1 - Part 2
Week 1: Why is it that I have so many memories of pain and few happy memories? Is it because I am so ungrateful or focus on the negative? If I had only known that God was right there in those painful moments growing up and feeling unacceptable. The only thing I can think to do is to unite this pain with the pain Jesus experienced and offer it as a sacrifice to God. Then I know this pain can be turned into something good by God.
Week 1: Okay. I’ve started. I know you are with me, Lord. anon
Week 1: Hi ! I just started the retreat .I'm doing the first week .At first I didn't like remembering my past .But I'm having all sorts of memories coming to me,as I read your articles over a few times .I have good memories ,but also sad ones.I remember that I did not feel loved or accepted by my parents .I don't know why... Maybe it's good for me to remember my past with God , he may heal the wounds that I have been carrying around with me .Thank you.
Week 1: During selfish, self centered periods of my life when I excluded God, I can see by reflection that God was there for others, protecting them from me. And today I am grateful for that. Today my past is my ally not my executioner, because God has a way of severing the negative, non-productive emotional residue that used to tag along with my knowledge of my past. I can, with freedom share who I used to be, face to face to give strength and receive freedom.
Week 1: As I complete Week 1 of this retreat I've tried to think back on my life with a new perspective. I picture Jesus standing beside me in every situation. What opportunities I've wasted! He was always there and I never realized it! How many sorrows I failed to share with Him and tried to carry on my own! How much joy I failed to share with Him and left Him out as if it were all my own! How scared and alone I felt at times ignoring the reality that He was there just for me! How confused not realizing He has all my answers! I humbly beg His Mercy and Forgiveness for my foolishness and ask that I always remember Him in every moment of my day. What joy and comfort is mine through His love and guidance!
Am at the end of the first week.
In this short period I have been reawakened to some foundational truths: God accepts me for what I am, knock and the door will be open to you.
I am human with the faults that that may carry with it. I want to igniting the God within. I am knocking at his door.
I see this retreat as part of the journey - am I doing it right? It's important just to relax and do it - leaving myself open to his Spirit.
Week 1. Be still and know that I am God. As the deer panteth after water, so panteth my heart after Thee oh Lord. Going through my life on week one I see I have always been alone. Alone in my childhood, teenage years . Alone because I was so different to my siblings and mother. Not lonely because I had my father and he understood and accepted me as I was. Extremely alone and lost my soul and almost my physical life in 29 yrs of marriage because I felt I was not accepted by my husband. I was not spiritual enough.I did not conduct myself in the manner he wanted me to. I was not free to be me, so slowly over the years I lost my soul till I wished to be dead. But I did not want to die or kill myself, but I saw no hope in living. I had a quieter more meditative faith which he never could understand, and this lay dormant for many a year. I was invited to a CLC group and found myself and the Lord in a way that suited my faith. Now a youngish widow in a foreign land I feel alienated, desolate. I had no idea a human could feel such utter desolation, isolation abandonment. Lonely. A new word in my world. I have always felt alone but never before lonely. I was quite content with I, me and myself. For the last 3 months my soul has been sorely tried. It is diseased with loneliness. I have no spiritual contact at all. So am starting CLC online. I SO miss my group in South Africa. This week I got to meditate on loneliness. What is it? As mentioned it is a feeling. A feeling of abandonement, a lack of connectedness to other humans, a longing for companionship, in my case spiritual companionship. There seems to be a host of different types of loneliness. Physical. The need for human touch, a hug. Companionship, needing to come home to somebody at the end of a working day. Somebody to go to church with, to hang out with, do things with.To eat meals with. Physical intimacy.What else can you think of? Intellectual loneliness: Somebody to discuss all my questions with. Now I want to know what the star is in the west , as I go to work in the sunset. I work nights to flee from loneliness. I have such an enquiring mind. I need to talk to somebody about a LOT of things. I want to know all about this and that. I have found the apostles creed in Latin and am learning that just for fun. I wish I could tell somebody and share the words with. I can actually understand some of it after 1 year of Latin in 8th grade. Oh this is such fun!! Spiritual loneliness: Oh how my soul longs for my CLC group in SA. I heard somebody groaning the other evening as I was falling asleep and was horrified to realise it was me. I am so lonely I audibly groan in my sleep. I dare not dream about sitting on the porch in the cool of the evening with a friend or a partner, totally accepted for who I am, free to be me, free to express my faith and share what is on my heart without fear of rejection or criticism. Social loneliness. Some people may need social interaction. I work on a busy hospital ward so my social needs are met to a certain extent. It feels good to go home to get away from people. But on the other hand social interaction would be healthy, who with in a foreign, godforsaken land? Graces, Blessings: But I am comforted. I found CLC online. I was comforted by week one, being reminded the Lord always was with me even though I did not feel it. I found I had an opportunity to share my feelings, that too is a comfort. I know the Lord is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He holds me like a little bird in his hand. He restoreth my soul. Come to me all who are weary and heavily burdened. Burdened by loneliness?? Lord my life is in your hands please let this day give you praise let me be a blessing to others to-day. I matter to the Lord.-- Ruth
I've just started the first week but already had an insight. Over the years I've looked at my childhood negatively but as I began to go over it I started to remember a lot of good things that i hadn't thought of for awhile. It made me realise how I'd let some events affect me more than others. I also realised I had this habit of doing this with work living with this dread of things going wrong and then that I'd let it affect other things in my life. It's taught me already to look harder at things with an untainted view to see the good things
Have just finished week 1. Useful to reflect on God's presence in the painful memories, and that these too are part of me which I can thank God for. Hope the retreat will help me to be grow in awareness of His presence in everyday living. I want also to try to bring a little order to a somewhat chaotic prayer routines. Is this what God wants from me?
I am finishing up the first week of reflection on my first retreat. It has not been easy, meditation has caused me to face many situations and times in my life I had not thought about in many years. It has been both refreshing and un-nerving at times.But I am beginning to see how examining my life will turn out to be a good thing!!!! I am looking forward to starting the second week of my retreat.
I have started week 1 and find it very interesting the things that have come back to me that I have not thought of for many years. I had a pretty good childhood, being an only child for 4 years I remember all the attention I received from my parents and aunt who was my mother's sister. They taught me things and my mother would recite nursery rhyms and tell me stories, or read to me. Every night my mother would say my prayers with me before I went to sleep.
when I think back further though when I was school age, I find that my parents were often very strict with me and my father would sometimes beat me with his belt if I did something he did not like. I always tried to do what pleased him, but I would forget what upset him and do something that was not to his liking, and I would be hit with the belt. Sometimes, or most of the time I would have welts on my legs from being beaten.
I am just beginning the first week, it is really kind of scary. I feel that some of the pictures I will see will be hard to face. But I will do my best to remember even the things I have chosen to forget. It will certainly be interesting, but here I go anyway!!!
Week 1 Last November, I attended a spiritual retreat at White House in St. Louis MO. The theme was 'Back to Basics' and I read The Ignatian Workout - a daily spiritual exercise for a healthy faith. As I begin my 34 week journey, I feel a great sense of pride and passion getting closer to the Holy Spirit via this outline. I am in deep gratitude to Creghton U. staff for composing this outline and making the path simple. Life is Good & God Bless!
Week one: I am at the end of week one and I'm so grateful to have found this online retreat. I have been in many different 12 step programs in the last 22 years so looking at my past is not new... but I feel God is drawing me closer and closer to Him -- this week I couldn't sleep much so would wake up at 4:00 am (before work) and I have spent 2 hours most mornings reflecting on the readings, meditations, sharings, etc. Really bringing up things and portions of my life I had pushed away. Painful but I know God wants to heal me of these deep hurts. I have been drawn to contemplative prayer in the last year and find that Ignatian spirituality is the best way for me. I feel very blessed to have found this site. I am so looking forward to the next 33 weeks.
I am ending Week 1 today. When I started on the 1st day, so many photos of my childhood came to the fore. I didn't realize I came from poverty and lived in an area which is much worse than the depressed areas I am now seeing in my community service. Little by little, many other "photos of my life" became clear. Each day that I prayed over them, I asked for healing of memories and more for acceptance that I have been there in such poverty. The good Lord was there all along, together with the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, and I didn't even give notice during those times. Now I am truly thankful for having been molded in such a life that the materials comforts I have enjoyed during my 37 years of my married life came from nobody else but God. As i write this, these materials comforts have been translated into a joyful family life with my married children and their respective families. Most of all, I am gifted with good health even in my advancing age that I am still able to serve in my community in places I have never been before. May God be praised.!
I started Week 1 last Sunday, Dec 21. It's Christmas Day (4th day of Week 1) as I write this sharing. Truly, the Lord is one who knows every strand of our hair. In the photo album of life from early childhood to early adult life, I was brought back to many scenes, places, people and situations. A good part of these "photos" are for me unappealing now to remember because I have a good family life (tho widowed now for over 8 years), my children are intact and I have 14 grandchildren, a new one coming up soon. But clinging to God's promise, I claim that revisiting my past life through the "photo album" is my healing from memories I shudder to think of. I know that God is recreating my person. Merry Christmas.
God is perfect.
Snowflakes are perfect.
The trees and the smell of rain are perfect.
I am not.
Alone I search… I walk staring at a wall.
Idly, I ponder its thickness and roughness,
How it has been made imperfect, bricks jutting in & out and the cracks.
I turn to look back and try to muster a smile.
I turn to look ahead and long to see…something.
Presently, I have the urge to stop and sit for a while.
I am tired.
As my breath touches my lips, I notice something… something alive- turning and twisting among these lifeless stones.
I am not alone….week one
Week 1: I started my retreat today and was encouraged by to do so by the Religious Ed co-ordinator at the church where I am a catechist. This evening was a catechist meeting which also this evening I was supposed to go out with the ladies. I had a GOOD FRIDAY sort of day. I was compelled to going to this meeting at our church and miss out on the ladies night out.I am so glad that I attended. It helped me so much more than I could have imagined. Thank you Jesus for leading me in the right path to finding out who I really am. Help me to continue to feel accepted and know that I am a good person.
Week 1: This is the first day of my retreat. A year ago I retired from lay ministry. I had served in various positions in the Catholic Church for thirty years. It has been a year of adjustment, going from being totally involved in the life of a parish community to becoming a "pew" sitter. Accepting where I am in my life at the present moment has taken its toll on my spirituality. I thought I was stronger. I thought I could handle it!
I am grateful for this opportunity and the help I need to stay centered on Christ. I will handle it knowing that God's love for me is first and accepting that love will once more provide the direction that is needed. Thank you!
Week 1: I began yesterday reflecting my childhood. I have also begun a journal for the exercises. My early childhood were happy and I felt loved and secure. One great memory is of my dad telling me a bedtime story every night. He ever read out of books, but made these stories up as he went along and they were really wonderful. I am not a writer, but have often thought about writing them down somehow because they should be passed on. At that time in my life we lived in my maternal grandmother's home - my mom, dad, and me and she rented rooms to people and offered home cooked meals. Every evening when I was tucked in and Daddy was reading, some of these folks would gather round outside my room to hear these stories.
Week 1: I am very grateful for the wonderful resources on the Creighton website. I am re-starting the retreat as I like the idea of making the retreat in concert with the liturgical calendar. I had got as far as week 7. So I am going over the photo album of my life. What a humbling exercise it is. There is so much I cringe at, at all the daft things I did, which I now see as my attempts to find acceptance. But I also see so many graces in my life. I see how loved I was, how hard my parents struggled with three children and with each other, being very young and stressed parents. I wish I had shown more gratitude in my life as I grew up. It is something I will emphasise with my young child, who at three, I encourage him to look at the world with wonder and to be thankful for all that is provided for him. I had felt not so focussed as I did the weeks further into the retreat last time, but I had not written any sharing. I will make that commitment this time. I so enjoy reading the words written by others; there is much to learn from you all. How very free-ing it is to at least know acceptance!
I’m in my first week of the retreat. Beginning it seemed a little strange, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Anyhow I begin recalling areas of my life at first deliberately and then they seemed to begin flowing. I tried to do this many times each day. No matter my feelings about the event I told myself that God was with me at all times. The amazing thing that happened is I realized that although God was always present, I didn’t always know that. I didn’t know I could ask God to be with me.
This is the last day of Week 1. I still am excited about doing this retreat but today I felt like I wasn't giving it my all, even though I was attentive to looking at my past---looking for God in those experiences. Old habits die hard---"I'm sure I'm not doing a good enough job". I just read through all the Sharing stories & they re-energized me as I found myself in many of the stories. I plan to re-read the Acceptance article again, more slowly & reflectively, even though it had quite an impact the first time. I sense something has changed within me but I can't pin it down. I am so grateful for finding, and doing, this Retreat, thank you.
Week 1 How surprised I am today that the last part of the retreat that I just did was the most powerful. I just finished reading others sharing. As I have been struggling with the retreat this first week, wondering if I'm doing it right, even though I know that I'm just supposed to be accepting and patient, feeling as if I'm doing it all wrong, I finally receive acceptance and patience in the sharing of my fellow travelers. Thank you.
Week 1 Dear friends, I am now wrestling with week two, week one was difficult for me, there were many pictures I found to be hard to look at. But with the grace of God I am looking forward to holding on to his hand tightly.
And although I am not truly ready for the second week, I will give it all I have with the help of God.
I don't really expect this week to be much easier. When I open my album of pictures there is so much there that has touched me to core... I cry!!! There is both good and bad to deal with there. Here I go week TWO!!!
Week 1 Thank you for this retreat. This is just what I need, you see I only now
believe in God at the age of 41. Thank you.
Week 1: I have finally been able to start this retreat. I have been looking forward to it for the longest time. Due to my daily duties, it's difficult for me to go away for two or three days. I thank the Lord for providing me with this great means of being able to spend time with Him alone, at my own pace. Thank you to all of you for providing us with this wonderful retreat.
Reflecting on the image for Week One, I have been able to recollect several incidents in my life, some good and some not so good. The most interesting and loving image I have seen in my mind and have remembered has been the tender and soft touch of my mother's hands as she has caressed me in times of difficulty, of such pain and sorrow she and I have faced together since I was a young child and even into my adult years. I have realized how deep my love for her is and how much I ask God for the strength to help her when her time comes to go home to the Father. She is currently well for her age (84) but I realize every day is a blessing for me and my own family to spend time with her and do the things that she likes to do. I have been very blessed to have her as my mother and I hope I may have her with us for yet a very long time. I love her deeply for all she has given up in her life to give me a strong sense of home, even without my father.
This has been a very special grace Our Lord has allowed me to see
in just this first week of the retreat and I am very grateful for His
Presence in my life.
This is my first week of retreat: Last week, I was looking for something on the web, and I found this page. I was so happy because for the last two months I deeply desire to have 30 days of retreat (St. Ignatius). Finding this website, I really think it is God's will. I believe that he knows I need this retreat so badly so that I can work toward loving him and surrender to him more each day.
This first week I have a chance to look back to my album of life. There were so many things happened that hurt me deeply. In fact, there are things that I do not want to talk or mention to anyone about them. They ashamed me, and even now I do not want to talk about them. Although, I know God love me, and he was always there for me. However, in these situations, I guess God was not part of the picture that I see or feel.
As a little girl, there were many stupid things that happened to me which either embarrassed me, saddened me, hurted me, or made me feel shamed. Now having a chance to look back, I do not think they are big deal, but as a little girl they were the whole world to me. As a young kid, I never received reward, and finally I study so hard and I received a reward in religion, and the church spell my name wrong, and I returned back to them, and the people never give me back a new one. When I was young, I really want to sing in the choir, but they test my voice, and they didn't let me be a member of the children choir. I was so sad because my friends are in there. When I was young, my parents always yell at me because I always tell the truth or tell family story to others. The way they correct me affected me negatively. I still remember the way my sister punished me, even now, I feel ashamed to think about it. I didn't like the way my brothers treated me or punished me either. I also remember there were several stupid choices or mistakes I made or other people made fun of me.
One good thing I remember is that my parents really love me or spoil me because I was the youngest girl. In fact, I was the youngest in the house for 7 years until I had my two younger brothers. The spoiling from my family have both negative and positive influence on me....
As a teenager, I hated myself because I no long love my family because I have lots of pimples. I used to go to places with my parents, brothers, and sisters, and they loved to take me with them, but now they do not like it. Many of them even yell at me because I do not know how to take care of myself. I didn't know what to say or what to do because I didn't know how to take care. I tried but pimples continued to appear on my face more and more. I already feel ashamed of myself, and the more my brothers and sisters talked about it, the more I hated myself. I didn't want to go out to public or places that face with people. I often locked myself in the room or just stay home. At this time, my older sister even tell me that when she was young, she was always jeolous with me because everyone in the family loved me. At that time, I couldn't deal with unloved I received from my family, and hearing this I hated because I thought because they loved me too much when I was young, now with there little love I received I couldn't accept. I thought if they loved me not too much and discipline me when I was young then now I know how to deal with rejection or know how to take care of myself, and know how to love and accept myself with whatever I was or whoever I was.
Another thing that happened to me during teenager year is that I was expose to sex magazine. I watch several of adult movie (including violence and sex). Sadly, I took pleasure and with a heart of curiousity of this subject. I think one of my brother had a great influence me on this. I was very close to him and with the way he talked, lived affect me negatively which I didn't realize at the time. I thought marriage is all about sex, and I even come to believe that abortion is okay. I was raised in a Catholic family all my life, and believe something that against the Catholic teaching was not bother me.
When I was 21 years old, I finally went to another state with a new life. Well, I entered into religious life. I struggled so much at first because honestly I didn't know how to take care of myself. Religious life require me so much of discipline, and a life of prayer, community, and ministry. Nevertheless, I have no experience any of those. The more I face with struggle, the more I hated my family. I didn't want anything to do with my family. How much I loved one of my brother now I hated him so much because he influenced me negative with the view and my thinking, and my inocent soul and heart. At this time I feel as the more my family spoiled me as a young kid, the harder I face with life right now. Well, surely there were other factors affected me and made me became who I was. Nevertheless, I mostly blamed my family, and one of my brother.
However, with God's help and guidance, and with years of praying and trying to be a loving person. I finally love my family and my brother. I started to talk with my brother with respect. I become less and less and now rarely argue with my family. When it comes to argument, I tried to find ways to change the subject or just listen to them and bring out something positive about the talk to talk about. I come to accept my family also. Now I am not trying to pray for my family, but I want to pray for them and really ask God to take care of them.
Now, I also become to love my religious life. I think this is the life that God is calling me, and this is the community that God wants me to live. However, as I prepare for my final vows, I deeply desire to clear my hurt, and clean out my past sins, and trully reveal my all self, including good and bad things, that happened throughout my journey of life.
Now, my daily prayer is that I surrender to Jesus, and I ask Him to be the center of my life, and I try to live my best each day, and whatever happened at all, I shall surrender to him, and rest in Him, and only Him alone.
Looking back on the journey of my 30 years of my life, I am so grateful to God that He has been always with me and guide me. although many times I didn't feel his presence, but I know many miracles he did in my life. Thank you Jesus, please open my heart and my mind and please help me to love you more and more each day. Please open my heart to receive your love as well. I love you. yours, L. C.
Please pray much for me... I really need your prayer, so that I can be transform by God, and those people that I associate with also be heal by God and be tranform by God as well. Thanks!!!
Week 1: As I have travelled through my life, there has been much pain and lonliness, but I have come to realize now, that lonliness has been a grace to me sheer gift, because since the Lord burst forth in my life in 1984, he has used lonliness to help me empathize and and recognise the lonliness in peoples lives, and to slide down the wall with them, leeting them know, that they are not alone. That is the Grace for me this week, that I can truly say Yes I maybe Lonely but I am not Alone Praise God
I was hesitant on doing Week 1. I knew that I had to confront my childhood past again. But what a grace I have received today! Of realizing my identity before God. Of how my search began, and why it hasn't ended. I always just have to find Him (in people I love, in
community, in my daily life). This was how I married a beautiful person who showed me a glimpse of God's love. I must have been born with a hole in my heart, a hole that I hadn’t known until my late childhood years. A hole the depths of which I have resided, the darkest corners of which I know fully well.. I revisit the darkest moments of my innocence, and I find loneliness, emptiness, of finding no one to trust. From this hole I creep out slowly finding my
light. Finding Him who completes me. I never really believed in “You complete me.” Because
I have found Him who completes me. I find that this hole in my heart is a cross-shaped abyss that is with me forever, forever leaving me gasping for breath, gasping for air, always, always dependent on His love that fills me. What happened to me as a 9-year old is not something
that I can ever be thankful for.. It is something that I have to live with, that I have to accept as my history, something to invite the Lord with to enter my heart, heal me.. telling me He loves me, no matter what. I know now why I can never fall in love the way I am in love with God. My heart can never beat as normal as the rest. I am a blue baby.
Week 1: I have finished the first week. So many memories have surfaced. I seen much to be grateful for, but I have seen too a thread I do not want to admit to - I see how often I have been put down, overlooked, thrust aside, and how I have put myself down in thought and attitude. I asked so many years ago to be placed alongside Christ, and I have failed to recognise this placing with a rejected and suffering saviour. Of late, I have received much affirmation and I find that hard to accept too, even though I am in need of such encouragment. Now, I pray to accept myself as I am. Thank you for this website.
First week, reflecting on my first day: Yesterday I was to start my Spiritual Retreat. After I woke up, I think I totally forgot about the whole thing. Maybe that is a good way to start. It shows how much I need this.
Week 1: I started the retreat on Monday. At first I found it difficult to focus on my early childhood but as i pulled up pictures in my mind i realised what a special time my early life had been. My community was my personal extended family, my great grandmother was the matriarch and didn't die till I was eight, my parish family, and the families on the street were I lived. It was a very secure and loving community. Things changed as I became older, but today i came to a realisation, that for every time there was a rough patch or something bad happened I was always given a talent or gift which allowed me to either overcome this difficulty or use it to move on. Give myself another goal. I know there were times when I didn't take this choice at the time but God was there pointing me in a different direction The awareness of God's prescence in my life was so tangible I could have touched it. So it was with gratitude that I read Psalm 139, knowing that he does know me better than I know myself..
I've just started Week 1 and what a sad beginning. I have never been accepted for myself but rather for what I could provide. My mother cast me in the role of fulfilling her need to be needed. My husbands...two of them...both loved me for how I made them feel about themselves. They didn't mean to do that, but did it anyway out of their own damaged self-esteem. I taught my children to value themselves, but somehow the message they received from me was to value themselves and their happiness over everything else. So now, at 62, I find myself looking back on my life's "photo album" in which I appear only in the roles to which I have been assigned...obedient daughter, dutiful wife, unappreciated mother. No where in my album do I see a single photograph of just me. I see, though, how I cooperated in my own unhappiness...how I pretended to be sick in deference to my mother's need for my dependence but also so I could get out of school...how I let my husbands bury me under a mountain of responsibility because I thought my value was in what I did and not in who I was...how I spoiled my children in an unconscious attempt to buy their love. This is as far as I've gotten during this first week. Where was God when all this was happening? I don't know.
Week 1: This is the first day of my retreat and i find my reflection on early childhood difficult. my memory is weak on that period and most recollection appear to be wrongs i committed on other people by teasing taunting and other ways of annoying them.i ask anyh wone who reads this to pray that i will recall kind deeds performed . i also pray that all people my action anoyed or hindered forgive me.
This first week of retreat has been a roller coaster ride. Each morning I took a deep breath and said, okay...here we go again! If God had not been with me, holding me firmly by the hand, I would not have had the courage to explore the deep, dark caverns of my past. As my life played out before the eyes of my soul I wanted to close them during the 'scary' parts, but God wouldn't let me. He showed me that as often as I went astray the Good Shepherd rescued me, lifted me gently out of the brambles, snuggled me close to His heart and returned me safely to the fold. Now that goes way beyond acceptance.
Week 1: Christ said to Peter and the others, "But who do you say I am?" Luke 9:20. I wonder how long Peter looked upon the man he loved before he responded, "The Christ of God." But was his answer as important as having the privilege of answering? For even though we never fully see Christ for who he is, we are changed by his presence and his Spirit when we hear Him and are responsive. Is it not similar when I have the courage to ask Him the same question, "Lord, but who do you say I am?" All the experiences of my life diminish at that point. I see Him looking beyond my past, my persona, my identity into my utterly good soul. Ironically, he knows who I am, but I do not. Just as I can only see a part of who He is, I can only see a part of who I truly am; but what I see is enough if what I see is some of the part Christ sees. And by seeing what Christ sees, everything around me changes.
Week 1: I’m just about to start the retreat. I want to do it to create space for God and develop my relationship with him and equip me to serve. I’m not good at the discipline and I need that to keep this going. But I want to do it and need to do it. I would value your prayers.
-- Russell from the UK.
Week 1 has been hard for me. Excavating the past smacks of psychoanalysis, which I think is mostly bunk, like getting stuck in a swamp of the past looking for excuses for why you are the way you are today. I've always been the type to look forward. I want to be able to live more day by day as the Lord's Prayer teaches. But... I slip so much. Finding time is hard too. The earlier I get up in the morning for a few quiet moments to pray and think, my toddler wakes up just as early, ready for me to get her. She is 90% of my life right now and one of my "issues" with God. I still don't know why he wanted her to be born so ill. I still don't know how to be me and her mother all the time, at the same time. These are *now* issues, not past ones, though I guess maybe there are signposts from the past... Anyway, I guess I'll try to continue week 1 a bit longer to see if something comes. If not, I suppose I'll move on. I really long for a spiritual director, really, and regret having to do all this by myself.
I am just finishing the first week. Even though I really wanted and felt I needed this retreat, I felt myself being very resistant - pulling back, getting judgmental and downright grumpy about the whole endeavor. Then I remembered my spiritual director advising me to just "go with it" for the first week, even if I didn't like parts of it. So I did go with it - and by the second day, the resistance was gone. Now, reviewing the week, I am grateful for the graces I've received - mostly in unexpected ways. I've asked God to show me my life - as God would have me see it. And instead of the usual chronicle of life events, God has shown me certain times and feelings and themes in my life - woven them in with present events and situations. And this has taught me a new aspect of self-acceptance. I feel very grateful.
Week 1: As a person born with a disability -- I have to say the stuff that comes up for me do not smell of acceptance -- by God or other or even at times myself. And that black & white photograph of a woman holding a baby greets me each time I turn on my computer and I'm reminded my wife and I will never have children.Putting God back there sitting in the back seat of my parent's can or in the hallways of my junior High School becomes an interesting experiment. One I want to believe but at the same time know I don't quite -- even as I begin a discernment process toward a ministerial position within my church. From my journaling this morning: "I carry this dark sludge about with me in my soul.What have I been asking for this week? I’ve been asking that what most overwhelms me is not just tilting at windmills – but is truly important – not just my delusion – but map to something real. What am I thankful to God for this week? Sadness." Even now that seems over stating it. I'm usually a happier person than this reflects.This week reminds me that wounds I thought long healed are still with me. And scar tissue is sometimes less sensitive to pain than living skin.
What a heavy first week. Pictures of my album reminded me how lonely and abused I was as child and how I acted out in my confusion and loneliness. Yet although I don't know or remember them their were those who fed clothed and even held me. I feel very tender now.
Week 1: I started the on line retreat today.
As I was reflecting on child hood memories I must tell you about a little girl who I talked to just yesterday at my workplace. She was very sad because she had to go home from school as she was running a fever. It was Valentine’s day and she would miss the class party, which brought about tears. I had to flash back to the year I missed the valentine party at school because I had the chickenpox. I remember very clearly that my Mom went to school and brought home the Valentine’s my classmates had given to me and how special that made me feel. I shared that story with this student and I think that having that shared experience was in some small way a comfort to her. I began to think that many times our experiences are not unique, others have “been there” before us and are able to help us when we need to know we are not alone. And we also have that comfort through the Spirit – “I will not leave you alone – I will send my spirit” …. I am grateful for the chance to share The Spirit with someone else.
Week 1: I have just finished the first week in the online retreat. As I looked back at my life I could not help but think of the Poem Foot Prints in the Sand. I thought just like in the poem that during dificult times there was only one set of foot prints. Yet as now I look back at those times I see that like in the poem Jesus was carrying me. So I say foot prints in the sand walking side by side, walking not forever with Jesus as my guide. Though I thought I walked alone, His voice so kind and true said that single line of foot prints was when I carried you. I want to thank you for this week prayer because the guide helped me to come to such a relisation. I will return to share once again next Sunday.
In the Week 1 journey through the album of my life, certain words in “The Courage to Accept Acceptance” stopped me on those album pages when children came. The words deal with God’s infinite love for everyone for all eternity. The experience of one’s first child is a moving insight into the meaning of Creation. But the second child and more give deep insight into the meaning of God’s infinite love; for what parent can claim to love one child more than another or what parent cannot love each child with a whole heart?
Week 1: I am blessed that my earliest memory is so pleasant and filled with love. I am two and half years old and at my grandmother's apartment on Christmas Day. The smells of turkey and potatoes are overwhelming and my godfather has given me a book for Christmas. It is a children's illustrated book of Psalm 23. We are flipping through the pages will illustrations of lambs and meadows and a shephard. I feel surrounded by family and love. This is not only my earliest memory, but one of the best in my life. Most importantly, I remember God's presence there.
Week 1: I embarked on Day 1 Week 1 barely an hour ago, and already the words on the starter link blew me away. Nearly blew my nose away too as I cried buckets. Forty-four years into my faith life (struggle?), this is exactly the point i'm at: To give the spaces in the background of my life -- in between work, in between the mundanes -- to God, for healing, growth and discovery.
How ringing and resonant to read Larry Gillick (as always) and realise our addiction to the glamour of instant gratification. How patently telling our human resistance to inherent good.
I look at the snapshots of my life with poignancy and trepidation, even as I make this my prayer all week: PROCESS, not PROGRESS. Must keep reminding myself to just enjoy the process because God's in charge of the progress. And what a lot of gravy that is.
God bless all retreatants and the good people who are guiding and supporting us!
Week 1: I sit here a middle aged woman but the thoughts that are running through my mind are as clear as the smell of roast beef on the stove, as sharp as the first breathe of cold air, and as painful as being told I was not pretty enough to marry. I did not know how unacceptable I was until others told me and showed me. I did not have a relationship with God which could protect me from the lies that were coming at me. I thought I could shut down my feelings, my need for acceptance. I did not know that God was to be my source. There were expectations from my parents to make good grades, not to show anger, to be perfect, to be everything they were not. I made the good grades, did not show anger, did not ask too much of them. I learned to keep things to myself.
I lived in an older neighborhood. My friends were all over 65 years old. I spent long hot afternoons sitting on the front porch with my grandmother and her friends as they wiled away the hours gossiping. I learned quickly how to condense a destructive paragraph into a word or a shared look. I was to be seen and not heard. I sat quietly learning my lessons.
Trying to see or experience God in these events is not easy because I felt so alone then and now. I will be spending the week walking through these memories calling out to Him, looking behind me, stopping to feel the gentle breeze as He passes by, or smelling His scent in the summer rain.
Week 1 I woke this morning from a dream. It is now 2 hours later and I am on the sharing section of the first day of the retreat. Have not stopped crying since woke up. In my dream I was far away, in another country. I was running around in a tizzy trying to make a plane. Out of nowhere, there was Our Lord. He was lying down on his side, all scourged and beaten, bloody and bruised. I dropped down to my knees and said “ I’m sorry”. I Touched him on the leg and said ‘ Lord, heal me’. He then touched my hand and said “ you are healed”. I got up ran to the plane and just made it as they closed the door. The flight attendant needed help, so helped him ready the plane for takeoff.
I was so moved by this . First of all, I have coronary artery disease and have now not worked my job as flight attendant since 1995 because of my heart problem. I was an atheist at that time and have since had a conversion so major and instantaneous as to compare it to that of St. Paul. I already knew that the Lord has “ healed me” before being told this in the dream this morning. The story of my phenomenal conversion is another story. For now, back to the dream, I have become very busy in my life. I do believe the Lord was affirming for me, that no matter what I do, no matter where I go(I was in another country) or how busy am that He is there for me( and indeed all of us), ready to heal us, mind , body and soul. So profound, so real so moving. So God!
I came to the computer with my cup of Earl Gray tea and found this web site. I began this journey with St. Ignatius and you. I could barely get through it from crying. The dream led me to this. How good God is! How good He is! I wish I could do the whole retreat today. That is how greedy I feel for Him. I am indeed an empty vessel to be filled by His wonderment. Thank you for this web site. I will pass it along.
Week one was such a blessing with many memories and mental pictures flooding my mind. Even a renewed understanding that God does have a plan for my life. Week two, however, has been a real struggle. Through one new memory. God, showed me that I have failed to trust His plan for me because my human father tried to manipulate me and micro-manage my life to fit his plan for me. I am now praying for the grace of renewed faith and trust in my my Heavenly Father's plan for my life. So far, last week's memories will not return.
Always we begin again.
And so I begin again now.
I made this retreat 7 years ago in a group of sojourners, guided by a sister named Benedicta, whose words were a blessing indeed, as was the touch of her hand as she traced a cross on my back when she hugged me.
This time I make the retreat on my own—but for the love of God and all those I know who are praying for me.
Bless me during this week 1 of remembering, recollecting who I have been and learning who God has made me to be.
After the first week I was going to discontinue the retreat, the few memories that I recalled felt distant to me. I wondered how this could be a spiritual retreat. However, last night I could not get to sleep, memories kept coming to me in great detail. I recalled people and events that were long forgotten as well as the emotions attached to those memories. I was troubled to see a common theme throughout many of the memories.
Graces and Insights given during the first week: I was reminded of the many wonderful people who have touched my life. This retreat has made me realize how good people can be and how grateful I am to them and to God for guiding me to them during the right time in my life. I was moved to saying prayers for each one of them as I remembered them, especially those who have already moved on to eternal life.
Unfortunately, there were also some people who, intentionally or unintentionally, led me to temptation. I prayed for them and, with the grace of generosity inspired by this retreat, forgave them for the sad part they played in my life.
Having completed week one of this retreat I feel blessed with new insights. As I looked through my life's photo album, it's been no problem to remember the bad things that happened to me. Remembering the good things hasn't been as easy - showing me that I focused more on the negative and the positive I took for granted. It's been easy to recall the hurts I received from others. But, in the past, rationalization and self-justification made it difficult for me to see how I hurt others.
I'm grateful for this retreat and the advice to "look for God's presence" in the experiences of my life. I realize that He was there through it all - loving me - even when I didn't feel loved my others or myself.
Week 1: This idea of God’s total acceptance of me is my forgotten grace. So much of my time is my attempt to live in other people’s mind. I want them to have affection for me..think me funny..smart..successfull..etc..But there it is – all of that acceptance..that affection – waiting to be had through God’s love for me. I often wondered if my parents ever did hold me as the picture shows. I sense them to be too busy with 5 other little one’s to consider me that special. Nonetheless the photo album reflection was fun. I have found myself turning to those photo’s before..and the freedom and joy I see in my own kids..leaves me wanting for those times that I too felt that way many years before..Does God really want me to turn the corner?..really want me to be free in my life to trust in his holding of me and his plan for me? I’ll bet he does..I just have some work to do to believe.
Week 1: Three things struck me as I started this journey again.
I gave a lot of thanks for people and situations ... some of which have been very much on my mind for a long time and others I brought out into the light again.
There is a sense in which sometimes experiences that on the journey I had discounted become more important. This is especially true here in a new job ... responding to a calling I felt previously on retreat that started two years ago. In some ways the experience of my previous job seems so far away even though I spent 30 years in that organization. I know that I am building on that experience but somehow my experiences early in my career and particularly when I was in graduate school seem much closer.
I also was touched by the extract on "Acceptance" from Peter Van Breeman's book. Some of the struggles that I know are in the background in some photos are struggles around acceptance. To know that on this journey God has been present and gently prodding, guiding, calling (and I daresay at some points yelling!) because he accepts me as I am, I find very powerful.
Thank you for providing this opportunity. I find it helps me to frame daily my faith commitment.
Having completed week 1 ; I am amazed of all of the evidence of God's Grace throughout my life . I always thought I was so alone through a life of despair and addiction that ended at age 29 . By God's Grace , I was given a 2nd shot at life as a recovering alcoholic . My loving God had never left me . His love carried me to the point of renewed life ,by his Grace. All of the true joys in life I have experienced , have come from His love and grace. I have been allowed to get in line for miracles several times by God..... A few near death experiences , and God's love continues to renew and lead me to where His Grace sustains me...
Week 1: I went over my life this week. It came to me at the end that i had taken the high road. There was no other way to go but up.
Week 1: Alright, I've done the daily stuff. It all seems so mechanical; maybe I just have the "important" memories locked up, safe from scrutiny? But I am keeping on, here goes week 2!
Week 1: I am on the last day of my first week and enjoyed the discovery. I was most deeply touched by "The Courage to Accept Acceptance" I am in a good place after years of much struggle, this writing helped me to see I have finally experienced the kind of consistent acceptance that was needed to help me to grow. I always thought it was this that held me back...needing to see myself as accepted in the eyes of another, it was good to trust my gut was correct all along. After a year and a half of friendship I feel good that I am more ready to stand on my own and be less clingy...all the result of accepting acceptance. Powerful stuff!
I started Week One on Tuesday. For most of the week, I have been at a conference for the political party I am involved with, so in thinking about my earliest memories, I have been thinking of what shaped my political views. I keep coming back to the saying "the more, the
merrier", which my father used a lot whenever he was confronted with some new opinion or way of life, and to my grandfather's passionate egalitarianism, inspired by Burns and other great Scottish writers. A concern for justice and an acceptance of diversity have remained
fundamental to my political instincts ever since.
Week 1: I am thinking about making a commitment to this retreat. My daughter is struggling with anxiety - she feels butterflies constantly. A counselor has recommended medication, but she is functioning well academically and socially and my husband and I are resistant about masking over this with drugs. I believe making the retreat might help me to be more integrated and bring up my emotional consciousness to be in better balance with my thinking and doing. I have butterflies much of the time myself - and my daughter's experience reminds me that it doesn't feel good. Trying some of the review of my childhood today, brought memories and tears. I think I want to do this, but I'm not sure if I know how.
Week 1: To move on before I have mastered this level has always been very hard for me. I suppose this is a lot of pride because I want to do it perfectly and I finally realized that I never will. Please Lord help me to get over this and to follow you as closely as possible becausse I do know and realize that you are always there. Help me please.
Hello Everyone! I had such a wonderful time during MOST of week one - looking through the photo-album of my life. Yes, there were difficult moments I did not want to think of - times when I placed my will above God, and made a complete mess of things. I took those thoughts and memories very slowly and deliberately. However, in week two, I am having a harder time concentrating on the questions about "my story" and whether or not I can imagine God knowing about some of the horrible mistakes I've made - let alone holding them up to God. But like week one, I am not giving up on this. I will try to take these thoughts, memories and experiences and slowly bring them to the front of the line. It is far easier imagining God being with me during the wonderfully, happy times. Times, when it seemed I was on the path He had chosen for me. And, it seems those are the times that I keep going back to - especially when the more difficult times get a little too overwhelming to dwell on. Oh well... please pray for me as I pray for all of you. Together with the help of the Holy Spirit and in the love of Jesus, we will get every gift God wishes to give to us out of this experience! May God Bless you!!
Week 1: Thank you for this retreat, working on acceptance. Learning a lot about my past, and God is helping me. Facing my fears this week, the only way to go forward is to deal with the past and allow His love to fill that dark part so you can move forward in His light.
Week 1: I'm at a crossroads in my life. I've been looking for that 'something' to help me take that next step. Thank you for making this retreat possible. The reading "Tell me the Story Again", spoke volumes to me. For a life-time I've been looking for that 'grandfather' type to tell me the story, again. I pray that we all will have heard the story we need to hear during this retreat.
Today’s Gospel reading tells the story of the sinful women that had a great love for Jesus. She was focused on Jesus and not on Not herself or others. My hope, as I near the completion of my first week of the retreat, is to have the same love for Jesus as she had.
Week 1: I am so grateful that this website came up in a search I did online for a day retreat. Wasn't looking for this long of a "retreat", but, she who seeks...
I've been through programs where I've had to go over my life, and I wasn't looking forward to it again, however, this time I decided I would honor my "self". I've lived through some rough stuff imposed on my by others, I've sought God and tried to continue going to church when I've had good reason to walk away (not from God, from those who go by the name of "Christian"). Yet, here I am, still seeking Jesus, still dragging myself to Mass.
When I read the "Acceptance" essay, I knew God was telling me it's ok to honor me this time. Because, somehow in honoring and accepting my self, I am honoring and respecting the God Who Made Me and Loves Me.
Hope this will help somebody else who may be struggling to honor their selves. Thanks!
As I go through the 1st week I am experiencing the realization that God was with me always as a child, that I was never alone. I was so "blind" to God in my sinfulness, in my wanting to be accepted. What a wonderful loving God to say to me"be at peace, you are forgiven, be at peace" I have been praying the generational prayer for healing and forgivness, to "let God be God" Thank you Jesus for loving me and bless and inspire those who are taking this course.
I ask the prayers of anyone who may read this. I am beginning weekone. I know myself and know it will be a struggle to finish week one. I'll worry about week two next week. So, please pray for me. Thank you and may god hold you close to his heart.
Week 1: What a wonderful tool this computer can be. I just started the retreat yesterday, read the article on acceptance and am struck by the total acceptance of God for me. How could God be anything but love? God is total love for me; tender and personal. I placed the baby image as wallpaper on the computer here at school and at home. It's amazing how many times today that simple image pulled me back to the thought that God has known me and loved me from the very dawn of time with the same love and intensity with which Jesus is loved. When I get overwhelmed by the demands of school or the craziness of the adolescent girls I attempt to share faith with, I'm drawn to that image. And God loves me just like that! WOW!
Week 1: Although the retreat only have started for two days, during the process of recalling back my personal album, to my surprise sad incidents somehow are more than happy moments. Start to fin difficult as many of the things which I really which to forget and now is coming back, but this time the feelings are different. It is just like watching a sad movie together with my parent. I am into it but not lost in it as I can truly feel God is with me this round, holding my hands while walking through my past journey, showing me where is Him during that moment. This is amazing. There were times I don't really feel God and now I can see where is Him during that time and why he want me to go through all those experience, in fact those are the best arrangement for me!! Although I am just starting my retreat, but I am really looking forward for the journey to let God bring me through. May our God bless each and everyone of us who is going through the retreat with His grace and mercy, Amen.
Just a comment on the prayer in week 1. I found the prayer too specific. Thank God for ...loving marriage is fine for me but I wanted to forward the site/retreat to my son who is totally broken because of his broken marriage, a marriage that he tried his best to save.
Week 1: My life is so messed up that I'm almost afraid to start the retreat because I have a problem with bringing anything to any conculsion. The only thing that gives me any strength is that I'm really convinced that got loves me and "knit me in my mother's womb"
Week 1: I was not eager to begin the assignment for week 1, the looking back at childhood memories—mostly a sad process for me. I’ve done the healing journey kind of thing in the past but no real change. I am so weary of trying to work through these sorrows. Would this time be any different?
But, the day before beginning this journey, my friend died, a dear lady who suffered so much these past few years in a battle with cancer. She embraced every ounce of her suffering as a privilege, honored that God was giving her an opportunity to unite with Christ’s sufferings.
As I began looking back on my early memories, I thought about my friends perspective on suffering. For the first time I could see how it was possible to be genuinely thankful and even honored to suffer, embracing it as a gift--a privilege to share, in a little way, with the sufferings of Christ.
Week 1: I am beginning this retreat again. I was stuck on week 1 last time because I couldn't see how God was there for me during my painful childhood. I can see that how that childhood has many hidden blessings for my current adult life and the gifts that I have to share with others. Since then, God has inspired me to begin to write a personal memoir. A lot of healing was done through the writing process
I am beginning again with an open mind and have God show me where he wants to heal me. I am in week 1, I pray to recall some positive memories for my childhood and for God to show me the way. Through the readings, I realized that I was indeed not accepted growing up. What's changed is I don't feel stuck this time (after I read about others sharing their experience, with pain, with doubt, and with hope)
It was an act of Grace that I found this program online. It really works with what I need. I like the depth and I can't seem to find a church around my house that can consistently support the deepening of my faith.
Week 1: I am a busy mom of 3 boys. I started the retreat yesterday. I am looking forward to this retreat. I have been in group ministry before but had to bow out when I had a baby last year. Now I feel the Lord has presented me with this retreat to reconnect my spiritual life even if I am home and tired and unshowered! So, I have a CD loaded of the readings for the week in my mini van. I changed my home page to the Creighton Ministry web site. If I can pull this off, anyone can!
Week 1: I've finished downloading the pdf file, as it is easier for me to read than to listen. I'm afraid that I do that with interpersonal relationships also. Anyway, I've looked forward to starting this retreat for several weeks, according to the liturgical calendar, and have found that in the last few days, The Good Lord must already be working. At least I hope that it is not just my own wants that are coming to fruition now. Also, I've been remembering instances from the distant past (I'm 64) that I've wanted to share and so I expect to use this space as time permits and hopefully it will help others besides myself. Good Morrow.
Week 1: I am just beginning this retreat. Something has drawn me to become part of a small group in my area. I pray and ask for your prayers too, that I might be faithful to complete it. Much is going in my life at this time and with God by my side, I know I can persevere.
Blessings to all....
Week 1: I came across this online retreat about a months or so ago and bookmarked it. I thought maybe I would get back to it to start on 9/16. I forgot all about it and tonight, I just skimmed my bookmarks for another reason and found this ---or was led to look here again--- and I just read through all of Week One. I have to say I have spent the whole day restless and worried about lots of things I can remember and can't on my "to do" list. Then, I read the line in the Prayer section about the "activit of busyness in things that will not matter"--that is me to a tee today. God led me here tonight and I need to recognize and thank Him for this blessing. I have never done a retreat of any length before but I am starting tonight!
Week 1: I got many insights from the Acceptance article. It reminded me the offer of acceptance is used by racism, gangs and many other victims who believe they are not accepted by others. And how important it is for teachers to promote you are accepted although you are different to our children. They should be given the tools to encourage the child in such a way it brings out the gifts God gave them. Instead of allowing them to isolate their differences or making a joke out the child to be accepted themselves.
Week 1: As I sit with the photo album of my life, I am thankful for the occasional yet life-long and caring connection I have with my brother and the renewed connection I have with my sister. I have a sense of family, however distant we live from each other and how much apart we lived from each other in our younger years having our family split apart at such a young age. As for my mother, she is coming to the discovery of her part in being “not a good role model” as she lightly puts it and is experiencing remorse. I have forgiven her. I honor her by including her in my life through phone calls and annual visits. My struggle is to love her as I would love a stranger. I wonder at times what will happen as she ages, which one of us children will take care of her? What if it is me? How will I feel? I ask forgiveness for not feeling the love I should feel toward her. My early years caused me to grow up having a mental disorder. I told her this. I forgave her. I have almost healed from this, so where is the love? She is not the only one who caused this to happen to me. My father, an alcoholic, does not return my calls. I don’t know if he is dead or alive. I haven’t heard from him in a couple of years. He has been an alcoholic all my life. Because he was seemingly not harmful to my during my childhood, I feel love for him. I know that he is as responsible as my mother in causing my mental disorder. Since my mother was harmful, I do not feel love the same way as I do my father. But I do tell her that I love her, and I try to mean it. In my heart I know it isn’t true. I feel remorse. I ask for forgiveness for not loving her as I should. I call her again and share my present life with her, and tell her I love her. It’s a never-ending lie. I end up hating myself for not being a loving daughter. Forgiveness, I hope it really is seventy times seven.
Week 1: Why now? I have deeded to do the Spiritual Exercises for the second time in my life, having done them 20 years ago at age 40. They will be a gift to me as I enter my senior years. The week was a mixture of turmoil and peace, as I remained unsure about really wanting to commit to the 30-plus weeks…I am on my way, I can’t turn back now, as week # 2 begins!
Week 1: I too have difficulty actually finding the time to write/journal my thoughts as I come to the end of week one (too many thoughts!). Perhaps it would be best to do so but I'm not going to stress over not doing so. Better to fully saturate yourself in the moment than to stress over trying to put words to it and write it down. 5 days into week one, after having just dropped off my last born 8 hours away for his first year of college, a thought came to mind:
My "photo album of life" contains many snapshots of (pardon the expression) "crap"! Things I am not too proud of, things I'm somewhat ashamed of. Images I have tossed into the corner of my mind left to decompose. But like a plant in a garden, the "crap" (aka: fertilizer), is essential to a healthy plant that bears great fruit! Like wise, the events in my life, the fertilizer events which I have discarded as waste, have been essential to this healthy plant which has had a bountiful harvest! Yahweh I know you are near, standing always at my side....
I recently completed a 34 week Spiritual Exercises in my parish using "Choosing in the World..." by Fr. Tetlow. I found it excellent but when it ended I wanted to go on. I did not fully grasp all the wisdom of the Exercises. I have decided to start from the beginning and do it again using your material. So far I have been very pleased with the added depth that is occurring. Very truly yours,Deacon Bob
I just started the retreat, thank you for having it available! It's become so clear to me that I've lived my entire 48 years of life AFRAID ... Afraid of everything. It's also so clear how Jesus has been there the whole time and even when I knew He was there, I was still afraid of something. I pray to let go of fear and start really living the life He wants me to live.
I am just finishing Week 1 as I start my new business – a business I did not plan to start but which just presented itself. I am doing the retreat to try and stay close to God at this bewildering but exciting time. Looking back at my life I realise that in my later years, occurrences and events in my life have become more and more bizarre and unexpected but that always perfect solutions have come along and resolved each situation, perfect solutions have presented themselves unasked – surely this is the Hand of God in my life. Event after event tells me that God has been gently caring for me & so I have learnt now to follow him blindly without asking why He put me to the test in the first place or why I made the wrong choice and landed in a mess.
I just started the online retreat and am finding the experience very deep and fufilling. I am feeling the impact of taking time throughout the week of slowing down and making time and silence in my life, and my heart - for God.
Thank you for making these wonderful resources available.
-- Michael W.
Just starting week 1 May 1 2007, like a lot of others who have shared I believe The Holy Spirit has led me here. I am 62 yrs old, so I have looked at my past before trying to get a handle on who I am and why I do what I do. I have not however looked at in the way this retreat means it to be as God's acceptance of me and myself, that just sounds so healing. I am starting it out in a horrible depression so I am hoping that it starts to lift very soon so I would appreciate any prayers.
-- Betty, NY
Where was I most known by God. After week one the sense that God knows me always clings to my awareness. There is a sense freedom in that knowledge. I can let go of the habit of trying to justify my actions and instead allow God to lead my actions. I cannot fool God into accepting my bad choices as good, so instead it is time to let go.....
End of week one. I hope I can continue keeping God's presence in my awareness.
As I allowed the hum of my life to focus on my past I could not wonder how the color of all my experiences would have changed had I had a better awareness of God's presence with me during all those times; the good, the bad and the ugly. I also notice that as I fill my houghts with reflections of my history I had to get rid of some of the obsessive thinking I do. The thinking that keeps me worrying. I worry about the choices I make and about trying creating all the right stuff for my family and my faith family. This exercise is forcing me to let go and let God be a little more in control, that was sneaky because I do not give up what I perceive as control well.
Week one for me.... In the beginning. What a gift from God - that by means of the internet and the searching capability of search engine, but mostly through the prompting of the Spirit, I searched for Ignatius' of Loyola's prayers and happened upon this online retreat. I am convinced that it is no accident that I am here, and that God used a tool which many use for desctruction (the net) as a means of redemption. I am no stranger to retreat - having been to many since I was a teen.... but the Lord clearly is offering me this season, free from everything - other than to listen for His voice. To discover who God is - by understanding who I am. I am on the ledge - and looking over the gorge at the valley below - my backpack is on, my hiking stick is in my hand - thus I step off the ridge line - into the arms of the living God. Open the ears of my heart on this journey so that I may hear.
During Weeks 1 and 2 I have been thinking of how many times through the years God has delivered me from death.e.I. When two years old I slashed my head with a broken egg cup in a fit of anger. One inch further and I would have cut a vital spot resulting in death. At age seven I fell off a row boat in the pond where we lived. At the last second my brother dove in and saved me. At age thirty I fell in a stream where I was duck hunting. The current dragged me under and I could not get my head above water. At the last minute I grasped a sunken branch of a bush and pulled myself to the shore.There have been numerous occasions when, while driving on icy roads, I have ended up in the ditch unscathed. Again, while driving I evidently fell asleep and woke up with a semi on one side of me and a bridge abutment on the other still on the road. In all these instances I believe God has been there, helping me either with my guardian angel or with some human"angel." to snatch me from the jaws of death. There are other instances that come to mind as I write. But suffice it to say that God has a mission in life for me to fulfill and He keeps me here until I accomplish it by His grace.
Week 1 - finding this website when I did, during the first week of Lent, has been a gift. Just as I have reached the "narrows" of my life; my husband wanting a divorce, just reaching the age of 62 and starting Social Security, moving to a new location where I have not yet found many friends, the intense sadness in my soul.....beginning this 34 week retreat may have saved my life and my spiritual life.
Week 1: I'm excited to continue this olr. I'm on my first day, yet I cried a lot (out of gratitude, realizing that God always present, even in my darkest hours). The retreat may be hard, but sure it will give you wonderful feeling and benefits for your (spiritual) health, like any (physical) exercise. It is hard to begin, but the result must be great. Thank you Ignatius for creating SE. Thank you those who made this SE available online, and in such a user friendly form.( the articles and guides are soooo touching).
-- Shanti, Indonesia
Well, I have begun this journey… Where it will lead me, I’m not sure. If I’ll make it through to the end, I do not dare to say. But that there is an aking in my heart, that has led me on this 34-week travel: that I know!
(P.S.: English is not my native language; please excuse me any mistakes in writing…)
I've finished my first week. From the first instruction to recite "I know you are with me Lord" to the article on accepting acceptance, I felt two distinct instances where I felt pretty happy. I have decided to keep a journal to jot down some moments when I feel change; indeed I feel a slight difference, only I can't describe it--I can only say I've grasped the weapon of poverty, charity and mercy. I feel more open.
-- Daniel C.
Week 1: I am at the end of the first Week of the online retreat. After going through my photo album I feel full of gratitude. I look at the happy photos; moments of sheer joy, of affection, of successes, of so many relationships. I feel overwhelmed by all the rich experiences God granted me to live and I can only say a very humble and sincere thank you.
I look also at the sad photos; sad because of sad events, sad because of events for which I feel deeply sorry, sad because of moments of illness, of bereavement. And yet here too, I cannot but say thank you, for I realize how true it is that God was never far. As Martha says to Mary, at Lazarus' tomb: "The Lord is He and calls you". Indeed the Lord was there, especially in those sad moments and He was calling to grow, to move towards a deeper faith, a deeper trust, a deeper freedom.
Being a religious, I realize today, going over my photo album, how true the answer given by the Lord to Peter is true: anyone who has given up home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children or fields, for my sake or for the sake of the Gospel will receive a hundredfold now in this world in houses, brothers.....
Lord how faithful You are to your word. You have given me so much, make me generous. Grant that what I have freely received I may freely give. Keep me free in front of all the gifts with which You have blessed me.
Week 1: Beginning the retreat this week is hard for me. My spouse for reasons still unfathomable to me is gone, no longer desiring our married life. I seem to get along better during the week when at work and there are other things to occupy my mind. Then the weekend comes, and with winter setting in, everything feels cold and uncaring and empty. I pray to love God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind and all my strength. But at times I don’t feel the strength or even if I know what real love is. I try not to be self-absorbed and to think what my spouse is feeling and this journey he has decided to take. I find myself amazed at the graces God has for me. Yesterday I prayed for strength. Last night I made it to church in time for the rosary before Mass. When the rosary was finished and I opened my eyes, I found my self surrounded (in front of me, on either side of me, and behind me) with those in my life who have gathered around to let me know they are there for me. I felt God was telling me in this way that he does care. . . “look around you and see me in these people” . . . I feel so unworthy as I often do, but have determined to try and see him is everyone he sends my way, even through the tears I cry alone. My walls have cracked around me, but I pray for eyes and a heart to see through the cracks to the graces and blessings of each day.
Hello, folks, This is my second day of the first week of the online spiritual retreat. it's probably a bit early to share, except I have found that already my days are changing and the way I see things in my world. Keeping a notebook of the "photos" of my early days up through adulthood is astonishing. I never knew how graced I was as a child--even in times of being abused, God was there. The bad parts recede, and the abundant goodness overwhelms me. This is not a journey to be taken lightly.
-- Ann, Maryland
The first week's readings reminded me of this quote from Mahatma Gandhi, which I found in a little book called Wabi Sabi: The Art of Everyday Life (by Diane Durston): My imperfections and failures are as much a blessing from God as my successes and talents and I lay them both at his feet.
At the moment I`m finished my first week of this retreat. And when I had reading this aticle "the courage to accept acceptance" for week 1 second time, after when I was prey for this, I felt that Lord Jesus by His Holy Spirit is coming to sit with me and open to me this subject to shed His light of understanding on this theme. And as i was hearing when his voice is spoken to me by this article so gentle and lovely as He is reveal His love to me.
I just started the retreat tonight and have already felt its special grace. I am looking forward to receiving the graces I need each week from this retreat. Thank you, and may God bless you.
Today is the first day of my retreat. I feel overwhelmed and can't seem to bring a focus to share my thoughts. My gratitude to Almighty God wavers like a palm tree blowing in the wind. I know I should be grateful at all times, but I am still working on acceptance. My faith will carry me through. (1 John 4:16) I made myself write this because I want to see the progress made during these days and weeks of this retreat. Hope is my banner.
A friend of mine suggested that I do this retreat and I have been wrestling with the idea. Last night, I read week one and believe that this is exactly what I need to do. I, however, have a request for anyone who feels led - I need prayer that I will remember my childhood. My memories are sporadic shadows at best. I'm not sure if I can do the entire retreat when I do not have childhood memories to reflect on. I'm afraid, but I'm willing to look and feel. To feel accepted by God is a great desire that I have. I loved the statement in week one's lesson that said, "It is one thing to know I am accepted and quite another to realize it." I need to realize! Thanks!
Last week started Week 1 after waiting over a year to be well enough to start. As I expected it was tough! The photo hurt as at that age I was in institutional care (1952) and babies were not thought to have emotional needs. 'A baby who is not welcome is ruined at the roots of her existence' is very painful to read, but true, my whole life has been sabotaged by this. My desire is help others in need, but I dont cope and have had many years of stress related illness. I cannot - or will not? - see how God can be thanked for this wholly destructive beginning. However I have put this issue on the table, and will see what God does with it as the weeks pass. The advice to not look for progress but trust the process was very helpful.
I did move on to reflect on how I have managed to survive as well as I have - and could see aspects of my childhood which have cushioned me from the worst consequences of my difficulties. And recalled some early beginnings of faith which I had not remembered for a long while. I was surprised that by the end of the week a couple of positive ideas had emerged. Thank you.
I have been using the reading on Acceptance and spending much time with it.
I find each time that I read the piece I see something new especially in the light of my childhood, and begininng today in my teenage years. (I am 64.) This has answered so many question for me about who, and what I am. Praying Psalm 139 after reading the piece as lecito gave me feelings of comfort and peace. I am growing in comfort with me. It is a blessing to be able to look at my life as a young person and see God's presence there all the time even when I never really felt accepted. How did I know that God was preparing me to understand the "Theology of Subtraction", but God's gift has made me able to celebrate the "bottom".
-- "R" of RI
At the end of wk one I invited lots of friends to join me on line retreat. Only one said yes. I am not sure how in touch I am with Jesus as life is fast and busy. I listened to Audio for this week at the end of the day. I have forgotten what it said. With the grace of God, I realized this is not a competition and there is no test of how much I have absorbed. I will keep on trying and I am glad to connect to other retreatants through sharing.
I feel so thankful for this week. I am reminded again of the people who have graced my life. Many I had forgotten about. Many more I have taken for granted. In looking at the pictures of my early life I see that many of my current interests were fostered there. I wonder (and hope) that I did the same with my children.In all staqes of my life I have seen areas of growth ... often unplanned ...
many times going off in directions that I did not intend at the time.Then there are pictures around which I am truly embarrassed. Particular periods of my life which were certainly days of restlessness and darkness and sin. Yet in all these there were people of grace who helped to gradually call me back.
That call is still in my life and I resolved to listen to it intently during this retreat. - Week 1
A wondrous picture encounter:
My God embraces me; human tragedy,
Him and I, something anew; a tragic beauty.
His grace transfiguring me like a newly created butterfly,
rhythmic wonder in wings melodiously beating, as a heartbeat.
Yet not without shadow; tragedy,
His love knows no bounds, otherwise, flightless I would be.
My God embraces me -
May God bless you
I have finished the first week although it could go on for a lifetime.. There were many broken threads but many threads that were strong, filled with love and laughter., As I have grown matured, gotten older (60) I have noticed that my parents, in fact all parents have done the best they could with what they had, So I pray for forgiveness and healing of those "broken threads" as I continue this journey of a lifetime. Lets us all pray for each other. God bless
-- Jim (NY)It is Friday of week 1 and I have had some trouble getting started. I did the 34 week Exercises several years ago with a Jesuit mentor and was excited at the possibility of this retreat. Alas, as a high school theology teacher I need all the spiritual help I can get!! And right now even more than ever; I have just moved to a new school and while I’m very glad for the move, there is still much stress in the changes. I’m also a recovering alcoholic/addict; last night coming home from an AA meeting I was overwhelmed with an incredible sense of gratitude. Part of it came from the meeting, but I’m pretty sure a large part of it came from the Graces of this retreat. The essay on ‘Accepting Acceptance’ was just so powerful—and it fits the AA spirituality so perfectly. Anyhow, as my World Religions class is taking a test, I was moved to share. The Grace of God in my life the past several years has been, well, a lifesaver in so many ways. The picture of being held has subconsciously stuck with me as well. Last night I had this powerful sense that I’m alive today in no small part probably due to the prayers of my mother, who I know I caused much grief. I’m also alive—and fairly joyous today—because of my ‘willingness to accept’ many things I did not want to accept, starting 18+ years ago with the decision to embrace sobriety and then to follow that with a return to Christ, who in turn led me to the Catholic Church. (I was raised a Protestant preacher’s son.) What a great gift to have this opportunity to once again embrace these Exercises. Thank you.
I have been following the retreat for three weeks now, but don't feel very connected to it. I realize part of the reason is that I'm not sharing and have finally gained the courage to post my own sharing. Thank you for everyone who has shared along their journey. I really appreciate the openness and love I feel just by reading other's comments. This retreat has been a blessing, I guess an answer to my prayers. I am grateful to have found it because it has given me such relief over the past few weeks. Whenever I get anxious or feel down during the day, I turn to this retreat and pray, read the sharing or read the prayers and literature and feel so much at peace. Thank you for being here.
I am caught up in the world and am afraid to take out time for this retreat. I think that means intellectually I suspect God exists but that does not seem relevant to me. Although extremely successful I can't really say I am ecstatically happy. A friend many years ago told me how powerful the actual one week retreat was. After the first week of this retreat, I see that from early on in my life I didn't feel accepted and right now I can't see how God was looking out for me in my life.
I am very optimistic about what I will learn from this retreat. I am enjoying the pro-life verses and prayers in this first week. The love that the Lord has always had for me and will always have for me is something that gets me through the ups and downs of my life. God's special love is also something that I hope I can show to my own children
Week 1: This is hard in many ways. I'm trying this again for the second time. I was able to do parts of it the first time through. Inventorying one's life is a challenge. It's a challenge to strike the balance between not feeling sorry for one's self but still trying to allow the real emotions to come to the surface. God's love is a wonderful thing but difficult to comprehend in other ways.
I really just got started on this today, Wednesday. I am a recovering alcoholic, and this is very similar to what I have done and continue to do in order to continue in recovery. I read the prayers and the writings, and find that I am not unique in how my life was. There indeed was shouting and arguing when I was growing up. And in my early adult life, I did make poor choices, and put God on a shelf. It was only in recovery that I learned to reconnect with Him. However, I know that I need more, and I see that that can happen in this "retreat."
I have attempted the retreat about five years ago and just got plain lazy and stopped. Sometilmes in life as time goes by, one gets the feeling that this is the time to do what needs to be done. I feel that this is such a time. I do pray for perseverance and trust that I can trust the Lord at work in my life. I am going through a rough time and feel that I need an anchor that I can't find in everyday life. I find it difficult to share so this is a challenge. I do feel it is important for me to let others know what is going on. So, as the retreat continues I pray and ask for others to pray with me that I have the courage to share. I pray for all who are on the retreat. I know the journey is worth it. May God help me see the importance of lving the journey and not worry where it ends.
Wow! What a way to start a Monday morning! I just pondered over "The Courage To Accept Acceptance". I was so touched by it that I read it twice, wrote in my journel using it, and printed a portion of it to share with friends and family.
I am beginning this retreat -- again. Today seemed different from other times because I focused on myself as a little boy at a specific time in my life. I must have been about three, and I was playing on the floor of my grandmother's kitchen while she cooked. I had made a corral of kitchen chairs, and I was a cow that broke through the fence and asked for my grandmother to see that I got back in the pasture. It is a very clear memory; I was the focus of her attention or at least I expected to be. So today I thought often how that little boy might react to the occurrences of my life now. Today for much of the day I was three again; things were simple, and everything seemed really uncomplicated.
I remember being held by my grandmother who was amply built and very very soft. I hope God is like that, and that I am held in the arms of a very very soft Creator. What a wonderful thought! Sometimes I still get out of the pasture, and I beg to be put back in.
I read about this retreat in the Catholic Voice yesterday- I was intrigued and curious. It has been years since I read the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I am starting a new life journey-after several years of having my mother live in assisted living –we have moved her in with us. She is 82 years old and she stopped participating in activities and going down for meals and has been hospitalized twice in the last 6 months. I feel that this retreat will help me in this journey. I also read the sharing of week 1 and readily identified with NB from the Netherlands. My parents are also survivors of WWII and my mother never seemed to have a lot of time for me emotionally. Like NB there was a lot of emotional neglect and physical abandonment. However, I am called to be present and caregiving for my mother more and more over the past 16 years. I feel blessed that I can take this duty on but I cannot do it alone- I hope I perservere with this endeavor.God Bless you.
I hope to complete this retreat in synch with the liturgical year, but I knew I needed to give myself extra time for the beginning. I've tried Week 1 before but found it too difficult to visualize images and so given up. This time, by God's grace and by allowing myself a few weeks for starts and stops, I've managed to keep going despite desolations and loneliness . Also, supplementing the site's materials with personal snapshots and other outside objects helped me finally progress through Week 1.
The greatest gift in this world that we have been given may be our whole selves. Usually a lot of us don't appreciate parts of ourselves, or don't give ourselves as much credit as we would give to a friend in a similar situation. We know ourselves "too well", we think. But, God knows us better. God gave us our whole selves, as part of His gift of Himself. This is the first week of the retreat, and I hope I will perservere. The last time I started to make a retreat like this, I became overwhelmed. I saw my failings and missteps, my weaknesses and what I thought was bad luck, and I began to despair. This time I am different, because I know I am blessed in my weaknesses. I am loved anyway. We all are loved anyway. Let us perservere together in this journey.
I was turned off the Catholic Church by my upbringing where I felt forced into attending church and in following the sacraments. I still see lots of superstitions in my mother’s faith, which I react against. Also I can now see how it has helped her over the difficult times, which my family has experienced. I focused a lot on the negative aspects of the church and considered myself a lapsed Catholic. I was really turned off religion and disliked the religious sessions in the sixth form college I attended. In retrospect, that was my main outlet for expressing my feelings of isolation within the college. Over the years I’ve become more interested in spirituality and have done a lot of voluntary work on behalf of a charity which was initially established by Quakers and which still has a lot of Quaker involvement. I’ve also developed an interest in Yoga and have studied the philosophy behind Yoga alongside my practice. I love it when I find common spiritual ground between Yoga and the messages and reading material placed on the retreat site e.g. “creating a union with God”, “returning to God”. I believe that God is one and is accessible through a variety of paths. I’d like to thank you for creating this retreat and for all those who’ve shared their experiences on the site. I hope it continues to nourish you along the way.
At the end of week 1 of the retreat, I look back on a week that has slowly begun to change my perspective and feelings about my lifestory.
I cried tears of relief when I read the article "the courage to accept acceptance". It seemed written for me and about me. Both my parents suffered grievously during WW 2 and as a result of their traumatic experience, they were often unable to be caring parents.
When I was 3 years old, our family moved to new home but the house needed some renovation. I can't recall what the reason was, but apparantly my mother wanted me out of the way and brought me to a nearby playground. There she sat me in the sandbox and told me to stay there.
She would only be gone a little while, she said. I vaguely remember other children there and for a while I amused myself making sandcakes.The next image is of myself sitting in that sandbox, all alone. I needed to go to the bathroom and was getting very worried about my mother. "A little while" seemed a very long time to me. Perhaps she had forgotten me. Worry became panic. I got out of the sandbox and ran to where I thought the new house was. But I lost the way. Then my mother found me.
She was irritated and scholded me. I thought it was unfair and felt hurt.Many more incidents similar to this one happened where I felt abandonned and hurt. When my teenage years came, things went seriously wrong for me. I can almost literally copy the tagline of the film about Christiane F.; At 12 it was cannabis, at 13 it was LSD and amphetamines, then she ran away from home. At 15, I kicked the habit. It was mostly because my family began to take notice of me and expressed their concern. That was all I ever wanted.For the next 34 years I struggled to repair the devastation of my youth.
With the help of several psychologists, I analyzed the causes of my problems.
It helped me to understand my parents' behaviour better. It took away some of the hurt, but not all. The problem was that I wouldn't allow anyone to really get through to the real me deep inside. You see, I had a precious secret to hide that was my source of strength and comfort even when everyone around me failed. And I wasn't going to risk anyone tainting that secret.This week I realized that God was this "precious secret". The greatest grace I felt I received is when I suddenly realized that nothing bad happened to that 3 year old in the sandbox all alone. It easily could have, but it didn't. Even when I didn't then, I feel now that God was watching over me and protecting me. Knowing that I wasn't alone enabled me to truely forgive my mother and gave me a feeling of peace.When I began this retreat, I was somewhat reluctant to review my lifestory (been there, done that). But now that I found this treasure which healed a deep wound inside me, I am eager to dig up more treasures.Thank you all who contributed to this retreat.M.B., Netherland
I have just completed Week 1 of the Retreat and am filled with enthusiasm. Many of my memories from my childhood and young adulthood which emerged were painful but I also experienced much joy in remembering the good times too. In all, I could see that God was there gently guiding me and supporting me. I have come to realise that this God of great love has never abandoned me and has on so many occasions sent people into my life in most unexpected ways who have loved me and cared for me when I needed it the most. My prayer life has focused so much more highly in my daily living than ever before because, thanks to this on-line retreat, I now have direction. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity.
I just wanted to say a BIG thank you for the opportunity to do this retreat. I've been thinking of doing a retreat for some time now, and to be able to do one that is online and one that is so flexible is just fantastic. I've only just started on Week One and to be honest some of the reflection is upsetting, but with perseverance hopefully I'll get through the other side feeling closer to our God. I'm already looking forward to the weeks ahead!
I do believe that God calls to me when I am ready for the next step. I get little bits of information and little inklings of how to stretch and take action when I am at my most stagnent point. Here I go once again, God prods and I reluctantly respond. Thank you for enticing me to movement. Please help me to be honest in my efforts and grateful for the experience. I know that I will feel more fully connected. Thank you to Creighton U. for giving me this opportunity... thank you to the Paulist Center in Boston for sharing the information that you exist.
A few years ago I 'stumbled' across this Retreat. What a blessing! So many 'awakenings' and gifts. At that time it was possible to do the Retreat in an assigned group, on-line. That was special. Four other ladies and I prayed, and shared the 34-weeks together. Three of us are still in touch several times a year. Our friendship . . . a gift from the Lord.
That year of Retreat helped so much in understanding spiritual awareness and desire. One key blessing: just remembering to focus daily on the love of God, and daily to offer with thanksgiving, my days to him as I get out of bed each morning. "All that I am, all that I do, all that I say . . . I give to You." That daily commitment has helped me stay focused.
The other big reminder . . ."Grace". It's all Grace!
No one had expressed it quite like that to me before. Imagine, living all these years and never really zeroing in on the magnitude of that word! God's gift! During the Retreat I came to recognize and cherish Grace. The depth and scope of that word, and His love. . . . 'Grace!' "Yes, it is all Grace! And I thank You, Lord!"
It's been six or seven years and now I'm beginning this Retreat again. I'm in my seventies, and I'm still being formed. How exciting and wonderful is that! Awesome God!
Today is the beginning of the third week. Genesis 1:1 "Thank You, Father!"
"Thank you!" too . . . to all who have made this Retreat possible..
In my busy life, I am so grateful to take this time each day to reflect on God's acceptance. When I think of my childhood, I think of a troubled family. I think of a father who had a violent temper and who took out his own frustrations as a provider for a large family on his wife and children. Fear, then, is an emotion that wells up when I think of my past. As a young girl, I remember promising my mother that one day I would take care of her. I, like a child in an alcoholic family, took the position of a parent taking care of a child. Guilt, too, is a very real feeling as
I look back on the things I did to try to survive. The happy times I remember were times spent with other families -my refuge in trying to escape the problems in my own family.
When I first read the topic for the first week --remembering our childhoods, I was very tempted just to skip over the first week,
but if I shut it out, I would then not realize that God was always with me. And even though I didn't know it then, my responsibility as an adult is to accept this acceptance of God and realize that all of my life I've only accepted the love of God when things were
going well. I need to acknowledge that God has been with me in the worst of times as well.God is and was always with me. Yes, he loves me as I was then and as I am now.