes' to Jesus is a joy. I don't have much materially. Before I only notice what I don't have but now I'm grateful for what I got, I'm alive and healthy, I got a house, a vehicle, a job, I live in a peaceful country, etc. etc. The Lord is very much a part of my everyday life. I am grateful for this website and may God bless you all.
thank you Lord for helping me to share.
-- AT, south pacific
As I begin week 11.....I think maybe I missed parts of week 10, it was a very busy week last week, and I thought I'd read the beginning, but now it doesn't look familiar.......anyway, as I begin week 11, I am reminded how irritated and frustrated I was with some of the earlier weeks, some of the writings, some of the images. The image of mother and child nearly caused me to quit the retreat. Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of religious writers still don't "get" that many of us have had horrible experiences with our families and with fellow members of our faith.

I didn't want to "quit" the retreat altogether, so, I just let it be a sort of "backburner" in my life. I think it's a good idea to read what others are writing, if for no other reason than to keep myself from getting bogged down in my own ideas.

What I find interesting is that, even though I haven't paid much attention to the retreat in the past few weeks, in my private prayer life, Jesus seems to be leading me down a similar path of modulation (transformation). So that, when I started reading the essay to begin Week 11, I realized I'm already doing some of these things......have been for quite some time (which is perhaps why the first part of the retreat didn't make a lot of sense to me).

Part of what is happening to me internally I'm not sure if it's "good" or not, I just know it is happening. It's difficult to put into brief words. It's as if I'm accepting my own self in the midst of a Christianity that largely doesn't accept me, and, I am simultaneously accepting that others are simply who they are, and God loves us all. I was afraid that perhaps I was "resigning", but, I think it's different than that, it's more like walking into myself in Jesus, and letting most everybody else go (to do as they please).

I know I'm not as angry/outraged by the faithless things people do in God's Name. I don't know if it's because I'm burnt out, or if it something new God is forming within me.

Blessings to All of Us who attempt this retreat.
-- Ritagail


Week 11: God is not asking me to love God “more than these others” (like Peter, Jn.21) I am not being called like Peter to “do something great for God”. Rather today I am being called to be hidden in the marketplace, simple, poor, childlike, being present, “to”, and “in” love. I am being told that God is my rest. Rather than doing anything, I am to be, a place of receptivity, a place of hospitality for all to enter, a space for seekers to hear God speak. God tells me to go without fear into the depth of people’s hearts, that God will be with me. I offer to God my be-ing, a space of receptivity for all peoples. (Words taken from The Little Mandate, by Catherine Doherty, foundress of Madonna House.
-- Anita

The themes for this week were very powerful. I prayed and focused on what responding "yes' to Jesus meant in the context of a job offer I just received. I particularly used Cardinal Newman's meditation. But I made slow progress. I started searching for alternative roles as a result of following this retreat last year. I regularly reflected on whether I really was using my talents for Jesus or whether I was just being protective of being comfortable where I was. I opened myself for change. Now the opportunity presents itself … not to advance myself materially but to consider whether if I make this move I will be serving God better. Conceptually I can say 'Yes" to Jesus. But I find it rather scary and of course I fear what others will say when I tell them I am leaving a good position that pays well. I believe the new offer is the better course to serve God. I continue to pray for confirmation of this. Please keep me in your prayers.
Week 11: I am the Catholic from Russia. I am 61 years old. I started to do exercises of the first week in October. It was difficult, because I do not remember or I do not want to recollect many events of my life. Then I began to think of Gifts of the God yesterday, the last week and so on.He always was in my life, even then, when I did not know Him. Thank you very much for the spiritual help.
-- Aleksander, Russia
As I move through the retreat, I am finding the value in taking it one week at a time. I wanted to hurry at first, then realized my need to be a daily receiver of the message from this retreat. I am finding a newness in my work (as a counselor) which is a direct result of this new relationship with God. Thank you for making this possible.
This morning as I prayed and read the Printer Friendly Version of Week 11, I couldn't help wondering what "service" or "ministry" Jesus might be calling me to accept. I've pretty much felt 'situated' or 'called' in my position of "mom" and "grandma", plus, I usually facilitate a monthly or weekly bible study or spiritual enrichment study several months a year.

A little background: In July I learned of a young wife and mother who was hospitalized from a brain aneurysm. It happened in June.

I've been daily following updates from the family on a blog, and praying for them. The family is strong in their faith . . . very committed to Jesus Christ; six children, and the mother home-schools. They attend daily Mass, and Holy Communion.

In August, two of their daughters (teens) went with their youth group on a previously arranged mission to Mexico for two weeks. Friends and family have been very supportive.

Seeing God's people ministering to one another in the way that they have for this family has been inspiring . . . a 'mission' or ministry, close with Christ.

At one point, after several weeks, the father put out a request for help. 'Things' have a way of backing up when one parent or the other isn't able to be there for a family of eight. A friend and I decided to respond by offering our service to help with cleaning, etc. This evening the request came: "Could we help with ironing school uniforms?" Praise Jesus!

Please join me in praying for this family. They are precious!

This is a grievous time for them. A big change. Absence of their mother because she's hospitalized; also, for the children beginning parochial school for the first time because their mom is not able to be there to continue home schooling; and for the father who works full time; visits the hospital daily; and does all he can to keep things functioning at home as close to normal as possible.

My friend and I are excited and honored to say "yes" to this family! We're delighted to iron their precious parochial school uniforms, in the name of Jesus, who calls us to this mission service! We thank You, Lord!
just a note this week as i have promised myself the discipline of writing something at the end of each week.
i was able to say yes to things i normally ignore or say no to this week. and paid attention to things that came my way . im edgy and feel unsure as to what im saying yes to this time.
im now in a mountain town about 7 -8hours from my home. staying with family. and im going from here to my daughter in sydney for a few days. i travel on a few dollars and am keeping my eyes open for the direction i am being asked to move in.
-- Nell from Tweed
This week is special and with it came a very special notion. Jesus is inviting me to go alone with him in doing God the Fathers wish for humanity. I'm not being asked to take on any great task. I'm simply asked to go alone with Jesus and give what ever help I can. I don't have to be brave, courageous,or wise. Jesus is already all these things and of course more. I just have to hold on His hand as best as I can as He does the work. I realize that holding on and not letting go and not grabbing for my fear is not easy. Of course it's not. But it's simple. Simple to remember when I let go and get lost again. All I have to do is to grab on again and off I go. There's no reprimand or judgement for letting go just a loving and grateful "welcome back my dear"
Oh most loving gracious Lord your love is perfect and unfathomable.
God bless all my fellow travelers. Pray for me, I'm praying for you.
Bob - Week 11
I have prayed long and hard this week and still have no real concrete idea of what my response will entail, other than saying “yes”. But I do seem to feel that it is my weaknesses and faults that I have to offer to God, rather than my strengths. Or maybe in addition to or beside my strengths? I’m not sure but I know my weaknesses, my patterns of falling into sin, are still very much a part of me and I have to take them into account in my response. Week 11
Christ invites me to the cross. How do I respond?My first reaction: I am terrified.But as I look, as I love, I cannot turn away. There is no other way. And my best response (Psalm 100) bursts forth:
“Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Serve the Lord with gladness.
Come before him, singing for joy.
Know that he, the Lord, is God.
He made us, we belong to him,
We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Go within his gates, giving thanks.
Enter his courts with songs of praise.
Give thanks to him and bless his name.
Indeed, how good is the Lord,
Eternal his merciful love.
He is faithful from age to age.”Tom, Pennsylvania
I found this week both empowering and then latterly challenging. I kept coming back to the central prayer, “in these or similar words”, and resting with it. In fact, when I think of where God might lead me in the longer run I can more authentically say, “I abandon myself into your hands; do with me what you will”. I recognize that as the prayer says God’s invitation is “gentle, not the fear-filled one I fretted over”. But I found it more challenging to respond “yes, Lord” to the everyday events I encountered. Of course, I was more fear filled of some things I had to do t work than I am of God’s invitation which is silly. I also had a concrete sense of my shying away from responding “Yes Lord” on Friday when I went round to visit a friend of mine. He has been ill but is recovering and also just broken up with his partner. I did spend a lot more time with him than I had planned but I felt I should have stayed longer... that he actually needed my presence. I didn’t respond “Yes” as quickly as I should have. I preferred to go back to doing what was on my “To Do List” for the day. However, I’m writing this in Florida looking over the Gulf as the sun rises and the waves break on the beach. I guess I’m stealing a little time before winter personally starts for me. In some ways, though, using the retreat method of reflection at different moments in our day is for me a little like these quick moments in Florida, they provide the sunshine and warmth that remind me of the power of God’s love in our lives. Thank you for providing this opportunity for grace.
I am on week 11 of this retreat and I thank and praise God for guiding me here. I have done a lot of reflecting and praying over the last couple of months but this week has really touched me. We have many native Canadians in this city of Toronto and I guess I have become complacent like a lot of people I guess. I have always associated them as the other people. I justified my thoughts by thinking what more can they ask for.They get tax free benefits and the government has done their best to compensate them for the injustices done to them long ago. But I realized that this is not about money or compensation but about acceptance into mainstream society. The majority still live on reserves and are basically treated as second class citizens.The fact of the matter is that god says that in his kingdom there are no blacks or whites or red or yellow. We are all children of light. Our faith tells us that God's kingdom is here on earth not just in heaven. I have become more aware that these are people in need of help not just monetarily but to help them become part of the one family of Christ.

God Bless all who are on this retreat.
Pat
It is hard to believe…the end of Week 11! When I first came upon this retreat, I thought, “34 weeks! I’ll never make it!”. “Never say ‘never’” Yes, I am and have already been to the “Here I am, Lord…send me: stage, only because Jesus deserves no less from me. This morning, as I was journaling, the thought came to me of all the things you helped me to say ‘yes’ to that I was saying ‘no’ to before. There isn’t any more fear, but I wonder what else you will ask of me and what if I don’t do what you ask me to in the right way? I don’t want to do things halfheartedly anymore. What if I fail in doing things you ask of me? I hear your voice in something I read in one of this retreats’ reflections…”There is no failure in your trying or, even if, you only desire to try and don’t…I am here and I love you…remember that. Always remember that.” All of us need to always remember that. Love and prayers to all of us on this journey together.
-- June
I have said yes many times this week. I have said it out loud, I have said it quietly. I just don't think I really mean it. I hope the Lord will take and use it anyway.
I got stuck on week 11. Perhaps fear of the unknown or perhaps just stubborn unwillingness to give up control over my own path in life. I want to say "yes" but hold back. I decided not to move on to week 12 until I had resolved my hesitation. Then i reread the reflection on the week by Larry Gillick. I was cheered to remember that even Peter, on whom Jesus built his church, was not able to give wholeheartedly but how wonderfully what he did give was used! Fr. Gillick reminds us that Jesus uses whatever bit of ourselves we can give, and uses our gift to make us more truly ourselves (the self he knows using our God-given gifts and potential). This reflection cheered me immensely and so I will continue to re-visit week 11 this week, practising my "YES" before moving forward to week 12. Maybe what i want to say is, don't rush through the retreat, but take as long as you need to "get it". I am still finding the retreat so helpful but would have liked to do it in a group or with a spiritual director. Perhaps there is some possibility for the creation of virtual groups or on line spiritual directors?
Week eleven flew by quickly for me.  It was difficult for me to give a complete 'yes' to an unknown future.  However, during the week I was given the grace to pray to the Lord and say that I do say "Yes" and I asked the Lord for the strength, faith, and courage to follow through with that 'yes'.
I am in the end of the eleventh week, and what a powerful time it has been. I am constantly amazed at where our Beloved God has taken my heart in these few short weeks.  I began by saying "yes" without knowing what that could mean to me, and a plan came to me of how I could begin to divide my time, my energy, and my heart to better serve God and those around me.  I am a retired teacher who remains very interested in education, and this week an opportunity was shown to me; one group of students who are poverty level are struggling in school.  I felt drawn to offer to work one day a week with them, and when I told my wife what I wanted to do for those children, she said that she had been drawn to volunteer to do that as well. So here, in our own area, is an opportunity to serve the poor using gifts that God has so generously given us.  On Monday I began saying "yes" to whatever God wanted of me; on Wednesday I was shown one way to begin.  What a blessing this retreat is for me.
My response to this exquisite invitation to love has changed and developed through the years, only by God's grace.  What was no, and ,sometimes ,and then maybe , is becoming a stronger YES  in my life.  I pray for the grace to trust in God's plan...He knows what he is about , as one of the prayers said this week. I do want to follow and be with Jesus and to be a more responsive  lover of God. It takes courage to answer Yes, to a present and future that only God knows.

There is a prayer at the back of our Sunday misselette , written by St. Ignatius, it used to scare me to read that prayer for it speaks of surrendering  things like will and memory etc.  I now read that prayer in a different light, realizing that to trust is the ultimate gift of love.

I want to say yes to Jesus in things that are easy and yes even to the challenges and loss that comes with age and time.  Hard words to say . Jesus loves me enough to help me  in doing what I am missioned to do.  If I have the courage to know that no matter what , His love will be the answer to all. Week 11
WoW! This weeks prayers are soooo much my prayers! I printed three of them out to keep near my bed. Of course, St Francis of Assisi's strong and powerful request "Lord, make me an instrument of your peace" Well, really we don't have to make that request of God. Our real prayer is let me see how you have created me as an instrument...no I guess, we may not even know that, but we DO know that we have been created AS an instrument of His peace on earth. WOW, again That makes Cardinal Newman's prayer sooo pertinent. Then the "In these or similar words" the feelings we all feel. We say YES, but we don't always know what that YES means or what it will bring. I like the thought that it isn't the results of my Yes that's important, but the fact that I say YES with earnestness and conviction. I found this week's material inspiring. I will be acting with new conviction as I deal with overcoming my health problems by focusing on my peacekeeping role. Week 11
I am beginning the eleventh week and the effect on me is beginning to be profound.  At first I was so sure that I would be afraid of the consequences of saying "yes."  What is happening today, however, is that whenever I say or read "yes", my heart feels so full and tears spring to my eyes.  I don't believe it is out of fear but out of a wonder that this late in life I am being offered this magnificent gift--the gift of offering my "yes" to our Beloved God.  What a wonderful revelation.
After two weeks of the call of the Lord, this week focuses more on my response, “Lord, I say, ‘yes’.” When I refuse to say “yes,” help my unbelief and give me hope. Refresh me when I lose the enthusiasm to jump up and respond to you.
As I near the end of week 11, I re-read the entries others have made on this week. I feel at one with many of them, especially those who wrote of their own weaknesses, failures, and struggles. Their lives and mine have much in common. Letting go of the past, of my guilt, my shame, my sense of failure is not easy, but, like them, I am learning to trust more in the mercy and presence of Christ in my life. Though I wish in many ways that I had started this retreat with a good friend, I am grateful to all those who share their experience in this retreat. It make the journey so much more meaning, adds impact, and helps me realize I am not alone. Thanks to all of you.


Week 11, and I’m beginning to feel like my sharing has become a ‘broken record.’ Timing. Again, this week, it is timing that strikes me. I started this retreat for discernment, and now, in this week, I’m asked to ‘discern’ God’s call. Options face me. One offers the opportunity to be of service to many, at possibly great expense to me. The other offers the opportunity of serving one who is very close, and whose cooperation, if not direct involvement, would be very helpful in fulfilling Option 1. Looking at it from this perspective (the ‘written’ one) makes it seem clear. Choose Option 2, and, if it is indeed His will, Option 1 may follow. Having taken even this brief moment to put into print the choices I have seems to be opening the door to the answer. I pray that the Lord continue to guide me in this process, and trust that His will WILL be done, whatever I choose


In the Getting Started portion of Week 11, there was a suggestion to "just say yes" to God's invitation of love, and to say it out loud and in different ways.  I tried this yesterday on the drive home from work, and I felt silly saying "yes" out loud,  as if I were just talking to myself. This morning, I tried putting the words "yes" and "Lord" into a little song made up of only those words, repeated over and over in a simple tune that just made itself up as it went along.  I wanted to share what a great discovery it was to find this song inside me, and now I can sing it on my way to work with the feeling that I'm singing it to God! I had the distinct impression that He laughed when He heard it for the first time, and that was just great.  If you too have a song inside, let it out this week so you can hear that happy laugh!


The one thing I am learning over and over again is the power of prayer, and the comfort I get through faith and reminding myself that the good Lord has always taken care of me, no matter how rough things were. I am a real fighter and often I forget when it is time to step back and place things in the hand of God to take care of.  I become afraid and I have a hard time being patient.  I will appreciate if you will include my son in your prayers this week.  He is a senior in high school and has had a rough few months.  It is so difficult as a parent to watch your children struggle.  I pray everyday that the Lord will keep him safe and bring him a little joy and comfort.


During the 11th week of this retreat I was touched and so delighted to receive the invitation by God. My priest asked me if I could help lead reading of the Old Statement. I answered " Yes". How soon the invitation from God comes !! Of course I am a little worried about it. But I believe that My God would help me in doing it. 


It is, thankfully, about saying yes.  Yes to Christ!  I am beginning to see(in week 11) that He does move in my life through those I work with, my family, and all who I meet each day. I can say yes to Christ in spite of everything unworthy of Him that still remains in me.  Thanks to you.


I am in week 11, and what a week it has been!  We have so many blessings and wonderful ministries in our city, but they all have been under attack this past week over the most trivial issues. It was like in the reading at mass this week, the Pharisees were upset because Jesus healed on the Sabbath instead of rejoicing that a man they knew  could now see! It is been a week of Pharisees who have hurt others so unnecessarily over trivial and legalistic points.  I am praying for the legalists, I am praying for those they hurt, our priest in particular and I am praying for the trouble to die down to be able to focus again on the peaceful image at the start of this weeks retreat in these weeks of Lent.


Responding to God's love. During week 11 I was in the UK visiting my 85 yr old father. I found him confused and really unable to live alone any longer. What could I do to make his last days comfortable?  Prayer was dry, no help seemed to come but I invited Dad to come to the USA and live with me. We rarely see eye to eye, this will not be easy but the only question I ever ask now is, "What is the most loving thing to do?" and the answer to that is to take care of him. Without God's love I cannot do this, with it I can try.   Veronica

I have been following the retreat sessions week by week..on week 11. I must confess I have not done them well perhaps I have no put very much effort into them. I wish i had a spiritual director .....but I think God still takes that little bit of effort I have put into it and uses it.  I wish i could get out of shame.  I know it does me no good to wallow in it....... but Ilook back on my life and I see how much time i wasted, what talents I wasted, how much I complained about my lot in life, how much gossipping I did, and devaluing ot others, etc..and I called myself a christian.  I was not even very kind. you know the strangest things is....God still will not give up on me..there is always this call to love......even with the little effort I am making with this retreat..I know he is doing something.......I feel the magnitude of my sinfulness, I know he still cares about me, and I know he still calling me, to do what? I have not idea....but, I know I cannot do it without loving..........and when I love I follow Him.......the problem is....... I am stubborn and think i know the way.

I am now getting ready to move into my eleventh week of my retreat.  There have been times when It seemed that too many obstacles exist and I will not be able to continue my journey.  But here I am.  Right on time. As the reading for the day says, if we forget, God knows where we are and will come to us and bring whatever strength we need to get through our days.  My CD ROM was damaged and thru my doing the retreat I found this out and it was repaired free of charge.  I only wanted to play a Praise and Worship Tape during the Christmas Season.  I now play the tape as I try to get into the prayers suggested, Scriptures offered and the wonderful reflections by each of the staff that contribute.  God is good and his love of me despite all the obstacles I see and feel in my life is just overwhelming.  I know He wants me to have the desires of my heart, but I think I am finally turning those desires over to Him.  Let Him decide what is best for me.  He told me that once when I was feeling sad because of the extra care I needed to give to my husband.  But I seem to forget so easily the  moments when I know He has spoken.  Thanks again for helping when I do feel very alone.  Today, O Lord, I am emptying my heart.  Come take your rest in me. Amen


I am in week 11 and think I'm finally coming out of a dry period. The past few weeks, while continuing the retreat, I have been pre-occupied with my sister leaving the Church. This scandal has been difficult! I desire that my Yes is complete! Interesting, that one of the prayers was Psalm 116. This was my prayer of gratitude for surviving cancer. It came at a good time in the retreat - pulled me back to where I needed to be! I seemed to have a heightened awareness of God's love and my response. I am grateful for the grace. Robin

I am in week eleven but I would like to comment on my feelings from last week (week 10).  It was an interesting feeling of debating how much I would have to give up to do something like the invitation was inviting me to do. It was strange, even before I read the helps that talked about considering how much I would have to sacrifice that my mind went to that.  Whenever I was called to do something I would always weigh what I would have to give up to do it - so that just came naturally. I have weighed in favor of the unknown before at the call of God but I fear that I may have also held back at that call too.  It was a thought provoking week. I'm thinking about doing the next few weeks in a shortened form (Sun-Wed and Wed-Sat) so that I can get on with the Liturgical Year for Lent.  I hope that works out well.

As I pondered "In these or similar words" in Week 11, I felt as if God were speaking directly to me, urging me to give Him my wholehearted yes to His invitation to follow Him.  The old familiar fear and hesitancy that I have always experienced when I have believed He was calling me quickly rose to the surface as I considered my answer.  What would He ask of me, what will I have to give up? Then, as I continued to read the part about how in responding to Him, I become the authentic person He created me to be my fears evaporated!  What a chord this struck with me.  I have been focusing for the last couples of years on trying to become the person God created me to be!  I can see where my unique experiences in live have equipped me to be of service to others.  I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and have been able to share that with many others.  My husband and I have experienced God working profoundly in our marriage and we have been given the opportunity to share His healing with other hurting couples through the ministry of Retrouvaille.  I also meet with two other women weekly in an open 12 Step group where we share and minister to each other on a deep level. God, I believe, is saying, "don't look at where I'm leading you in the future.  Look at where I've brought you today".  When I look at just today, I find it much easier to give Him my "yes" wholeheartedly. May God bless all of you who are on this journey with me. 

I am now in my eleventh week and this message to be outstanding as a sign of Jesus working in us is more subtle than the other weeks messages. I have sinned grievously against others, some terrorizing enemies, and mostly myself but it took a serious life threatening event with our son near death to bring my awakening to completion. These passed weeks I have prayed harder to have my will change my behavior because I think the Lord needs this purification and consecration of my life in the Present. I am afraid of the need to rededicate for the consistent Present of a Daily Faith.The past has much pain and fleeting glory for me personally to matter much now. Living your life honestly in your need to serve Him and have integrity in your relationship with the Lord will save me to grow spiritually with and in Him. Yes, my wordily enemy is very real and powerful and vengeful but my life in him as he tests me brings the only peace in prayer to move me to love Him in my daily works with my family and self. How very long it has taken me to know this. How stupid and painful it was to know my temper and uncontrolled behavior through the real evil that is in the world. I pray for my self to keep on strong daily in my Faith. And when I fail as I sometimes do, I try to recall the grace working in me with Christ and my response for a consecrated life to him in Honesty, Integrity, Community, Responsibility, and last but most important for me, Simplicity in delivering your needs and faith daily to yourself in the world, others, and Jesus Christ. 

Day 78 (Week 11)  Lord Jesus, how I long to meet You on the way. I know that life’s journey to You, God the Son, is made easier if only I could put my trust in You, Jesus, my loving Friend, and truly believe that you are walking by my side. There are days when you seem so distant, when my heart feels the chill of your absence, and when my mind cannot vision your presence. How lonely and forsaken I feel on those days. And how strange that even though I know I can find you if I would take the time visit you in the Sanctuary of our Church, or even in the sanctuary of my heart, I won’t. Why? Is it the guilt I feel because I know that You have not abandoned me, but it is I that have abandoned You? Oh dear Jesus, I know the answer. How many times must I remind myself that Your love for me is infinite. That even when I fall into sin, You are ready to rescue me, to lift me up, and embrace me. Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. Come, be with me today, fill my heart with your love, my mind with your peace, and give me the strength to prevail against the wiles of Satan. Amen.
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