|Week 1 - part 4 Just a sincere and heartfelt thank you from someone frail and weak in
faith. I just discovered the resources you are offering to us and I
just wanted you to know that your gift of the online retreat is water
to those of us thirsty for closer union with God. You and those responsible
are giving so much more than you know. Often,
I feel that the world is so big and I am so small. But with your help,
I hope to come to realize that although the world is big, God, although
I can't see Him is bigger and the ultimate reality.
This is my first retreat online or otherwise. I read the story on unconditional and total acceptance of each and every one of us by God. It gave me a great feeling of comfort and "warm fuzzies". (I am sure that by using that term, I am dating myself.) I am a 56 year old Native American woman who has walked a traditional Lakota Spiritual path for well over twenty years now. As I read Ignatius to say that " God wants to enter into our lives easily; from our perspective-----our ease in finding God ----this is the grace of devotion. We are all meant to be people of devotion." God, Wakan Tanka (the Great Mystery), Tunkashila (Grandfather) entered into my life those many years ago when I found my way back to the spiritual path of my ancestors. Before that time, I had walked many different paths looking and crying for one that would truly become my own. At last I found it. I had never ever experienced total acceptance before in my lifetime until then. As I study this traditional founder of the Jesuits, I see that the teachings are quite similar. The words of both ways are spoken with unconditional love to help us create with in ourselves our portion of self acceptance, self worth, self love. When I pray in the Inipi (sweat) ceremony I always pray first for self-forgiveness, leading to self awareness, self love and finally self acceptance. Like most humans, I find it much easier to do these things for others rather than myself, but I was told if I did not pray for these things for myself, I would soon run out of them to extend to others. Ahhhhh, I thought, but I know myself and all of my failings, how can I offer these things to myself unconditionally? I truly struggle with this on a sometimes daily basis. What the reading for this first week did for me was to reawaken my deepest faith, the faith that Gods perfect creation includes me. I find I'm feeling a little uncomfortable saying this....but I truly think that--devoid of ego, and I am amazed, in awe, and humbled. I can't say for how many seasons now I have been wrestling around with my own humanness, trying to keep in balance those forces in me that can create both chaos and serenity. I have been quite unaccepting of that darker side of me so I have a tendency to amplify those things in my own mind, but tonight I looked and understood that by the grace of God, serenity usually wins out. Now that is something I can accept tonight.
I’m grateful for having received a sense of the ups and downs of my life so far. Occasions of pure joy or pure despair are almost non-existent – even in the darkest moments there has been some light from somewhere. And joy is often tinged with sadness. God has always been there for me, though I often didn’t realize it. What’s more, God accepts and loves me 100% - even where I am now. I cried when I first got a sense of that – and I’m only just beginning to accept it.
I have just begun the exercises in earnest - and am struggling with many things, not the least of which is my faith itself. The people in my group, though not who I would have chosen for this journey - are supportive and I think people I can learn from - because their outlook and experience is SO different from mine. It seems right now that God is challenging me to try new things in my life, and to think in different ways than I have always thought. I am very grateful for this program -and for the acceptance of someone like me who has fears about turning my will over to God.
I was at the White House Jesuit Retreat House in August and needed a bookmark. I noticed some picture cards on a table in the lounge and took one. It's taken a couple months, but I finally checked out the Creighton website. I make a yearly retreat and have a spiritual director I see every two weeks, but there are still some strongholds of sin in my life with which I struggle. Last month was bad -- like St. Paul wrote (paraphrase) I want to do what is right, but I end up doing what I know is not God's will. About five days ago, God spoke to me and said, "Spend time with me." I had been letting my daily prayers/meditations slip again. So, I got out my Challenges book and read the meditation, sat quietly with God, and wrote a reflection. God didn't demand much time, but it really made a difference in my day and my ability to turn away from my sinful strongholds. God keeps reminding me with that quiet little voice in the back of my mind -- "Spend time with me." I've had five really great days and feel so much better about myself and life in general. I know that with God's help, anything can be overcome. Internalizing that "head knowledge" isn't the easiest thing to do, but I know through God it can be done. I've been stumbling along the path on my journey home to God for almost 61 years now, and I think this retreat structure will be a great help to me. I will be sharing my journal with my spiritual director too. I e-mailed a friend who goes on retreat with me each August and suggested that he check out the site. We could both start this retreat and meet for coffee and discuss our feeling about it occasionally. Please pray for me. I will remember all who are making this retreat in my prayers also. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.
I am very happy to have this retreat online. I have been praying to be able to make a retreat and the Lord has answered my prayers , thanks to all of you that made this possible. You are in my heart and in my prayers.
This week has been an experience that I will always remember. Going back through my life I have seen where GOD has placed people in my life to bring me back to him. There have been many times in my life that have been very painful. During these periods in life I have always asked the question, Why! I do not understand why this is happening, why would GOD want me to suffer so. I have looked back and at no time was GOD far from me, in fact he was there with me, all the way. Even though I was going through a rough time, there was at least one person who showed me the way back home. Not to despair, to understand that I was loved greatly. That all that went before this moment in time, made me the person I am today. That person is loving, forgiving, understanding and worthy of Love. This is something that I can take back to my CCD class and share this love with them. And maybe be that one person in their lives who will show them the way.
What a wonderful week I have had. I thank God for giving me the grace to make this retreat and pray that all who are making this retreat will be greatly blessed, too.
I am 56 years old, married to a non-Catholic for 31 years, and the mother of 3 grown children.
Being a cradle Catholic I took so much of my faith for granted. I always knew God loved me, but He was like that distant cousin who only came around at funerals or weddings. Eighteen years ago I made a Cursillo and that opened up a whole new experience for me. My personal relationship with Jesus just grew and grew and grew. It is still growing. I have become much more involved with my church (Eucharistic Minister, Lector, Minister to the Sick) things I would have never done before. Even being open to things such as this On-Line Retreat. I have come to realize that our lives are a mixture of good and evil, pleasant and ugly, happy and sad. Reviewing my life against the backdrop for the first week made it so simple to see God's Hand in all that I have gone though and done. God is so good, and so full of surprises.
I feel that God is going to bless all of us who make this retreat even more so than He has already done. With His help we will look back on this 34 week retreat and wonder where on earth did the time go. I just feel it. May God continue to bless all of us, and Thank you, Lord!!!!!!
I often discern right and know what I really need, and yet I don't desire enough to choose it. This is the second time, which I have decided to start the online retreat. Tomorrow will be the second beginning. I feel ashamed, I am not helping myself to let God help me. I don't know where the Lord wants to lead me in the spiritual exercises; and yet, I know I should be moving ahead. Can't thank God enough, and the Jesuits for the online oasis.
Lord, receive my entire being - specially my inability, for you are the enabler.
My life as a DRE is extremely busy these days of September. As I was looking for resources for an upcoming reflection, I came to this web site. I followed the guide along the side of the screen, "If only I had the time to do this" I mused. When I came to the Prayers I read Edward Hays: "Blessed Are You, Lord, Our God". And I glanced at the stack of books piled high on the floor to the right of my computer, there was Edward Hays' book: Prayers for the Domestic Church. I guess I will find time for this retreat after all! Thanks and blessings for this opportunity.
I seem to have started my spiritual journey late,at the age of 53. Now I wish I had all of those years to redo this. As I was reflecting over mychildhood it dawned on me that I never really realized that God was with me all the way. Looking back now I see the people he put in my path to lead me to where I am and I am grateful for that.
I was so exited to meet the 34 week on-line retreat and wanted to start it. I was not confident. but preparing for the retreat, I came to think that I can't do it , but God can lead me for the retreat. So, I am beginning. From 47 year- old woman in Seoul, South Korea
Thank you for having this on-line retreat. I spend some quiet time every morning before I leave for work and I have been looking for something else that would bring my relationship to God stronger and closer. As I reflect on my photo album, it has made me realize that God was always present and I was surrounded with his love no matter what or where I was. It also has made realize that I was never alone even in a crowd of kids, teenagers or adults. I have known this for quite awhile but to truly reflect on it has brought an acceptance and has calmed my soul.
I have been looking back at my life over the past few days in accordance with the first week of this retreat. I am amazed at just how many specific moments that I was able to recall. I am only 22 years old, and still the memories keep flooding back. Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am a very sentimental and nostalgic person, perhaps to a fault at times, but I’ve come to appreciate the tremendous gift God has given each of us in our lives. From the mundane tasks of getting dressed in the morning or cooking dinner to the most important moments of births, marriages, and job promotions, all of these events are miracles that we never fully appreciate when they happen. This retreat has already opened my eyes to see the amazing gift from God in every moment of my day. God bless!
Why am I terrified about this process - even about beginning the retreat? why do I feel I need permission from someone to take the time?
I'm starting this retreat not knowing where it may take me, but trusting in God's plan for me. I hope everyone will think of me and pray for me, as I will for all of us setting out on this special journey wherever we are in our lives and indeed throughout the world. I am sure God will guide each and everyone of us. Here goes, I start tomorrow!
While reading the readings for the first week, the telephone rang. A friend was calling to say she completed a 5k run for breast cancer with my name on her back as a survivor. I was overwhelmed by this sincere act of thoughtfulness knowing that she loved me and had me on her mind as she completed this endeavor. The connection between this act of kindness and the readings prove how God has a way of showing all of us what we need at certain times in our daily life. The generosity of so many friends brought me through many rough times and affirming this is another testimony to me of God's presence.
I am looking forward to taking part in this online retreat. I have a very busy, stressful day. I am committed to setting time aside each day for reflection. I am an oncologist. I see many tragedies. I have been very busy. Unfortunately there are too many patients with little time. The little time that I have is left for my family. I rarely am able to set time aside for myself. I hope that this retreat will stimulate me to set aside reflective time. I look forward to the experience.
I began the retreat today on 9/17/02. I'm grateful that your organization is putting this on, it is something I really need. This morning I wrote in my journal about the photographs from age 1-15. The biggest reflection that I had was that I think I have always craved attention from my mother, I would cry on my pony's neck wishing that I had another mother, or once I sat slumped at my sister's house because my mom didn't recognize me or pay attention to me when she walked in the door after driving down from her house in New England. I guess I've had quite a chip on my shoulder about this for many years...she didn't do it on purpose, just from drinking and her own problems she couldn't really nuture very much. I wonder if God can heal this wound, it seems so deep, and angry, and bitter. I've tried to find love in food, or the attention of men, ect. Even tonight I want to call a new friend to see if he would take me out for dinner. But I'm calming down some after coming to this website, and will prepare my own dinner. I'm not really sure what is involved in the excersises, guess I will have to read about that. God bless!
I'm just beginning and struggling not to let my self fall into the "I don't think I'm doing this right. I bet others are doing it better than me" trap. I need to remember that my prayer is my prayer. My relationship with God is my relationship with God. God doesn't compare me to others and find me wanting. Neither should I. I guess it's all about trusting God and allowing my life to become more "God-shaped" as I let go and hand over my will, my fears and insecurities and even my false expections of myself and others to God. Hmm! I've got a long way to go but at least I've put my foot on the path.
I was so exited to meet the 34 week on-line retreat and wanted to start it. I was not confident. but preparing for the retreat, I came to think that I can't do it , but God can lead me for the retreat. So, I am beginning. I am a 47 year- old woman in Seoul, South Korea.
I'm on Day 4 of the first week of this retreat. I printed out the guide for the week on the 1st of April. It's taken me this long to feel I am willing 100% to commit to the process as well as to the time commitment to do the readings, prayers, and journal entries. I'm in my 50s, have been a member of a 12-step group since the mid-1970s, & don't feel any fear of the process of writing the photo album of my life. I spent Days 1 + 2 on birth thru childhood "photos," Days 3 + 4 on photos of my teens & 20s. Tomorrow it's on to my 30s, then the next day to my 40s, & finally on Day 7, my 50s & now. I am finding God in my photos. He was with me all along, even though I hadn't realized it at the time. And I find myself looking at things differently now than I did earlier. For example, things in my childhood that looked one way to me as a child or a teen look entirely different to me now, especially things concerning my parents. I feel like I'm losing mental & mental baggage I've carried all my life. I'm also finding I've never really ever been totally alone, even when I thought I was. Thanks to others who have shared here. Thanks to all who make this retreat possible online.
I have just begun the retreat - in a time, where I find I very much need to stay focused, make decisions and ask for guidance every day. I am also working the 12-step-programm of Eamotions Anonymous, and find I need to work some of the steps again - more honesty with myself still required. I came to EA, after some years of reflection upon a powerful spiritual experience had turned me into a Catholic, to respond to it - I realised, I was still stuck in old patterns of behaviour, not able to respond as fully as I hoped. Now, looking at the page with the foto of the baby - I feel very strongly and painfully - it is time, I accept (!) the gift of god's presence fully, and every day now. I think, that will probably my daily prayer for week 1 - no need to go into anything else right now, and it should help me with some of those decisions, I need to make, steps to take. Thank you! Barbara
I have already cancelled my suscription to the N.Y. Times so as to have sufficient tiime to devote to the 34-week Retreat program.The Wall Street Journal is next. Since I won't see 82 again its imperative to allocate my time in the most beneficial manner.The Retreat is it!
My name is Maryaam. I am beginning my online retreat today. I am ready to begin the Spiritual Exercises. My spiritual director has been suggesting it and now I am starting. Thank you for setting up such a complete and easy program. It is magnificent and simple. I will begin looking at the photo album tonight... Peace be with you!
Coming back home!!!
I've been a Roman Catholic in my native country (Brazil) and a good daughter of the Ignatian spirituality till 1996 when I had to retire early (46) due to a multiple sclerosis. During the disease, completely abandoned by my Catholic community, mainly when memories of a very severe childhood abuse came over, I've decided to quit the Church and to enter first the Lutheran Church here then the Anglican (Episcopal)Church. But I soon discovered that the Protestant tradition lacks the deepness of spirituality that the Spiritual Exercises I've attended here (30 days, 8 days, and those of the 19th Note) provided to my life. So, I'm coming back, now as an Anglican laywoman, being prepared to be a pastor and almost completely recovered. May the Holy Spirit inspire all of us, mainly at the beginning of this nice 34-week retreat.
I am about to make the journey thru the retreat. At one time during 1985 thru 1990, I was very close to the Lord, had many gifts of the Spirit, working with people, a group leader, a leader in the Charismatic Movement, then I had to move from the area due work. From then all went downhill, kept sliding, never went to Mass for ten years, committed many sins, caused many heartaches for family. Now I am trying to rebuild all this and get back to the Lord, receive the Holy Spirit as before, be an instrument of the Lord, do as He commands, do His will, not mine. All prayers will be welcome. Thank you.
In some ways this has been a difficult week for me. First, with the rest of the world, I have been depressed , confused, and even anxious. I thought the retreat would help me focus on God and his love and care for us. It did, somewhat. But the real grace came through the people who live with me (in a retirement community) . Fifteen people who don't have a computer have expressed an interest in the retreat. I printed the weekly guide for each one and made a copy of the other pages to leave in a binder in the chapel where everyone can read it. This week I'll find our how many want to continue and how many would like to form a sharing group. The grace to coordinate all that has been the grace I'm most grateful for this week. June
This has been a very difficult week for so many people and our country. I think this is a blessing that our online retreat is starting this week. So many of us will be able to use the power of prayer in a concerted effort. I pray that our country and our people will stay strong for what may lie ahead. I pray for a good retreat for those starting and continuing their retreats. I thank God for the blessings he has given me.
As I have put off starting the first week--looking back on my past is something I try not to do--it was so painful---but now I must look back on it in a different light--there was a bible reading--when the disciples were arguing over who was going to be first--and our Lord took a child and told them that unless they became as little children, they would not enter into the kingdom of heaven--how I have heard that parable since I went to summer bible school--but never had I read the rest of it--"and my father looks into their angel's faces every day"--I turned to Jesus and asked where was my angel during all the time I was both physically and psychologically abused--and his answer::"who do you think brought you to reading books"-- I have often stated that the only way I made it thru my childhood without murdering my stepmother (she should have been permanently institutionalized) was that I could start reading a book--and I was gone from that terrible place--now, my story has to have a different slant in someway--I'm still not sure how--but it will be different than the one I thought I was going to have to write!For some time I have known the need for a structured retreat but could not find the time nor place to do so. I consider it yet another grace to have come across this site as I sense this will indeed help further my development. During this part of week one, I have been going through my life's 'photo album' and the daily reflections with nightly prayers of gratitude HAVE put a smile on my face again. This time, I am laughing but I am not alone. Jesus is laughing very heartily with me as I make the discoveries of His faithfulness in my life to this very day. I have looked at the good, the bad and the ugly... Grace will take me home. After reading last Sunday's reflection I found myself praying: "Father, your love fills me with hope."
God be with you all, Always your friend, Renée
I have been thinking about making a retreat for some time now, but with my busy work schedule which keeps me close to home and my two dogs (Doc, my twice abandoned mutt and Molly, my chocolate lab), who are not always welcomed at retreat houses, I have decided to start this 34 week online Ignation retreat on 1 January, 2001. Actually, even though it sounds like I am deciding to do this, all I am probably really doing is stopping the resistance to an adventure I always wanted to take! So! Let the Adventure Begin! Participacion Mystique! Joyfully Particiapte in the Vicissitudes of the Mystery of Life! He is the Truth, the Way and the Life! He is the Adventure! Let's Go! Nunc usque ad nunc dimittis!
I am accessing this retreat for the first time because I am feeling a need to seek peace in my heart. I am plagued with such a feeling of jealousy and mistrust toward someone that causes me to be blinded to reality at times. I love the Lord and know that he does not want this failure to exist in my heart, but I am not able to manage this rush of emotion. I need prayer.
First day of my retreat. I am 74 and have been wanting to make an Ignatian Retreat most of my life. I am a caregiver to my husband and there is little time for me to attend Mass, etc. I scanned these pages this evening and in our newspaper the Web address for the Retreats was there. How happy I am. My granddaughter is expecting a new baby any day now and for week one there is the baby. The other picture of the mother with the child listening to her belly reminds me of my granddaughter and her number one child, Abigayle who is three. The new baby will be named Alexander. How approppriate that God would lead me to St. Ignatias on this day. There are no words to describe this blessing on this early hour of the the day.
All of you my companions on this journey are so beautiful! As I read the shared experiences, my heart goes out to you. My first week on this retreat, as I consider the 'better' of two choices. I thought that I was the only one who had thoughts such as ours, but now I see otherwise. My life has been lonely, but it is changing. I like to think that I have trust in God, and that my love for Jesus will see me through. Patience...I don't have any! What am I looking for and why?
My wife and I are just starting this retreat. I am certain we will benefit from it. I just wanted to share some thoughts:
1. God Bless ALL who make this retreat site possible!!!!!!! I am proud to be a graduate of Loyola Univ., Chicago.
2. I am in the medical profession and has the distinct pleasure of helping to care for Dr. Paul Tillich many years ago at the University of Chicago Hospitals. I spent quite a bit of time just speaking with him. He was much easier to talk to than to read some of his books and I told him that too; he laughed. My point is your mention of him is discussing Faith brought to mind another definition I have found useful by R. Niebuhr who, I believe, defined Faith as the "belief that life however difficult or strange, has ultimate meaning." I offer that as a help.
3. Those, like my wife and I, who look for a Site like yours and begin such a retreat, are already based on God. We go to Mass most every day we are off work, yet...we still need more faith. I wish it was as simple as being on a ladder and jumping when God asks us to. It would be just great if we could just be with God spiritually in this life as easily as just walking into a store.... just say yes to God and we FEEL Him with us always in this life. If only it were so simple; we just have to go to Mass, pray, meditate, do retreats till we, one day know the "ultimate meaning" of our lives.
So we start the retreat with God's blessing wanted to get closer to Him.
Today is my first day using this tool to find my way on my continuing journey to God. I am grateful to St. Anthony Messenger for bringing this site to my attention. I am surrounded by many tools for spiritual growth, but this one has captured my interest, and I have made it my home page on my computer. I have learned and believe that God loves me no matter what, and each moment of each day invites me to begin again. This time, Lord, change my heart!
Day 1 is not even here and yet I find things to share...my need for retreat so great but the overwhelming feeling that i will not get through this inner journey. I know that it will be guided by God if I ask but what will come of it all? As I attempt this I ask for gentle guidance. For the graces that I can handle and that will renew me and the adjacent world in the Sacred Heart. Bless you all.
I can not tell you how grateful I am to have this retreat, it is a source of immence comfort in my life. Thank you so very much.
I just want to say that I am so happy to have found this Online Retreat. I found it in an article in our Catholic newspaper. I've been wanting to do a retreat but because of being a single parent with three children (two still at home) I feel it is very hard for me to get away. This gives me the opportunity to do that without leaving my home. I try to find a quiet time when everyone else is either sleeping or not at home so that I can take the time to really read and reflect on all the readings and prayers, etc. Thank you so much for providing the opportunity to do so. I am sure that you have reached many just like me that are searching and yearning for more meaning in their lives and this has provided the opportunity to find some of that. Thank you.
I found your web site in the Catholic Herald. I haven't been to church in several months. It just doesn't seem worth my time. But here I am BLESSED. I can't type the words fast enough for the overflowing of the Holy Spirit that I am experiencing. I am a email computer buff. I think the Lord has a plan for me. He wants me to turn everyone I know on to this wonderful way to pray. Thank you
I have just started this 34 week on-line retreat. I have always felt about 17 that God called me. But in reflection of my earliest memories, I see so much of God in my life. Blessings of families, protection from harm. A family who loved nature, and its that nature that God used to call me to Her. The earliest of memories is being about 7 sitting on the beach near Port Angeles Washington, at Crescent beach, a sandy beach, long to shore, drift wood high, slowly sloping to the straits. Across the water is Vancouver Island. Sun sets were awe inspiring, and so young I would just sit and watch. To this day, Nature is the way God speaks loudest to me. She is the ultimate of artists, and all I have to do is open my eyes, tune my ears, take a deep breath, and reach out and touch..and I do not have to wear white gloves to touch this art work. I do not have to be rich monetarily to see it daily, this art is not in a museum in Paris, but every where is Holy Ground. The key is to open my heart. Thank you for letting me share. I feel so blessed, and more so now.
Please remember me in your prayer as I begin this journey into my desert. May God bless you.
This is the first day of week one. My childhood had its ups and downs. And I really can't or won't complain. I remember my dad teaching me the "now I lay be down to sleep" prayer and saying it with me when he was home. I know that he loved me. I know that mom loved me. But I was a bad kid. I stole, I lied, I cheated, and I did things I couldn't possible disclose here...I did things that forever haunt me. I was but a child....but why I was so bad, I don't know. I can't explain. It must have been horrible for my parents oh the shame and pain I must have brought to them. I later did things far worse........and for all these things I don't forgive myself. How could Jesus forgive me? No matter how many retreats, reconcilliations or praying I've done....I just can't forgive myself. That little child...that was me. A bad child. That was me. Perhaps, I don't want to forgive myself. I think that if I forgive myself....then somehow all is forgotten. And that doesn't work for me. So as I make this journey, this retreat, perhaps God will somehow truly lift from my soul this guilt I have. But as I start this journey, I can't help but think that it will end like so many other journeys...and yet, maybe this is the one....just maybe. So pray for me. Tom
I want to thank the online ministry for this retreat. I started it last year and got so "busy" that I let it go after about 12 weeks. I was so glad that it was still there when I got back to it this fall. I have re-started and plan to go to the end. The daily meditations and "tips" are most helpful. Thank you for not only helping your alumni with spirituality, but also for the service you give nationwide. I ear-marked my alumni donation to your cause. Thank you for touching my life.
Oh my God, the graces are many, the doubts are silenced. I only pray that I can fully mirror back the many blessings received. I also pray for a journey filled with courage to know, hope to give, joy expressed, and love in action. Only with You, may I know my way.
My first day with this long retreat. We are asked to review our lives. My life has taken me to a place I do not want to continue. Last night I was contemplating removing myself from it. Today I found your site and with little reflection I find that my early years were filled with love and warmth and joy. The foundation was well built. With the Lord's help, perhaps with study, the way can again be found to embrace the joy he has promised.
The first day of retreat, started a week later than I had thought to. Never mind why. Excuses abound. I come kicking and screaming. I have "so much to do". I have "had bad experiences with Ignatian retreats". I "get bored with stuff like this". I have faithfully read the daily offices for years, and I'm still in a blue funk. I've "tried all this stuff before, and I just backslide". I have all sorts of personal issues I maybe ought to settle first. And that's exactly why I'm writing this. I suspect "my name is legion" (though God knows me as Katherine, and you may use my name, as He does.) Because somehow, He HAS gotten me this far---even though kicking and screaming, and there's your first miracle! And perhaps if someone else is dragging their feet, we can hold each other's spiritual hands, and just GET ON WITH IT. So God can do what he does best---take our other hand and "lead us in the way everlasting".
I've just started the retreat and so far its been a powerful experience. One insight I've gained is that God has created all the things, events, and people I've experienced and continue to experience for my benefit. For example, during the period of my life when my marriage was breaking up, God comforted me and guided me by sending a good friend into my life. Although I didn't know it at the time, he turned out to be the person who helped me through that painfulpart of my life. The funny thing was that he didn't give me any advice or consolation, he just was there to be my friend ; exactly what I needed. I also learned that all the major turning points in my life were connected to each other. Starting at an early age, it seems that one event or series of events seemed to set the stage for the others. God was there preparing me for each crossroad, granting the strength, patience and faith to live through each crisis. At each point, I could've gone in a different direction but I realize now that God was there guiding me or making sure all things would turn out right. I'm very enthusiastic about continuing on my journey and discovering and receiving other insights and graces from God. But just to realize that God is always with me might be all the grace I need.
Wow! Friend told me she would forward this site to me, and she did -- several weeks ago. I looked at the first page briefly and then closed and saved it. It's always amazing how the Spirit works. For the last week or so I've been thinking about my life, starting with my earliest memories (1). I had not even looked at the info regarding the on-line retreat process. As always, the Holy Spirit was preparing me for a journey I had not yet even bought tickets for. Right now, 6:30 p.m., Tuesday night, I was scheduled to begin teaching my summer course at the community college where I work. But this morning, after interviewing for a position I am considering for Fall, I experienced abject pain that brought me to the Emergency Room. My husband is out of town, we have no health insurance, and I am waiting for a very late paycheck. I truly did not know where to turn, until I just gave the problem and the pain to the Lord. By 11:30 a. m., I had been seen by a very nice and competent doctor who sent me away with free antibiotics. I drove home in great pain and asked my neighbor, who is about to deliver her fourth baby any day, to go to the pharmacy for me to pick up the pain medication that the doctor prescribed. While she was gone, I was in so much pain that I thought I could not stand to wait for her return. But within the hour, the strong antibiotic began to work on the bad infection and I began to feel relief from the pain. When I awoke from a good sleep brought about by the drug, I went to check my E-mail and decided to enter this site. Isn't it interesting what the Lord does for us while we're planning our own days? This is not what I planned to do this evening. Giving one's life to one's King each morning, and asking Him where he wants one to serve, is a grand adventure.
When I found this retreat on the web I was not prepared for the fact that (strangely enough) on Mother's Day, I would open the picture of a mother holding her baby as the first step of the retreat. I was shocked and every fibre of my being screamed out against continuing the retreat. The deep seated memory of my infancy brings forth an overwhelming feeling of fear and dread which is imbedded in my body to this day. After I wanted to flee from this image and memory, I realised that I have to continue this work and ask the Lord to lead me through it. And maybe, even though I am not a Catholic, at the end, I can ask The Virgin Mary to be my mother and set my earthly mother free from all this shared pain. Thank you for this retreat and thank you for letting me share. Please pray for me as I will pray for the others on this retreat.
What is touching me today is that I don't need to be liked. Be who I am (without a mask) first before God, then to myself, and then to everyone else. Robin
Thank you so much for providing this space for people to participate in this retreat. I have just started the retreat, but it is a wonderful way to remember to pray each day. I appreciate the work that has gone into this. I am telling as many people as I can about the site. Personally I am finding the exercises, especially the first week , rather painful. However the gift that is coming out of all this is that I find that God has been with me my whole life. Through all the garbage and the joyful times that I have had with my wonderful husband for the last 37 years. A prayer from Missouri.
Please pray for me as I begin this retreat. I am in an unhappy marriage, but wish to stay for the sake of my teenage son. I also have found someone whom I love, but we both also love God, and therefore do not wish to do anything sinful. Pray that we can stay friends, and that our love will bring only good to both of us.
I am going through a very miserable time in my life right now. I didn't know what I was going to do! I felt like walking out on my family. I am depressed, feel worthless, am always tired and had no idea where to turn for help. The Lord works in mysterious ways!!! I was surfing the internet and came upon this Retreat!!! I know I was sent there. Please Pray that I am able to keep with it and hopefully find the help I need. I can't thank the people enough for making this Retreat possible. Reading what other people are going through indeed helped me.
It must have been God's will that I start this retreat now..many things happened this week..problems cropping up..and I am miles and miles away from my family and I have no one to turn to but God... I stayed the whole day today sunday in my apt alone and spending more time with the Lord...I have been wanting to make this retreat but has been unable to in the past..it's been there waiting to be opened and finally today I'm starting it...and even from the start I am filled with awe by God's unconditional love for me..i can't help it but share the same immediately to my friends..hoping that they too may find time and go thru this online retreat.. Thank you. You have been made instrument of God and to him be the glory...i am at peace amidst all the trials and challenges in my life right now knowing that God will never abandon me..he who began the good work in me will be faithful to complete it.
As I start this retreat, and reflect upon my life, the photo draws my attention. The young woman is holding a naked, squirming baby. Her hold is strong, firm, supportive. She has snuggled her face next to the baby's. It turns away; her breath is only a whisper in its ear. So much like me in the arms of God. How I wiggle and squirm to have my own way. God is there holding me, supporting me...no matter which way I turn. Even when I look away from His face...turn from His love...He is a whisper in my ear...the voice softly saying, "I love you".
I am just beginning this retreat. As I reflect on the past I realize how blessed I am to be at this point in my life. As a single mother of four growing children I have been helped through some very ugly times by God and family and friends. My only regret is that I didn't trust in God enough to let him work in my life more fully before. I am greatful that in my darkest hours God was there to comfort and help, all I had to do was lean on him. I was so afraid of change I was willing to hold on to the ugliness, at least this I thought I could deal with, the unknown was scary. Today I am in that unknown of yesterday and let me share with you that it is beautiful. God is truly great and does look out for his creatures. I may not have all the worldly luxuries of yesterday, but to use an old phrase, money doesn't buy happiness. My spiritual life has blossomed. I hope to grow by doing this retreat more peaceful and joyful in Gods presence.
I just began the retreat yesterday. Between then and now, I've been surprised at how many times during the course of the previous day and evening my thoughts returned to the pictures of my life. The one thought that came to me yesterday as I thought about my very early childhood, is how much I may have been shaped by the pictures that I don't have. By this I mean many "normal" things that you would expect from a reasonably happy childhood. But, more important, in thinking of God's presence in my life at that time, I see that God took care of me and compensated for the things that were lacking. God truly is good!
I've just started on this retreat. As both a Christian minister and as a full-time academic I've been increasingly aware that my life has been pretty focused on giving of myself. Giving in ministry to the flock that Our Lord has placed in my care; and giving in the form of needing to be there, in so many different ways, for all my students at the University where I teach...and then there's my own research etc! This is OK - except that there comes a time when a Soul needs to refuel, to receive: ...so this is where I'm at. I need to receive - so I'm starting this retreat on a very selfish note, with the words "I want". Please pray for me.
I just started this as a suggestion from a UNITY minister. what a joy. iIhave been in the dark night of the soul and now Ifind others like me. God bless Creighton for this. Pray for me.
I wonder how the other people on campus manage to sleep with that extremely large red flame of the Holy Spirit rising from the Collaborative Ministry Department of yours. I cannot find the words to tell you how great this program is, from the Reflections, Tips,Guideposts, Prayers etc. For years I've tried to find a way to make and Ignatian retreat in Grand Coteau. La. but that is about 300 miles from where I live. The Lord seems to have a way of seeing that we get what we need when we need it. Thank all of you who make this program possible. Will visit with you later on my journey.
May Our Lord Bless You and keep you online. Mary Rose
When my weekly edition of the newspaper of our local diocese arrived today, I found the address of your website and decided that I was going to make this retreat. It will be the first retreat that I have ever made. It's ironic that I found it today as today would have been our 38th wedding anniversary but my husband died 10 years ago in September. Needless to say, I have had some bad times in my life but nothing to compare to the last 10 years. Hopefully, in making this retreat I will be more aware of God's mercy and many blessings he has bestowed on my life in spite of the pain and lonliness that has been there.
This is the first time I am going to try out an on-line retreat, and if what they are saying is true about things that have purpose, then there must be one as to why I accidentally stumbled upon it. I would like to ask for your prayers regarding this endeavor. It has been a very tiring journey for me and my life has led me to a blank wall. I pray that the retreat will give me the necessary nourishment for my spiritual drought. Please ... I really need your prayers. Thank you very much.
I just began my first day of the 34 week retreat. I was so touched by The Courage To Accept Acceptance. It made me think about myself & how I have that need. Yes, I have actually boasted about myself just because I wanted to feel appreciated. But also, it has made me think of others. I find myself judging my own daughters when they don't do things the way I think they should do them. It is an eyeopener when you know your are judging your own flesh & blood. I pray that I will constantly be reminded to accept. I also think of my nephew who has struggled for so long not knowing how to love himself let alone feel that he deserved any love from others. If the remaining weeks affect me as the very first day has, it will be amazing. I am thankful daily that I have been blessed abundantly. I am very thankful to be introduced to this retreat on line. Yet another blessing from God. I have never been able to get away to a retreat due to health issues so I am very appreciative to have this opportunity. My heartfelt thanks to the masterminds behind this great idea.
I read about this on-line retreat in my Archdiocesan newspaper, & have been trying to make up my mind to start it, as 34 weeks seems like a long time & I'm afraid I won't do a good job of keeping up the proper pace. I just want to state this openly, & possibly after writing this I will go to what others are saying & find there what I need to convince myself to start. Bless everyone who is contributing to this effort.
I start today. May God guide me on this journey and all who read this pray for me. I will pray for you. God please bless us on this search for a deeper love of you and an understanding of your will..............
It is just the first day of week one and I found such striking "Aha's!" in the resource materials one of which I do not yet feel comfortable stating ("difficult memories") but a couple I do. About two months ago I went into our attic at a time when the family was away to prepare a "business plan" for "Becoming A Better Human Being". Just this week I received the results from my first 360 degree review at work and note that this development need is expressed by others about me in different ways that reflect on leadership competencies. Now I see in the article of Acceptance the phrase "..to be more human" and I realize I am perhaps not using silly language to describe my growth requirement. Every once in awhile I stop and say three Hail Mary's. If it is as I am searching in frustration for something mundane, a tax related document or my daughters second sneaker, for no apparent reason a fog lifts and I find it. More recently I have been doing this each early morning at work before others arrive and "forget about it" as the day proceeds. Then while making the long commute home I think, what happened? Today was pretty good, not like the day before - when I had not taken the time to Pray. Then I read "While doing all the ordinary tasks we do in our everyday lives, we will be using that background space to give a distinctive tone to our week. This won't be a distraction to our work, ..but it will eventually make a difference in how we experience our work" and I see how to add 2 + 2.
I started this retreat only a few days ago and already my "background" thoughts are absorbed in memories from my past and the knowledge of God's constant presence in my life. ~~ I have been reminded this week of an image that a priest shared with me at a healing service I attended a few years ago. After he prayed with me, he told me he had a vision of me sitting at Christ's feet and he was looking at me with total love and adoration - like a father would look at a child he loves and accepts totally. As I review the scrapbook of my life, I hold that image in front of me. I find a sense of peace knowing that, even when I felt frightened and alone, Christ never left my side.
I am so glad I found this on-line retreat. This is a time of potential for me. My little girl will be going back to school, to the third grade. She has autism, I feel so blessed to have her, she is so filled with love and joy. With her in school, it gives me a fresh start to pick up my dreams to grow as an artist. I have been asking the Lord to provide me with someway to use my art to serve Him. In any case it is good to think of God being with me to guide me. Thank you for providing this online retreat.
Today is the first day of the first week of my retreat. I'm so thankful to have found this site in order to do this retreat on-line. Reflecting on the "photo album" of my life has given me the opportunity to see how God has been with me every step of the way. I reflected on the first 13 years of my life today and realized how bleesed I've been to have the parents that God gave to me. It has also reminded me about how selfish I've been in my life, and how little I've given back to others. I now am praying to Our Lord to show me the way that I should be paying back for my good fortune. I ask those who read this message to pray for me to reach that purpose in my life.
I'm in the second day of my first week and I'm very happy amidst my chaotic life that I find God in this web page. Truly,it's very difficult to be what God wants you to be because all natural inclinations lead you to rebel against God. I'm new in America and I feel so confused and lonely. I seek solace in the internet hoping that people I meet there will provide the company and friendship that i need. But things turned out the different way, it seems I get attached to people I barely know. I get addicted to their company and wants to stay online forever just to talk to them. I get addicted to them. I know that I need God badly so I want to seek Him, not seek Him on others. One thing also, I will have my PT board exam and I'm so afraid that I'll fail. The first week theme of the retreat on looking back on my past made me realize that God never failed to help me ever since I was in grade school. He made me pass all my important exams, even if sometimes without much help from me. It was all a miracle. And this retreat will surely help me trust in God again. To offer Him everything and to have faith that He'll see me through. God bless to all who are making this retreat. God have mercy on us all!
I thought I would like to share with people out there on this retreat my experience of the first week ... I must say that God has been faithful, in that He has allowed me to understand and better appreciate his ongoing presence in my life, even for those periods when I never gave him conscious attention. God has plucked me from the jaws of death, He has saved me from total despair, He has taught me that love is beautiful, but also that it involves pain and sacrifice...For that I am most grateful. But today, what I most want to share is also that this first week has not been one where every question I pose to God has been answered. There are jagged edges and "unsolved mysteries"... Remnants of pain and hurt that still do not make sense, maybe because the lesson has not been revealed. But, I have decided to press on and keep talking to God in a way that I have not been able to for years. I urge fellow "retreaters", to KEEP PRAYING IN SPITE OF AMBIGUITY... Peace be with you.
I've hit a very dry period spiritually. Please pray for me as I begine Week 1 of this Retreat.
Companions on the journey! Pray for me! I am so weak. I only recently beagan this on-line journey; I am in week one, 3rd day. I am a sex addict, and my addiction does not want me to make this journey. It does not want me to accept the fact that I am lovable and acceptable in God's eyes. It wants me to flee this sight and never return. It wants me to give up on God as I feel s/he has given up on me. It wants me to lose myself in the pleasures of my addiction so that I am perpetually bound to it and never free to be my authentic self. It lies to me and tells me that my authentic self is me living in my addiction. It wants me to give up before I even start. After two days of feeling very close to God, and being connected to myself and others; I am so conflicted. Pray for me, as I pray for you.
Week 1. The idea of cultivating a grateful attitude towards all of my experiences, the painful as well as the joyful, is very meaningful to me. Being from a family where alcholism was present, I have struggled with depression all of my life. For me, part of the struggle is to let go of the many stimulants I use to dull the ever-present anxiety that has been my constant companion. As an "abandoned child" - a child whose parents, because of their own pain, could not be present for their children - the world has tended to confound me - presenting itself as a frightening, intimidating place in which I am basically alone. Going through and allowing all of those feelings to manifest is difficult, brutal at times. Some of us shouldn't do this without a counsellor or twelve step support group. I've frequently made use of both over the years. It helps me to remember that my pain is not mine alone. The pain in my life is the pain of all humanity - indeed of all of God's creatures. It is the pain of all us, trying to climb out of our situation as small and frightened (ulitmately separate,alone) creatures in an impermanent world; to transcend that limited role and realize our larger self - our true identity as aspects of the Body of Christ. It is learning to respond not from from fear, which isolates us, but from love which unites us. It is allowing the light of God to shine on those wounded places where so many experiences and memories lay frozen; places where our hearts and minds do not want to go because going there will bring up feelings of vulnerablity, aloness, abandonment, loss; these places remind us that we are small creatures in an impermanent world. To me this pain is meaningful as it represents the small creature coming up against its limitations - limitations it imposes on itself by its way of thinking and relating to reality. In other words, we create our condition as something small, seperate, alone, by our thoughts and behaviors, by relating to the world that way.
Thank you for this gift of the Online retreat. I began Week 1 & loved the article on "The Courage to Accept".
Day 1 of the first week.... this retreat found me in the midst of a spiritual desert.... the whole concept of spiritual desert seems odd to me at the moment because it is precisely when I feel most alone that the Lord finds me somehow. I feel like he has at least taken my hand to help me turn back to him. And I am so grateful to HIM for loving me the way I know he does.
2nd day of Week 1...
My desert has water in it.... It has been such a blessing for me to look at the photo album of my life because although some of the pictures are very painful and difficult to look at, I can see so clearly in others that the Lord has been present throughout it all... HE has walked with me. I see it in the face of my pepere who looked lovingly upon me my entire life ~ even when I dont think there was much to love. He was the face of God to me then. Another picture in my mind is much more recent and it is of a man on the other end of a phone who POURS out his love for the Lord to me, shares with me his life experiences and helps me to see how nothing is impossible with GOD... I arrogantly thought for so long that I was the one meant to grace this persons life by leading him back to the Lord, but God has lovingly brought him into my life for him to lead ME... I see the face of God in him now. Bean
Started the retreat last week, but only worked on it for 3 days. Had a hard time finding memories to look at. Signed on this Monday morning thinking it is time to go to week two, but I'm not getting much out of this. For 72 years, I have prayed by rote, wishing I could do more. Looked at the Sharings and saw that others are taking more than seven days to get through a week. Thank you for leading me, and now I must get back to week one.
This is my first week of the long retreat and I am so thankful that the Spirit led me to this rich place on my computer. It blesses my computer to have such eternal truth in it. The readings fill me with new desire to give more-more-more to the Lord. To have found a place like this takes away some of the guilt I may have felt searching the web and finding nothing uplifting. God took care of that. I am looking forward to each new week God bless all who labored to make this possible.
The first week has just started. How important for me to know that God accepts me just as I am. More important to me is God's desire to have me in heaven for eternity. For many decades I was too busy to really concentrate upon a spiritual goal, even though all my work was focused upon goals. Now I set as my goal to pray daily that God will guide me and have mercy on me so I can be deemed ready to be in his presence at my death.
I've just begun my retreat journey and I'm filled with expectation. Having read through the initial guides, the readings, the prayers, I feel this is what I'm needing for this time in my life. I'm not in a study/prayer group at this time, which I miss so much. I would never have dreamed that a computer could provide a place of retreat. It is not my altar, but it is a conduit for what I anticipate to be a rich, growing spiritual experience. Thank you so much for providing this avenue of spiritual growth.
I am beginning my second week with week one of the retreat. I did a version of the retreat about 15 years ago with a spiritual director. I had just joined the Catholic Church and had just become aware of my spiritual journey. I have had many ups and downs and one very traumatic experience that tested my faith. I was referred to Sacred Space and also found this online retreat. I decided that it would be a good time to review my walk again after 15 years of consistent participation in the church. Going thru my life review I found that I was always accepted by others and even popular in school; however, I never believed it was because of who I am but rather because I worked hard to be what they needed me to be. Now I realize that they did like me and accepted me, I just did not accept myself. After I read the article, "The Courage to Accept Acceptance", I realized I had read the book years ago and still have it on my shelf. I believe God, through the Holy Spirit, has directed me back to this retreat because I am at the point where I am must make a decision about what path I am going to chose for my future. I am grateful for this opportunity to once again explore and grow. Sharon
I am in week one. What I find amazing is that I must be changing. For so many years of my life I have concentrated on the bad things that have happened in my life and how badly I feel about it. As I go through the photo album of my life I find that it (or I am different). I am really seeing how God has been with me all along. Throughout my life he has placed loving, supportive and spiritual people. The people have blessed by life and kept me sane and whole. It has taken me 41 years to see that God's hand has been so much strong than the bad events. And it's the people he has given me that I remember the best.
I've just completed the first week of my retreat and the photo album of my life has brought up nearly every emotion possible. The one thing that stands out is that fact that God has been always with me. Even though I spent years where I shut him out, he was still there. I now ponder,"what does it all mean? Where do I go from here?" I look forward to the coming weeks. Moving on from here, I am now fully awake and aware that Christ is in my life all the time, every minute, every day, and I only need to call on him to guide me on this journey. On to week two.
This is my first day of my first week. Several years ago I began writing stories about my childhood and growing-up years. It seems to me that I was preparing for this spiritual adventure when I wrote the stories!
I have just finished week one of the 34 weeks retreat. I am very glad to be participating in this healing process/ministry. I pray that more and more of us be granted the courage to face ourselves, to see ourselves as we are, with all our iniquities and to trust God's help , that he may cleanse and free us from ourselves, that there may be some room for Him in our hearts. I was stroke by the article "The Courage to Accept Acceptance". I believe God is in constant communication with us. I have, more so in years past, struggled with acceptance. Accepting people as they are was very, very difficult for me. I always believed that people should act in certain ways and do things in certain ways... more like me... because, of course, I am the perfect one, the one that knows everything. Through this article and by the grace of our merciful Lord I have acquired a deeper meaning of acceptance, not only of others but, also of myself. For me a true test of acceptance is at home, with my spouse and my children. I can not say that I love God if I choose not to accept my children as they are and not to mention my wife. God is great, loving and merciful. May all of us accept him in ourselves and in others, specially in those closest to us.
I find myself both excited and frightened by this experience. What I learned in the first week is that I tend to intellectualize rather than feel my life - and my relationship with God is no exception...I am hoping (and am learning to pray -though asking for things for myself in prayer is frightening to me) that this will change - and I will learn to feel my life and feel my relationship with God - rather than thinking feelings, experiencing them... This said - I have also found much to be grateful for this week -- that it seems petty to ask for anything more for myself when I already have so much just by living in America.
The picture I was led to this week (1) is a poignant one of myself a few years ago. I was smiling, but not happy. I was laughing, but not feeling joy. The overwhelming saddness of that time still haunts me to this day. I have grown from that time through silence and passionate reflection. The courage to forgive the people who nearly crushed my own spirit was found only after my soul was silent. Then I was able to truly forgive them and move forward in way that has brought me full circle. Now I smile and am happy, I laugh and it is filled with joy. There is still much to be silent about in my life. A huband who is going away to dangerous duty. A son who is mourning this temporary loss in his young life. The saddness and stress that we all feel from this separation. The trepidation of what lies ahead, or in wait. And despite this, there is expectancy in the homecoming that we all dream of. That is a day that will be joyful and joyfilled. Expectant of no more tears, of fewer fears, for our future and that of the world. And I come back to that picture of myself from that long ago time, although not so long ago really. I think back and the hurt returns, but no longer crushes me. I think back and there is numbness no more. I have been given a great gift, one that heals and shows us the true way of life. That gift is time, and it is precious.
I had no intention today of starting a private retreat--let alone a 34-week one! But curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to "just read through the first week" to see if it might be something I'd like to return to later on. Yet, here I am.... Thank you for starting with the Acceptance theme. It's what I need--and have needed--for some time now. You've heard of writer's block? I believe I must have prayer's block. Perhaps this will help. I make no promises, since I know how weak I am, but one line in the preliminary paragraphs refers to our tiny "opening" though intention, and that God can squeeze in and bestow his blessings on us even through the smallest of our good intentions. I'm opening a crack, Lord--please get your finger in there fast and stretch me for more.
God bless all the retreatents and God bless me. I'm rather housebound these days and really need the reminders of the retreat. God fills me with patience--it is only my own stubborness that doesn't allow the light and love in..............
On the third day of my retreat, I look back on the album of my life during the 70's decade and see myself going from one "self awareness" experiment to another, always searching.now I realize that what I was always looking for , I already had...God's love and acceptance. Growing up as a Roman Catholic and attending 13 years of Catholic schools, you are so endoctrinated with Christ's love for you that you literally "can't see the forest for the trees". God's amazing love for me was always there, but I couldn't see it. During that decade I shut God out of my life. Now looking back,I see that God never forsook me.despite my behavior and selfishness, he never abandoned me once.he blessed me with good fortune. Why?
I am starting this retreat this week. As I looked at the beginning I cringed. I do not want to go back to the past. I do not want to review what I have done which I want to forget, but maybe that is why I have to. Maybe I need to remind myself in this way about the magnitude of Gpd's unconditinal love. I will try, but I am scared. please pray for me and with me.
I am beginning this first week of the retreat, somewhat anxious and uncertain. I am asking God that He use this as an instrument to draw me into a closer relationship - with Him and with His people. Please pray for me on this journey.
In thinking about the “picture album” of my life (1) I came upon a scene when I was about 8 or 9 yrs. Old. I was riding my bicycle and the bell that was connected with the fork on the front wheel gave way and slipped down and got in the way of the spokes. There was a terrible loud sound as the bell cut and bent the spokes and I was lucky to get the bike to stop without further mishap. Obviously it was an accident, but as I was walking the bike back home – a fairly long walk as I recall -- I remember thinking that the reason this mess had happened was that I had been bad and that God was punishing me for being bad. The thoughts that I had were horrendous. I felt guilty and ashamed and was in a sorry way as I pushed the bike home. As I reflected on that “picture” – actually more like a “movie” – I considered that the image of God as one who punishes and one waiting for the proper time to “get me” for my sins is so foreign to the reality of God as love. My insight today was that God was there that day. But God was not there to see that I squirmed because of my sins, but was there in the mess that the accident had caused in my life that day. God was there indeed, but not the way I thought that day. Today I imagined God as trying desperately to console me in the mess that I found myself in. But because I was focussed so much on myself I could not experience that consolation. My prayer is that I can continually discover that God – the one who consoles and not the one who punishes. Today I felt the compassionate smile of God as I looked at that earlier picture of myself. I ask that whatever obstacle I put in the way of God’s love and tender compassion for me be moved away. I ask the Lord to reveal more and more the goodness and the love for me and others as we struggle to come to know the God who cares about
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
I did not like beginning my retreat with the focusing on myself because it did not feel generous and because it called me to go where I did not want to ie old painful memories. However, when I sat down and began to review my childhood the images and words flowed like a torrent. I found great delight in savouring these old memories and found myself watching the replay like a movie, fascinated and amazed at the unfolding story and development of a soul. All the while I could see God nurturing this growth. The next stage of my history was where the roots of whom I've become were born and here too is where the painful memories began. It took me much longer to go through these memories and I found myself skipping over certain parts only to be called back to them later. It was here too that I saw the 'birth' of my relationship with God and His constant wooing especially in those times I wanted to run from Him. I have concluded the first week with a sense of gratitude for the obvious love and care God has always had of me. At the same time I am left with a sense of unease because inspite of recognising that who I am now is the culmination of all those numerous experiences, I find it difficult to embrace them all gratefully. In the tapestry of my life it is a thread of sadness that at this moment seems most evident. I do not feel the lesson has yet ended so it is with nervous anticipation that I move into the second week.
Week One and thoughts of my early life, pre-teen, teen, and young adult today and this weekend. I'm 55 years old, complete with senior moments, a little "arthur" in fingers, a few sags and wrinkles and yet I smile at the thoughts of my early life because I remember the love surrounding me. I admit I did not always see it or realize it as God's love for me or maybe the word is "accept" it as for me, but Week One is showing me, revealing to me, whispering in my ear His love for me, His "holy hovering" over, around me. Have I had the "S" things happen to me? YES! But I now see His Nearness and it's really nice and cozy at this moment in time to share with all you souls. I have a personal theory that we are really all "little heroes" just for teeing it up every day. I mean we can all read the obit column-aunts, uncles, cousins, friends are all dropping out like flies and yet we get up and get dressed and put on a happy face and go out to joust with the windmills, wrestle with the angels. I believe that makes us "heroes." I'm looking forward to Week Two.
- Chris Posey in Laurel, Ms
I am a Parish Secretary (for 5 years now). At times I feel so alone. I don't know who to turn to for help. There are many problems in our family right now, mostly financial. My husband has not worked since June and my 18 year old son was just laid off from his job. For several years I have felt the call to do a retreat. My husband thinks it is just to get away from him for a weekend. But I am searching for a personal relationship with God, and I can't seem to find it in my busy, busy life. I don't like to bother my pastor with my problems. He will be 75 years old in Dec. he doesn't need the extra stress of listening to me. He is also a good friend. I know I need to develop a relationship with God so that I can place my Trust in Him. 34 weeks is a long time, but I think HE is worth it. Pray that I will finish. Phil 1:6 I am confident of this, that the one who began a good work in you will continue to complete it until the day of Christ Jesus.
This is my 3rd time to start the retreat. Sigh. It just seemed that everytime I try to proceed with it, I always find excuses to stop. I guess I'm one of those people who cannot do what we think is good for us, just like what fr. Gillick said. But then again, I see myself coming back again and again. Life is weird. For one reason or another, now that I am an adult, I have not given up on the search for knowing God. It is a struggle to keep going to mass even if at times the meaning escapes me. I envy those whose sharing speak so much of the intensity of their relationship with God. I wish I am able to fully understand what that means. One thing that I find very effective during this first week is that I am able to look at the things that I am to be grateful for. It was difficult--having been used to looking at what is lacking--but then again, I strated to be grateful for my wife, my small abode, my imperfect job, and the small opportunities that come my way. I hope that you will pray with me on this. I still believe that the retreat could be a fulfilling experience if I give it a chance.
I have just finished week one of the on-line Spiritual exercises. I was apprehensive about looking back at my childhood. I have always been afraid that someone would find me out. They would know what a disastrous childhood I had and then reject me. But what I am coming to know is that it is me doing the rejecting of myself not others. The readings on The Courage to Accept Acceptance helped me to face my defects, my brokenness and accept God s love for me. For the first time the words at mass meant more to me: only say the words and you shall be healed . It is only when I accept this healing power can I experience His love for me more fully . The opening prayer was perfect for me as I turn toward Christ. I do need Him to be present as I prepare for this special time. I have felt for a long time that I was getting ready to jump off a cliff, uncertain where I would land. Would I survive the fall? I think I ve been afraid to let go of the old self. But now I m ready to take the next step, to jump, to have faith, to have the courage to accept His acceptance and His love for me.
Thanks for all the pointers this week. (1) I must say that even though I'd read the initial reading and kind of believed in the idea of being special in God's eyes for no attribute of my own, I have found that going thru this over and over again has helped me. I have to share a special sign that I had - was walking along a suburban Warrnambool - rural area in Victoria and saw a wallabie skip along during my reflexion and this showed me how God takes care of all His creatures. This poor animal did not have any "road sense" yet weared off the path before the main road and stayed away from the railway tracks. This showed that God does care, and in a strange way seem to enhance the idea within me. It is hard sometimes to comprehend why you would be special to God when you know yourself with all your flaws. This has been a very useful week to reflect on these areas in my life.
I've just completed my first week. I was very much aware throughout of what several people shared last week. The comments inspired me and gave me hope. I also was moved by one in particular and I have been praying for his person all week. I had lots of memories. I've dealt with memories in the past, God has healed a lot. I had lots of good memories, too. Fun times as a child. Once again, I realized God has helped me through everything, that Jesus has taken care of me. I read a meditation on the passage from Isaiah about the shepherd guiding the old ewe with a lamb. He carried the lamb close to His heart and helped the ewe who was old and tired. I relate to both the lamb and the ewe and prayed that I could hear His heartbeat. This morning at Mass I felt overwhelmed with how hard I try to belong and be okay and acceptable and wondering when, O Lord? Though I know I have every reason to trust and that "cursed is the man who puts His trust in man . . . he is like a bush in a dry, barren land that does not recognize prosperity when it comes" (Jeremiah,) still I'm into all that before I realize it. And it doesn't do any good anyway. I don't know where God is inviting me to focus, what that nugget of gold is--but I hope He will draw me and show me this week.
Firstly, I's like to say I am very happy that I have had the chance to make a retreat thanks to it being 'on-line' - I am a working mohter of 4 kids so have no time to go on one myself. However I must say that I felt really scared too - I am a convert - and I cannot say that I felt God around too much when I was a kid - in fact I did not really even want to remember being a kid because it was just too horrible to contemplate (we had a broken home, and later an abusive one after my father re-married a drugs user) - but I am trying to get through this excercise. It has made me realise that probably I need a spiritual director to help me out with this - so I am trying to get up the nerve to ask our parish priest or his curate. I hope they do not think I am over=zealous! But thanks for giving people a chance to have a retreat.
I meet with three other women on Wednesday evenings and we feel like we are getting very dry and we KNOW it isn't God that has changed. I hit this web site and began to read. When the prayer for the first week was Psalm 139 I KNEW God was telling me to use this means for a retreat and share it in my group. I thank God for you in my life today, just at the right time, just at the right moment.
I have started this retreat after hearing about it on the radio. Thinking about my history has been sad for me, because lately I've been feeling lost. I also have started a daily rosary for my marriage, and have been grateful for kind words and smiles all day.
I just wanted to say that I am excited about planning to begin this retreat on September 17. I read a few of the margin links for week 1 (for the general retreat starting on any date) and immediately felt a warmth and a peaceful feeling come over me, so I know that this is something that I am supposed to do. I know that it will not always be easy but I will pray for perseverance, knowing that I will receive even more than I ask for. Praise the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
I've always wanted to practice the spiritual exercises so here is my chance. I'll let some people I know in on the site and we'll see how it goes. I will start on the 17th.
I just happened to find this web page today and chose to browse at this week retreat. I am going through turmoil of relationship breaking up and pain. This week meditation and sharing have helped me to deal with my grief.
I just started my online retreat this week. This was a very hectic week for me but KNOWING that God is with me made it a lot easier. Realizing that God is right beside me and that I can talk to him anytime is a wonderful experience.
Thanks to all of you for sharing.
I have just started on this journey through your website retreat, but already I am more acutely aware of God's presence in my life and in the lives of others. I own a placement firm that helps recruiters find jobs when they leave the military. Today I talked with a man who needs a job in a location where I have a position open. While I talked with him, he mentioned that his wife had left him with two young daughters. He needed to find a civilian job soon so he would not have move with the military and uproot his children during this difficult time in their lives. I sensed that he could not stand to be uprooted now himself - too much anguish and responsibility to bear right now. My job offer came at just the right time. He said that I was an answer to a prayer. I am not, but you are Lord. Thank you for allowing me to be your conduit to this man and his family today. So often I feel that I do nothing in my work to serve You. Thank you for letting me see today that we all serve You through each other.
Thank you all for sharing your stories.. I am keeping this site's ministry and all who participate in my prayers. You all are a blessing! I am beginning Week 1. I was always curious of the Spiritual Exercises and I'm grateful to learn in this manner!
As a catechist, last week's class of 7th graders had Psalm 139 (1) for one of their readings. I feel that finding this retreat online was a blessing. Psalm 139 says it all so much better than I ever could.
Being like the sunset red wildflower with cobwebs for protection I long to be shaken awake. That's why I chose this journey.
I remember many years ago of attending a lecture and hearing about the child within each of us. No matter how much we try to repress this child, its always there and sometimes comes out especially when something happens that we do not like. It was difficult reading "acceptance" (1) and realizing that I am still fighting this "child." Here I am 54 years young, happily married, good job, and still concerned with acceptance. I also know that sometimes we become very comfortable with our lack of acceptance of others because we cannot accept ourselves and our faults. I am very much looking forward to this Retreat, thank you and may God bless you for this wonderful idea.
Having looked at and read the pages related to the On-Line Retreat for quite some time I've decided to begin it TODAY. I feel excited about what might unfold in the weeks ahead and I will pray each day for those who have also BEGUN this journey. May the Lord bless us all with his boundless love!
I know God answered our prayers, and with His perfect timing, when He provided the means by which we could move our family 600 miles to a new home in time to start a new school year. But then the stress of the move and the isolation of being in a new place have had me feeling like God got us here and then abandoned me. Just today I decided I needed to do something spiritually to reconnect with God and that since I check my e-mail at least once every day maybe I should see if there was some type of daily devotion on-line. THE SAME DAY I saw an ad for this web site and know that God brought this to me. I went to bed thinking I'd start tomorrow and then couldn't sleep knowing I was putting God aside again so here I am at 1:00am, starting on week 1. I certainly see God's perfect timing - I found this site, just when I needed it, and it actually is week 1!
Please pray for me as I begin this journey. I find myself unable to pray at this point.
I fell into this site through the Chronicle of Higher Education. What a glorious place it is. I've emailed it to many of my academic friends, and I will urge them to delve into it. My sharing begins with being a teacher--something I find to be a true vocation. I spoke with a former student this week that I had not seen in a while. When he was my student I told him that would make a great teacher. He felt good with that because it was an goal in his life. When we renewed our acquaitance this week, he has put that goal aside for a time to pursue a vocation. He wants to go to the Seminary and has already--though not yet graduated--looked into it. What a joy! God is so good to us all. This makes me feel like the moneylenders are losing, praise God. My students need to find the path toward God and away from the irredeemable dollar. I have had a joyous week of teaching and learning and prayer, thanks to you God.
First of all thank you to everyone who are responsible for making the Online Retreat. It must have a been a tremendous task. God Richly Bless you for all your labors. I started the Retreat on Holy Family Sunday, Dec. 31, 2000 What a wonderful way to start off the new year. Looking back over my 58 years of life is not easy but I am sure there are many hidden graces waiting for me to discover. There were many sad times in my youth and a lot more happy times if only I had recognized "His Hand on my Shoulder". When I look back it saddens me to think of all the times I hurt Him by hurting others and didn't recognize the fact that He was with me. I am now giving myself permission to forgive myself and to thank Him for all the times He was with me and I didn't recognize it. This is hopefully going to be a time of healing for me and help me to move on in my life, a life more fully united with Him. The article The Courage to Accept Acceptance (1) especially spoke to my heart. It is so true that when you are not accepted something in you is broken. I have felt that way most of my life. I am trusting the Lord to bring me to a fuller acceptance of myself as I journey through the Retreat. God Bless You all who reads this and keep on keeping on with your retreat journey.
The sharings have been an important time for me. From them I find that it is okay to take more than a week to go through a week. That there are a lot of people like me who are struggling with their relationship with God, their past lives, their present lives. Suddenly my problems don't seem so large and God's love is ever present. That God can reach out and touch each of us in such unique ways is awesome and humbling. Thank you all for shareing.
I was not sure if I should begin the retreat...I thought it was a nice thing to do....then I read the sharings of others and they brought tears to my eyes....they opened my heart which has been closing shut because of pain in my life and asking God why it is so deep and difficult...where is He in this suffering? Roman
In particular, my hard hearings since my childhood are the origin of the experience of not being completely accepted except from my parents, brother and sisters who are very nice people. The memories are still in my mind without the need of going to the Photo Album.
I am now 46 years old , and throughout my journey since childhood, there was many curves, many wrong ways of thinking, a variety of attempts to scratch acceptance from the walls until I realized that I am accepted by God as I am through jumping in Faith without Fear . I am grateful for having received the gift and I am confident that God reads my inmost thoughts.
On September 17th I began this retreat again. Over a year ago I started the retreat but because of very painful circumstances was unable to continue. I just wasn't ready. But last week was wonderful and I am very aware of how God has been at work in my life. I am ready now to move forward. God is giving me the grace to look at many patterns in my life and is helping me to be aware of a need for healing. For the first time I have a voice and can speak to others about abuses I have experienced and with expression the secrets that have caused pain and hardship are being unlocked. I feel like I have been in bondage for so many years and have hidden so many things because of fear and rejection. The experiences God opened for me last week were powerful and I rejoice in them. I am overwhelmed with knowing that God loves me just as I am and that He waits patiently for me to grow and learn. I grow more in love with the Lord with every beat of the clock and more than ever I am aware of His love and His presence. I look forward to the coming weeks.
When I was a child, I had frequent convulsions. I don't remember them, really, but I have vivid pictures in my mind from my parents' descriptions of them. In my relfection this morning, with the photo, my picture became even clearer: my mother holding me tight, my father standing by with his big heart full of sorrow and strength for her, and Jesus - the one who is with me now - being with us all in those terrifying times. A very consoling memory.
I have just begun this on-line retreat and am in my first week, although I have been meditating daily with Sacred Space for over a year. I had a dream last night about several pairs of shoes with mud on them and realize that the mud is memories, the "background" or "wallpaper" suggested by the retreat. I am using my teenage years as the background or mood of my day today and remember a plaid wool shirt that I wore as a teenager. My mother was not happy that I wore it - it was my father's fall gardening jacket. But I was thrilled with it and it gave me a sense of belonging and rightness at a time I had no other anchors. My father, then a practicing alcoholic , would soon enter into the chronic phase of his illness and die. I have had my own experience now with alcoholism. My father and I are linked by this disease as we were then by his warm, brown, wool, plaid jacket. I am fortunate to have God who has brought me to this marvelous place.
Week 1 What did I learn?
There weren't a great number of happy memories of my childhood. ... I now know God was always there, and I saw him in nature, but I don't really remember sensing his presence as a child. My teen years. As a teen I rejected God. ... Just before I turned 21 I was married. The marriage was held in a Catholic Church. At first I resisted, but I really loved my fiancée and would do anything to be with her. To my way of thinking, since I didn't believe in any God, any church related commitments I made were worthless. God had to be looking out for me because of the many crazy things I did and still lived. My adult years. ... Life moved on, children grew, raises came, more responsibility, a bigger house. My family loved me, but my spiritual life was going downhill. Nothing made me happy, I became depressed, and health problems arose. I looked for help, psychologists, mediation, and research into Buddhism. Mentally things kept going from bad to worse and still my family loved me. I was very depressed. ... Early the next year I confessed to my wife that I had been thinking about religion. ... Near Easter my wife announced that she was going to services in the same Church I had driven by and she wanted me to go with her. I was tired, weak and willing to try anything; I said yes. I was also very afraid, I kept thinking the roof would open and God would drive the sinner (me) from the Church. Things did go very well, I felt better and really liked the sense of unity holding hands during the Lords Prayer and the saying of "Peace be with you". We started attending services regularly, although I did not understand very much of the service. When we were told about RCIA I signed up, attended the classes and was baptized and confirmed the following Easter. I wish I could say that everything was wonderful after that, and things are much better now, I still feel that I am not as close to God as I should be. That's why I am taking part in this retreat. Has God been there for me? Most certainly. He has been quiet, didn't push but was always ready to listen and help if I only asked.
When I think of my life growing up (1), and even now - especially now - I am constantly more and more aware of how truly blessed I have been, and am. Even as I fill up a pot of water for cooking spaghetti, I realize that there are so many people in the world who live without running or clean water, and here I have always had it without hesitation. Then when I try complaining about not having something I want, or something doesn't go particularly how I've planned, there God is, reminding me that He is my provider. Whether I see the grand scheme of things or not, He's in control & has blessed me so incredibly through my life that for me to complain or not trust Him would be so ungrateful. Please, Lord, help me to live a life of gratitude!
Week 1. As I reviewed my picture album, I found that I have been blessed by hundreds of loving and supportive people throughout my life. There have been only three damaged relationships. One total rejection in kindergarten, which while insignificant, left a void in my psyche. Every doll I ever had after that was named after that girl who would not speak to me. This gave me insight into how easily we can do lasting damage to others with our thoughtlessness. My "best friend" in grade school grew up faster than I and moved to another 'best" friendship, however she always remained a good friend and is so even today. Her distancing left space for two other friends to move into closer relationships with me. When my relationship with my mother produced friction during high school and college, a closeness with a neighboring family developed. Their different culture and attitudes broadened my life experiences and outlook during this important growth period in my life. A recent fractured relationship is still very painful, even though once again God has provided new friends and activities to fill the void. I ask all to pray for reconciliation with my dear friend. I have been greatly blessed with constant Catholic relationships, few hurts, and never getting into serious trouble. Three times in my life, after lengthly prayer over confusion and questioning, I have experienced the direct word from Jesus or Mary to go to confession. Once this discernment is clear, getting there and receiving the sacrament was similar to escaping from a burning building. The focus was so great that nothing else is remembered. It's as if you are carried on a magic carpet directly to heaven. I pray that Jesus will give each of us the same vision of ourselves that He knows. Nothing is hidden from Him and we will benefit only if we can face the truth of ourselves. God bless everyone.
This is my first attempt at doing this sort of thing online but it seems a good idea. I have done a lot of work on myself and am on a spiritual path that has high priority in my life. I just recently acquired a computer and have the opportunity to spend more time online. My past is painful and there is resistance to going there but if I do so with God's help I will be okay. That is what i will tell myself.
It was so good to take just the first part of my life. I was able to experience it more fully than if I tried to look at my life all at once. And I don't have slippers, so for me the background begins when my feet hit the cold floor.
The photo of the woman with her baby brought tears to my eyes and made my arms tingle. I guess we mothers never do forget the warmth and scent of new born skin, the pressure of the warm body against the chest and the heaviness of a tiny head not quiet sure of its next move. Larry's guidepost was so fitting - we are here for the love of God - for the love of it, so enjoy the process with the product. The message and the photo - trust in the Lord and enjoy the gifts along the way!
It works! I will never look at my slippers the same for the rest of my life. It is amazing how much "stuff" is in the "background" of my mind and how different I'm feeling with a more peaceful background. Now I'm eager to see what my story will reveal to me.
I've just finished reading "The Courage to Accept Acceptance" in Week One. Wow! This article really sums up my experiences with faith, God, love, lonliness, feelings of being lost, and finding peace. I seem to go through cycles. It used to be my cycles were long - long periods of feeling alone, of not believing that someone was there, that if I jumped someone would catch me. Now, it's more like brief moments of feeling the old feelings, almost like I'm reliving the feelings than feeling them anew. And then wham, it hits me all of a sudden. God loves me. God accepts me. God is with me always. I don't know that I fully belive this with my mind, but there are times when I fully feel it in my soul. I consider these gifts. Brief moments, but I'm working up the courage to make them longer. It's almost like I don't yet have the courage to accept acceptance all the time. But when I feel that, when I open up my heart and accept God's love, it's such an amazing overpowering feeling.
I have started this retreat because I feel that God had offered this to me. I was looking for something to improve my faith and spiritual life. I am very active in my church life but it got to be a lot of administrative work. I needed to get back to the roots of all ministry-- spirituality. I happened to pull spirituality up while I was reading crossroads and I stumbled across this retreat-- it was not a coincidence-- it was the spirit working -- God knew I needed something and here it is. It is amazing that while doing the 1st week, it brought back a lot of good memories that I have not thought about in a long time. I am happy to be doing this retreat.
This has already been a grace for me. A simple, but BIG grace. I started to get nervous, thinking that my story will be a story of how I haven't loved God. I look at the picture and I see, immediately, that this will be the story of God's love for me.
I just wanted to say I found this address in our local Diocese paper and am glad I accessed it. I always wanted to make an Ignatian retreat and this seems to be an easy way to do it. For the past several weeks I've been thinking of my past so when I opened week one, it fit in perfectly with where I seem to be at the moment. I'm a little apprehensive about starting but will trust in the Lord which is my daily prayer . . . more faith. I'll keep all of you in my prayers and ask that you include me in yours. Your sister-in-Christ.
Day 7 Lord Jesus, I can now reflect back on the past week, the first of this retreat, to remember and realize all your provisions and blessings in my life. I have asked you for much this week Lord, from helping me to turn to you with trust to helping me actually live out your will. I have received so much more than I could ask for Lord. I have received memories, thoughts and insights, about why and how I have become the person that I am today. I have been challenged and tested, often times falling, but in falling then recognizing my weaknesses and needs. Also in falling before you I have had many chances to experience your Mercy and Love, which are ever new! I have learned things throughout the week, in reading and reflecting, which have helped me to approach you and experience your presence in my life and in so much of your creation that I encounter everyday. I have had moments of deep devotion, and moments of utter confusion. I have had moments of Peace, Love, and Joy, and I have had moments of frustration, doubt, and anger. I have been moved to do good that was not my own will and I have avoided your will to do the things I choose, prideful and stubborn as I can be. Most of all Lord, I have received your love in my heart, reminding me each and every day that you are with me, and that together we will be able to move on away from the evils that have been and towards the good that will be. Thanks be to God!
The photograph was prayerful for me because it reminded me of the way I like to visualize my own relationship with God. I imagine myself wrapped in the arms of the Lord, secure and loved. I hold this image and return to it often, especially when I do not feel loved or lovable.
First Week took three weeks. Now I have the message. My Grandmother adored me. The Sisters I volunteer with treat me with astounding love. Now I have an idea of how much only God can love me.