Sharing the Retreat
Week 2
Week 2

Week 2: As I near the end of the second week my response will be different from what I had expected. When I started this week my reaction to the question of my own acceptance of who I am today would have been a resounding NO!  I see all the filth of my sins even while acknowledging that Jesus loves me right where I am.  Now I realize I can be of so much more service to Him, which is
something I ask for every day, or at least intend to, the more accepting I am of my own flaws.  Not to say I can get smug about it, a kind of little boy blue mentality - what a good boy (or girl in my case) I am.  But knowing that Jesus accepts me, warts and all, is such a comfort! And who am I to have higher standards! As if I know better. OUCH!  How controlling that sounds, because it is.  And I definitely DO NOT want to be in charge. Too much work and I only mess things up when I try it.

It also occurred to me that allowing me my free will is one of God's most wonderful gifts to me!  By it He allows me to have something to give back to
Him and in allowing me to fall He shows me His great love for me, His mercy and forgiveness.  If I'd never fallen I never would have known them, or even had a reason to acknowledge them and be thankful. That almost seems to answer the last list of questions.  God wants to love the me I am at every moment, with all the warts. He wants to change my attitude about myself so it more closely conforms to His opinion of me - God doesn't make junk.  And by freeing me to see that I can be of more service to those sisters and brothers He puts in my path.  To be allowed a part in His plan is awesome!  What trust He puts in His children. I for one DO  NOT

Week 2: By focusing on where I believe God has and has not been most present in my life, I have discovered more about myself once again.  Concentrating on seeing God in my life has made be realize that I have in the past valued parts of my life that didn't lead me closer to God at all.  I tried to spend the week concentrating on where I believe God has been present.  He has been most present during my deepest times of need and also during my greatest leaps of spiritual growing.  This focusing has caused me to reevaluate how I saw my past.  I don't esteem certain periods of my life as I once did for the mere fact that I drew away from God rather toward him.  I can't help but be constantly reminded of fear.  There is a fear in realizing that my greatest comforts of life have been God-given.  There is fear that I am realizing that I still have not completely turned my back on all sin in my life.  Thinking about my past makes me run to God more, but also with that fear that doesn't leave because it is the unknown.  I only have the warm comfort of past feelings of Grace from God to hold me to God's path.  There is fear in letting sin go.  Ironic, isn't it?-- SN
Week 2: Thank you so much for the blessing of CLC on-line !! I thought week 1 and 2 were so easy as I have done so much work on healing the inner child. But the miracle of walking with the Lord and doing these exercises is new insight all the time. It is so strange to me that I see God was real to me at school, far far from me, or rather I was far from his comforting presence during a marriage to a solid, good man, a true believer in God, and real to me again as never before after my husbands death. Doesn't make much sense. Why was I in such a bad place being married? I just don't get it!! My soul felt so dead in that marriage. Even the children say " mom you are so different after dad died." Yes it is true, now I am happy and free in my spirit. I have found myself again. And in finding me I found God again. Or rather he is alive, real and comforting to me now.
Week 2: By the Grace of Christ, I am who I am. Now I know true Humility.
Week 2- I just had the most amazing revelation about my “secret”. I have been mining my past, my mind, my soul to find my One secret that is the key to unlocking the next door I need to enter. I have been reliving and reviewing all the dark spots in my past, but none of them are secret. I have faced them all. And then it hit me- my secret is that I am happy. My mom died almost 8 years ago, I was only 24. From that day I have felt that it would somehow be a betrayal or that I “shouldn’t” be happy because how could I be now that she is gone? But now I am a mother and being sad all the time is exhausting. But then I realized, the “should” doesn’t matter. God loves me. My mom loves me. They want me to be happy. And I am! I have just never allowed myself to feel it because it wasn’t “okay”. I am flooded with emotions and I feel like I could fly. This is such a gift and a blessing not just to me, but to my whole family. Thank you God. Thank you.
I'm almost at the end of Week 2. I thought like everyone else, why do I have to go over again the painful things in my life -- mostly where I was so far from God with my sinfulness. But there is an urge now to look deeply in several areas of myself... mostly why am I so afraid of being alone... the fear of loneliness - which shadowed my entire life, I believe. It caused me to be desperate to find someone to love me... and many times those relationships were very toxic and unhealthy... just so I wouldn't be alone. I keep remembering the happy times of my childhood before my father left when I was 10 because my mother was divorcing him, mostly because of his alcoholism. She married my father's best friend and although he was a good man, I felt abandoned and lonely after that. My only brother left to go live with my father, so that added even more to my loneliness. I'm so grateful to find this online retreat. Bless all of you on this special journey. I so enjoy reading the sharing.... helps bring up a lot of stuffed feelings and memories. -- Rena
This is my week 2 , I have found through the reflection and examining my life what is truly worth while, God has opened my eyes through his grace. I know now that we should always treat the people we love, like strangers and give them the same consideration we would a stranger. Treat them with respect,consideration. Never take anything for granted, treat your loved ones like the last time you see them may be the last time you see them. Always respect them enough to say thank you and please, and most of all when you leave their company always say "I Love you" !!!! We think they know it, but it is always nice to tell them.

Week 2: My challenge this week is the realization of my fear of rejection.
This fear is an obstacle to my receiving love from others. At the same time, my reflection reveals
God never rejects me. God accepts me and embraces me and loves me.
There is no rejection associated with God. I plan to pray with this all day today.
Week 2: Week 1 of the retreat was difficult for me. I found it challenging to clear my mind of the daily “noise” to allow for reflection. I just couldn’t retrieve scenes and memories from my past that had much meaning. This week I have found that the discipline and structure of the retreat is enabling me to slow down and create time for quiet reflection. This week, during those quiet times, memories are floating to the surface and I am able to spend time with them, to ponder, and to connect the scenes with the feelings and the outcomes. I am better able to recognize (or remember) God’s hand in guiding my path. I am continually reminded that nothing, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, is random in God’s plan for me. I am not, nor have I ever been, alone

Week 2: Glory be to God in the Highest!! I am an alcoholic.I am just starting wk. 2.Having worked the 12 steps going back over my life this time was completely different than when I worked my 4th step.I have a sponsor but I am not using him as my director for this retreat.I have asked a friend who is on the RCIA core team with me who went to a Jesuit University to walk with me through this retreat.At the age of 15 i made a pact with the devil and preceded to live my life accordingly.I have been sober now By the Grace of God for 3 1/2 yrs.I am 52 yrs. old.In that time I have been blessed with many spiritual experiences .One being that I was Baptized ,Confirmed and received first Eucharist at Easter Vigil 2007.I am so looking to see how God reveals his light in the many shadows of my life.My favorite scripture is Phil 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strenghtens me. It takes away all my excuses when i say i can't.
I am in week two of the retreat. During week one I read "The Courage to Accept Acceptance". What a powerful piece! In a few days it has done more for me than years of psychotherapy. To outsiders, my childhood seemed idyllic. But there was something very important missing. Love from my parents came with a price. I was expected to behave in a certain way to maintain that love. There was not "total acceptance" as God's love is. The idea of "total acceptance" by God affected me in two very healing ways. First, I realized that my parents did the best they could. I can't expect them to be as perfect as God. Second, in my relationship with my teenage daughter I recognized that I should try to be God-like and strive to totally accept her with no expectations. Very quickly, my daughter and I have grown closer, and she seems so much more at ease with the world.What an amazing beginning! I plan to continue through all 34 weeks. Thank you for putting this on the web.
Week 2:As I start the second week, I realize that at every crossroad in my life, God has always been extremely patient with me. He respects my freedom and allows me to make my own decisions. It is precisely this freedom that allows the possibility of love. This realization empowers me to fully give God my love and freedom. He Who has loved me and given me freedom, deserves all my love and the fruits produced by my freedom. Thus, I can wholeheartedly tell the Lord, "Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, understanding, my entire will... You have given it all to me, now I return it."
Week 2: During this second week of my retreat I've had to think a lot about moments in my life when I have not felt very good about myself. These moments have been very dark and sad, some of which I've had to accept even though I have not really understood at the time the consequences I would experience in my spiritual life. In one of these moments I was in complete darkness and experienced such fear I felt totally unloved by God. It took a special priest to talk to me without judging me and who finally made me realize that God was loving me even more at that time than ever before. Years passed and one day out of the blue I experienced God's love for me in a very tender and enlightened moment. I feel God has a sense of humor because that very special moment was felt as I was walking through a parking lot on my way to do grocery shopping. At that very moment I experienced God's
tremendous love and mercy for me. I am very grateful because I know that His love is so vast He allows us to make decisions, some easier than others, and His unconditional love is forever present in my life. I am still trying to cope with another decision I made several years ago that haunts me even though I know it was right but still the guilt is there and I ask God to heal me from the pain I've felt and continue to feel for such a long time. I feel I need another moment of total immersion in God's love in order for me to let go of these negative and dark feelings in my heart.
I hope that as I continue in this retreat I will be able to find the answer that I need. God bless all of you and if anyone can offer some insight I will gladly read it and think about it. My experience has been that God always sends me an "angel" in times of need. I do trust in Jesus and lift myself up to Him.
Week Two: In my personal journey I am so focused on Christ in my "now," I have not wanted to focus on my past. It is as if the past or the future are an illusion that takes me from the present. For me, today, It is in the present that I can serve and love. And be loved. Not that I have actually forgotten my past or stopped thinking about the future, but I feel like I should avoid focusing on them. Instead I have been more concerned with hearing the voice of the shepherd who knows his sheep.

I have finished the second week. The hardest day so far was when I was asked to meditate on parts of my sotry I have a hard time imagining God knowing and accepting me. I wrote in my journal: It’s hardest to envision God with me when I sinned – particularly when I knew I was going to sin, thought about it, felt it was wrong, and did it anyway. It’s hard just to think about those times. It’s hard to feel God’s love and acceptance there. My experience of this part of the retreat wasn’t that “good” because of those thoughts. I realize if my relationship with God were based on my performance I could have no relationship.

I woke up the next day to a song, “Only the blood of Jesus, covers all our sin.” That helped. I'm seeing that if in the darkest places I can know God’s nearness, love, and covering, then I can know Him today.

Week 2: I have spent weeks trying to do week two. My perfectionist nature would not allowed me to get past this week. I kept digging for gold instead of letting God work in me. It's that human tendency to believe that we can do it alone, that we know better, that it is impossible that the only thing God wants is an opening, however small. One memory kept coming: me as a young child eating alone at school . For a whole year, after I transfered schools, I didn't have a friend. No one would sit with me during lunch time. It made me sad to remember that loneliness. But as the week progressed the image started to change. Yes, I was still sitting there but I was not alone anymore. Sitting next to me, was God, and it dawned on me that I have never been alone in my life, and I will never be. That doesn't mean that at times I will not feel lonely or abandoned -even Jesus felt that way at the end- but it is just an illusion. He who created me, who shaped me and gave me life, is like the song say "with me beyond my understanding".

Week 2: God is always with me I must acknowledge Him and His presence with me. No more disguises or masks God let me be who You made me to be all the time. Sad or happy even upset at times and joy full most of all. Let You in me shine brighter than the sun. Allow me to deal with my evil and harsh past and shed the baggage that I have been holding onto. Keep
making me into your perfect image and self. Continue to help me seek you I mean really be looking for You in Your word and in situations and especially in people. Make me aware of Your Spirits presence and also of the Accuser's presence so I can begin to pray for your protection. You are everywhere and in everything Your fingerprint is all over. Thanks for putting images of yourself all over the world.

Week 2 caused me to go deeper into my life. It was not an easy task and I found that there were many places of dificulty and sorrow. Yet also there was much for me to be greatful for. I felt the grace for this week was to hold up to the Lord all my life in gratitude. Though this was dificult I did feel his forgiving love. I thank you for this week and for the fact that we had to go deeper because I might never have had this grace were it not for going deeper into my life.

Is there a part of me, my story, I have a hard time imagining God knowing?
Because I have a hard time imagining God accepting me there? It's week 2.I frequently return to the questions. I can not imagine God not accepting me. As I review the memories and crossroads, I can't not consider how Christ's Bride, the Church, has influenced them; and not all for my seeming good: A first grade nun who was physically and psychologically abusive to six year olds; A father, raised in a Catholic orphanage, who never speaks of his own earthly father (Dad is 82, now). My Dad himself (I believe) inherited a sense of abandonment and was "forceful" in correcting his children's infractions. Unfortunately, I was never a student of psychology and never understood enough of all this to know it was affecting me. Thus, it played itself out in my life as father to my own children. I hate myself, my father , and the "Church" for that. I do not fear God's awareness of this . I feel God knows all this and condemns me not. Am I contrite for it? Absolutely. Do I discuss it with my children and wife? I tell them every time it comes up, "I was wrong." And not once, until now, have I been aware enough and courageous enough to say all this. I am grateful that I can get this out. It was masked, compartmentalized and well-hidden. Do I get warm, fuzzy, comforting feelings of God's Presence? Not from this. Not from these memories. Do I see where God was in all this? No. Do I believe I have been lead by Him to this place and time of this Retreat? Absolutely. For this, I am grateful. I pray for Grace and Peace for us all.
-- David

I began week 2 today, and I have to say that this is not easy. I asked the Holy Spirit to help me find the good in my childhood, it is so difficult. I have an overwhelming sense of weakness and insecurity since as far back as I can remember. Over and over I keep hearing the faint whisper-"I give the weak, My strength." I then took my grown self back to that little girl and told her all the things that she needed to hear back then. "You are fearfully and wonderfully made, there is nothing wrong with you, pray for God's strength and he will give it to you-love yourself, because you are God's loving creation, created by Love, to Love." I think that little girl believes me!

Week 2: I have just downloaded week 3 of the online retreat and have read some of the week 2 sharing. It seems several people, myself included, have trouble with masks. My own experience came to the fore a few days ago, when I helped with a funeral and Mass for a friend's husband. I did not know why, but I avoided going to the luncheon after the funeral. Later that evening I got a phone call from a friend who asked why I wasn't there. The next day, several more people commented on it and also that I was grouchy the last couple of days. It took a while but I finally figured out that I was very much disturbed by the fact that the funeral came on the first anniversary of my mother's death. I hadn't thought that I had been "grouchy" but instead had hidden my emotions and thoughts, my self, from myself.

I had thought that I had completed week one and week two successfully and was ready for week three, particularly since I had extended (unintentionally but certainly) for more than the week which should have been allotted to it. But, now I wonder at how much else I have hidden from myself. It is particularly comforting though, that God knows and accepts us as we are. And in this, can I ask more?
-- Quentin

Greetings from Australia. I am completing my second week. I feel a week is not long enough to take it all in. There seems to be so much for us to consider in each segment. I was deeply moved by the photographs which seemed to speak volumes to me, particularly the state of my relationship with God and others. The challenge to be prepared to take up my cross and follow Jesus means for me to die to myself, to stop being self centred, and being prepared to go out on a limb for someone else if need be. There are so many people who suffer in silence and nobody seems to notice. Everyone has a right to be acknowledged and given the time of day at the very least. How else could they be loved and cherished for who they are. I pray that I may become more aware of my indifference to wards the plight of others and the selective way in which I deal with people. It's always tempting to take the easy way out and forgetting that God has been and still is holding on to us and encouraging us to go one step further.
In looking back into my past, I am becoming more aware of certain crossroads in my life when I had to make important decisions about the directions my life should take. I could not have taken those steps unless there were others there to guide, lead and give me courage.I grew up in a family who loved me and forgave me and made allowances for my shortcomings, thus enabling to experience acceptance and self respect. There were so many others who also accepted and treated me kindly. I did nothing to earn this. It was freely given to me. I am beginning to see this as a blessing from the Lord. I believe it is up to me to give out more of what I received in my lifetimm.
In closing I would to thank all those who have shared their experiences of the retreat and their lives. I am finding their life stories very helpful.
May God bless you all.
-- Louis

Week 2: This week I felt some real tension and consolation as well. For some reason I feel real tension around some questions that I want to avoid, "Who am I presenting to other people?" "Who is it that I want other people to see?" In my review of my pictures I feel that as an underlying tension. I experience anxiety over this. Part of this is because of where I am living now and to where I recently moved. I'm reminded of the social tensions growing up.
But the consolation comes first as I read Father Gillick's reflections. I realize that while I may have resolved these identity issues as I grew up and moved around, I still play them with God. I'm trying to present myself to God as the person I think God wants me to be. Probably there is nothing wrong in this but it is preventing me from realizing that it is God who wants to reach me … know me … love me. Somehow, I was missing this. I had seen myself as the person loving God, trying to know God better, letting parts of myself reveal themselves. The anxiety I feel recedes when I sit and let God love me … here and now. This is similar to something I have discovered in my marriage. My wife can be quite realistic about who she is living with. She can see through my "presentation games" and to her it doesn't matter. It's even more with God. God knows who I am and loves me for it.
I felt reinforced in that when I reflected on crossroads I've encountered in my life. I see that at each point … even when I thought I was in control … there has been a gentle touch or even if I was ignoring God's voice … somewhere along the path thereafter there would be a gentle tapping on the elbow so that I kept somewhere along a path that God can make use of.
For these experiences I give thanks.

Week 2 completed... God was always within, and I spent 30 years looking outside of myself for his love and peace. I finally was able to connect with that little piece of Himself He put in all of us , to lead us on our journey through this earthly world, to find a home in our heavenly Father's house. I've now spent 25 years attempting to dismantle and remove my too many defense structures and masks. These masks kept me apart from God and others , while I merely survived life. Opening my heart to God has allowed me to begin living a meaningful,spiritually satisfying and peaceful journey. I seek and pray to be more an instrument of God's love and peace. I seek to more faithfully accept life on God's terms . I pray to stop seeking life's answers and ask God to take my questions from me ,so I may become more faithful.

Thursday of week two, my brother died last month. Find myself grieving more today. Crying thru Mass sometimes to the point of sobbing, no kleenex Part of the masks that we place, and the walls we put around ourselves. Grief takes work, and is so painful that we don't want to feel it, or even share it. One of the ways when we were growing up, don't show emotion, don't let others know that you are grieving.
Allowing God in to help me thru the grief, because He knows how much it hurts and we can't get thru it without Him. I miss my brother, making me laugh on the phone and the talks we have about family, who we need to pray for, but most of all the talks about our faith. Being able to be free to talk and loving each other when we disagree our safe place to share.
My sister that recently moved back home is going back to Colorado to take a temporary position. She will be gone for three months, during the holidays. It will be hard, but at the same time happy for her that she will be with her kids and grandkids, feeling that loss.
Today is just a boatload of tears, thankful for the retreat, it is also a safe place to share. Freedom is allowing the walls to come down.

On week two. Before beginning the retreat kept hearing this melody in my head didn't know where it was coming from, then listened to the songs of Ignatian Spirtuality, the melody was Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam... thank you God for this wonderful retreat. It is very helpful studying Women of the Old Testament and doing the retreat, God was with all of them the good and bad. Just like He is with us and loves us all the time. He never abandons us.

It is only week 2 but I especially liked the readings, reflections and prayers for this week. It reminds me that I am free to be me without masks, or hiding behind shallow words. That God loves me secrets and all, that I am much more open to God’s healing touch once the secrets have been exposed to the Light of day. I no longer need to live in the shadows. There is so much more Peace. Joy , Love in my heart with God by my side.

I am beginning week two, and I am feeling a little bewildered and befuddled - but I am not giving up! I thoroughly enjoyed and at the same time regretted going through the album of my life last week, and I am beginning to take the steps forward in week two in that photo album. However, every I begin to answer the questions in my mind, more pictures and memories - good AND bad - come flooding in and I need to begin all over again. So, I am hoping to just be open to where the Holy Spirit leads me in this. Thank you, all of you, for what you have written. Your words inspire me and help me to sort the millions of pictures flooding my head through this! I especially thank God for leading me on in this wonderful adventure, and place myself, my memories and my experience in His loving hands! May God Bless you!

Week 2: An amazing gift came my way as I was meditating on this week’s photograph. I realized I needed less to know God’s love of me in the womb. Rather I was the little girl (become adult) listening with the stethoscope to God’s word, often silent and hidden in each moment of the day. I love writing. I write about what I hear.

I stayed on week one for ages and ages... I was very hopeful on finding the retreat but wasn't able to move past week one... I have finally started week two but still have the feeling that I am not 'doing this properly' - a feeling that arises out of issues I am slowly working through... I feel so very angry and tired this morning... My kids get up so early and I spend so much time distracting myself from the feelings I am really feeling / trying to fill in time... But if I am honest - I am really angry and extreemly tired. Please pray for me... I do have so much to be grateful for - please God may your grace help me feel gratitude and not just resentment and anger... The retreat's concept of having the week's theme in the background is such a good thing... if I can just remember to do this, I know it can change everything about my days and brings light into the darkness of my perception... Jesus, may your light and truth infuse my thoughts today.... More of you, Lord...
--Mary, Brisbane, Australia

This is my second week I am going into right now. I am excited at my first week's experience. It is a journey I am open to traveling. I am not sure where it will take me but I trust it is taking me where I need to go right now. Everything happens in His own time, and I know that this is where I am supposed to be right now. I am 52 years old and have been considering something along these lines for quite a few years now. Finally I have gone back and found this site and I am so grateful to have found it. I look forward to the next 33 weeks.
-- Teresa

Wow! just finished reading from the sharing on week three and they left me sad. People seem so lost in the reflection of their lives that came from week 1 an 2. I hold them in prayer. In the last two weeks I have been encouraged to let the past go. God's love was/is always there, that is the wonder I am experiencing. Why don't I just let that happen more.
I find this week a relief. God's beauty is all around. It is spring and God's gifts abound. I saw the most beautiful forsythias in the world on the way to work. The brightness of their yellow did not seem real. I was surprised how many birds flew by as I drove to work...
In all this wonder where is my purpose? I will continue to ponder this, but I certainly felt small compared to all the wonder and gifts God puts in my world every day. I am blessed, yet need to express that more.

Week 2: Dear Friends, These past days have been the most difficult for me. After reviewing the photo-gallery of my past, all of the pleasant and painful memories with my father, with my ex-girlfriends, my mother, with those with whom I fell passionately in love, I felt an overpowering sense of infallibility which arose from the sense that I am still alive. One day, out of nowhere, I decided to pick up and leave my home in Toronto and make a pilgrimage to Florida to find a gentleman who claimed to receive visions of our Blessed Virgin. I intentionally put no thought into the excursion, hoping to rely on Providence alone and see where I would go in the journey outlined by the exercises I'm taking online with the Creighton website. I travelled by the meanest, crudest way I believe one can travel in North America, by a Greyhound bus.
After 44 hours of travel, bringing a guitar, some notebooks, a laptop, and a small knapsack which I stuffed with my clothing, I finally arrived. As soon as I found a motel, I discovered HBO and reverted to a lazy, movie-filled week of limbo and have neglected the exercises outright. I discovered today that I have been expecting Providence to drop something into my lap, and have been blaming myself for being unworthy with each night's motel bill. During this week of doing nothing, my thoughts have been filled with the darkness that have surrounded all those memories I've been repressing. Certain failures in my life, certain unwise decisions made and their consequences, and the nasty sentiments issued by blame and harsh words by me and by those who were pained by those bad decisions; these created an aura of darkness that I have been courting in my sleep in an attempt to find some repose from the shame and negativity eminating from the darkness; to find a few minutes of pleasure.
Today, I have begun realizing that I have turned my gaze radically away from the light that has empowered me to undertake the exercises in the first place. The shame I feel is mine, not given to me by anyone or anything else. The guilt, that is mine, it came from nowhere but from me. Looking at the little girl before the pregnant woman has today shifted my outlook, changed my perspective. As yet, I have no words for it, but it is opening a passage admitting a lot of white light, bright but not painful to see. I feel as though my personal, painful baggage from the past is not merely a burden but fuel that is burning in my heart. And an energy is now causing my legs to and shoulders to quiver.
-- Daniel

Week 2: Here in Week 2, while reading the sharing others have submitted and sitting in the adoration chapel, the panning for gold image kept coming back to me and brought much joy. I imagine God panning through all the dirt in my life and finding the good golden things that are still part of me and worthy of love. I imagine myself panning through all the hurt and disappointment in my life, but still finding the little nuggets of joy and blessing that come along with it. I have learned to see Jesus everywhere, and make a concscious effort to thank Him for all the beauty I see and all the times He's pulled me through when I doubted myself. All in all, it's a happy ending to the reflection of my life. I pray it's the same for my fellow participants. Peace...

Week 2: It is Thursday of the second week and nothing major has happened like in the first week but I am constantly aware of how joyless the people around me live and work...never grateful perhaps I am like that as well and the more I get aware of this the more I want to say ....Thank you LORD thank you for your goodness.....
-- Elizabeth J.

Week 2 It took me 19 days to finish weeks one and two. I'd tried to recall my past many times before but this time things were different. First I was stung as all those sins of the past came flying at me - so many and for so many years; so many acts of contrition, so many confessions. I was ready to throw in the towel and forget the whole idea of this retreat.

But just like the confessions led to happy days, so my memories turned to all those blessings forgotten. My father so frequently taking hours out to be with me: to show me the sights of New York; to teach me to pitch a baseball; I'd forgotten how close he was, quiet but not aloof, disciplining but not demanding. Memories lifted me up: of my brother playing with me; my mother as always so caring; teachers, bosses, commanding officers; girlfriend and wife, daughters and granddaughters. I ride the crest of an enormous, joyous wave thanking, so inadequately, a God who has so wonderfully blessed me! Thank god! Thank God!

Week 2: I had some trouble with Week 2 and considered taking longer to work on it but have decided that I will go on today to Week 3. My first problem was that I had unknowingly done some of what we were guided to do this week during week 1. I had identified crossroads, etc. My bigger problem was with the masks. Perhaps I do not understand or perhaps I do not want to. What I do know is twofold. First, people I am close to see me as the Mom/wife who will handle things, the volunteer who gets things done, the go to person and organizer. When I drop this mask and show vulnerability, people are at best perplexed and usually unhappy. It is not that I am not that person, it is just that they look for it when I am not up to it at times. I will continue to reflect on this as I move forward. My second, deeper problem is with the purpose of our, or at least my masks. It seems for me they are often my attempts to improve myself, to make myself more what God intended but what is not coming naturally. Isn't it often a mask we wear as we practice being what we do not naturally feel? I don't want to remove those masks because they are, I pray, leading me closer to my purpose not away from it. So, I will move on to Week 3 and believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding me forward. I can always back up, if it seems to have been a wrong decision. I was amazed and moved as I read today some of the new Sharings. I wish I had someone to share and dialogue with on this, but even just reading others thoughts and writing my own sharing at the end of each week is a great help.

Week 2
In the womb:
As in the of womb with original sin; a time of growth,
under the care of God's Holy touch; loving eye.
Pressing through, as a light veil, into the first breath of spiritual life,
beyond the dreary earthly plane, into the glory we are all clothed in through Christ Jesus,
in His rhythmic breathing ; giving and receiving, His love with all those I meet.
As in the warmth; comfort of the womb,
God continues creating me-

May God bless you
Just before I write this I received an email from a childhood friend from whom I had not heard for years. Somehow it seemed to crystalize my reflections for this week. In week 1 I had given thanks for the people who influenced, shaped and graced my life. Some I regretted not having kept in contact with them and R was one of them.

It also personalized a somewhat abstract observation that I had been reflecting on: last week I was especially embarrassed at the poor choices and pursuits that I felt darkened a period of my life in my late teens and early 20's. This week I held that period up to the Lord along with other periods. I realized that some of the pictures from that time were not too bad. I'm not downplaying the restless or darkness of these days but in some pictures I preferred the person I saw there. He was more focused on helping others and certainly on social justice than in some of the pictures subsequently.

I realize that I was always striving to meet the Lord and His demands on my terms. Part of these personal terms is that I wanted to flee from where I had been brought up. There was another world I wanted to discover. Why? I'm not sure I understand. Yes at any period of darkness there were people there who helped point to the right path. The Lord used them well. There were periods of special grace that forced me to look at how I was serving the Lord more authentically. Pastors I worked with in a youth programi n my 20's. Franciscan brothers who got me involved in a day shelter for the homeless when I was in my 30's. Then in the 40's I came to the realization that I needed to worship more authentically and commit myself more deeply to the Church. Now that I am in my 50's hopefully the Lord will continue to use me and guide me. One thing I have come to learn and R's email reinforced it for me, I'm not fleeing anymore.

Hello, I am a priest and have made the exercises a number of times, but this is the first time in the "world." As I finish the second week, it has been very enlightening to slowly pause on both bad memories and too on how God's awesome love as undergirded me my entire life. You may use or publish my e/mail address if you wish. I like sharing with others.Thanks,
-- Fr. Francis

WK2 speed! speed! through the week. I read the guide three times this week and it did not stay with me. A horrible time on thursday, trying to to be a peacemake at work and I failed. I realized that I am not alone and discuss matters with friends next day and I prayed. I was much better. I remind myself that the online retreat is not a test and has no evaluations. I am sure there is the grace from god this week. I thank God and the opportunity to be in it and reading the sharings of others who is on the same pilgrimage.

As I finish the second week of the retreat I am distressed. First, the week itself was just discombobulated in general; last week was especially good—‘this too shall pass’—and it did. But that’s all part of the process and I adjusted. I teach high school in Colorado Springs, pretty close to the school where the shooting occurred this week. I find today that I am rather shaken by the whole event—in ways that I cannot explain nor quickly understand. I am sitting here, fighting back tears, because, after all, I can’t really just cry in my classroom. I know that ‘all things work together for good...’ but I just don’t understand how... and I’m ‘suppose to.’ Anyway, I pray for the continuing Grace to take the next necessary step—one foot in front of the other and to carry on with renewed seeking of God’s will in my daily life. How to be a good disciple; a good husband; and a good teacher—and to offer it all up to God for His glory and my salvation... Wow, what a week. Thank God it’s Friday for real.
I feel so fortunate to have found this retreat- I just completed a 3 year formation program to become a spiritual director- a type of mystique had developed around the Ignatian exercises for me since someone told me you really need to do them with a spiritual director. But after I completed the program I was looking for something to help me continue to deepen my relationship with God and a former classmate told me about this web site and so I have begun even though I am a bit scared of it.

I am starting week 2 and I am moved already by the abundance of grace that God has shared with me. I want to share two insights I have received.Through past retreats and exercises, I knew that the loss of my mother at the tender age of 7 days had affected my whole life. I am now 63. As I was growing up,no one ever talked about her and it wasnt until I began asking questions several years ago that I started to find out who she was as a person and the circumstances of her death. But here is the grace of this retreat: today during Mass it came to me that God wanted me to forgive her doctor and to pray for him and bless him. This came about because I worked with the image that when my mother died, her doctor cried. A very elderly aunt shared that fact with me. As I stayed with this picture, I was very moved and I have forgiven him and offered that Mass for his soul. I had never thought about him in any way prior to this except to partially hold him responsible for her death which was from a blood clot to her lung.

The other thing I wanted to share was a dream I had that amazed me- I was so touched by a couple of the readings for last week and this week- especially the one that talked about how God accepts us as we are and how "God tends to us" I dreamt that I was taking care of a young baby and twice during the dream I couldnt find the baby. (This reminded me too of an old column by Erma Bombeck who said this was one reason that old people dont have babies- they would forget where they put them!)But in my dream both times I found the baby in the chapel and being well taken care of by others in the church. I am not an expert on dreams but I think given the context of our life review the past two weeks, that baby was me and God was reassuring me that He does indeed "tend to us."

I do presently have a spiritual director and I hope she will help me with this retreat but it is also very helpful to read what other struggling souls write on this site. You have permission to use my name. God Bless you.
-- Pat
This is Week 2 for me. The question about feeling God's presence reminded me of something. I am 83 but still need to grow. Back in 1972 I received the Baptism in the Holy Spirit, also referred to as Release of the Holy Spirit. I had never been certain of my identity. When I was seven my mother told me that God had given me to her to take the place of her mother who died six months before I was born. I took this literally at the time and tried very hard to do everything she said. Sometimes she would say, "You are just like my mother." At other times she would say, "You are just like your father" or "You are like your Aunt Kate." I was never sure which "mask" I was supposed to wear. This was on my mind a week after the Baptism when I suddenly saw myself through the windshield of the car I was driving.
In the picture I was grown up but my hair was cut the way it was when I was five. When the picture disappeared I suddenly felt a rush of pleasant heat go through me and for just seconds I felt God's love for me and realized I am not my grandmother or anybody else except myself. God knows me completely and can never ever misunderstand me. Ever since then when I begin to get upset about something I say to myself, "GOD KNOWS."
I very much appreciate your Retreat..It has already helped me to begin to tie up some loose strings in my relationships. It has also surprised me with a realization that some relationships that were dear to me were deeper and more beautiful than I had realized.Thank you so very, very much.
God bless you.
-- "Cub"
So far, I'm learning much about myself. My parents died when I was a young child, and I thought I was over that, but there are moment when unexplained sadness or anger crops up...and I can never seem to get a handle on it. It just takes me by surprise, at times...especially when I think I've been doing so 'good' with my prayer life, and connection to God. Last week, being week 1, it required me to go back into my past, and think about my parents' deaths, and moments that were painful. I guess I realized how angry I still am, and pray that God will take all the anger from me. I don't want to hold onto it anymore...and I don't know why there's like this little piece of me that still hangs onto that anger. I want to let go of it.

Thank you for listening. God bless this ministry and university...this retreat is awesome!!!
-- Sharon

Today I am ready to release every thought that binds me to the limited beliefs of yesterday. I am no longer held in bondage to the past. Today I see myself in the world, free from limitations. This part from one of the readings really moved me for I hold onto things that bind me to yesterday and to the past. I need to let go of these thoughts, fears, doubts, regrets and allow myself to be free of these limitations. It is so easy to hold onto the hurt and pain of regret and so easy to allow myself to be tied down to the past because of something someone may have said to me. Recently, I have been experiencing difficulties in my relationship to my parents. My mother is having trouble "letting go" and allowing me to live my own life as an adult. She told me that she was jealous of my new life I am creating. I have been thinking about this alot and cannot seem to get past it because I want so much to be understanding of her feelings but at the same time, I cannot hold myself back from growing in my relationship to God and others just because she wants things to go back to the way they were when I didn't have my own life and interests and friends.

I recognize that the most loving response is to show understanding and be patient, two things that are difficult for me at times. My prayer life has certainly helped me to grow and become closer to God. This online retreat helps nurture my faith and helps me to reflect upon my life experiences and see how God was present in all those times. I know God is present in my life now and will help me through this rocky point in my relationship with my mom so that both of us can grow with each other. I desire to be released from the bondage of my past and be ever present and ready for the present, free from limitations.
I am in week two. This week I was touched by the questions which opened my eyes to my life. I was able to reflect more and more upon my life. Though I did this during week 1 I was able to think and reflect more during week 2.
-- Lana
this week has been very difficult for me. i have found myself TRYING to be WELL and to do well as if passing an examination. during the week the desires have risen with great force and rocked me. a desire for a close adult sexual relationship - something i havent had with a good man. and the prospect of my son and his little family moving away has me really rattled. a clear desire to go on living where i am and doing what im doing came out of week one . i have a very simple life and a good deal of solitude for prayer and writing and time alone with god. now i have internet i have access to such wonderful minds and teachings. im also a recovering drug addict and now at 56 have the freedom to spend a good deal of my time in meetings and amongst the community god has led me to. it is a very rich time for me.
however as this weeks panning for gold has gone on - emotions have risen unexpected and tears continue to fall. i have also found myself doi! ng and saying things i normally keep very low key or covered up and im startled by the intensity of the desires . im definitely as some sharers have written finding it very difficult to keep this in the background. its demanding to come to the forefront of my life and the quietly discplined way in which i prefer to behave is shimmering and dissolving and i seem to be coming to pieces.
i was finding very little peace till this morning when i could feel theMaster come up behind me and place an arm around my shoulders and lift the lamp he held up high so that i was shining ON ME and not so much on my life this week. when i did go out this morning i felt as if were being presented to the world as the beloved child lit by a golden glow. as if people saw me as He sees me. and it didnt matter if i say foolish things , or love a man or dont behave wisely. i felt as if other people were looking at me with the same love and compassion and understanding a! s He does. im not out of the shaking yet and a wee edge of madness tickles my ears but the consolation is coming.
i also allowed 2 friends into my cottage which i keep very private and we sat on my bed and spilled out my box of photos and they looked through the years with me and it was wonderful . i also found a picture of me pregnant with my son and wept for the knitting in the womb which made more sense then.
as i sit now i also see the going away of this young man whi is my son to live near his father for a time - as the same ongoing love and formation that god has for me. i still dont know how i shall handle my little grandaughers not being a part of my daily life and i am on my knees crippled in some areas at the moment but i begin to suspect that gods next plan for me may be something i consider too good or too daring for me. and i KNOW i need further changing before i do that thing.
im so glad you are all out there. im battling b! ut i know many of you are too . and to be reading the people who have gone ahead of me is such a help. i shall put the photo of myself pregant with my son and with my little girl beside us up with my holman hunt painting and see where i find the next fruit. god bless all of you.
Nell from the Tweed.
greetings all. its nell in australia again . sitting up here in my cottage on the hill looking out at the lights on the coast. my grandaughter said i could see everything god could see when i moved in here. so i sit here and am comforted by some of the images. my son and his little family who live near me are moving away and wanted me to come with them. i had already come to a decision that iw ould not go. when i came across the retreat i trusted that guidance would become clearer on that and this weeks images of panning for gold and staying where you find the fruit are a fine way for me to begin the 2nd week - sustaining me in gods logic and not in that of the world. again i have trouble FEELING the photograph but i have put some family photos up and i can bring to mind the knitting in the womb. again the first couple of days have brought me to tearfulness and slight shifts in my own behaviour . sleepless nights which ! is unusual for me. i dont have a catholic background and im not educated in theology so i have to feel for some of the conecpts and ideas.
one dimension which im finding sometimes diffiicult and sometimes funny is the public nature of this retreat which has me saying and doing things i dont normally say or do. god bless all of you . lets see where this leads. nell.
I am moving towards the end of week two and find that the retreat is helping me in numerous ways but want to share just one here.

I have a spiritual director and we meet once a month. About a week before I started the retreat, we met for our regular session. I am at a point where, after several years of being in a spiritual "dry spell" I feel as if God has taken me by the hand and begun to lead me somewhere. I've been meeting with this person for just over a year and credit my "readiness" to move forward to these monthly sessions. I also shared with my director that I had begun to write the story of my life, going back to my childhood, beginning with my earliest memories.

Then, almost on a whim, while browsing online that following week, I came across this retreat and decided to begin it. Surprised at the seeming coincidence of the content of week one, I proceeded. Now in the middle of week two, I am certain that God has not just taken me by the hand, but grabbed me by the proverbial shoulders, shaken me and pushed me in a direction that I never would have ventured on my own!

Like so many others I seem to have journeyed into rich but scary territory, that of my past life. I did not have a happy childhood but God's gentle graces these past several weeks have washed over me as I've relived many difficult moments of that chidlhood and also some happy ones. Years ago I would have been traumatized by these memories but this time it's different. This time, the graces are calming and loving and they bring insight into not only my life experiences but those of the rest of my family. God's grace is a gift to me this time and the retreat prayers and readings have allowed me the opportunity to visit my memories in a different light.

I am a professional writer, so writing about my life comes fairly easy; it is the feelings that are always churned up that I have trouble dealing with. I've lived a very interesting life and have been encouraged by many to write a book. Well, in a way, that has begun I guess. But first, I must be at peace with myself and this retreat has already gone a long way in bringing me to a point of attrition. Finding this place was no coincidence, of that I am sure. With interest and anticipation I look forward to the journey! Thank you so much for providing the opportunity.
I'm just finishing week 2. While week 1 energized me, week 2 felt like work - to go back over the same ground. I wasn't able to find highlights; I did begin remembering lots more of my life. One striking point was how present and gentle God has been in my life. I could ignore Him for years, but He stayed close and kept offering little nudges. Even when I repeatedly refused to notice them. I also realized how much of a "go with the flow" person I have been, rather than developing my own beliefs I've just gone with the crowd so often: women's lib, being independent, having a career. Where has the "me" been?
I'm finishing week 2. In reading other people's stories I feel compassion for the very difficult lives some people have had. I have a happy story from week 1 that has lead into this week - I remembered how at age 9 I was totally fearless except for snakes which we did have and so was a good precaution. I wondered where along the way, the zest for life had dissipated. Out walking with the dogs I came across a river where the bridge had washed away and the only way over was with stepping stones. Usually I would think, "Too much bother" and go a duller route. This time I remembered the 9 yr old somewhere inside me, chose the stepping stones and helped the old 12 yr old dog to cross (she loved it!) while the younger dog leapt and splashed! We did well and I had a feel of being that mad cap prankster again which has raised my confidence in looking at the more painful stuff that came later in my life. Praise and thank God!
-- Sarah. S.Africa
I am just starting week 2... I just want to express how grateful I am for this retreat. It has come just as God has prepared me for it; I have many areas of my history with which I need to come to peace. Thank you to all who share; those words enrichen the content of the retreat...My prayers are with those who prepare this retreat, and those who are following it, as I am...
It's my second week but I haven't been faithful to the retreat every day. But it's affecting my dreams. I had a wonderful dream the other night that I was a young boy, 8 or 9, and back home again. My sister was a baby again. I was so happy and it seemed so real. I was aware of everything; who I was and how old I was; how I was going to live my life for God. I am realizing how happy I was when I was young. I'm actually afraid of weeks to come when I'm at the unhappy parts of my life.
After a weekend of having time and space to reflect, I am excited and enthused about the reflections and readings. I can manage to have some quiet AM time in AM and can sit and reflect also. However I start my work and responsibilites, I have a hard time focusing and remembering the background. I did week 2 twice and plan on doing week 3 again this week. Don't want to get into my tendency of 'doing it right' but do want to be fed by the week's reflections and prayers.
When asked to reflect on the purpose- do we reflect on 'things' in our world or on events that happen to us?
In the midst of week two, and I praise God for his presence and gentle ways. I have found that this time as I reflect on some painful memories, I no longer feel anger or resentment, but can actually feel sympathy for someone who has hurt me deeply. I feel peace and freedom, knowing God has set me free and healed those past wounds. I also am able to see how this person loved me, where I could not see that before-Thank you Lord.
Two surprises hit me as I reflected on the themes for the week. I have always seen myself as very goal focused but as I went through crossroads and decisions I see that a lot of these had been opportunistic. I like to think that I could use this to explore how God had actually been present in some or even most of these crossroads. I do notice that at each point there are quite often some significant people … not all of these I have kept up with. So I give thanks for the opportunities I’ve encountered and thank God that He has been able to help me shape them. I especially give thanks to people who have influenced me on this journey as well as those people who still accompany me. The second thing that hit me was that my period when I lived in Europe was more vivid and compelling than the period soon after marriage (children … new house … expanding in career). I was somewhat surprised at this because I always saw these earlier days as quite special. Then I thought more of some of my spiritual journeying. In Europe there were quite significant moves. But I did struggle constantly about whether I was doing the right thing. For example, I often reflected that I was earning too much money … it wasn’t fair etc. But I also remember during another Ignatian exercise I did a conscious discernment exercise posing the question of whether I should do something completely different. I was sure I was going to choose to give up my job and move to Africa or somewhere else. I remember being surprised with the clarity I received to continue the path I was on. In the earlier days, there were some beautiful pictures (babies , boys growing up … my parents visiting etc) but on a spiritual level I was on the wrong struggle … at least it was my struggle … God was probably there but I was trying to be in control and I was asking the wrong questions which were part of my own little conflict which was not really that important in the grander scheme of things.
As I looked back over my life last week, what I produced was a list of names. My life has always been about the people I live with, work with, play with. Now I am friendless and you ask me: “is there a desire coming out of last week?” Yes! Friends! Acceptance! Maybe God has brought me to this friendless desert so that I will place all my trust in him. Then he will be the only Friend I need, his, the only Acceptance.
Tom, Pennsylvania
Week 2, Now at the end of week two, a different perspective than the beginning. My personal spiritual reading this week has been about the affection (desire) of the will that St Frances explains in his letter to Theotimus. I was pondering the Stoics and pray that I can instead of always being stoic, try for the desires other than natural and reasonable, try for Christ Like desires and someday maybe desires for no reason no nature just desire God and aim at him, or better said let God aim at me. It was as if God was saying I don't have to be so strong anymore, He will handle it for me.

I was thinking too, St Therese in her Autobiography of a Soul says that God has always used human beings to accomplish His work among souls. For her every kind of pain, rejection, failure and on and on could be transformed into a loving experience not just endured stoically.

Reading the sharing section has really been enlightening and I believe God is using the sharing sections to help heal. I know they are healing words for me. Thank you dear Lord and all of you who are sharing and all of you who can not.
I have struggled trying to place God's presence in my past. He is certainly making his presence felt now, for which I am truly grateful. I visited a friend who is dying of bladder cancer and as we sat together, she told me that she could feel God with us. I added with complete certainty and a feeling of peace, "Yes, God is with us and God understands your suffering. This is a God who knows suffering. " That certainty and those words were a grace from God. Later in the week, I came across the following phrase translated from Latin, "Bidden or not bidden, God will be present." I posted it in my cubicle at work to remind me, God is here with me now, always and forever. I want to increase my awareness of that. He is with me now and has been always with me. I am grateful. I am struggling to learn. Week 2
Although this is Week 2 for me, I am still in the overtones and undertows of Week 1.
My daughter died six months ago, and I have placed John Donne's poem "Death be not proud" on my bookmarks.
On the Comcast News Fan this morning is a network social experiment about response to interpersonal violence in a park somewhere in the US.
I watched intently as a young woman, and older woman and at least two men interrupted the staged scene and was amazed at people skill in their interventions. I write with logic here, but it is my memory and heart and tears which cause me to write.
Having survived a violent rape in a park years and years ago with my daughter at my side I remember the one man who went to a phone both and called the police. Would that I knew who he was ! I remember the last breath of my aunt, my mother and my daughter, their last words to me, and their victory over death which is so cruel, yet as Donne says - poor Death, you are only the servant of other forces and give the last short sleep that leads to eternal life. Through my tears, I thank you for this retreat.
Where, in my life story, did I feel most totally known by God? It was during the Easter weekend several years ago, whenI had an experience of God that profoundly moved me. It was joyous and filled with peace; I realized that I just need to connect to God regularly, express the desire for him to guide my life and he will do the rest. Since then, my intentions to connect regularly were good, but my follow-through was terrible. This retreat is an opportunity to reconnect again; I'm hoping that the group communications will help me stay on track on a regular basis
masks, I'm not sure if I should even say so here, but then no one knows me so here I am. I feel that there are three parts of my life. Twenty good years with my parents, twenty good years with my husband and now twenty + good years by myself. Never alone really, with six loving children how could I say that I was alone these past twenty years. The end of my second twenty years was extremely difficult, to be called a leach sucking his life from him, how awful. I pray always to forget those awful times, but maybe this retreat is telling me to remember them. Very few, except my children know about the divorce, I changed my name and moved away from it all.
Even the night my husband died God was with me. I left the farm house and his new wife of two years and my two youngest children (his family and wife thought that they should stay there until after the funeral). He thought I was not capable of raising our children and after a court battle he gained custody and we shared visitation with our children until his death two years later. On the drive back to my house I cried and screamed out loud completely lost control. It frightened me so bad that I turned on the radio, there it was, "I'll be loving you always, with a love that's true always". Soap opera, maybe, but I really believe that God loves me and that my husband did too, the very best he could. After the funeral I went and picked up my two children that were still living at the home place, and as I said moved away. God has been very good to me these last twenty years, but I don't feel that I want anyone here to know the me of my second twenty years. I hope that's ok. Thank you God for holding me.
I want to express my gratitude for this manifestation of God. I am amazed today that He would provide such a mechanism for us to grow closer to him. My awareness of His constant presence and the myriad of ways He shows himself to us is particularly increased this morning. I am just grateful.
I started week 2 of the spiritual retreat. I realize that I didn’t finish week 1, but was assured that I can go back to it, that week 2 has direct relationship to what I am feeling and experiencing now. And it does. I am encouraged to really speak and confide all that I am feeling right now. All my anger and fear and sadness and confusion. The “Beginnings” reading has really helped and touched me, reminding me that every day is a new beginning, that everyday, I have a chance to try again. Praise God.
It's hot and I'm depressed. I wonder if I'll find a way out. I feel frustrated, restricted in my life. Hard to believe I'm reduced to this. The going over my life has been helpful though. I mustn't forget to keep going forward - that first prayer is right on, in this regard. Thank you! Week 2
Its week 2 and I find myself listening for God to answer me. I was very uncomfortable with the first week because I had to bring forth something I was trying to leave behind. I now lay all my burdens, hopes and dreams at the Lords Table. Listen, Listen, Listen.

week 2. I began this retreat in an attempt to know God more intimately, little did I know it would help me to get to know myself. I was stumped by the last question posed this week: Are there areas I feel God is wanting to love in me? I thought it would be rather easy to answer at first, but what a loaded question. Really an eye-opener. Thank God we are constantly growing as there is much room for improvement. Thanks for the reminder.
A week or so before I started this retreat, I got stuck on a pop song. It's a sad love song, from a rejected lover to the one who rejected him. The part I like best is this part where the music sort moves up and then it sounds like the singer sings, "if you turned to me, like a gull takes to the wind..."

It struck me this week that this line sums up this retreat for me, so far. I feel like I'm turning towards God and letting God become the "wind" in my life - the force or purpose or something. The analogy makes me ask myself, what was the wind before I started thinking of it that way? Me? My wants and needs? My values? No wonder I often feel like I don't know what to do, or like I'm just drifting through life, when I'm trying to be both the gull and the wind at the same time.

So far, this retreat has been both difficult and comforting. In the first week, I didn't like focusing on my childhood and adolescence for a couple of days, because they were largely painful and I have tried to put them out of my mind for the past few years. I was surprised, though, at all of the positive images and events that I remembered, too, and it was new, and good, to imagine or think about the way that God was in my life at all of those times, good and bad. It was also good to review the span of my life, and realize that those experiences were one part of it, a part that grows (in terms of the overall time I've been alive) smaller and smaller each day. This week has also been somewhat painful, focusing on showing God (and therefore drawing my own attention to) all of me, good and bad. Getting honest. But what a relief, in the end, to do that.

The change I've noticed most in myself and my life day-to-day so far during this retreat is a more generous, kind feeling, towards my family, co-workers, everyone. Even towards myself. This also surprises me, because I've been focusing on negative experiences and negative aspects of myself, things I need to improve. Still, what I feel growing is a warmness and acceptance of myself, and of others. Week 2.
I don't think anything "big" happened in my retreat time this week. I thought everyday and lifted all of myself up to the Lord as I tried to "see" what I was supposed to this week.
I did pay very close attention at mass his evening, and enjoyed it very much. I sent pictures to my stepdaughter that I found of her and her family as I was going through my photo albums. She lost her pictures in a fire years ago. Maybe this was all I was to "do" this week.

I will go on to week 3 tomorrow. And trust that the Lord will take care of what he wants me to see, or change in me what needs changing.

The old me would say I had failed this week, but if I trust, I can't say that anymore, just go on. Week 2
Maybe this week, I've learned, hmm, no, I've practiced looking for God more consciously in every situation and relationship that I'm involved.

I have a tendency to accept God's love ....BUT...or IF ..... I have a truly hard time accepting the unconditional love. I mean, I don't think that I ever felt unconditional love from my parents. I know that they love me, but (see there is that but) I always felt that I needed to do the right things or that there was always something more that I could or should be doing so that I would remain in their love. Or am I considering "good graces" as love and if they are angry at me, ah, that is also true, the anger might have been directed at me, the person and so I didn't feel loved. ...As opposed to directing the anger at the action, and still making the effort to show me gentle love. Unconditional LOVE. It just doesn't happen....and yet, God says that IT DOES, AND HE HAS IT FOR ME. I can understand the unconditional love for others, but when it comes to ME, Christine, well, I usually have a hidden agenda in order to remain in the positive graces of God and man. I say that it is hidden, because I am not consciously aware of it.
There is a dark spot within me that I haven't been able to let God access, because it is full of "BUTs and IFs." So, now that I've identified this blackhole, it is time to offer it up to God. I can not change such a deep seeded thought. It's been a part of me since I can remember...and even before, when I was being "knit in my mother's womb." I was an unwanted pregnancy, albeit, my parents began to accept me and love me, but I bet that even in the womb, I could sense the disappointment of my presence, rather than the joy. It is time to offer these pains to God.

Dear God,
Okay, so you really have created me on purpose. I'm not an accident, and in fact you are creating and expanding Your kingdom through me.... You accept me for who I am, totally, without and in spite of my actions. But (huh, but) even when I am not doing anything for you, when I feel alone and depressed and totally lethargic or stubborn, YOUR love for me has not diminished. Your desire for me to turn around and receive you hasn't changed. God, you never give me the cold shoulder. You never said "I will love you, but..." Help me to rest in your love and help me to grow closer to YOU. Make my heart into Your image. Please let this day give you praise!

Christine from Alaska
I've been doing the retreat for almost two weeks and i am amazed how it works. 32 weeks left. i will manage. i want to walk with god till the end of those weeks and longer till the end of my life.
thank you so much for this online retreat. the first week was difficult and painful but i went through it and now i am finishing the second week. step by step i realise what i am, how much i am loved by god, my creater and where i am walking. so often it's said that you should forget your past and move on. yes, you can move on but for a while, you will always be coming back to your past, to your heritage. to be totally free you need to face it, see what was good and bad, it will teach you a lesson you need to be free and accept what you are and not to make the same mistakes. it will become your treasure. the prayers might help you to get your freedom. you need to realise that your spiritual life is a kind of exsercise. you need to find your own rhythm of breathing prayers.god has created me, embraced me, walks with me every day. since i entrusted everything to him, my life is beautiful, it's easier to live with him. and it's good that i find time to meet him and talk to him even though i am busy. why did it take so many years to realise it??? i am on the right path. hope you all are too. ania, Europe
Since the first week of my retreat was such an upper, it was not realistic to expect that week two would also be totally positive. Yet, though my enthusiasm has waned a bit, I see that I have been blessed with many graces these past few days: support from family and friends, glorious fall weather, and, perhaps because of the latter, a sense of connectedness with all creation. The scarlet, green, and gold leaves on the trees outside make my heart stop. Always, a phrase from a prayer or a reading leaps out and makes itself my own. "Love urges being revealed....I remove my masks today and I reveal my genuine self." What a comfort those words have been. Attending a political gathering, I experienced the usual jitters I have when entering a new group -- this, despite the fact that I'm old enough to be on Medicare. Recalling the phrase about revealing one's true self, I calmed down immediately; ended up having a delightful chat with someone I would otherwise have ignored, distrusted, or missed. The experience may suggest that I'm "using" God as some great "therapist in the sky." I hope that is not the case. It is just that the realization that He is ready and waiting for me as I am this minute, loving me as I am this minute, makes a difference.

Another realization. Several days this past week, because of great fatigue, I either slept in or spent several hours simply reading or relaxing. "It's OKAY," I was able to tell myself. "The day is not 'lost' because you were inactive." Sometimes "just sitting there" can be the better part. I continue to ponder those times during my life, mainly my long ago adolescence, when I felt most troubled. The rejection and betrayal of several close friends still hurts. Is this silly? Childish? How do I interact with others today? Was Christ, who seemed so far away, actually very close during those experiences? He certainly knew something about friendship, rejection, and betrayal.
Enough for now. Mostly the retreat is reminding me to say "thank You, thank You, thank You."
Thank you for the Spiritual Exercises online!

My first week was intense as I looked over my life to this point. Then God's divine mercy touched my soul and the grace of compassion and forgiveness flooded over me. Getting to know me, the person God created me to be, has been my passion for many years.

My second week was more challenging as I thought, like many of my fellow travelers, "I've done all this before". But I remained open. And again, God's grace was sufficient for continued healing, awakening and awareness. Now I'm in the midst of my third week and again am overcome with gratitude at the Lover's revealing Presence to me, the beloved, in all of creation. I am pursued by God! This is too wonderful to fully comprehend. Yet I glimpse...

As I entered my office today, I layed my hands upon my desk and offered all that takes place to be for the purpose of serving the One I love. Already this day the Lord has brought a coworker to me who I (God & me) listened to then I (We) shared my experience of making my work area a sacred space. May all the honor and glory be Yours as I scatter Your seeds.

With much joy and enthusiasm I look forward to continuing this journey accompanied by my Creator, by St. Ignatius and by my fellow sojourners. Most of all I desire a growing awareness of this God Who becons me as the 'big picture' continues to unfold.
Week 2:  I wander somewhere between gratitude and grievance. I tried to avoid this intersection with God. Fear and incertainty are not pleasent to dwell on or in. I found His grace and even a sense of humor.

I am a new lector, and when I saw the schedule for the next few months, I noted I only had one week. My mind saw this as a grand conspiracy and I fumed. I was going to blow off church Sunday and opened my email early that morning.  It contained a note requesting me to cover another Lector that Sunday. Events had called him out of town unexpectedly.

First Reading - Habakkuk is being prepared by God for a vision, but before that vision he makes a personal and communal complaint.  Now thats funny God.   So, you heard my complaint and gave me a wakeup call.  I heard you say  Wait for your answer, it will come.

Second Reading - 2 Tm 1:6-8, 13-14 Beloved: I remind you, to stir into flame the gift of God that you have through the imposition of my hands. For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice
but rather of power and love and self-control.

So here is my vision. You spirit came down and gave me grace even after my bitter weeping about divorce and all the other faults I keep seeing.
I just completed week 2 of the retreat.  My pastor (He was a Jesuit for 26 years and still loves the order even though he is a parish priest.) suggested this retreat for me.  He has been guiding me for two weeks now. 
I'm starting my third week.  Looking back on the picture of week one, I'm reminded of the time I was holding my son, Anthony.  He was quite rambunctious and quite strong.  He was in somewhat of a bad mood.  Suddenly he reared back (I almost dropped him.) and his head cracked me right in the nose.  I thought he had broken it.  It was then that he started crying and without even thinking about it, I did the same.  There we both were, crying our eyes out.  His probably from frustation and pain and mine from pain.  I was still seeing stars hours later.  Happliy, he (Anthony) grew up to be a wonderful 24 year old.  Along with my other two children (daughters Christina, 25 and Teresa, 22) I thank God for and the Virgin Mary for their part in raising my kids to adulthood.  All of them are happy, well-adjusted, and gainfully employed.  My daughters are married to two wonderful guys and my youngest is starting college to be a kindergarten teacher.  I thank God for His presence in mine and my children's lives.  I couldn't have done it without Him, since I was in an abusive relationship.  Thank you for the opportunity to share.  God bless you.
After the initial exhilaration of week 1 I have found week 2 incredibly difficult to get into. I feel that I have largely explored my past about as deeply as I caurrently dare to go. Last week I relived, joys, excitement, pain and tears. This week I seem more to have an acceptance of who I am, and a trust about who I will become. One great thing is that I am re-learning to expose myself to the loving gaze of the one who formed my in my mothers womb, and continues to form me in the way that most pleases him. I am past moaning about my physical, emotional and spiritual imperfections. Rather, it is really quite liberating, to instead be grateful that I am who I am, and who I am is a beloved child of God. That is who I am in the core of my being and the quite literal "re-cognition" of this is a tremendous blessing.
   Andrew, England
When I saw my comments come back to me in print, among so many others on retreat, I felt a peace about the retreat...that I could relax in this work...that I would probably do it again next year, and the a background in my life. In the second week, I felt the fruit of looking at my life through the lens of its crossroads--that when there were crossroads, at least in my adult years, I chose to move toward the wholier. A series of good choices in this crooked life of mine.
I also experienced my mistrust of God, my small world fitting uneasily in the wholeness of the holy one. Feeling God holding me in the palm of a hand is like the elevator door shutting before I can quite see who is inside. Feeling God holding me in the palm of a hand eludes my daily-est experience, except for the momentary flash of understanding. I fancy I could hold this image all the year and only but get a little closer to it. Perhaps that will be my life retreat.
But I am glad to do this now, especially knowing that it is also somehow public and part of others involved in something somehow the same and somehow so different. I have a terrible longing for a community experience. The past few years have seen mostly disappointment in my community life, a tale that I will perhaps someday write about (a shock to those who hear about it)...almost a look at what the outside world sees of catholic community that we do not see about ourselves. I was actually pretty much informally/secretly excommunicated for something I never even did. For years now I have been starved for the experience of community that I have mostly felt excluded from, but the only response that seems helpful in the end is a patience sometimes almost beyond endurance from all that intentional pain. I read in a book The Cloister Walk, is that it?,  of a monk who was lied about to the new abbot, who found out 10 years later the truth; the monk said peacefully, 'what's ten years to a monk?' I think of that as such a funny, lovely way of waiting.
For now I think I will find enough of that community here to tide me over until I find a place or experience a new welcoming. So this seems to be a gift of the holy spirit to me, and I am most thankful for that.
As I reflect on the question, "when in my life did I feel most totally known to God" the answer is simple: During my years at Creighton.  I thank God so much for leading me to Omaha for college and later for medical school.  I learned so much about  myself and my God during those years.  Thank you for challenging me to ask why I believed the things I'd been raised to believe and for teaching me to put that faith into action through service.  I know without a doubt that I am a stronger, more faith-filled person because of my Creighton experience.  My life is so much busier now--a family and career, a new community to become involved with.  I miss the days of undergrad when my only focus was learning and studying.  I have such a hunger now to return to the philosophy and theology I struggled through as just another "core class." Maybe this retreat is what I need to renew and continue the spiritual growth I started with CU.  God bless you and the work you do! Week 2
It all seemed very confusing and I was quite resistant to bringing up past woundedness again. I am aware mostly of the painful memories in my past . I feel I have wasted so much time and resources.  There is absolutely nothing I can do except trust and put my life henceforth into God's hands as events  over run me It is comforting to know that we are all being covered by thousands of prayers around the world, by God's people interceding for us because we are part of that Kingdom.Grant me the Grace, Lord Jesus, to hold my whole self up to Thee in gratitude.

I have experienced God's power and mercy in my life and my families. I look forward to the day that God is enough for me to be thankful for.  I pray that I may be conscious of God's support today.  I pray that I may rest safe and sure therein. God's miracle-working power is only limited in each of us by our lack of spiritual vision. God respects our free will, the right of each of us to accept or reject this miracle-working power.  Only the sincere desire of the soul gives God the opportunity to bestow it.  I pray that I may not limit God's power by my lack of vision.  I pray that I may be more sincere, that I may keep my mind open to day to God's influence. Week 2
  Joseph, India
Entering Second Week today. Forced to view the family albums by my son from far away who came to see me, otherwise i was reluctant to see them. But I am grateful. grateful to God for so many happy moments. Pray that I should be given a new, grateful heart.
I started Week 2 today. I didnt really complete Week 1. I just didnt want to reflect on the past any more. I think its more about the guilt I feel over my mistakes, than about the pain of different circumstances.

But since one of the goals of Week 2 is to lift up the whole life to God, espcially the parts that are less attractive, that seem less acceptable, I spent some time reflecting on why Im so resistant to reflecting on the past. If its all about gratitude, and I dont have to have it all together to be grateful, what I am supposed to be grateful for?

I guess its not just that I dont have to have it all together, today, in order to be grateful today. I also didnt have to have it all together in the past in order to be grateful for the past. I didnt have to have it all together, on a personal spiritual level, when I was on the mission trip, in order to be grateful for the experience and the opportunity. I didnt have to have it all together, when leading international ministry (or failing to lead, as the case may be), in order to be grateful for the opportunity, the friends, and the growth.

I didnt have it all together, but I can be grateful.
I am just starting 2nd week.  The reading on "secrets" and taking off our masks were particularly powerful.  I am battling sexual addiction.  Coming to God as I am is a challenge for me.  My desire to control things is sometimes overwhelming.  I pray that I can find peace this week and build my faith in God to trust him in every facet of my life.
It surprised me how of the many of the more painful memories resurfaced in week 2. I cried a lot, although I think that's also because my dad is seriously ill, and remembering the old days has been hard. Nostalgia literally means the pain of looking back, and it has been painful.
A big realisation for me was that I put much more pressure on myself than God ever does. I've sought perfection in  whatever I've  tried, if I didn't do too well  I would soon give up and move on to something else. My parent's weren't like that at all, but I expected it of myself. Whether creatively or spiritually I never reached my own expectations or I just got bored. I realise now that God was never that demanding and accepts me imperfect as I am. Strangely enough, I've "rediscovered" my love of music this week in a way I never have before, I can't explain how, but it's an enjoyable thing to do, without it being anything too serious. That's something new to me.
At this point, I accept myself and my life as gratefully as I can - and if that's not quite true because I haven't looked deep enough - then I'm sure I'd want to accept them and be thankful. I get the feeling that I don't have to cover all the different angles of my life to do this retreat well. I think I'm slowly learning that God does most of the work and I just have to do my best and leave it with Him. I hope I'm right in thinking that it's the spirit my life is lived in and being open to God that's more important than thinking I'm doing well.
This is my second week of my journey. I always find reflecting a challenging assignment. Aren't we really opening our hearts and souls to all that has happened in our past- both good and bad. It is never easy being judged even if it is by ourselves.

I really found the topic Removing our Masks very thought provoking. It is true for myself that I wear several masks to adapt to those that I am with. At times I question what my very thoughts are. I realize that I do this to be liked, for acceptance and most of all to prevent myself from being hurt.  I vow that this week I will try to live my life as God intended. (My genuine self will be seen this week). I am ready.
I moved to Italy almost two years ago.  I moved here in a relationship, into a home, a family, a job, a whole new life.  We had lots of generous help that made the physical transition easy.

My life here is completely different from what I knew in America, and everything has been a challenge of coping, learning, and finding comfort in newness.  Internally and emotionally, the transition was more difficult than I imagined.  Doubtful and fearful, my relationship was suffering because I was feeling tricked and cheated by coming here, and that was making me doubtful of everything, and angry.  Though I had thought Italy would be the remedy for all the anxieties that had plagued me in America, it was only giving me new questions and anxieties that I was not handling with grace or maturity. Everything that was NEW or DIFFERENT became a problem, and a challenge to my sense of self...or so I made it.

I am in week two of the retreat, and the burst of grace that came several days ago was the realization that I have so much to be grateful for.  My life here is rich in every sense of the word.  I needed to be shaken and re-focused on what my life is in this moment: that is, more full and beautiful and blessed than it has ever been before.  Instead of saying each morning: "why is everything unlike I wanted or expected?" I am learning to say "Thank you."  From this new perspective, I can begin to repair my relationship, into which my doubts have brought so much suffering.
My first week ended and now it is my second week on this retreat. I have not done a retreat in years!!!! I have spent my first week talking to God mentally, everywhere. I love Him very much, and I know He has always been there for me, even when I didn't care...My blessed moments in my childhood are sorrounded by water, air and nature. I was a *lonely child* with pet friends and nature for companion. And I still appreciate this things a lot. I know that God created the earth...and that HE touch all things.....Thank you for sharing and for let me to share.
Same mistakes of thinking negatively of situations, people. Feeling like I'll never change to be what I want to be  or how I want to see myself.  I feel like I keep tripping over the same stones in my journey. How can I open myself up to this retreat feeling this way? Feels like I can't get beyond the closed door to the other side in order to continue going where I want to go. Week 2
I now am in the 2nd week of the retreat and so much is opening up to me.  This retreat along with a class I am taking has helped me to realize so much.  During the first week I had a hard time reflecting on the last 20 years of my life because these were the hardest.  I now am able to look at these past 20 years with a new understanding.  An understanding that what was in my past, was and is and always shall be.  I have been enlightened to my life in the past by God.  I now look to God for my future, not years down the road, but what everyday holds for me.  I look to God's desires and know that with God's direction, I can fulfill these desires.  I will take much work, but I am open to and thankful for everything that I receive from God.  Thank You Lord!
I have now completed my second week of the Retreat. I often worry about what people will think of me and thus I do wear a lot of masks.  There are times when I worry that if I am my true self, that I will not fit or be accepted.  Other times I am content being the unique me that I am although this is confined to far fewer times and circumstances than I would like.  For the most part it is not a "dark side" that I hide but rather at times I just am not the real me - sometimes in fact I hide my 'bright side'.  I wonder how others would act in certain situations, or what is proper, or what the 'norm' would be, without looking inside and acknowledging that what I would say or do in any situation is right for me.  I have been thinking about that lately that I just need to be me and speak and do things the way that I feel is right for me without worrying about what others will say or think of me because of it.  In contemplating the questions for the week, it occurred to me that I do not think of God knowing certain situations in my life not because I do not believe that God actually does know but because I myself would rather not know them and accept them as part of my life.  God is present in everything and God created ME as a special unique being and I need to embrace fully who I am and live accordingly.  I need to more often be the true me without worry or restraint because of what others may think and just be the me that God already loves.
When I began the second week of this retreat I thought: " what is the use to think about my life again?"  Well, surprise.  I got much more than the first week.  After examining my life again I saw my weaknesses much better and some patterns in my behavior that I should correct, and that for sure will help me improve. Another thing that I did was talked to my kids (grown-up already) about some decisions I made in my life that affected them.  It brought interesting conversations that I think will bring us even closer.  I am ready to begin week 3 and looking forward to it.  Thank you for taking the time to make this retreat a reality.
As I reviewed my life's snapshots over week 2  many painful and difficult times came up. It was difficult to open these memories, not because I felt alone, no, they were many of the things I had boxed up and put away in my memories, trying to forget. It was God and his loving presence that got me through all those times. The pain I guess is from my feelings of failure, that control thing. But you know, in all my difficult times when I let go and turned my pain over to God, asking for His peace and strength, He always was there. The lesson I got from this week is that God was and is always there. I keep thinking of the words of a song "And even in your deepest shame, My Love for you has never changed. I Love You." Thank you God the Father, Son and Spirit!
This is the start of week two for me. I feel uncomfortable saying this since I've seen no like comments in the sharing area, but I am astounded by the level of anger, and extremely negative thoughts that are surfacing in me. I believed that I had already delt with much, if not most, of all that in counselling over these years. I've cried much and deeply in these first days of this retreat. What continues to come back to me in prayer is the whole question of trust, and insights into what is behind what I only now recognize is not a fear, but a terror to trust. This is all very difficult. I've grown aware of this very real high stone wall around my heart that I'd never have believed was there. I'm beginning to understand the interplay between the fierceness of my determination never to be hurt again, and the feeling of being in concrete, unable to go forward in my life, as though these very fears God is bringing to my consciousness to HEAL. I'm aware of this penetrating desire to trust, now, in these times, that God is truly with me while simultaneously fearing that He, too, will eventually trick me. I'm slowly understanding that all of this is indeed the answer to my consistent prayer over the years to learn to trust. I only thought it would come in a very different package.

In my reflection last week, I didn't find it easy to sense God's presence in the painful times of my childhood, nor in the subsequent years of very bad decisions and actions. But I am sensing Him now, last week and this, as I look at my life through adult eyes. It's as though He is carrying me back into the source of pain, when my little being made some decisions that ultimately have carried on the pain of my past.

I share thes things because I feel certain there must be at least one other person making this retreat who finds themselves in this dilemma who may also be encouraged to continue to trust this process despite the great fears to do so. We will help each other. All blessings be to God and to all making this retreat.
When the end of Week Two was approaching, I began to be very concerned  because I could not seem to make a lot of sense of the exercises nor the questions to reflect on about the photo album of my lifestory.  It all seemed very confusing and I was quite resistant to bringing up past woundedness again.  Then, on Sunday morning, I thought of a way...  I would look at my description of each picture in my photo album and put a smiley face or a sad face next to each picture. Several times, when the time was neither happy nor sad, I put a straight line where the mouth was.  (I had 55 pictures in my album.)  Thee were about 7 pages of descriptions of the photos and each page covered a timespan of anywhere from 5 years to 11 years  of my life.  After this exercise, I added up the smileys and sads, and the neither smiley nor sads on each page.  I put a ratio like 8-6-1, or 10-2 -2  to let me know the ratio of happy to sad to neither happy nor sad  for each page.  Doing this, gave me an overall glimpse of just how often God had been with me and blessed me during my life .... (almost 65 years of it.)
I did not pray enough this week. I did not focus enough. I had too many distractions. As such I did not focus on me as a whole person and accept myself; and I was insensitive and critical of those around me. I found comfort in Paul’s words for yesterday’s mass when he is seeking for God to remove one of is faults at 2 Cor 12: 8-10: Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

I will trust in God that it is enough that I reflect on my failing and seek to overcome them. Lord, I take this as the grace given for the week: I have achieved little for you this week, I have not been sensitive to those around me, and have not given you enough of myself; but through these weaknesses you love me and your power is perfect within me. I am the silver in which you can be perfectly reflected. Your power is perfect within me like because I am the silver. I heard: In Malachi 3:3, Scripture states, “He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." 

I feel like I got ahead of myself on the first week's thoughts. The whole crossroads thing. I know that there have been several in my life time and that this is one of them. I really liked the prayer about if I were clear I could pray. I have done some yoga and have read and tried to practice meditation. Trying to quiet yourself so that you can be open to God's message is not as easy as it sounds. This world we live in is a noisy place always trying to get and keep our attention on many THINGS. It remains a goal of mine to remain true to what I know to be Good, open to learn more of Goodness, practice what is Good with confidence as a true witness to The Word, The Way. No fanfare, no preaching, no smugness JUST DO IT! 

One of the experiences that came up this week, was that of being a nursing student,  It was one that I wasn't comfortable with at all, and couldn't imagine why the lord wanted me to dwell on this.  But I stayed with it.  This is the experience.  I remember being in the library and writing down the first sentence of every paragraph to make my book report and realizing that this was wrong because I really didn't know what was in the article.  I realized that all my training was a sham.  It looked good but deep down wasn't so hot.  I eventuallly had a depression but did not understand the message of this experience.  This week with the Lord I understood.  The point is not so much to look good but to be good,.even if it's not spectacular.  I've always wanted to better than everyone else and found myself wanting, and depreciated myself, but I think the Lord wants me to be a person of heart, a person who is good.  

I am in week two of the retreat , and I am finding  that even though I am very busy at work through the day, the questions do pop up in my mind.  I had a easier time in week one and really was very overwhelmed by the onslaught of memories of the blessings and presence of God in my life.  I really dwelt on my early childhood, for there were so many moments of grace and presence.  I found that I realized that God's presence was not as obvious to me at certain periods of my life, when I was too consumed with my will. He was and is always there. This week , I am having a more difficult time with accepting the fact that God was there in every wrong decision He gave me the free will to make.  I am now at a point in my life where I feel great gratitude for the unbelievable gifts that I have been given by God... people  who have been the embodiment of Christ in their love.  I  have found that I accept the fact that God was there in my parents bouts with cancer, my infertility, my struggles with my weaknesses, and in all of the joys of my life too. The question of crossroads keeps coming up,  I have regrets in my life and I guess it is for the decisions that I made that were my will and not God's that I have had to struggle with this week and really for a long time.  Does God love me ? Yes.  Do I love me for making and now living with decisions that have altered my life ... that is the big question.

I’m half way through week 2, and struggling. One of the suggested questions of the week asked whether I have difficulty imagining God knowing some parts of my story, or imagining Him accepting me there. I have no difficulty with that because I know God know me far better than I know myself. What I struggle with is accepting myself in those places. The reading for the week about removing masks is an incredible challenge for me. It has taken all of my 54 years to shape those masks, and I am frightened of taking them off. My prayer has focused on identifying the masks and finding the courage to remove them. Lord, I can’t do it without You. 

It is the first day of week two for me. I am struck by the prayers, readings, and reflections prepared for this week. It seems as though they were all written just for me. They are reflections of my thoughts, my questions, my doubts, my dreams, and my desires. God the Lord has been so good to me, in spite of (or is it because of) who I am. I know in my heart that I am His creation, and that He is not finished with me yet. Still, I know how frail I am, and how easily I fall into sin, especially the sin of pride. It consumes me WITH me. I long to let go, and yet seem unable. I pray for the strength and the wisdom to be the man I was made to be, and to do the will of Him who is the creator.  

I am in week 2 and am still trying to do this background work. When I don't feel as if I've allowed enough of it in my day, I take some time out of my life to especially give to it. I feel blessed that I am able to do this, as I don't have an outside job and my children are grown and on their own and my husband is very understanding. In fact, I feel as if I could use him as a spiritual helper. I have made directed retreats before, so I do have experience in following the Spiritual Exercises. I know about getting to the top of the mountain with our Transfigured Lord, but realize that most of life is lived in the valley.  But He is with us in both places. You are doing a wonderful service for many. I appreciate it greatly and ask God's blessing to be with you.  

I am just finishing week 2,and the one thing that has, and is causing me some unease, is that, when I look back over my life, particularly my childhood and young adult years, I could hardly find any very "happy" moments to reflect on, any moments that "stood out". However, I have been helped by a letter in the sharing slot.  Although I am now 70 yrs of age, I look back and see that I have also depended on people, places and things to sustain me, even though I have been involved with church, and church life all my life.  I feel I have wasted so much time.  I will pray.  

I'm beginning week 2.  Week one was wonderful.  I have been sucessful for two weeks now in avoiding the stronghold sins to which I have been adicted for years.  I can't wait to share this with my spiritual director on Thursday.  It is so good to take time to be with God every day.  I love the flexible structure of this retreat program.  I am so awestruck at God's patience with me.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow! I pray for the graces to continue being open and to increase my openness so as to receive more of the blessings that God wants to shower on me.  I am praying for all who are on this journey and those who make it available. 

I begin this week with a new spurt of energy since last week was so good for me.  The questions about our stories' depth were a great help in centering me...they helped me see where God was most present to me.  He surely was very present at the sudden death of a very well loved brother. I raged at him at first but slowly by slowly he led me to the foot of the cross.  My favorite way of seeing Jesus is a LIGHT - his light is with me always surrounding me and leading me on and protecting me - often during the day I call on him to put his LIGHT around me - I feel cushioned in his light. 

Just finishing the second week of my retreat, I think I received a great grace. As the retreat has been going on , I felt  God's presence and love  in my life more and more obviosly. while I was walking many crossroads, I think he was always with me. I'm sure he was waiting for me to discern his presence even when I did my work very well by myself and I thought I need not anyone else's help.when I discerned him but not willing todo, he patiently waited for me to change my mind. . Regardless of  my wrongdoing and sin and ignorance ,  he always loved me and was with me. Now I 'm so grateful to my God. His loving encourages me  to hold myself up to him. 

I'm on Week 2 of the retreat.  I'm finding it hard to stay focused and to spend time with God.  Still I'm writing on the guideposts.  What comes for me this week is my lack of direction in my life.  I just turned 40 on Tuesday, and had no food in the refrigerator.  A friend took me out for lunch and I still managed to have a good birthday.  Though I don't have any food, I allowed myself to go out on a date yesterday with a man who is interested in me.  Though I enjoyed his company I don't think God wants me to be dependant upon others for food, and shelter.  That is not right to the other person nor to me, and I know I would resent this dependance in the long run.  Still a part of me longs to be married, and close to someone, and this need at 40 overshadows many of the practical things I "should" be attending to.  I can only pray for the strength to be honest and open with my friend, and not use him for his love and affection.  

I am in my second week and am very happy and thankful to God and you for making this possible and helping us take time in our busy world to talk and listen to God who speaks to us in many loving ways, opportunities, celebrations. I feel my love for God so strong and I feel it in the presence of my Dad who celebrated his 91 Th. birthday yesterday with us his family who loves him very much, each in their own way. I have a sister and a brother who don't want to speak or see my Dad. But 5 of us his children love him and care for him. My Mother died at 56 yrs.32yrs.ago and my older sister 47 died at 47 both of cancer. My dad is a cancer survivor (10 yrs). and we are very proud of him. Life is very precious and I know we owe all that to God's love. I have so much to share. I am 57 yrs.old and very proud of each year of my life as I look back and see God's hand always with me no matter what. I believe there is so much to discover about God's plan in my life and this is why I continue this retreat. Lord I love you bless my family who bless me with their love each day. 
Last week was not a good week...I tried and each day gave some time to prayer and reflection and the great reading indicated for the week.  But the whole week was a struggle. 

This week is very different...I want to do is easy to concentrate and keep the theme of the week 'in the background of my daily work".  God is very present... What kept me going last week was a sentence I read from the reading for morning prayer: "The infinite bounty of God begins with the gift of life itself and continues with everything that sustains it".  I think I knew that God was in my distractions and that helped me enormously.  And it tied in beautifully with Psalm 39 which I am continuing to pray this week.  We are "fearfully, wonderfully made". Thank you all for your sharing and prayer for our group.  I know this is part of all that is good this week.

I started the week being surprised at the amount of love and kindness and goodness I remembered in my childhood and early life which came from my family and friends and colleagues.  The end of the week was spent in floods of tears – the dark times in my life coupled with a dark time at present -  why does life always get in the way when you are trying so hard to do something beautiful for God?  However I give this retreat to the Lord and trust him and praise and thank him for all the good and happy and loving memories I received this week.  I ask for the grace to keep trying next week. 

I'm on the second day of  2 week. Last week looking back my life, I was so sad and angry with myself. for  past years since I thought I had to be responsible of my wrong choice in marriage and job, I kept stuggling with myself and my mind was hurt. and then I led an unhappy life for about 10 years. but these days I have tried to forgive myself and accept myself as who I am. I think this retreat is very useful in me. Especilly the photograph of 1 week gave me a great deal of consolation and closeness to God. I felt My GOD has been holding me like the mother in the photo, while I was walking a crossroad.  I became so comfortable and could get rid of my sadness and anger a little. now I'm so happy. because I'm sure My God is here and now, forever. 

I am from a non-english speaking country, perhaps also with a different culture and history, but since last week I am following these Exercises in the ordinary life. Of course its not my first experience, but certainly I need to discern about my life, my job and certainly to find God´s will struggling with managerial and professional issues, in situations that every day become more and more stressing and complicated. Dealing with -the photos- certainly are like triggers that awake many memories in me some of them gifts.  Seeing the sacrifice of my parents to give us a good education, painful times for them.  Being aware of not being grateful enough to them, but also that they were  always there, teaching me - parents, grand-mother, jesuits.   But also many places where I used to feel fear, anguish, many hurts and wounds, that perhaps I have not let God heal them, that I can realize God´s forgiveness and forgive myself, and of course, to accept the acceptation.  Many thanks for the experiences of many brothers and sisters that I have found here. Of course thanks to God, because they are coming from encounters with Him. 

As I begin week two today I am aware mostly of the painful memories in my past. I was ashamed of that because at first I had recalled so many joyful memories from my childhood. It was in my adolesence that the painful ones took place, mostly surrounding my mother. I wanted to hide those from my God and it made me feel so alienated. Then, as I read the pages in week two the image of the tangeled vine that reached it's tenticles into the present and future generations became clear to me. I must return to these painful memories and seeking their roots, give them over to God, the Gardener of my life. I feel suddenly, not so alone. Gratefully, Ann  

This past ten days, I have experienced God's power and mercy in my life and my families. Near the end of the second week of this retreat, my 20 year old grandson called to tell me his home had been gutted out by fire.  He was panic stricken as he watched it on the News. He thought God was punishing him for his life style. Remebering Ps.139  I was able to tell him that God doesn't destroy what He creates. In the past Chris has not felt loved by Father God, as he doesn't know his earthly father. This fire stopped us all in our tracks, and a grand evaluation resulted.  The Community of San Angelo rallied to help him. God with skin on, no?    Chris says, he didn't know how many people cared for him. Our Bishop has sent some money to Chris and his friend. Catholic Charities and many stores are ready to help as soon as Chris has a place. He doesn't attend church or pray, however that has changed.  He has seen God's love in people, some do not even know him. 
He can hear me now when I say God really loves him. 
I am very encouraged too. 
I have nothing but gratitude in my heart to such a wonderful God.

I came to this retreat because I have been feeling directionless and discontent with my life and myself.  I am starting week 2, and while I was not as focused as I would like to have been for week 1, I thought a lot about those times in my life when I was happy.  There are a few periods in my life that stand out - the reason I was happy during these times was because I was surrounded by good friends who made me feel valued and whom I felt I could truly be myself around, and I was doing things with my life that felt important.  Lately, I haven't really felt that connection with others, and for the past few months I have been searching for some activity/job that will really fulfill me and allow me to use my gifts. Since my natural tendency is to withdraw from people, I know that I would be so much happier if I only took the steps to share myself with my friends and family - I guess I am hoping that I will have the strength and the courage to actually put this knowledge into action.  I know that God wants me to be happy, so I hope that I will be able to let go of the behaviors and actions I take that keep out that happiness.

It took me 14 days to accomplish the 2nd week. It has been sometimes difficult to enter more deeply in my own story in the middle of my activities. But I have achieved it and now I'm satisfied with the results. I found graces, answers and specially a strong belief of the actual presence of God. God is living!! and has always accompanied me all the way! Dt 1, 31-33 I also found many pieces of gold in the pan of my life eventough it took two weeks  to get rid of the debris. Yesterday,  I finally hold my whole life up to God. Many things have change for me,

As I have reflected on the week 1 and week 2 offerings, I was struck by the fact that God has always kept me in his hand.  I was very near to God as a child and teen, but turned away from him as a young adult for a few years, but I always knew He was there and that I would return to Him.  I came from an abusive family background and, over the past 11 years, have had that background transformed by God and have seen His Loving Hands hold me.

I am in the middle of the second week. And I am just looking for a new work. I would like to do something according to God's will. But it is very difficult to understand His will.  When looking back into my life last week, I found that many of my hard times were signs on the way to Him. Not to lose myself in other things or unhealthy relations. But I always feel not to do enough. It is very hard, to trust on his guidance. I am used to settle things myself. I am used to take responsibility for my faults. But how can I know, how to do the right choice? Perhaps my choice is not so important, because He will stay in contact and will show me how to go further on.  It is really difficult not to be ambitious but to rely in God's guidance.

Just finishing my second week.  I am amazed at the process this retreat is leading me through.  It is like things are sneaking up on me and making themselves known.  I have gained new insight into events from my life that I thought I had figured out a long time ago.  The images of "panning for gold" and "crossroads" have been strong for me.  I am looking forward to what other gifts are on their way.

This is the end of week 2 for me. I have reviewed all the questions a couple of times trying to answer them as honestly as I could. The one that seems to keep resurfacing is: What graces, insights etc. were given to me. I found 2. First, for the 1st time in my adult life I could see something positive in my relationship with my mother. At least as a small child I can remember some good things that she did for me and can realize that when she sent me to school with the sisters she did so out of as much love as she had. Considering the anger, of the last years of our relationship before she died that is a major break through. I can actually think of her with love which I couldn't before. That insight is good for several reasons but for me it is good because it is concrete. It's like I've accomplished something, the second isn't like that. I have a sense that I don't really want to go beyond the surface of my life. I seem to keep putting up barriers. I get too busy to really think. I find other things to do. I feel tempted to say this isn't important, why bother? It is like I am running away terrified of what I might find. I like a feeling of accomplishment of finality and this is more a sense of dis-ease, uncertainty and I am uncomfortable with it. I hope this gets better as I go through this retreat.

Doing this retreat hurts so much, I feel a grating and an aching in my throat.  It has highlighted for me how much I resist God and avoid his presence, and block up his entry points in my life with distractions.  I can't bear to let him in. Maybe that's why I can't do this 'holding it in the background' stuff.  I have to do it consciously to have any awareness. When you asked me to reflect when I felt most known by God, I realised that I have not let him know me since I was in the womb.  I feel a complete assurance of his presence but I deeply resist and fear and struggle against him coming closer. My life has felt like a struggle for love and acceptance.  I have a desperate yearning and longing for God.  When I allow myself to open to this feeling along come feelings of helpless anger and pain.  My God, my God, why have you abandonned me! I cannot bear to look on you or feel myself.  I am filled with anger and hate of you that I shoud live in this harsh and hateful dessert. Mary - end of week two

I'm on day 2 of week 2. This is definitely a good thing. I'm beginning to notice how many of God's blessings and answers to my prayers I've overlooked because of their perfect subtlety. For example: I'll be reading an inspirational book that came my way through a friend for two days before I'll realize that it's God who made sure I got that book! These are very happy revelations and re-confirm that God is present in every moment of my life; from the mundane to the ecstatic. Please pray for me as I attempt to "pan for gold" in some painful past memories. One thing I've come up with is that many of these tough, early and persistent abuse experiences could have been much, much worse. Truly. I think I can and will get further than that in my reflections, but it's slow-going, you know? My inner peace NOW is really increasing. I came to this retreat 2 months into RCIA, which has been an intense journey for someone whose family is pretty set against it. Despite that, I think I've found my spiritual home in Catholicism. It feels like mine, like home.

I received a great grace. As I'm only in the second week, I wasn't expecting this now. This grace was overwhelming and unexpected. I was taking a shower and was overcome by gratitude. You see, I am a cancer survivor and just three or four years ago I wasn't able to stand in the shower for more that five minutes! I was absolutely FILLED with the beauty and grace of living a grateful life. GOD IS GOOD!

I have been participating in the retreat for 2 weeks.  I have journalled.  I have discussed events and God experiences with friends and my mom.  I have shared prayers contained within the retreat.  Today, I was moved by this prayer " It would be easier to pray"... I wonder somewhere between gratitude and grievance, wonder and routine, high resolve and undone dreams, generous impulses and unpaid bills...I find peace in the time spent on this retreat. I find myself looking for the positive or good of events, conversations and trials of the day.  There remain moments where I manage my stress versus enjoy my happiness.  The Trinity has given me many opportunties which have demonstrated blessings in my life.  I seek to let the Father, Son and Holy Spirit continue to guide me through the maze of life.  I want to fulfill dreams and enjoy life and not be caught up in business. 

I am a lover of the Franciscans and this site is my first real contact with the Jesuits.  Thank you for putting this wonderful site on the's just what I needed.  I  will mention this site to my prayer group.  I am only on week 2 but the thoughts have certainly been in the forefront of my mind as well as continuing in that background area that you mentioned. I'll keep you posted. God bless.

I have had a great insight and coming together this week after  two weeks of the retreat. I have always been dependant on people , places and things for my solace. I can see it in every thing in my life and in the crossroads. I know only God can bring this to  me and I am a little scared, as I have live all 69 years  hoping some one would save me. If anyone reads this, please say a prayer for my healing. With gratitude  .

By re-visiting places in memories and re-collecting them (2) whilst focusing on specific images, crossroads etc... It was revealed to me that all were knitted together because of a one problem /gift ( hard hearings) that accompanied me since my childhood. Even though I have always had the feeling that God is accepting me as I am I find out that I did not try to be kept faithful 100 % all the way in a relationship with Jesus.  This is the reason why my life was unbalanced. I am attracted now to confess , that in every part of my life I was given an open invitation from God's presence and Love to participate in a reciprocal love.  I was totally known by God in each moment of my life til now through His unconditionnal Love. I am as I am accepted by God , that is the key answer. Should I accept his unconditionnal Love ?  That is the key question.....  I realized that it was a gift to share in carrying the Cross , to share Jesus with love and joy.  I must say Thank you for knowing who the giver is.
Exploring and discovering what the gift really is cannot be completly fulfilled without returning reciprocal and unconditionnal love, without confession of my sins, without a reconciliation with our Heavenly Father  who is always present in the Holy Trinity. O  God , your works are so perfect, everything has been set to it by your Wisdom.  I pray that I may keep still in your Hands, You are the Oneness. 

I have been troubled by the question, "Where, in my life story, did I feel most totally known by God?" (2)  I have several very vivid memories of particular times in my life I really believe I was totally known by God.  They each seem to be parts of my story that are not known by others.  There are the sins.  They seem the most embarrassing.  Yet, as I've thought about them, and even tried to see the grace in how they really are a special place where God knows and loves me, I realized that there are a few other places unknown by others.  There were some very private moments, when I was especially free of temptation and I simply gave myself to God.  I just realized that I was most totally know there.
Week 2 and I feel that I should go back to #one. Attention span short.  Can't focus. Reading sharing thoughts....Wish I could slip the bonds of everyday existence,  to be like those who write, of God ,of love, melding to the spirit.  Wanting to live a life of simple goodness.  Can't get started, can't focus, can't put "self" aside, unable, unsuited, unprepared, can't be like the child I once was. Trying.......failing.....failing again, at what point are all my chances used?  .................... Six score years and more, and  I leave each day unfullfilled in a quest to make the rest of my time what it should be. Much to overcome. Time running out. A simple answer eludes me, a difficult answer overwhelmes me, any answer would be acceptable, but none so far. Pray  you say.   My comrads.... this IS my prayer............and a plea,....."get thee behind me satan."

I am in the second week of my retreat.  It feels just right to return to my religion after an absence of over 35 years.  I have been blessed to be married to a wonderful woman for three years, a great partner with whom we are making the journey to God together in our worship and our daily closeness. I am trying to give back to others in my daily life what I have been so fortunate to receive.  I have decided to volunteer time to counsel people in need of help.  I had practiced as a Psychologist for 15 years before moving to Manhattan in 1985 at which  time I could not find suitable employment as a Psychologist.  Instead I began a career working on Wall Street.  The past 15 years have had some great moments but the real emptiness was only filled when I met the woman four years ago who was to become my wife and friend.  Now I am looking for a counseling center that I could be a part of.  I think that is the main goal of my retreat - to become conformable enough with my religion and my life to figure out how to give to others in a way that will be of assistance to them.

I started the retreat last week and have just begun week 2.   I meet each week with a group to listen to God and then share our journey.  Because I am a busy working mum this retreat has always been impossible for me to do - so finding this website is such a grace for me. Thank you. Childhood memories are so painful for me in every respect. Parents, school, teenage life.  Most of them are blocked out and I do not go there.  So to find myself actually laughing out loud at something I had once found so painful was incredible.  I just know that God had given me a different insight into some of those memories and I was able to release some of the pain and anger and let them go.  I still have a long way to go and I can see that week 2 is going to be even more challenging. Thank you Jesus for always being my friend and journeying with me throughout my life.

End of Week 2....  The words I keep focusing on almost like a mantra have been The ONE who formed me in my mother's womb is still forming me.  I can literally feel that. Like I am being shaped and molded. And I am still at times struggling against the Potter's hands.  Would that I could learn to sit on the Potter's Wheel and allow His design to take shape.  Why do I struggle so?

My brothers and sisters in Christ on Retreat, This is week two for me on retreat...and 31 years since my last retreat...20 years since I have been in a state of Grace of the Church...This is the first step on the long road back... What I am gaining from this retreat is: Hope of Our Lord's Redemption and Forgiveness...and that it is only by God's hand that I am here...this site was not all that easy to just appeared. Please pray for me...and my angel, for I know the road will be a long one...and my angel is REAL TIRED of trying to get me back to Christ without too much help from me!  The love of Christ be with us all in our journey to salvation.

As a Protestant now in a formation program to become a spiritual director, the Exercises were entirely new to me. And what a gift they have been so far! Though I started the extended Exercises last September, just in the last week was I introduced to this on-line retreat, and I'm finding the materials to be very rich - especially the introductory commentaries for the Weeks. As I approach the end of the Second Week, I am now taking a week to review what's happened over the past seven months. One of the major things which stands out to me is a deepening understanding of Jesus and his ministry. This has come about for me through using the Scriptures for prayer and meditation. (I completed seminary training nearly twenty years ago, and find myself saying to friends what a huge difference there is between theological study of the Bible, and praying the Scriptures!) One particular highlight: In meditating on Jesus' baptism, what grabbed my attention most were the words that resound like a benediction over the whole event: "You are my beloved Child, in whom I am well pleased." Through the Ignatian approach of putting myself into the story, I felt for the first time how thirsty I have been to hear such words! I have always had a great talent for keeping a mental list of what I think my own shortcomings are, so to think that God speaks those words as well to my own heart and soul was an extraordinary grace for me. I too am God's beloved child (as is each and every one of us)! If this is true, then this means that my own judgment about myself may in fact be unrealistic and skewed. Who am I to judge myself so harshly, when God loves me so completely? This has been like a light breaking in to a great darkness, and my whole Being is lifted up.

I am starting week 2 of my journey.  I am discovering that my fear of judgement is keeping me away from an intimacy with my Lord, other people and myself.  I am very hard on myself and my own worst critic.  I watch others describe their personal awareness of God's love and tears fill their eyes as they speak.  I want that.  It seems out of my reach and I feel frustrated and saddened.  What is it about me that blocks an intimacy with my Lord and for that matter with myself?  I look back and see mostly negative.  I recall my closest moments with God as those where I have been blessed and feel gratitude.  And yet, it is often said by my brothers and sisters in the faith that they feel closest when they struggle and are troubled.  They ask and sense an outpouring of God's providence and compassion that comforts them.  When I struggle my mind races and I feel overwhelmed.  I pray a desparate prayer that lacks depth and seems repetitive.  I am hopeful that this journey will assist me.  It already is.  I am taking time to pray and be still and reflect. I really want to know the love of God.  I want to know who I am in His eyes and share that with others.  God bless each of us on this path and please keep this seeker in your prayers. 

I am having an awful time.  This is the beginning of the second week.  Since last Thursday, one bad thing after another has been happening.  They are the kind of things thalt hurt me the most and send me spinning.  I do trust God, and I do want His healing and the blessings of this retreat. I am willing to go through this, including the possibility of failure or the appearance of failure (I worry too much, still, about what other people think), if it is God's will.  I'm willing, but I sure don't want to.  God has never let me down in the past; but He does ask hard things some times.  Truly, I can count my blessings.  In reading what others have shared here, I realize many people have much more difficult problems. I want to offer God all this pain for these people, the person who confronted me today and his family, and for the glory of God.  I want to be part of this family of people making this retreat.

Week two is almost over and it has been a wonderful experience for me. Reflections on the cross-roads in my life brought up some magnificent feelings of gratitude even though I do remember that at some of those times I did think myself to be alone. It was during those dark times that prayer helped and I do believe that God can sift through my prayers and keep what is good.  If you could see me today you would see the smile I wear and the light in my eyes. I am glowing from the inside out! Just to realize that God has never abandoned me (even when I grumbled and was foolish) makes me bubble with joy. He had a plan and every memory I dealt with this week made me very aware that I am who I am today because this is my Creator's doing. This is wonderful.   I know who I am and I love myself too...bug-a-boo's and all. It is the Love of God that has formed me and the struggles I've experienced to keep the good that is within me alive are due only to His wonderful graces showered upon me even before I came to know Him.

When I started this retreat a few weeks ago I didn't know if I would be able to do it.  There is so much about my life that I don't remember, and don't know if I want to. But I know that I have to,  because if I don't then I won't be able to move on and live my life as God intended.  I have always known that God was there through everything.  Through every minute detail. He was the only one that I could count on.  He was the only one that saw my tears and joys.  And understood them for what they were.  Since I started this retreat I have come to an even deeper relationship with God.  And I appreciate that He has always been in control.  He has given me a wealth of experiences that will assist me in the future and have made me a more understanding, loving person.  I know that whatever happens in my life I don't have to look very far to find my best friend because He is always right beside me.

I'm just ending the 2nd week of the retreat, and am amazed at the revelations of God's precense/action in so much of my life.  4 years ago we moved my aging mother from 1200 miles away to a Senior Apartment complex in our town.  Her personality quirks of passive/aggressive behavior had started to drive me crazy once she got settled here.  During the "going deeper" parts of week 2, I have begun to realize how much of my personality and my faults were modelled during childhood on her behavior.  I am sure it was the same for her and her nuclear family.  "The sins of parents......"    I thank God for allowing her to move her to that I can be confronted with this and learn from it.  I pray for my own children that we can break the cycle of learned family dysfunctional behavior.  I pray for my mother that God's peace may envelope her in her final years.  Thank you for your retreat site!

This web site found me several weeks ago and I am very grateful! Having been married for eight years, I had the rug pulled from me not to long ago. A dear friend of mine suggested that I turn to Jesus and work on my conscious contact with him for consolation, I have and it has helped. Many years ago, I took a retreat for an in-depth writing workshop..this reminds me of that...It is not an easy thing to look back on ones life and reflect on one's area that needs strengthening..but the consolation is that I am not alone and I will be healed to serve better. Is selfishness the root of evil? Why is it glorified? The retreat process has given me an inner prompting to journey more into the depths of who I am and let go and give to god all that has not worked in my life so that I may learn to love more freely. It sounds simple but it is not. To learn to love and see God in all things and keep a realistic perspective,grounded in one's  spirituality is not an easy things. Kudos to those who have created this site. There is not one day that goes by that I am not grateful for it. My prayers to those of us who take the journey..may you all continue to be blessed... Enjoy!!!

I felt "stuck" at wk 1, then even more so at wk 2, thinking: "There must be some more coming out of this".  Then I looked at what I had written, felt, experienced and received during this month-long first two weeks and could only smile at my own foolishness.  I thank God for infinite kindness and patience.  So I'm taking a bit longer for the climb.  There's nothing new in that for me.  It's OK as long as I keep going. With a prayer of thanksgiving for all those involved in the creation of this on-line retreat and a prayer for abundant grace to those participating in it.
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