Some Practical Help for Getting Started This Week

Getting started these weeks involves listening, watching, and experiencing the feelings that come to us. We want to make the movement from reading the Gospel passages to fixing those scenes in our imagination, to letting healing become the lens through which we view the people and circumstances of our daily lives. And then the grace will be in our nightly expression of gratitude and intimacy with Jesus.

Larry Gillick, SJ, says it so well in this week’s “For the Journey”: “In Christ there is the freeing from and the freeing for, the healing from and the healing for.” By this time in the retreat, we are experiencing the liberation that has been offered us. As we are drawn into deeper intimacy with Jesus, we are experiencing how we are set free to be one with him in loving the way he loves — completely. This is what happens with lovers. With each and every week, we are watching as Jesus shows us who he is, and we fall more deeply in love with him, and we want to be with him. Attraction always draws to the desire for closeness. And with each week’s movements and graces, we want more and more to be like Jesus.

Jesus heals to set hearts free to give glory to God and then to be more responsive to God’s movement in hearts that are free to say “yes” to give their self in service of others. When we are loved and healed — as all of us have been — our lives are not our own any more. We have become reoriented. We become for others — and precisely with Jesus for others.

We get started this week mindful of the power of these movements and their ultimate goal. This retreat is about letting God so work in us to liberate and transform how we choose — in fact, how we make the most fundamental and most ordinary choices of our lives.

Each morning, as I prepare my mind and heart for the day’s reflection on Jesus as lover and healer, and each night, as I give thanks and reseal the intimacy of my growing relationship with Jesus, I can’t avoid experiencing how this very process is liberating. The movements of these exercises can’t help but change the way I make the smallest of choices about how I live.

As I realize what graces might be offered me as I watch and contemplate Jesus, I can ask with great focus throughout the week for the graces that are arising in my desires.

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