Week 5: and in thinking about sin it's more than just the disobeying of a law. That would be acceptable only if we shared a Master/slave relationship with God. But He calls us to be His children and so it becomes not so much about the fear of the former but the love of the latter. In the former we would have been required to atone for our own sins, as impossible as that is. But in His great love for His children He atones for our rupturing of the love relationship of family. He comes to us rather than waiting for us to go to Him. He knows our imperfections. It is through those imperfections that He calls us to strive for holiness. It is in the striving that we exhibit our appreciation for all He's done for us. And yet can it ever be as much as He deserves? How can all our thanks ever repay His willingly taking on our punishment? And yet He accepts our willingness to strive and is always there to help us along the way. He never gives up on us and it would be ingratitude on our part to give up on ourselves or others.
Week 5: This is a difficult week to observe sin around us and feel our own part. I am saddened by the raging violence in the Holy Land and feel such sympathy for those suffering and wanting nothing but peace, particularly the children. I keep thinking of the Divine Mercy chaplet, “For the sake of his sorrowful passion, have mercy on us, and on the whole world.” I am inspired to recite this prayer with others on EWTN radio. --Julie
Week 5: This week has been sort of difficult having many activities surrounding my time. It's been family time but I realize that everything does tend to pile up and I am feeling stressed because I feel behind in everything. Regardless of feeling disorganized I have made time to pray and dedicate special time to Our Lord and his Mother. Even prior to this week I have been for some time aware of the evils in the world so during this week I have tried to become even more conscious of the perils in our lives. Every time I drive by our local abortion center I feel this urge to just stop the car and stand in front of the place with rosary in hand while
I pray for all those women that are suckered into doing something that they will regret and will live with them forever. I know this is one of the things I need to do but every time I drive by I'm either with the two year old grandchild, or with my elderly mom, or in the process of rushing to do grocery shopping because I need to prepare lunch. However, I do feel comforted that every now and then I see two or three older men that stand in front of the place, with homemade posters and are praying the rosary. I guess there is a time and place for everything.
I have become very much aware of the lack of communication within families. I have seen children against one or both of their parents. I have seen parents that don't want anything to do with their children. I know of parents that were too busy running after their own needs and have given their children to in-laws to rear. I have seen siblings that say they hate each other and refuse to take the first step to make amends. This leads me to believe that if we can't live lovingly with each other in our own families, then how can we expect for different faiths, nationalities, ethnic groups, and so forth to get along? I have insisted for the longest
time that the breakdown of the family is the root of many evils. We have become a people that do not want commitment. We just want to be free to do as we please when and where we want to. I feel we must become committed to our God and by doing so I feel I don't have to despair. There are times when I just feel afraid of so many injustices in the world. There are so many children that are suffering, so many parents seeing their children being killed, so many nations that are torn because of separation of family due to ruthless governments, politicians; so many kidnappings, so much greed, there is so much fear... Oh my God, please have mercy on all of us, on this world which you have given us to live in. I beg of you to have mercy on me, a sinner, and on all of us as we lack obedience to your Will. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for my life, just as it is, for all the pain and tribulations I have been through. Thank you for all my family and may I always keep you at the center of my life and not stray from You.
Week 5: In the background of all my reflections this week ( week 5 of the Retreat) a sense of being guided by you, Holy spirit; not to react and talk as so many others are doing at this time in the Church of England, as the same old issues threaten to split and to disturb and to waste so much precious time – (so easy to express an opinion and fuel debate with no positive action). I sense that I must resist being drawn in. I think of all these leaders ( mainly men) and I despair at the sin that so easily pervades everything – even and especially the institution that is the church. Yet it is not a despair that leaves me alone and isolated. Beneath it is the quiet assurance of your presence. I think of my life – my petty grumblings. I think of my life and through them and this reflection I thank you God that your gracious presence is a reminder of all that I have because of you. It is an opportunity to give thanks. The picture in my imagination – Jesus in agony, bearing such pain so that we may go free ...so that I may go free. For what? So that we may have the choice to get tangled up in sin, to give in to the other stuff that clings to us? No. To break free and release each moment of each day to a greater thing. To reach out and engage in the struggle and in so doing say yes to the other life on offer. Who am I to know that it will make a difference if I choose the narrow way. I am loved by you, saved by you, graced by your presence ... and that is enough. Like clay in the hands of the potter I am ready to be changed ... to gaze on the wounds ... to enter more into the bad stuff within me as well as without so that I can know the difference between death and eternal life – and in knowing choose life.Today all that matters is the petty round, the common task – and the opportunity to choose your way in each moment.
I am in week 5 of the retreat ....AsI reflected on the evils of mankind and the mercy of our Lord I wrote this poem I would like to share:
Upon the cross You hung,
The weight of sin to bear.
For all the pain you suffered,
Mamkind didn't seem to care.
The priceless gift you gave him,
Lay unopened on the ground.
Yet though Your heart was broken,
You uttered not a sound.
Man continued in his sinning,
Indifference the clock he wore.
Not thinking of Your mercy,
And pain for his sin you bore.
When will his eyes be open,
As he gazes on the cross?
And realize the price You payed,
So he would not be lost.
The retreat has been areal blessing for me and I thank you for it.
Week five was a week of personal growth. It was hard to look at my sins. Yet what helped was to see how much Jesus loves me. I felt washed in His mercy and His love. It is a grace that I am blessed to have this week and whish to continue with for always.
I have just finished week 5. It brought both great joy and great sorrow. I thought alot about sin and that is why it brought great sorrow. Yet what brought me great joy was placing myself and those around me in the merciful heart of Jesus.
I started week 5 a couple days ago.Up until now I have been unable to share what has been happening.For the past week I have seen the Lord 3 times and turned him away twice.Once he came to shovel my walk and i told him to come back later.I thought he had left but apparently did not.The 2 of us went Xmas shopping together and since then he has had total control over everything I have done or said.I have had no control of anything I have done or said or heard or seen.My questioning God has done nothing more than him showing a greater Love for me and determination for trust..thanks
As I work my way through Week 5 I am struck by the fact that in my 12 Step meetings this week we have also been focusing on Step 6 and 7- the Steps about our character defects or sins so to speak and humbly asking God to remove them. So there appears to be an overall plan. Also on Sunday I attended a Workshop titled "Crafted by God" which emphasized God's love for me and the carefulness with which God gifts me with joys and sorrows in order to shape me into the person I am created to be. And it is my job to be aware and to be grateful for his gifts. Whenever I have focused on sin particularly my sins before, I have been tempted to wallow in the idea of my "badness", rather than the forgiving love of Jesus. This new concept creates a whole different perspective for me and helps me to be more willing to be honest and up front and to want to deal with whatever separates me from him. Thank you for this gift.
Week 5: Up to this point I have not shared here as I work my way through the Exercises. Each week has presented me with many new perspectives for thought and prayer. However as I sit here on Cape Cod listening to the horrors of the fires in Southern California, and the possibility that some of them were set by human beings, the reality of human sin becomes all too real. For me it is more real than the picture at the beginning of this week, because I know the area about which the newspersons are speaking and have a brother and friends living there. The personal knowledge makes it more real. And at the same time the frame of horror is filled with stories of people coming out to help their neighbor, known or unknown in love. So you know that the presence of God is being felt in the midst of the pain and suffering, just as it was in the time of Christ. Thank you for the opportunity to spend this structured time in prayer with so many others and to have these resources available. This is the Body of Christ and the Communion of Saints at work.
Week 5: It was not difficult to contemplate a disordered world this week: caregivers who neglected their patients in extraordinary ways, killings in Pakistan, continued war in Iraq. I realise an interesting contradiction in these scenes and in the picture on the retreat site. At the root of this disorder is often a positive motivation. For example, we love our children and so we yearn for their security and we will do everything to protect them. Yes willingly I will allow armies to protect them ... maybe even be proactive and eliminate those who might harm them. Soon we have moved further into a setting where I allow others to be killed for my security. Similarly, at the hospital where the caregivers neglected their patients the management probably did not enter one morning and propose that was what must happen. They probably felt they were doing the right things ... cutting back on supervision ... equipment .. clinical care ... maybe even with the motivation to serve more people. But somehow it was mistinerpreted and it cycled from care for others to care-less for others.
I find special grace seeing that in the midst of that disorder God wants to be present. As St Paul tells us, "God wiped out the charges that were against us for disobeying the Law.
He took them away and nailed them to the cross. There Christ defeated all powers and forces."
Then I hear an interesting interview on the radio which made all this concrete. It is with a father in Jerusalem whose 14 year old daughter had been killed several years ago in a bombing. He is Jewish. He encounters an Arab man whom he has a fleeting memory that he was one of the people who came by for the 7 day mourning. He's initially angry but the man tells him that he himself lost his son and has set up a group dedicated to peace and reconciliation. So out of curiosity he goes and it changes his life. People whom he once thought of as his enemies embrace him. So I look at myself and my own life and ask for God to eliminate the selfish desires which block him out in the first place so that even in the midst of disorder I can discern and transmit his love.
Week 5: There is nowhere to hide from suffering, And if I feel powerless to “undo” much suffering, I can hold it in my heart, even as it breaks this heart. Suffering identifies the “fault-line” in human nature, the breaking of the one into the many. In Christ we become one (body) again.
Week 5. When I read the intro, I knew this week was going to be difficult, and so it has been. Without both the guides for this week and the sharings I have read, I surely would have gotten both stuck and frustrated, right before I walked away from these exercises. In the previous weeks, I liked having the specific guidance of what the background was supposed to be, what we might pray about and think about when we woke up, and before we went to sleep. This week, I seem to be overwhelmed by both the assignment and the topic. I have to look at sin in the world, remember the meaning of the sacrifice of Jesus was a response to that sin, to be moved by both, yet not let it affect my mood or my work. Hmm. To feel the outrage of injustice, but not to act out? To accept being given to God ( a project in itself, albeit a happy one usually), and to respond as one " fully grown"? I spent most of the week denying or shoving away the notion that this is being asked of me, and the rest of the week trying to figure out how to "do" it. And then tonight, I got a big major grace: I'm not supposed to have the complete outline of an action plan, or even to make sure that I understand this painting and its frame thoroughly. God isn't asking me to write a spiritual term paper, or to sob great tears of enlightenment. He's just waiting for me to say, "Okay. I'll try." This must seem so elementary, so obvious, but for me, its a breakthrough. Much thanks to the people at Creighton, to my fellow participants, and to St. Ignatius for making this experience possible.
It’s the beginning of week 5; last week was very scattered and I’m not sure I got much of the intended ‘Grace’ of it. It was a hectic week and I didn’t really follow the retreat very effectively. I did make contact and that contact did help; the week that started out not so good ended up fair and led to a ‘nice weekend.’ I struggled to see people in my life today that I truly look up to—yet, they are there. And as the week shifted to the next phase, there were dreams of old friends with whom I have lost contact (several of those lately). I am currently living apart from my wife—we’re in the process of moving and I have come ahead to Colorado where I’m working and she is still in Kansas, where she has a shop to close down/move/whatever... This is a good time for me to be engaged in the retreat, but it seems difficult to keep up; and I wonder if it’s some internal resistance or just struggling with the demands of a new job, too little time and the ongoing ‘business’ of life. I haven’t really made close connections with people in my new life and so it is easy to become a bit isolated. I think that’s why I’m writing this now; just to try and make connection, even though I really don’t know anyone who might read it or whether it would even be read...somehow that doesn’t seem to matter. This week’s focus on ‘sin’ will be interesting; it seems that the past three weeks have this notion of ‘my sin’ and ‘our sin’ has been growing in my own thinking. Perhaps that’s just part of the plan; however, I like the call to focus on sin, but not to do so with such negative ‘wallowing’—that sense that focusing too much on my sin becomes almost egotistical. It reminds me of the introduction from an old Patti Smith song—off the ‘Horses’ album. It was a line, “Jesus died for somebody’s sin—but not mine.” That sense of how often I want to hold on to my sin and its awfulness—it’s like showing off—look at me and how bad I am. It’s just ego and pride. Now, to embrace that reality of sin and to truly see it in the light and Grace of Christ’s love and forgiveness...
I was amazed when I read Psalm 73 (week 5), to see how well it applied and its relevance to today's world. The psalmist is asking the same questions that I have asked and struggled with for most of my adult life. Just why does it seem that the wicked and sinful have it all? I do "lose my balance and my feet all but slip. I am envious, for they suffer no pain and they are free of the burdens of life. Is it in vain that I keep my heart clean?"
Can this possibly be "The Disorder of Sin"? My envy of the unrighteous man will be my downfall, unless I lift my eyes to the Cross. Just like the poor and faithful man of Psalm 73, if I humble myself, resist the temptation to separate myself from God, then I too can be filled with joy and indescribable riches.
Week 5 As I approached the sixth week of this retreat I was really wondering what would come to light. My life has been very stable with no major catastrophes, no major rebellions so what would God show me? This week God has begun to melt my heart, made me aware of where I have fallen short of his ways, in the way I have kept him at arms distance, and have wanted to control how he works in my life. This has resulted in me not living life to the full, being fearful and not displaying the love that he has shown me. I continue to ask him to show me where I have sinned as I really want to experience his love in a new way. I am not finding it easy to find time to look over the day, or to be aware of God throughout the day in the background. But I have a desire for this and I am beginning to make regular time to meet with God and he is meeting with me. I have a belief that he will continue to meet me and lead me on. Thank you for making this retreat available to me and to others throughout this world.
My thought when I began this retreat was that my haphazard lifestyle would surely hinder any progress, but I have found that is definitely not the case. I am in week 5, & have greatly benefited. The way it's presented is surely blessed by God, & I am so grateful & determined not to give up.
Week 5 is indeed challenging! The evil in our world is almost overpowering, & at times seems to be the only thing we see & hear about. It can be a deterrent to focusing on the goodness & greatness of our loving & caring God. There are times when I am overwhelmed with my own faults, failings & sins, & feel it is useless to try & serve God. But I can offer him my desire to serve him, which is indeed all I have to offer. All the evil around us is so sad - it compels us to go to the foot of the cross. This week is something we all need, & I am so thankful for this online retreat. May God bless all who are struggling through this week.
WK5 I am a bit lost this week. Yes sin and not in touch with Jesus. I got angry again and busy with work. got to try agin and have the hear to Jesus
I found Father Gillick's reflection, "For the Journey" very useful for week five. Often when contemplating the "canvass of sin" I am a very good art critic. I can easily objectify what is happening ... often over intellectualizing and getting caught up in interesting questions of why something is happening. I think about my initial reaction to the current was in Iraq. I enjoyed getting caught up in the "real politik". What I find easy to do is avoid thinking about my own responsibility or involvement in the process. Contrast this with the method of St Francis where our contemplation of violence and peace starts with what is inside each of us. This places us in the canvass without doubt.
So the other piece I found useful this week was the contemplation in the prayer, "In these or similar words": how would I feel if a gift I gave one my children were just tossed away in my face? I started to think as I listened to the news on the radio what gifts of God were being tossed away. I felt very sad. The image is of Jesus on the Cross renewing or bring these gifts back to life is both powerful and I started to feel for myself very necessary.
I begin week 5 today and glad to gain the knowledge of not to feel depressed because I sin again and rely on love of God to start again. How many times I failed? Each sin I am sorry for and there is the love of Jesus from the Cross.
Week 5 I’m passing this Retreat in Poland. The evil of this world is seen by me everywhere. I saw how much I want to escape from these plases. Last day of this week trying to read the week paper TYGODNIK POWSZECHNY (Number 42) I found the text, which is essential for me. Below I rewrite it in my poor English:
"The last voice belongs to victims. In the book “Night” Wiesel memorises as SS-mans hangered two prisoners and small boy whose face like sad angel.All concentration camp have to see this execution. Suddenly from back lines one can hear the question: Where is God? Where is He?Both adults , no doubt, were dead. From their tongues hung swollen. But third rope was moving continiously: the child was too light and was still alived...Over through half an hour he floundered between life and death, dying in long torture, and we looked at him. We had to look in his face straight.He lived yet when I was passing him. He had red tongue, his eyes didn’t be glassy.
Behind me I heard the same man asking:
- Where is now God?
And I heard also inner voice, who answered:
- Where? Thee is here...hangs on this gallows."
Jezus Christ must be adorated in that places of my escaping ,exactly: not in places but in the suffering human. It is the aim of my life, the aim of which I am afraid.
-- A.K., Poland
Week 5...the difficult one. To see my role in sin and suffering is very painful. But it is clear, as I follow the directions in the retreat to look at personal sin and to "allow God to be God".
I am now in week 5 of the Online Retreat - the one that focuses on the sin against God and destruction of the world. It is quite easy to find images to reflect upon as this is 2 weeks into the War between Israel and Hezbollah, where figures greater than 600 deaths, 600,000 refugees are being quoted on the news. Where I am finding difficulty is understanding how those people in power - the decision makers have lost their way so much that they wish this to continue until some political end has been met. I am trying to understand the seeds of the evil. What changes in a person's life to make them so cold as to decide this should continue - more lives lost. I also feel powerless, I wish to be proactive - but amidst my own "busy" life am left wondering what can I do - except pray. Maybe I shouldn't minimise prayer so much - maybe if I felt prayer was more valuable, I wouldn't feel powerless.
Alan Murray, Ireland.
Hello My Friends,
These mornings at prayer I've been asking for grace to see the malice of sin as it is. Well you get what you ask for . I've been terrified at the tragedy sin causes in our lives, thru history. But as I battled with what this meant to me, I also felt the assurance that there is nothing that can escape the loving and providential eye and hand of God, Three in One. With Jesus nothing is impossible. It's taken me over a year to get to this point. The Lord is working slowly with me and many times I've felt what's the use of not being able to finish my own agenda. Well Jesus has a different agenda for me: PATIENCE. And that is the way he handles our deepest poverty to want to love and be loved by Him, by God.words cannot fathom what sin does, only in a mind as vast and comprehensive is their a solution and that solution we have : Jesus Christ the Lord.Peace.
greetings to all of you. my son and his little family moved to the mountains to be near their father today and i thought i would be overwhelmed as i thought i would be overwhelmed by the practice of staring the evil in the face. but it seems to not be happening to me. i could feel the sense of sin and disorder that we were asked to feel for and this move( in a family which for years was torn apart by alcoholism and addiction) is an orderly move and one made with love and from a happiness between us all. so i have realised that pain need not be ugly and disordered but simply right emotions . i can see the Companion with the Lamp in the middle of the picture of my life and its gradually driving the darkness further and further out. i was always afraid to look at the truly terrible evils and sins for a myriad of reasons. now i find if i stand as i learned to in earlier weeks and am able to look at the darknesses within my self and my own life then as long as i have the Light there with me then i have become more and more able to look at bigger disorders and evils which have always terrified me.i can face the thought of the savagery and wickedness out there. even thiugh i tremble and do not think i could facce it. i think too that god has equipped me for the life he has given me and whatever it may be i will be ok, and i suspect he knows i am a no hero and has asked me only to fcec the evil which i am capable of facing. it is as if a candle were lit in the very middle of the picture and one step at a time the glow lights more things and warms more of my own personal picture.
i was thinking too of adam and eve and that the original sin wasnt violence or thumping one another . it was the disobedience. when the guides spoke of getting a sense of evil - i realised that evil can come disguised in good deeds and goodness can sometimes look pretty crummy . also that obedience to god can ask me to not do as the world thinks i ought. im muddled this week and know you will forgive me because i love my little family and am upset to see them off. i just know its not time for me to join them and that god has some plan for me and them and obedience is the best choice. love to you all.
-- Nell from the Tweed Week 5
I was doing my reflection fairly systematically this week. On previous weeks I would turn off the car radio on way to work and use some of that time as a moment of reflection. This week the news in the background provided plenty of backdrops for facing up to the reality of sin in our world. I am also conscious of how I have neat frames that limit the reality of evil from impinging too much of my consciousness. One is quite simple … put a thick frame of denial around the reality. The other is more subtle … come up with all sorts of rational explanations that take me out of the picture. The latter mode is quite easy because I realized that good and evil very often co-exist and use the same substance … probably no sin in drinking alcohol … conviviality building bonds … but for many the same substance becomes addiction … and I recalled the people who I have personally encountered who have been hurt even close to destroyed by the same substance. Because of this the place of the Cross becomes even more important … promise of healing … God’s presence in middle of evil. But two events stopped me over intellectualizing this and feeling personally what is really in the frame. First, I had a horrible fight with my boss on Friday. The substance is not really material from a spiritual sense but I tasted again how we can be hurt and how I can build up amazing defenses that would satisfy my outrage but probably just escalate the situation. Some of our worst sins either as persons or nations emanate from our feelings of anxiety and hurt. So I’ve resolved to put this conflict in God’s hands. Maybe it will lead to a new direction for me or simple grace but with God’s help I will not let it fester.
Second, we had a missionary from Haiti speak at Mass this morning. He was a tremendously dynamic preacher and I wish I could have recorded his homily … it was almost as if he had been sitting with me on retreat this week and gently pulled on every nuance of my meditation on evil. I was moved to tears. His descriptions of life and suffering in his community were quite shocking. To be honest I’m not sure where this will take me but I am committed to work with God’s graces and find ways to resist in my own life subtle and not so subtle over consumption, waste of resources and the more insidious personal tactics that can become strands in their own way on the canvas of evil
While contemplating this week “the disorder of sin”, I came across an article that described how millions of children die of malaria in so-called “third world” countries, while here in the “first world” the disease is of no concern to us because it has effectively been eradicated. A few dedicated and capable individuals are currently devoting their energies to bringing this problem to our attention, but I was struck by how extensive the suffering is and how little we have done to stop it. For me, this was a perfect image of the disorder of sin. Placing the Crucified Christ at the center of evil and suffering—his merciful and tender love, THERE!—helps conquer terrors’ hold.Tom, Pennsylvania
Week 5: As I began reading through the suggestions for this week, I felt that I would be overwhelmed by the sense of evil that fills the world. Then as I read the "For the Journey" section, with the idea that the central picture is the love of Jesus for us and our world, a different picture came to mind. Several years ago I read the book "Return of the Prodigal Son" by Henri Nouwen. It focuses on the painting of the same name by Rembrandt. I looked at the cover picture again, and realized that the forgiving, merciful Father is the focal point of the painting. This has become the picture I've returned to each day this week. In the 2 sons I can see most - maybe all - of the seven deadly sins. And of course, these are the sins that encourage us to cooperate with the evil that exists today. My prayer is for courage to resist the evils of pride, greed, gluttony, envy that tempt us to think only of ourselves and ignore the damage to our fellow human beings and to the world we have been entrusted to care for. Thank you for this retreat.
I am on week 5 of the retreat and am quite surprised. This week is been a big eyeopener. When I thought of poverty and issues on human rights I always thought of third world. I guess the news is that this is happening under my very nose in this wonderful country of Canada.I never gave much thought to the thousands of lives killed through abortion. The hunger and homelessness prevalent in my own country. The issues of ending lives because someone has decided the quality of life is not there any more.I remember about 60 years ago or so I man name Hitler was condemned for doing just these things. How far we have come to do all of this in the name of democracy. In any case I guess the message is that this country of mine needs as lot of prayer and divine intervention. I hope its not to late.
This week has been difficult for me, as I am one of those sensitive people who find it very upsetting to watch or read or hear about the suffering in the world, especially when caused by our own sinfulness. The ‘canvas’ and the ‘frame’ were backwards for me…the canvas being the sins of the world and the frame being the mercy of God. Now focusing on our dear, suffering Jesus on the cross, carrying the weight of all our sins, has made me more and more and more grateful, but, also, reminds me of my part in His sufferings. Yesterday’s Mass was dedicated to Mary, Mother of Sorrows. As I prayed the Sorrowful mysteries of the rosary, I thought of how our sins made her suffer, too, just like all of our sinfulness has the ripple effect everyone. Mary was best portrayed in “The Passion of Christ”, showing us how perfectly she embraced her Son’s cross as we, also, must do. His mercy is our salvation.
I thank God for giving me this opportunity to take part in this retreat. The previous weeks have been comforting especially when I could sit with the Lord and look back on my life over a glass of wine.Week 5 has been particularly challenging. It is not hard to see the disorder of sin everywhere. Recently there have been many painful commemorations of humanity's atrocities, the massacre of innocent people in Hiroshima,Bosnia and Rwanda. Currently, the senseless war in Iraq, terrorist attacks in London and Egypt,the displacement of millions in Darfur and the starving in Niger. What is hard to see and bear is that my sins are also part of this disorder.I thank God for the gift of healing mercy and forgiveness, for me and my brothers and sisters of the world.
I started off the week with the expectation that I probably would not be able to find any fresh inspiration in this topic for week 5. I thought, yes, I know the disorder of sin is everywhere. And yes, I am aware that it is appalling rebellion. Wars, murder, injustice -- they are always there, always will be. But when will my arrogance end -- when will I stop underestimating God and overestimating myself? Because when I worked on opening myself to hearing God's voice, I was faced with new realities of evil that I hadn't been paying attention to. I read the 5/11/2005 edition of National Catholic Reporter and learned about horrible atrocities committed against rural Ugandans (for ex, women found mutilated in fields with limbs, breasts, lips cut off) perpetrated by marauders going about forcing children to join their forces. I read about Nery Rodenas, executive director of the Human Rights Office in Guatemala, who denounced the army's role in human rights violations, and who reported that he and his family have received death threats because of his work.Then today, May 14, 2005, I came across a blurb in the New York Times reporting that 3 of 4 white men convicted of beating a mentally disabled black man and abandoning him on a fire ant mound were all given short jail terms ranging between only 30 and 60 days in jail.This week I have learned that I must stay aware of the evil manifested in the world. I must take the weight of it into prayer -- I feel that if I do not do this, then I will have neglected a possibility to lessen the effects of evil. Are we not taught that there is power in prayer?I have been wondering what may be pleasing to God in addition to prayer, about how else I should respond to evil in the world. I do not know, but I found comfort in the writings of St. Teresa of Avila. In the last chapter of her work Interior Castles, she encourages Christians to focus on prayer, and especially on helping our companions, those in our circles, with love. She seems to suggest that if we take care of our usual obligations with love, then God will make us able to do more each day -- and who knows where that could eventually lead?
Week 5 I am doing this retreat by myself (except of couse for all the other people doing exactly the same thing at the same time as me). But have no one to talk to about it, so I have kind of made a promise to myself to share here each week my thoughts etc.
This week has been hard, but the picture I see is Jesus in the center of all the sin of the world taking it upon himself. I have never seen this before, so strange, that I have never considered or understood that before.
The words I hear are "Jesus, Lamb Of God, You Take Away The sins Of The World" I really hear them now. Thank you God for this blessing.
How do we understand the terrible sin and destruction of innocent people's lives that is going on in Iraq today? This is perpetuated by a government who smugly believes God is on their side. What god is this?I see Christ weeping wherever greed, arrogance and inhumanity take precedence over love. charity and true dialog. I am hoping that this week will help me understand this and all sin in the world but it is very painful. It is so much easier when we only reflect on our own relationship with God but He calls us to care for the world and work for peace and justice for all. Week 5
I live in Africa. It was not hard for images of the effects of sin to come to my mind at the beginning of the week. I asked God to show me one picture to sum up the sin; I saw the scourged back of Christ, opened up by the lead tipped whip. He was bound, unable to move,
completely at the mercy of his tormentors. I was surprised. I had expected something else. Then I realised this picture showed the abuse of power, a merciless hunger for revenge, the dehumanising force of sin, its destructive power over victim and family, its supreme arrogance.
The next day I started to hear about the Asian tsunami. So far around 70,000 dead. I am thinking about this in light of this week's retreat. Sin has brought disharmony to creation, and we are subject to it. So much pain. Unbearable. But what of institutional sin? Our policies maintain poverty. We put in bondage countries that are unable to repay their debt; we add interest to it. We sell arms to them, lending them money to do so. Madness.
Where is God in all this? Christ stands weeping next to me. The only way I can face the endless pain around me is to know this compassion reaching out. My parent-God suffers as any parent does when they see their child suffer the consequences of their wrong choices. The parent suffers when she see us spoil the gift of freedom and abuse it. My parent-God suffers the anguish of his choice to respect our choices. He waits for us to call, however faintly. Week 5
im stumbling through the retreat but ive made it to week five. i am acutely aware of the rebellion of sin..i am paying the price for having dishonored my marriage by seeking the comfort of others and leaving my home. i could certainly offer many explanations...but the truth is what i did was wrong. i hurt everyone around me, and now that hurt is returning to me many times over. i am trying to make things up to my wife, but i may have made a mistake i cant fix..i am feeling the anger and hurt and resentment she feels and i am feeling humbled and scared and alone knowing i have no one to blame but myself. i am hanging in there...and i am trying to return to the path that god set for me before i decided to do it MY way. but feeling the pain of separation from god as manifested in the separation form my family is disturbing. i am struggling to pray and to see the good things in my life and understand and accept my place in god's plan. the retreat has been a great help in keeping me focused and giving me hope.
Week 5: Visited a family today who are, I would say, living below the average income level. Two of this woman's daughters, who are in their early and mid-teens, were mothering their children, the younger child being only 7 weeks old. I can sense from that visit that the mother was the one holding everyone in the household together. The daughters have their parts in running the household but the mother was the one who reminded them what to do. A typical family in many ways, but unusual in the sense that they carry more than the usual burden of a "typical" family.
When I was in their home today to meet the family, I can hear their normal ways of dealing with one another. Although most people would call this family broken, I saw some sort of wholeness in them, certainly not in a conventional way. In a very weird sense, I felt God's presence in that house despite the presence of chaos and disorder. God was present most especially in the mother's love for her family. I can sense God in their kitchen, in the ordinariness of their lives, in the smell of their home cooked meal, in the steam of their boiling water... God is present in the midst although veiled at times.
I had to remind them of this presence. The mother asked me if I could bless the house. I told her that blessing the house does not mean that God was not present here before, but rather, we are dedicating this home now to God, for God to use whatever you have for God's glory. And as I blessed the house, it was like the veil was lifted and God's face was revealed in the ordinariness of this home, a home that most people would only describe as chaotic. May the Spirit continue to unfold the presence of God in their midst.
In week 5, the reading "How God Dealt with our Sin" just blew me away. After reading the first few lines, I wondered, "Who in the world is this talking about?" "You are fully grown... Christ has taken away your selfish desires", it said. Again the thought came, "Who is this talking about?" It went a step further: "And when you were baptized it was the same as being buried with Christ". Then I realized: "This is talking about me. I have been baptized." It went on to describe things almost too beautiful for words. I concluded that this must be the way God "sees" us now even though I have a hard time seeing myself as "fully grown", without "selfish desires" and so on. Could it really be possible that God sees me this way? Forgiven, raised to life?
It kind of went smoothly the first four weeks. I did write down some thoughts and ideas but never felt compelled to share like today. The theme for the fifth week is disturbing. I have come to know, experience the sins of the world. I come from a country destroyed by internal war and division, lust for power, corruption and international injustice. I have seen and felt deeply the sins of the world since I have worked closely to those who are responsible for leading us. But I am sorry; I can’t see the mercy of God in all. I can see the mercy of God in my personal life, I can testify. I have been force out of work since March, being victimized by a new government in power, but I feel the presence of God in my personal life, guiding me to other territories and I accept this new challenge as it helps me grow closer to God. I am dealing with my own uncertainties, not being able to go back to my own country, not knowing what country I will be living in, if I’ll have to leave my daughter behind, but I know deep down that whatever road is being laid before me will be good in the end. But where is the mercy of God when millions of my own are stripped of their dreams to have a better life? Where is the mercy of God when poverty and violence strike stronger day after day? Where is it when one group of people can decide what goes in your own backyard, and damn, aren’t they successful at it? I guess that I am too caught up in my own hurting that I can’t see it. But I will pray for God to show me His mercy revealed in a nation as a whole. I won’t move up to the sixth week until it grabs me and transforms me. As I write this, I am crying of rage and sadness.
Week 5 reflection. I was eagerly anticipating going into this week. My attitude was positive and I was anxious to open the "package" for the week by looking over and printing the week's material. What a disappointment - the subject is sin! The assignment: "grow in what our culture seems to have lost - a sense of sin". I understand that. "This week should not discourage . . . (but) give us hope". That helps.
To read the guide every day this week has helped me progress. It's hard stuff, and I need to concentrate and stop to reflect and absorb.
What I started out to share is that, for some reason, I had a light bulb experience: the cruicifixion is redemption for today's evil! Why hasn't this sunk in previously? I'm astounded at the "revelations" I receive in participating in this retreat. God bless all of you on this journey.
The grace for Week Five came early in the week. As I was reading over all of the material for the week and looking at the picture it hit me more than ever that ALL people are God's creation and loved by God. I thought about how God might feel when God sees one that he created and loves hurting, killing, and plotting against another whom God likewise created and equally loves. This caused me to ponder the question - Who is one person or group of people to say that another person or group of people is deserving of deplorable treatment when all are created and loved by God? Realizing that the one who is drastically different from me whom I may oppose is also a child of God who is loved by God is cause to step back and think about the way that this 'other' is treated. This was followed later in the week by the grace to use the picture and frame imagery that was presented this week. I imagined a dynamic (interactive) picture with Christ at the center drawing all of the evil and sin in the framing periphery to himself without diminishing his own brilliance.
Each week I have posted the beautiful pictures on my screen. For the fifth week I have the destructive picture of Bosnia devastated by war. That is a powerful graphic of disordered nature. It makes me want to cry and I have shed tears thinking about such destruction. Then, I reflected on the evil of sin, my own personal sinfulness, and am looking for an appropriate picture of the destruction I have personally carried out. There are no words to express my own sinfulness and so I place myself in the trusting forgiveness of Jesus Christ. I thank Him for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
This is Week 5 for our parish. I am watching the film "Dead Man Walking" as a painful perspective of sin, set within the framework of prayer and compassion. Although I have seen it before, looking from the viewpoint of sin in the world, it is very compelling. It is a small illustration of what Jesus overcame for us.
As I continue through week 5, I feel a very tragic disorder of sin which I had for a long time was not liking myself. It almost got suicidal at times. What greater disorder than to turn ones back on God's creation, and say that I am not worthy of His love. God is pure love, and resides within each of us. To think at one time I was so negative...its not a good feeling. I have come a long way since that point, I am very involved with a Prayer Group and well as being a Hospice volunteer. Praise the Lord for His love is everlasting.
A powerful message which offers an opportunity to reflect on God's love as I reflect upon the cruel shortcomings of humanity. For me personally, it was an opportunity to let go of personal failings, realizing as I clung to them, I placed myself in the center of what is important, instead of placing God there. Thank you also for the story of Bishop Gerardi. His powerful message lives on with this continued sharing of his story. Week 5
I haven't felt the need to share up to this point in the retreat, but, at the beginning of Week 5, I'm embarking on a whole new level of the journey closer to God. The first 4 weeks of the retreat almost felt like a "review." For over a year before beginning this retreat, I had been working with a wonderful spiritual director on the very topics presented in the first 4 weeks: especially the true realization that God knows me, loves me and reaches out for me before I even know to reach for him. Now, with this week, it's a whole new experience. The image in the photo is jarring, and the task at hand is difficult. I think of the verse from Joshua: "Don't be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."
Sin is a tough one for me. I am an optimist. I think of sin as an "unfinishness". I believe God doesn't make junk... that everything IS for a purpose according to God's plan. I don't believe we can "hurt" or "disappoint" God. As we see the consequences of our actions, it causes us to reflect and adjust. I believe we all strive for goodness, but our understanding of goodness in each situation we encounter is incomplete. The lack that exists is "sin" to me. Jesus came to show us in human terms how to love selflessly even to death. there's the hard part...to give and give and give and give...without "expecting" to receive in return...BUT wait with God it's different. We can give and give and give and give and KNOW that he is eternally giving. He needs no return. THE MODEL...The all perfect.
My prayer is "Help me to give love to those I meet daily without expecting earthly love in return, but know in my heart that my God loves me always!"
To look at the big picture of sin in the world as well as personal sin is a very challenging thing to do. I am near the end of week five. This week I received aids through conversations that people brought up in work....it was interesting because twice this week it happened. One person not knowing anything about what my task was for the retreat ,said to me ...do you realize all the evil we have been witness to in our life time and then proceeded on a litany of events from WWII onward. She brought to mind so many images.
I am horrified at the sinfulness that the world has experience globally and in my own personal life, and it brings me to tears when I think that Jesus had to withstand so much suffering for me and the world. I am grateful to God, yet I need to look on the image of Jesus on the cross more often to really understand how great His love for us.
The cycle of hatred ,prejudice, greed, lust, and violence need to replaced with the understanding that God loves us , even if our own brothers and sisters act in ways that would make us think otherwise. I pray for all who are unloved , abused, neglected, lonely, and those who are arrogant , bitter and hateful that the Spirit of love enter into their lives to create or recreate us in the image of Him.
How right it is to reflect on the sin of the people of the world. I especially find myself lifting prayers to God for the helpless old and the unborn. (Week 5)
This week found me concentrating on major evil events in history, events readily horrifying and easily identified: the holocaust, WW II, Vietnam. Then there is the murder and mayhem that go on in individual killings. Of course, WTC bombings, the Pentagon, McVeigh, the list goes on and on. How about a system of slavery that lasted 300 years and still reverberates through every facet of this society. Then there is the sex-slave trade still imprisoning thousands, and the child sex industry of Thailand and other Asian nations that make our problems with sexual child abuse miniscule, though they should not be diminished in importance. And then there is that incredible image of the cross. Once in awhile, as I raise the cup of wine at the consecration, my mind’s eye sees the cross with his human form, blood dripping down the body, flesh torn, thorns piercing, and lips moving that say, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” What tremendous love that this act of self-sacrificing love overcomes all the evil described above and all not described. What other response could there be for me than to strive to imitate that? When harmed by others, even slightly, climb up on that tree and be held by its victim and say with him, “Father….”
Just finishing the fifth week, I darely can tell you I realized a sense of sin that was different from before. Though I was so sad to hear suicide bombing in Isreal and sometimes I used to pray for innocent victoms, that accident never made me feel a sense of sin that I rebelled God's desire. So far most of My sin was the things about indivisual ingratitude from God. But when I watched Bali bombings on television this week , I felt how dreadful human beings' hatred was, how far we were away from God's love. Of course I was not directly responsible for the bombing, but I thought, I am also resposible for rebellion from God's desire that we praise, reverence and serve God and use everything else in creation for that end. Finally I came to move my eyes from my sin to our sin. I newly realized how wrong we behaved , how magnitude God's Mercy was. Jesus on the Cross gives me a broader views on the sin and His Mercy .
The beginning of this day of my 5th week, I thank God for such a great day. Then the phone rings. My brother who is dying of cancer tells me he is in pain; then my aunt calls me to let me know her daughter in law who is 47 died and left 3 children and that her oldest son who is 13 wanted to kill himself as he heard the news about his Mom dead. All kinds of sufferings until the ending of the day. While I am hearing all this I am focused on the great love that God has for us. I know God is in each situation. I will recall the grace I desire today: to enter more deeply into a sense of what sin really is. I may say, for example, "Lord, let me see and feel the outrage of the evil that seems to reign in our world. Lord, I so want to be moved by the profound depth of your love and mercy." At the end of this day, I let all these images be replaced by the one image of Jesus on the Cross. Tonight I will try to focus on that image. Try to let it become more real. I can imagine looking up into the face of Jesus, and speaking to him my gratitude. Risen Lord, thank you for the power of God's love. All evils of our world. I remember loved ones and friends who are real victims of sin. I have experienced the tragedy of care givers like me that who failed to love those we care for by being so impatient with them and not expressing God's love to them. We do want it to affect our hearts. We want to take our blinders off and really see and feel the power of evil. But, at the same time, I want to experience the power of God's response. I try not to get discouraged and pray for hope. Is it difficult for me to look at the evil of the sin in my life and how I make others suffer? I will ask God to help me grow in gratitude for the mercy of God in my life and the life of those I love and also on a certain person I find it hard to forgive. I am suffering because of this and I don't understand the reason for this attitude over such a simple misunderstanding. l understand I am not perfect and this is where I know God's great love.
I'm finishing up my 5th week, it's been tough. I've noticed alot of places in my life where sin has effected me or those around me. Sometimes I just feel powerless over my sin, even small ones, like overspending or not eating properly. Sin has a concrete effect on me physically...I get anxious and get an upset stomach. I have recently broken off a relationship with someone, so I'm feeling lonely. However, I did not feel that I was really interested in anything else but being loved and held, not to say this isn't important, just that in my addictive way, I will put anything behind this need, be it physical intimacy, food, or spending. So for now, I'm taking a break, trying to get some sanity in my life. Already my stomach is quieting down some, which is a blessing.
Week 5. I have been good at indignation faced with the faillings of others. Time to face up to my own sin and faillings. The prospect is truly frightening. This will go very slowly.
Week 5, I have been putting the photos as backdrop on my computer and I was able to notice my brand of wine two weeks ago, i. e. Concha Y Toro Merlot on the table. Of course, that was with much enlarging and font gymnastics. You see, I don't see as well as I used to. So, when I looked at the photo on the first day of week 5 I saw a beautiful hillside village until I right clicked and enlarged. Beauty became evil and unplessantness. My first impulse is to bolt and run-to look away. But, we are asked to look, to examine evil this week, to look at sin; not just our own but worldwide. It certainly isn't very pretty to look inside those bombed out rooms, to see and feel the starkness, to let the coldness of it touch the back or our arms. So much sin , so much evil. Is this really the full extension of total selfessness-to totally Ease God Out (EGO)? I remember driving home on a Feb. afternoon at the beginning of this decade after hearing that we were bombing Iraq and whispering to God an apology, a prayer like that we just really hadn't progressed very far. Anyway, this Monday morning of week 5 those are my thoughts I want to share with my brothers and sisters-He gives us all so much and the tendency is to keep 'em and hoard 'em like the last little fellow in the gospel yesterday; bury the talent. My prayer this morning is that God grace me this week by helping me get out of the endless maze of self-Amen
I am beginning week five with feelings of extreme discomfort! Who wants to look at the "sin" in their lives? As I look back on my youthful sins I thank God, in Jesus' Name that I have been "saved" by His love. Yet, the journey is not over. I ask God to reveal to me the ways that I continue to sin, and continue to hide these sins from myself. Our society has distorted my view of sin, has made it easier for me to rationalize sin, to make it sin a ACCEPTABLE part of life. I pray now that I will have the courage to "see" my sins as God sees them. I feel that they are open wounds that will fester and rot unless and until I ask God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to heal me. Pray for me.
Week 5. WOW! What a week to begin to see the magnitude of sin in the world ... the USA and Britan begin, what is now the fourth day of, bombing on the other side of the world. What part do I play in all of it if I am a citizen of this country? The guides ask whether I can be reflective without being negative ... at the beginning of the week I thought I could. Then last night at a gathering I found myself saying things like, "This is it. Prepare your soul." and "Get ready to meet your Creator." Guess that was a little negative ... but what is it to want to be in God's loving presence and not worry about all of the sin on the planet? Gee, He does care enough to have given his magnitude of mercy by letting His Son pay for our messes. As the world situation has been developing, I find I would rather find a peaceful solution but that's not what 92% of the population wants. Am I a fake? Will I really be in the Kingdom when the time comes? God has promised and He doesn't go back on His promises, does He?
Scanning through the pages of sharing looking for a mention of Week 5, I enjoyed reading the contribution from the person who appreciates this wine. In fact I have kept that particular photo as wallpaper up to now and would similarly recoil from the horror of the destruction of the bombed village. I expect this retreat to be quite demanding as it progresses.
I am just finishing week 5 now. The awareness of sin is very important to me and this week has helped sensitize me to that. I think it helps to understand the first sin was a result of disobedience to God's plan for humanity. The result was a ripple effect of disorder throughout time. In effect, I can clearly see how my transgressions will eventually lead and contribute to others. In other words, I may say something to one person, which may be good or bad, and that person will act upon it either in a good way (help someone for example) or in a bad way (the anger I have caused may encourage someone to manifest the anger on a third person). In any case this is like polution in the air or water. It is all around us. We can not avoid seeing it everywhere. However, it is up to us to help stop the bad propagation (sin) and proclaim the good (the Word). The propagation of the faith so to speak. By stopping the bad propagation, I mean by us realizing a sinful thought and putting it out of our minds. Prevent it from taking root. I do not mean to violently stop someone and thereby creating another and different sin. We must be imitators of Christ, who bore all kinds of insults and physical abuse without retaliation. Only Love. I give thanks to God every day and ask Him to fill our hearts with His Love. I ask that I may contribute by bearing the fruit of His Love to others.
In this, the 5th day of the fifth week, I want to thank Jesus for he have saved me and the whole humanity from sin, and we can experiment his liberating power. The honor, the power and the Glory are yours, Father, in Jesus. And I am confident and glad.
I am starting week 5, and it is very difficult to think about sin without outrage, especially institutional sin. (goivernments that hide stuff, organizations that use misleading info to push an agenda, etc.) One thing that does help me though, it thinking that Jesus's passion is there to give us a clean slate, and that I can use that to be a member of holiness as best I can in whatever organization or group I'm in--and if I fail, Jesus is there for me.
[I too was] hurt by a pastor and people of the parish and am not ready to forgive completely. It happened 4 years ago. I too want to forgive but not completely. But in sharing this with my spiritual director I was told that St. Ignatius said that the desire to desire to change our heart is good enough for God. We should adopt the attitude of utter helplessness before God, that we cannot overcome some failing in ourselves and let God take over. I haven't forgiven completely yet, but with God's help I will. In His time. I will pray for you. A fellow traveler.
It was a difficult week. (5) Sin. Its nature is chaos. Nowhere to begin. Nowhere to end. Simply nowhere, but feelings of fear, guilt, anger, impatience, denial. Like hell, unbearable. But sometime, somewhere from the past, from behind, a distant melody can be heard. At first, a mere attraction that remained unexplained. Falling-in-love with the melody was enough - fit to be a movie score or TV soap opera - sentimental and carnal. Then the words of the song emerged. Borrowed, yes, from a Filipino Jesuit, Arnel Aquino, SJ, but the truth of experience was ringing universal. Originally in Tagalog (a Filipino dialect), the message came strongly as I 'interpret' its refrain: "With you ... I am waiting for you.
This love - the only longing in my heart -
for your return in my bosom, is drenched with yearning.
Be still and listen: 'Be mine again.'" Forgiveness of God became a song: "Be Mine Again." Notwithstanding the controversies around Terrence McNally's "Corpus Christi," the play moved me to tears as it portrayed more vividly and passionately 'forgiveness' coming from the heat of one's chest [warmth of one's heart] that seeks out the other not to be left out in the cold, isolated. Tears welled up from my eyes that I may 'see again.' Sin and Forgiveness - grace of tears and song - gifts of listening, seeing, touching, feeling, tasting - God beckoning, "Be Mine Again." Deo Gratias!
The impression this week as I reflected on the Photo (5) and thereafter on the world around me is that God intensely desires to show me that the treasure is lying in my soul, it's all there where God's plan is all about.
The greatness and beauty of created things will not only help to train me properly but to let me achieve to know what God loves. My soul should be treated as a holy temple , being baptized in Christ , a new birth was given .
Thank you my Lord for these graces and help me to lift my eyes from the ugliness of this world and to choose all what you desire from me : Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control. I pray that I may give up my human outlook so as to consider things in the light of Faith, and to be taught only by Christ.
I am now in week 5 of the retreat. I have been tempted to share earlier but this is my first time. I have really enjoyed the retreat so far. I really liked looking back over my life and seeing God in His creation all around me the first few weeks. I love the themes to keep focused on for each week. Sometimes I feel as though I have not put enough time into the retreat every day but then I realize that when I am on my way someplace these things are going through my mind and have become a part of my life. I am moved by the sharing of others on this site. I hope to post my thoughts more as time goes on. May this be an enriching experience for all of us.
I was mired on Week 5 for 9 days. I was amazed, during that time, to come to the knowledge that I have long operated at arm's length from the evil and sin in the world. Yes, I observe various rituals to [I thought] prove and strengthen my faith: Sunday liturgy; the holy days [pretty much]; rosary; "At Home with the Word" reflections on the week's liturgy readings; give generously to our home parish; give to the missions; participate in "good works"; blah, blah, blah... All of that, I thought, made me a good and kind person. I honestly believed that I was doing something positive to assuage the misery all around us. What I'm coing to think, though, is that I have never really sullied my hands or done much actively to counteract the effects of hatred, violence, and the like. I am the kind of person who turns the channel when a story on the news features unpleasant subject matter: starvation, cruelty to animals, war, and the like. For me, those kinds of things did not exist if I could not see them. Knowing that, I'm left to ponder whether the Week 5 practice of ending each day thanking God for Her forgiving power and love is appropriate for me. There's so much for which I need to be forgiven, in my small world, that I wonder where I get the nerve even to ask for forgiveness.
As I started week 5 of this retreat, I almost gave it up. The idea of dealing with the weight of sin this week defeated me. I have been in a battle with Satan in my marriage over pornography. After a whole day of procrastinating, I went to confession this afternoon and received the unmerited grace I desperately needed. This dear priest gave me the advice I needed to turn the battle over to God the Father instead of carrying it myself. He referred to pornography as a " gift of the devil." I will turn to the image of Jesus crucified each night to be reminded of His love and mercy and the price He paid for us to have the victory. I thank God for this site and I thank God for the gift of the sacraments and I thank God for His servant who was sitting in the confessional today.
I am on the 5th week of this retreat. What a blessing to know it is here for me whenever I want. I think finding this retreat at this time in my life is God's grace surely working in my life. I was looking for my reunion class and found the site and there in front of me was a picture of the church I was married in on campus years ago. The marriage did not survive and reminds me of the bombed Bosnia village in the pictures. That is what my life felt like then. Such sadness around a breakup like that and there seemed to be no God in my life, only pain. It has been a series of broken relationships since then and I am just beginning to realize why. I know God works in my life because I adopted as a single parent years ago and have a beautiful son. He brought me back to the church where I found a priest who "accepted" we marginalized divorced and single Catholics. I now have a rewarding fulfilling job and friends and family that are support for me. I also share the joy and sorrows of my journey with others through 12 step work. God works in my life when I surrender to Her. Thank you for providing help and companions for my journey. God is giving me what I need today and for that I am grateful. I pray for all of you and I so cherish the shares. They are important to me too.
I realized while struggling through week 5 and 6, that my sense of being close to Jesus is a distant closeness. I can sense the Lord but not be near Him. Then I realized that this sense or feeling is because of me not God. I choose to hold Him off at a distance and so the next question is why? This site has really helped me to look at my relationship with the Lord more maturely and for this I am grateful.
Week 6: This is about personal sin. If I really get started I'll be at it a long time. I've been warned about scrupulosity. Funny how knowing the real meaning of the word changes things. I always thought to be unscrupulous was a bad thing so the opposite must be a good thing. Not at all as I've found out.
I am week 6. Last night, Holy Thursday, I gathered with many to celebrate. These 6 weeks helped me celebrate with more awareness than ever before. During the Gospel, "Do you realize what I have done for you?"(John 13:12), jumped into my mind, heart, body and soul powerfully. I believe that the "background" exercises done so far prepared me for this Good News question. My answer is incomplete and a new beginning.
How timely is week 6!
I simply offer this weeks retreat for me and my siblings but mostly for my "little sister" as she completes her couples retreat today and we pray that God's grace and forgiveness intervene and protect her family, two little boys and husband from the destruction of sin and personal rebellion. Her brother and sisters are no stranger to her same pain. I humbly ask God for forgiveness for my own rebellion as well as that of each of us that struggles to walk with Jesus
Week 6: I'm new to this sharing business, but reading what others have shared has made such an impression on me, that I finally decided to try.
I'm in Week 6 -- have been for the past 3 weeks. So many sins in my past and present life! I spent a lot of time trying to analyze and list them. Here's the result (next week I'll probably add some more!):
-Being self-centered, rather than "others-centered" -- failing to see Jesus in everyone I meet and treating them accordingly.
-Unwillingness to help others spontaneously without first considering the effort and discomfort that that will cost me.
-Emphasis on "having fun" rather than engaging in pastimes that would improve my mind, my body, my heart, and most of all my immortal soul.
-Impatience and unkindness -- losing my temper at the slightest provocation and launching into verbal abuse in an attempt to hurt him/her who is the cause of my anger. How petty I can be!
-Wanting to plot and plan every detail of my life, rather than leaving that to God. I don't have faith/trust in God's ability to look after me as well as I think I can by myself. I am unwilling to "let go" and trust God to work his Will in my life. I guess I fear that I may not like the result. I want to retain a "veto" power over what God wants me to do or not to do. I want to be "in control" over every aspect of my life. Maybe it's that old sin, Pride?
-Sure, I want to do God's Will -- but I still want to overeat and overdrink, gamble, miss Mass on Sunday when it interferes with my vacations, have sexual freedom, and generally ignore what the Church teaches us about our moral responsibilities. Why can't I realize that "No man can serve two masters"?
I need your prayers. I need to continue with this Retreat -- it has already started to change my life for the better. But I need to slow down -- I sped through the first 5 weeks but now I realize I've got to give God's grace more time to work in me. I don't know how much longer Week 6 will take, but I'm sure God will let me know when I'm ready to move on.
I sure do like to read the comments of all the others who are making this retreat -- I feel bonded with all of them in a type of spiritual kinship I've never known before.
Week 6: This is my second time through the Exercises. The past few weeks have been hard but I know that our Lord only gives us what we can handle. And he shows us where he wants to heal us. So, yes, looking at sin is difficult but the beginnings of healing are tremendous!
When I started to look at the patterns of sin in my life, I prayed to find the deepest roots of my sin. Where had I been malformed? What lie did I believe along the way? I was told once by a religious that fear is the root of all evil. So what I am I afraid of? As I started to connect the dots in week 6, it came to me. “You are afraid of not being loved.” The more I contemplated that statement the more it became an answer to, “why do I do the things I do?”
It took me a couple of days to come to terms with this truth. The Holy Spirit was very generous with gifts of understanding and knowledge. I read all that the website had to offer, I realized I had believed a lie. I am loved! My heavenly father is crazy about me! I don’t need to control my relationships or conversations. I don’t need to be extra sensitive to how I am being treated or spoken to. I can even knock off the self-deprecating humor! I wasn’t carrying it off well anyhow…
I used to see myself as the older son in the parable of the Prodigal Son. That is part of my pride. Upon further reflection and mega doses of knowledge, piety and wisdom I see that I am the younger son on my way back to my father. For the first time in my life, humility feels wonderful.
Dear brothers and sisters in God,
This week I am in 6th week. As everybody says " a very difficult one ". In my country there are no Jesuit priests, that is why I mail to you, for certain topic, that I need help, support and lead.First two days in this week, I spent on my deeds and sins, I did till I became 18th.
Suddenly a thought came to my mind " since I was not baptized at that time, those sins are not existing for God ". In fact I baptized myself, when I was 29 years old, at 1989. I was really led by God to do so.
Now my question
is whether to consider the time before my baptizing as a blank period
for sins or bad doings, because in fact I did not know God and His
will and commandments and the scriptures. In the communist times,
that was even forbidden. Or I have still to contemplate at least the
bad behaviour of mine against the other people arround me. Pax Christi!
Week 6: God is with me in such a special way today. Playing music from the St. Louis Jesuits in the background, I picked up the book: "Healing Life's Hurts" by Dennis and Matthew Linn, S.J. A book I've had since the 1980s--but never read. NOW is the time I need to deal with the "healing memories" approach used by these two Jesuits. "Healing of memories happens when we discover that a painful time of our past need no longer cripple us but can bless us. In coming to appreciate how every moment can gift us, we discover for ourselves what spirituality and psychology has recognized as key to the healing process."
I picked up the directives for Week 6 of the 34-day retreat again and re-read the guides given to us. This time the directives really grabbed hold of me. The grace of this week is "to experience deep gratitude for the profound depth of God's love and mercy for me." In reflecting on the theme of this week, my thoughts reverted back to the awe-inspiring image of the crucified Jesus on the wall of the chapel in the Jesuit Retreat House in Oshkosh. The image compels us to take notice of the profound love, faithfulness, and generosity of an all-forgiving God. Yes, by letting myself feel the sin in my life--crying copious tears of repentance--I received the grace to "know God more intimately…as I was overwhelmed with God's love for me there--as a sinner." Yes, sin is how I violate, ignore and freely choose to replace God's prior relationship with creatures using my own "self-centered blue print."
I then remembered the song of Mary Magdalene in “Jesus Christ Superstar:” – “If He said He loved me, I’d be lost, I’d be frightened. I couldn’t cope, just couldn’t cope. I’d turn my head. I’d back away.” --feeling totally unworthy of His love for me.
I pray that I may grow in my understanding that "God intensely desires us to come more and more alive, alert, aware and sensitive to His presence in His presents (gifts)… Forgiving us is God's judicial side; continuing our personal creation is His compassionate side."
"God, I am most grateful for your ongoing redeeming love that both cancels the debt against me and that opens me to have life and have it to the full." Help me with your grace and your love.
Week 6. This week has been very challenging. I am overwhelmed by the disorder of my sins. I am surprised to discover that my sins of omission-"in what I have failed to do" bring the most guilt. I imagine Jesus sitting beside me holding my hand as I address and ask for forgiveness for my sins.
all of us emerge from week 6 with forgiven and reconciled hearts.
Week Six: Who ever said that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes, should have added sin to the list. Despite my best intentions, I sin. I should be completely depressed with such a defeatist attitude, but I am not. While sin can be the death of a soul, I prefer to think of it is another opportunity to turn to my Savior. Even when he cures me and says, “Sin no more,” I interpret that as a hope that I do my best. And whether it be the sins of society or my personal sins, I know the Original sin has led me down this path of sin and death. The only cure for both is “dying to myself” which I seem to instinctively resist. I know I am called to not be instinctive, but to act deliberately, weighing the value of my actions for God’s Greater Glory.
Week 6: I have reflected during the week on the nature of sin. I sought out the definitions: Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, the Church Catechism. My favorite is Augustine’s commentary that it is the absence of God. It seems especially true when I think of those central tenets of love: of reaching out with compassion to those in need, of turning the other cheek; of becoming known for the love that we show each other.
In meditating on this I couldn’t help feeling that my daily commute between home and work is a great battle plain in my struggle to exercise these tenets where I so often encounter the absence of God in my behavior. So many times I have set out on commutes, sometimes directly from church and deep meditation, with the firm intention of exercising these Christian virtues that I hold dear to my heart. But then someone cuts in front of me, or dodges in and out, or lazes along while talking on their cell phone. I almost always fail after a mile or so. I rant, I shake my fist, I honk, I squeeze the space in front of me- no matter how hard I try. It happens every day.
its core, this behavior of mine is putting forward my own ego. How
dare they! At its core it is no different than long bitter family
feuds, at its core it is no different than the ancient conflicts between
peoples, or the random violence of terrorists. I really believe this.
Putting one’s self before others is at the core. It is the absence
of God in my decision making. Who knows how we might act when faced
with different circumstances when we constantly think about our own
Week 6: After getting through 6 weeks I have had to start from the beginning..The confusion and doubt as to what was happening had created a bottom which there was no other way to go.After returning to the beginning a flood of pictures from the past became overwhelming.Writing these down this time has given this retreat new meaning and a direction in which to go without the confusion.Knowing that God is there and helping has been a comfort in itself.Everywhere I look I am seeing what I needed to see the first time but was too insane to see.Having someone there to share with while I have been taking this journey, I am grateful for.An accident which one of my children would most certainly lost her life in and came out with only scratches was God's doing and has giving them a belief which was not there before either.I have to thank God for the ones he has worked his wonders through by giving me this retreat.
Week 6 has been hard for me. I find it easy to welcome distractions and not think about what I need to. I feel like I have spent the past several years focusing on my sins and this is confusing. I just need to pray for God's guidance in showing me what he wants me to see at this time. I always try to focus on the mercy of God in my daily life. It is my hope and strength. I think maybe I need to look at my attitude toward myself, in loving and accepting myself despite all my shortcomings. May God help us in helping ourselves. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief!
I have found that making use of various links and ministries increases my concentration.
I also tend somehow to choose things that relate but they don't have to. A talk I went to suggested varying spiritual practices. anything done often enough seems to go smoother when spirituality applications are varied.
I feel like God's begining to come in closer which just makes me smile. To change the world we have to start with ourselves. It's like in the gospel where it says about how can change what is blocking our neighbor's sight until we first change what is blocking our sight.
Six weeks completed.
Week 6 contained this statement:"...sin is the action which flows from the attitude that my selfish, greedy and irreverent relationship with any of God's creatures replaces God's own relationship with them."
So here I bump into myself. I depersonalize people who impinge on what I value. Yes I see the contradiction in that , given that I maintain that my deepest desire is to do God's will. We are talking about sin aren't we. I realized that I seem to have defined myself by my stand against those who are dangerous, controlling, disrespectful and arrogant. Consequently I have to retain their sins; keep their sins alive in my experience. That keeps me bound into my own sin.
I need to let God define me instead of letting sin do so. The retention or forgiveness of sins is interesting. It shifts the impact or effect of retention or forgiveness from the sinner to the sinned against. The sinner may have long ago ceased to sin and been reconciled to God, but the sinned against, by holding onto the sin , that is retaining it, continues the effect of the sin and so continues the sin.
Week 6: Again, I find this week difficult particularly since I really like self improvement programs and I recognise patterns of sin in my life that just don't go away. What have I being doing? That's where I found the short excerpt from Father Kavanaugh, "Our Sinfulness and Our Goodness" useful. It's equally as problemmatic not recognising being loved as not recognising our sin. So I feel greatful for God's love and I realise that I need to give up the idea that avoiding sin and the occasions of sin is not a self improvement program. In fact, a good deal of the root of my sin lies in being so anxious to do something or what will happen next that I ignore everyday situations as opportunities to praise, revere and serve God. When I do that self indulgence and self-centredness takes over. I need to rest more in God's love for me and let that grace really take over.
Week 6: The intro to week 6 makes very little sense to me. This is because I AM one of the ones on "the bottom of the totem pole".......I don't live a comfortable life and I do give to others.....anyone who does paid or unpaid work for a parish office can tell you horror stories of how unChristian both lay members and clergy can be.
And, no, I DON'T see this big love God has for me......not if I am to get it from the examples of my fellow parish members, or even from members of the clergy.
This past weekend, a priest mentioned something about if we could allow ourselves to do small things that only God sees......such as picking up a piece of paper off the floor and throwing it away......shoot, I've been doing stuff like that most of my life, without thinking about it, it's just something I do. The problem is with church persons who think I'm daft or someone who they can take advantage of, not merely because I am "that way", but, because they also know that besides what I naturally do, I also try to do "extra". And then they treat me like dirt, because they know that I will attempt to forgive, even if/when I get angry. Where's God in that? I don't know.
I guess that's my exercise for the week, to seek God in the midst of my experience of being rudely treated by my fellow Christians. Well, that puts me back in St. Paul's prison letters, I suppose.
Week 6 I realized late in life that being a sinner had less to do with shame, wrong-doing, and judgment, and more to do with a love relationship. I thus became a sinner late in life – only when I truly experienced god-like, unconditional love.
Sixth Week - hard but get relief from discovering my arrogant rebellion and history of aggression or flight when I don't get what I want - all through the grace of God of course.
Week 6. Talk about sins with some friends and about confession. We don't seem to go to confession. I said to myself that I would go this week but too busy and did not set the time for it. I seems to be to busy, veryl ittle time for God. I fall down again and have to pick myself up with Jesus help and try again next week.
Week 6: During the week, a thought prompted by the liturgical readings get popping into my head. "If I know all I know about Jesus ....why do I not change immediately ....? Why do I repeatedly return to my rebellious ways? I see what is required. I want it". Then traveling for work this week reminds me that at the root of a lot of my rebellion is my self absorption. Somehow, traveling presents little vignettes that get repeated over and over again, from assumptions I make about others (often erroneously negative) to just plain focus on getting my own way (when God's way might be the alternative). I relate deeply to the scene of "auctioning off the cross". I imagine that even in the noise that is surrounding this event there is someone there who sees the deeper meaning of the cross. I see in my own life that often when I have been auctioning off the cross there are ironic graces there. These are often people who bring me back ... get me out of that place of sin and help me to return to the Lord's grace. But I also think more deeply that in the repeated patterns, which can be easy to rationalize, the really "shameful" parts are the consequences on others ... some who are even these "messengers of grace". So when I am at my most self destructive, I am inhibiting what I can give to others. When I am feeling physically violent (whether or not I physically harm someone) I am preventing peace from really flowing. As I reflected last week ... the seed of peace start internally ... rationally debating the "real politik" of war does not bring the radical change that I think the Lord is calling us to. At any rate, I continue to be thankful for the graces that keep appearing in my life to turn me away from auctioning the cross to actually reaching out to buy it and maybe carry it out of that hall.
When I did an overview of WEEK 6, my thoughts were, "don't go there". As a gay man as soon as I think of sin I think of my orientation. As much as I have spent a good deal of time trying to integrate, the old tapes if you will, keep coming on and cause much pain. The institutional church has never been a help and only a hindrance. So my thoughts have always rested with a God who made me as I am and loves me as I am.
This week however I started to hear another voice the voice of Wisdom/Sophia that basically said, "get over it". As long as I keep thinking of my orientation as sin I don't look at any other part of my life. There is plenty there to look at and ask forgiveness for. My orientation is like my lack of hair, it does not define me.
This week as part of my prayer I would spend time holding a cross given to me by my closest friend, who died this week five years ago. As I stared at the corpus I became aware of my Lord saying to me, "I love you just as you are!" From that moment I started to look at my life, and found a man who dresses as a "warrior" when dealing with issues and does not take them to prayer. So my actions cause pain to others pain that I have always reject in the institutional church, I was no better than Rome.
Still my God says, "come to me and live in the light."
Instead of this week being heavy with sin, my sin has become a passage to freedom and a way into the arms of the crucified Lord. Praise be Jesus Christ!
Thank you for the gift of this week.
--R of RI
I am finishing the 6th week.....seems God is always spoken of as a person and how can a person be everywhere and part of us....the image doesn't work for me......this past week I have struggled, as always, to believe and know that God loves each of us as we love out own children....."the God within" is in many readings ...that was a hard image for me to grasp......as I was struggling with this the other morning the thought, image or whatever one want to call it, came to me that God is the force that lives in all of us everywhere .......the force is love....we have heard that too, that "god is love".....when we act and often badly and for what we see as for our own good the force transforms us (resurection ?) and our acts to heal the effect caused.....that gives us hope that "all will be well" as Julian says and that love, which is God, is always working for our well being and is always with us....when i take the personhood out of my image of God so much becomes clearer and more hopeful....I have a grown son with schizophrenia and for such a brilliant mind to be so afflicted has been a 25 year struggle and when this new image of God came to me I finally could see that God was with him and caring for him....... his family's care, love and concern for him was the force of God and we are the instruments.....his father died when our son was 19 ......I try to feel he is still involved but I believe he is.....I hope this makes a bit of sense to my fellow retreatants wherever you are,,,,this retreat is a wonderful oasis to turn to each day.....P.S. Last week I took two
young grandchildren to the observatory to see some events going on in the sky ......it is a spiritual experience to observe the awesome power of this force I am seeing as God.....what is in store for us in eternity?
Week 6:As a contract worker, I entered this week's retreat knowing that my assignment was ending on Friday and with no prospect for another one in sight. It seemed quite appropriate that we've been meditating on our selfishness & self-centeredness. I've been a recovering alcoholic for more than 23 years and it's been part of my recovery to learn to "get out of self", "help others", and "it's not about me." On the second day of the retreat, I found out that a friend in recovery, who was somewhat of a recluse, was found dead in her apartment! She had died a week before but it took that long for someone to check up on her. Because of this week's retreat, I began to feel shame and guilt on top of sadness! I had been so self-centered last week that, even though I had thought of this friend several times, I never took the time to call and check up on her! I believe the Holy Spirit had been trying to reach me to reach out to her. But I wasn't listening! I realize today that I couldn't have done anything to save her. She was already dead by the time the first thought of her came to me. But maybe somebody could have found her sooner! Tomorrow I will attend her memorial service. And the next day, I'll help another friend clean up our deceased friend's apartment. Taking those actions, I'll get out of myself and help others for a while. I won't have time to think about my job prospects. I know my God will give me what I need. It's not about me!
After sharing my struggle with sin in myself and in others and asking for the prayers of all who are making this retreat, I went on to read the sharings of so many who have been or are now dealing with the work of weeks 5 and 6. Just had to stop and thank all who have shared. Your revelations particularly the image of Christ at the center of all have helped me greatly and I have not even finished them all. I thank God for the grace and the movement of the Holy Spirit in the vehicle of this retreat. The international internet , what a blessing. What a reminder that Jesus is Lord of all, God is the father of all and the Holy Spirit the guide and comforter of all.
It is amazing to me that it is taking me months instead of weeks with this retreat. I began last summer and have restarted again and am still only at week six. Still it has been a blessed journey. Around week 3 , I left my home for what I thought would be another of many short trips from my home on the west bank of New Orleans. I was blessed far beyond so many of the Katrina victimes and evacuees. My husband insisted on relocating once we had experienced the ramifications of katrina and our adult children had experienced the consequences of Rita. Subsequently so much of what had been familiar for almost 60 years has had to be redefined. Unfortunately this has included my faith. New Orleans was a very Catholic ciity and now I am in the bible belt where protestants are a distinct majority and the cultural mores are still rooted in "separate but equal" . Here Sunday morning remains the mos segregated time of the week. Consequently as a Catholic who is african -american and has been accustomed to multi-cultural worship experiences, I am distracted during the mass and feel uncomfortable in either parish ,both of which maintain their historic racial identityapparently by choice. I grew up in a baptist church where the leadership was very active in the civil rights movement. I have always been a seeker of unity among all of God's people. I haave met a few people who seem to be struggling to change things here. Still it seems superficial to me when this separate worshiip continues. Week 6 has aided me in seeing the resentment that I hold toward all tha is racist. I am truly stuck. I don't even know who to turn to for spiritual direction. I have a history of clinical depression and am trying to follow the suggestions for this weeks retreat. May God have mercy on all of us as we press on tooward the prize of holiness in the face of so much th at is sinful.. I know that this resentment must be healed. I ask the prayers of all who journey on this retreat.
It's the 6th Week, and I'm having a difficult time. I've been trying to figure out what it is that God is showing me. I think I'm 'getting' it, but I'm really perplexed as to how to deal with it. If the problem (sin) is what I'm thinking it is, I really need grace, because it would likely require an 'overhaul' of my personality. How do you change who you are? Who you've been all these many years? Even after committing to Jesus Christ.
I need 'intervention' Lord! Your grace, please.
Specifically, ever since I gave my life to Christ; and became 'sold out' as St. Paul said, studied, prayed, studied and learned the scriptures, I've come to believe in speaking the truth as I know it and see it. I don't sugarcoat situations, stories, etc., for myself or others. (I don't want this to sound harsh.
I hope it does not. The Truth is beautiful, but people sometimes don't want to hear it, and when they do, it's too 'severe' to their liking.)
I try hard to 'go by the rules'. Desiring to be obedient to Christ and the Church. Sometimes I lack patience with individuals who live their life making up their own rules, with respect to our faith, etc. "Cafeteria-style Catholics".
I mentioned this in confession.
I'd come to confess my sin, that I was quite annoyed with a friend because I knew my friend had voted for ProChoice candidates because of party loyalty; letting party loyalty reign over Christian responsibility of protecting life.
My friend knew the vote was wrong. Did it anyway, then went to confession. Where's the integrity in that? I really was annoyed. Then troubled by how much it bothered me . . . (talk about how sin spreads, and affects others!) so I went to confession, and the priest thought my confession sounded like I was prideful.
I was hurt and confused. (Am I prideful? I don't think so. But we don't always see ourselves the way others do.)
I'd like the truth. Please Lord, if that's me being prideful, tell me clearly, and please help me. Thank You. I don't want to be prideful. Strong in your Word and Faith, like St. Paul, but not prideful, please.
Another similar thing happened and a priest suggested that it sounded like "I'm trying to earn my salvation". That's not it. I believe positively that I am saved through Jesus Christ and his Cross, and Him only . . . none of it of my doing, but all only through His grace, and His love. No doubt in my mind about that.
This is not presumption. This is faith and confidence in the power and promises of the words of Jesus Christ. Standing in belief on the promises of Christ.
The current issue? Confusing? Yes. How is it that a priest in a confessional would misinterpret what a person is attempting to express as a matter of confidence in obedience, yet confessing sin, could then be fine-tuned (or, translated) and the confession, according to the priest, sounds like "earning your salvation"?
I'm not blaming the priest. I was hurt. Yes. But I'm paying attention. God's priest is speaking, and I need to listen. "I need Your help, Jesus."
I am a seeker of Truth. God knows that.
Maybe I don't express myself clearly enough? I can work on that, through God's grace. The pride thing, though? . . . "Lord, if it's there and I don't recognize it, but others do, I really need your grace!"
Can it be that the person who points to the Truth is the problem? Please show me. (As Thomas Merton said, "I believe that my desire to please you does indeed please you." And that is my goal, Lord Jesus.)
Please Lord, I really need your grace. Thank You.
I so want relief from some of my most bothersome sins that I become easily upset with my slow progress in this weeks retreat. It seems I get temporary relief only for the sin to return again. I'd forgotten about my perfectionistic attitude and about my"desirings." I need only to desire "to praise,revere and serve God",but most often I tack on a whole bunch of other desires.
I beginning to get small glimpses of the cost of my sins. I'm someone who likes a bargain and sin sure isn't one but this retreat certainly is.
The last few weeks I have been holding out on you all and have not been sharing. I'm working on correcting this. Thank you all for sharing. As soon as I started reading your experience,strength and hope I started feeling better about myself. My "terminal uniqueness" is one of my first casualities when I read of your struggles.
Pray for me I'll pray for you.
-- Bob D.
i have written each week so far but this week i feel horrible and cant seem to think straight. i feel alone and unsure of how to go on so i am just ' checking in ' but dont know what else to do . yours nell
As I started week 6, the first day, I was nearly paralyzed with fear. I thought of past sins that I had never confessed and actually almost forgotten and was overcome by my separation from God. By the second day though, I felt the presence of God reassuring me that we could be together again. I still have to go to confession but I think now I have the strength to do it, which I never had before. It’s scary but I know, through that moment of grace, that God walks with me to the confessional and He’ll be beside me as I speak. Thank you God!
One of the thouhgts that kept popping up this week for me focused on healing. I remembered a time when I was praying intensely to God for healing of a family member who suffered with depression and Parkinson's and who went from being a an optimistic, cheery person to a person who rarely spoke or smiled. As I prayed for her healing and wasn't getting the results I hoped for, I grew more and more frustrated at God until one night when I "had it out" with God. I cried and screamed at God until I was exhausted. Then I felt a peacefulness come over me and I heard an inner voice say, "I will heal you so you can love this person as she is and not as she was." I had a whole different attitude and released the heavy load I was carrying and focused on being a loving person to this family member. I got to thinking later that most of the problems I face are not from outside, there's a lot of interior stuff unresolved. I gave permission to God to heal me first so that having been healed, I can in turn be a healing presence for others. To love as I have been loved. Jesus said "Love one another as I have loved you." My ability or capacity to love others is dependent on how I allow myself to be loved and forgiven. I can't give what I don't have.
Week 6: Struggling with depression and without the benefit of a spiritual director, it was tempting to say, “I don’t need this” or “I can’t continue”. As the Psalmist says, “My sin is ever before me.” But I do need this and I am determined to continue. I am focusing on my sins not as failures but as evidence of my profound need for Christ and as proofs of the chasms he can leap to reach my heart. During this week, I was spontaneously reminded of that little verse we sing at Eucharistic Benediction: “He has given us bread from heaven Containing within it all sweetness.”Christ’s heart is like a candy shop! “Containing within it all sweetness!” And we, WE, somehow, ARE HIS SWEETS!Tom, Pennsylvania
I have asked Jesus, why don't you come down from that cross? Why did God want a bloody sacrifice? I had it all wrong. It took me so long to receive the grace to see the beauty of Jesus on the cross. Now, I see my sin in the way of joining Jesus on the cross. Week 6
I really resisted this meditation: I don’t WANT to think about my sin! Furthermore, I have a convoluted brain that tangles around issues: am I not doing more to serve the poor because of sin or because God knows I would be too proud of my “holiness” for doing it?So I asked God to bypass my “smart,” confused brain and give me an image. The image that came to mind was one from a family camping trip. We were trying to start a fire to cook our dinner. One minute it was burning just fine. I sat down and looked away—and just a minute or two later, the fire had changed to smoldering, smoky logs. We were so frustrated with that fire and the way it just wouldn’t keep burning!I think that illustrates my life and my sin. I feel comfortable with my log state and don’t want to abandon myself to the fire. God lights a fire and I refuse to burn. I am smoky rather than light. I cling to the “safe” and familiar (and unattractive and useless).I don’t really know what the fire IS, I don’t really know how I am dampening it, but I feel the truth of the image and pray that I (that we) will BURN!
Love to you, fellow travelers! Some day I hope to be a warm crackling fire to comfort you on your journey and provide a place where you can be fed.
Last week was a struggle for me as I was asked to think deeply about my past sins and the shame and guilt of them. I finally realized the problem I was having was related to the fact that I have been abundantly aware of God's graces in my life and his forgiveness. I have spent intensive weeks and hours in prayer over the sins I have committed and the shamefulness that is mine. The power of forgiveness has been experienced in my own heart and life so vigorously that it wasn't really possible to go there again, because it was unnecessary to try to revisit the shame and guilt that I have been forgiven of. It seemed more an exercise than a spiritual awakening because I am already so aware of my need for forgiveness and God's grace through Jesus to save me from sin. Forgiveness is such a loosening of chains of bondage, that until experienced, it isn't possible to truly reveal to someone else how freeing it is; not just our own forgiveness, but the ability to forgive others their sins against us. The ability to truly pray for our enemies and to pray for their conversion and change of heart in the spirit of Christ is an act of love we cannot accomplish on our own. Jesus lends us his love and mercy when we ask in true humility and honesty; and it will happen spontaneously, immediately without any further effort on our part, if we have asked out of love and a need to do His will and not our own. The forgiveness and peace that floods your heart is not of this world, not something you can attain through any striving or efforts of your own, but a graced gift from God. It won't even be possible to re-kindle the rage and anger you felt 10 seconds ago, the transformation is that complete. My prayer would be that everyone could experience that forgiveness, could understand in our frail human way the depths of God's love and mercy. It sustains, it nurtures, it pulls us towards him as a magnet affects the metal around it through no effort on its part. But unlike metal attracted to a magnet, God wants us to choose. His power can't be accomplished without our consent. For God nothing is impossible except to force us to choose Him. And he created that restriction himself. The step forward is up to each of us. We can only be forgiven when we are ready to forgive those who have hurt us. I can only say that taking that step is the only sure path to Life.
This is my 6th week. Each week has been refreshing for me, I am beginning to see more of my inner being. As I read the writing of others, I see how much we all are alike in spite of our differences; we all have inner pain, sin, disappointments, and grief. Most importantly, we all have a loving God to turn to for help, we have Jesus as our savior and friend, and we have the wonderful Holy Spirit as our comforter, counselor, and helper.
The reflection for today was especially healing for me, in allowing myself to open up to my own inner pain, and disappointments from others, I can now lay those sorrows to rest and allow the Holy Spirit to move me forward in God's plan. As I reflected on the reading for today, I was led to pause and pray for each person making this retreat, and I believe each of us will emerge as stronger beings in God.
I am finding week 6 to be a difficult struggle. It is hard for me to move past the overwhelming nature of my own weakness and sinfulness, to think of God's love and mercy. I know it is sin in itself to become this despondent, but I feel that I try so hard and yet always fail, and that I can never satisfy the standard of perfection that God seeks. Never even close. I just become overwhelmed with feeling like a bad person and a failure. Again, I know that obsessing about my own failings and not seeing past them to God's love is itself sinful, but I can't seem to move past it. I don't feel the acceptance or love that is discussed. I don't know what to do. To be honest, I'm just sharing this and waiting for this week to end. In every thing I do this week, I see how it falls short of what I should do, and in my spare moments, I think of the past and all the other ways I have failed. I am so tired. To be honest, I get angry that it feels so impossible to be a good person. What is "good enough"? Can I ever feel it? I know that my anger is sin too. It's neverending!
This week has seemed very strange for me. I did learn to pray and ask for the grace to be able to "see" more clearly exactly where I have separated myself from God. I went to confession and said how I feel that I am not close at all to God. I have seen areas where I held resentments still toward people. I have prayed for them to be blessed. Mostly I feel like "I" didn;t do well this week. But I think I am begining to get a hint of understanding that is isn't "me" who can progress as I go through the exercises of this retreat, I can only pray to "Let Go" of self , and grab hold of the tiny bits of hope that seem to come for just a second as new "pieces of stuff I can't explain" gets into my heart. Thank you so much for a place to share this. It helps me. Week 6.
I had done this retreat a year ago with a spiritual director, but didn't really go that deeply into Week 6. I "did" the week, and then moved on. While I have "acknowledged" my sins, I never really thought of myself as all that bad. Since I finished the retreat, I've been praying that God would bring me closer to him, especially since I have always struggled with knowing his love for me. Several days ago, I became overwhelmed, for the first time in my life, of my sinfulness. I reviewed Week 6, and I see now that this is a grace from him, and the only way for me to grow closer to him is to finally truly understand my sinfulness before him, and to experience his forgiveness. It's very hard to realize my true level of sin. Please pray for me. Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner.
This is the end of Week 6 of the retreat for me and there was a lot of "stuff" going on at work & home so I didn't think I was progressing. I found this picture of Christ crucified with rays coming down from the cross over the world. I see it as depicting His deep love for all of us. Although I haven’t been able to focus on the retreat images & work in the background like I did in the earlier weeks, I was able to focus on this image and tried to see myself standing next to the cross and feel myself being enveloped by those rays of love. It was consoling &, I think, a major grace this week. And now that I reflect, it seems that even though I’m thinking I didn’t “do the retreat right” because the events of this week seemed to be distracting me, they were in fact God’s answer to my prayer to shine a light on areas where I need to look—at repeating patterns of sin. At least this time, I did think of God and going to Him. Lord, I do need your forgiveness & love so much….and the guidance of the Holy Spirit to help me to see more about breaking these patterns. I really need the grace to trust in God & His help.
Thanks again for providing this wonderful Retreat opportunity. My prayers go out to all of you responsible for this site and for those participating in the Retreat. Please pray for me also.
Week 6: This week talks about sin, global sin and personal sin. I find it really difficult to reflect on. The 911 event is a big sin and I wonder how people could do that. I did pray for the dead and wounded, as well as their families and friends. and I asked God to healed all those involved in this event. As for presonal sin, Theoretically, I admit that I am a sinner but deep in my heart that sense of pride is still there. Lord, please forgive me.
I am just starting the sixth week of the retreat. I have always thought of myself as a good person, and wondered what sins I had that I needed to reflect on. I know that God knows all my sins and then I suddenly realized that I do not. My eyes opened and I realized that I was feeling a pride that I counld not take credit for. Everything that has been happening to me as of late was not because of what I have done, but because of what God has done. Thankyou Lord for guiding me and for opening my eyes to my sin!!!
I have just finished Week Six. I had been on retreat at a Retreat Center a few weeks ago and spent time in a small chapel sitting alone before the Tabernacle 'confessing' the sins of my life before God. However, I found that I did recall some other sins this week in addition to many of the ones that I recalled previously as I prayed to God to allow me to remember all of the sins that God wanted me to. I know that when I prepare to go to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I get very embarrassed as I contemplate telling my sins to a priest. (What will he think? What will he say to me? Will he think that I am scrupulous?) I know that the point of the Sacrament is not what the priest thinks but seeking and receiving the forgiveness of God and being reconciled to God and the Church. However, I do not feel that type of embarrassment, that I am equating with shame, when I contemplate in my mind my sins before God. Maybe I should feel more of this type of shame before God? I do not know if perhaps I might let this contemplation be too much 'me centered' and not enough 'God centered' in order to feel this type of shame? However, I think that one of the reasons that I do not feel this type of shame when I come before God with my sins is because I feel that God already knows everything. God knows what I have done and what I have failed to do. God knows who I really am and will not leave me. I know that I am not worthy of everything that God gives me and that God gives me more than I deserve (including multiple chances). When I acknowledge these particular commissions and omissions as sins then I am being honest with and about myself before God. I am glad that I can somewhat easily come before God with my sins in the quiet of my mind and I pray that I will be more at ease with confessing sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation where I can tangibly know God's mercy and forgiveness.
I have just realized that I do very little penance, until reading over the sharing words. I spend time in prayer each day and follow my spiritual director's suggestions but I never actually say to myself I will do penance. During Advent and Lent I try to spend more time in prayer but I still never actually do penance. Lord help me. Week 6
I have a life-long practice of being invisible to the world. I consciously show only only that part of me that I feel acceptable. It never dawned on me that Christ, including Christ crucified, is present in ALL of me and is God's message through me. To the extent that I have hidden Christ in me I have auctioned of the cross. I will this day stop hiding.Week 6
Week 6 is just beginning - last night (Monday) I faced up to many things in the past I had been avoiding. It is very painful, especially considering the results of these sinful situations, and how they have affected others. Today I am fasting and praying and I feel the healing of Jesus Christ setting in, and that He does not want me to punish myself endlessly, but accept His love and healing. Especially do I want healing of whatever it is that makes me behave in this way. I have no power over this sinful behavior except through God's grace and mercy to cure it.
I have been following this online retreat for the past few weeks, but always hesitant to write and share my experiences. It just seemed too personal. But today I read 2 things on the sharings that moved me greatly and I wanted to say thank you to all of you for sharing. They have been blessings. Someone wrote, 'St. Ignatius said that the desire to desire to change our heart is good enough for God', and another talked about how he/she had always seen himself/herself as the victim rather than the sinner. These 2 things struck me so deeply. I'm currently going through a very difficult time trying to forgive someone close to me. All this time I have seen myself as the victim - my hurt and pain were too great that I couldn't even see my own sins - how could my small sins compare to this other person who has hurt me so much? But God began to point out to me - ever so gently as he always does - how I do have so many sins of my own, how much I needed forgiveness too - that I even thought my sins were more forgiveable than this other person's - for that I needed forgiveness, because who am I to judge that? I know this person has been trying to be better, but somehow that's not enough for me, not enough to make up for the hurt caused, not enough to guarantee they won't fail and disappoint me again. Again and again, these words keep ringing in my head, 'the desire to desire to change our heart is good enough for God'...if that's good enough for God, how can it not be good enough for me, another sinner also in need of forgiveness?
Thank you for this online retreat and these sharings. They make God so real and alive in all of us.
Week 6: I am not a patient person. Falling into the same sins over and over again causes me to lose patients with myself. This causes me to become indifferent to my own sin: why bother I will never change. Reading Luke 7:36-50 helps. I see the humility of the women who pours perfume on Christ’s feet and I am humbled. Lord, help me to not sin and when I sin give me the courage and grace to continue to run the race for repentance and forgiveness. The Lord said: "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light." Mt. 11:28-30. Sometimes I humbly approach God as a miserable sinner needing mercy and sometimes as an angry child wanting justice, but I spend most of my prayer time with Jesus, my roommate, and Jesus, my friend. That is the Lord I look for when I go to pray. During this week, I have been given the grace that I should be more humble. Not that I should give up my relationship of Jesus as a friend, but I think it is critical I rely on him more. I need to be more mindful that I am a putting that needs to humbly pour perfume on his feet and that I am a child needing his protection.
Week Six: This has been a great grace and yet a tremendous challenge, I am taking a little longer with this week , because it has raised deep issues in my life and I need to proceed slowly. I did go to the sacrament of reconciliation this week which was a wonderful grace. I will seek some help to navigate this for the next few weeks and that is also a grace,something that I was afraid to do for awhile.
I have been guilty of many sins in my life and struggle on a daily basis with sin. I had thought that I was doing alright ,but the great fear of not being worthy and somewhat afraid of God at times proves troublesome. I love God and I am beginning to understand the concept that his mercy is above all other works. Being too ashamed of sin and not seeking his comfort is something I have struggled with and my prayer this week is to learn to be open with my sinfulness and my goodness. I pray that I can look at the cross and realize that his mercy is so much greater than my sin... hopefully with time , I will become so aware of his divine love that the patterns of my sin will change . I will be so indebted to him that I will seek not to offend him by my sinfulness, and yet go running into His arms for love , reconciliation and mercy when I stumble and fall.
I am a sinful being , and I need the confidence to truly feel God's deep and abiding love for me. I pray for joy to realize His unimaginable love.
The first day of Week 6, and what a start! I was given a foretaste at Mass yesterday. I was kneeling in my pew, feeling the weight of my failings and wondering at my apparent inability to overcome them. Then I read the opening prayer for the day:
Father, you taught us to overcome our sinsI was overwhelmed with God’s mercy, at His continuing call to be made “perfect, as He is perfect.” When I realize that only He can make me perfect, and understand that all I can do is choose to cooperate (or not) with His will for me, I know that I must continue striving to be the person I am called to be. Failure hurts, but it is the effort that matters. With His grace, I will continue getting up when I fall and pray that I fall less hard and less often. I also ask for the grace of gratitude for His love and mercy.
I've been working on week 6 since Holy Family Sunday. The reading that day hit me particularly hard when Paul speaks about not holding any bitterness in our hearts regarding our spouse. My heart has been full of bitterness for years. Week 6 provided the key to the start of releasing that bitterness: I looked at my own sins in the marriage...and was deeply humbled for I saw my part in the disharmony whereas before I always cast myself as the victim. It is truly a wonderous and amazing grace to remove the blinders to our own sin. What freedom it gives...to move on and to change...for now I see how much I need to decrease so that Christ can increase in me. And through His grace the process begun in week 6 will continue. Thank you for telling us to focus always on Jesus and the Cross while doing week 6: the horror of my sins and the sorrow and pain involved in their uncovering would have overwhelmed me to the point of paralysis if I did not keep Christ in the center. Thank you. I trust that you keep all of us on this online retreat in your prayers daily. Please never stop for your prayers are needed.
I am in week six . I am asking God to help me experience the times I have been rebellious, with emotion; to help me explore concrete actions, attitudes, consequences of my decisions, habit that I developed and haven't change and opportunity to love, passing up the way I was deaf to the cry of the poor, my pride and judgements, bad single sin or the pattern of sin I am so aware of. To focus becomes a way for God to show me His Love and Mercy, it will be a profound grace. Please don't let me resist the temptation to stop there, with that single bad sin. Please unveil my whole life here. For the ways I am rebellious in my failures to praise, reverence and serve God are often quite subtle. I want to know and experience God's love for me as I am, not just because I do this or that. I want to experience love and mercy for who I am - who I have been and who I have become. Finally, Thank you Lord for loving me, help me love you with my whole heart and soul,speaking to you as my best friend and wanting to do all for, with and be with my Lord always.
The picture of Auctioning off The Cross hit me deep down inside...Is this what I have done with the sufferings of Jesus? And the answer was YES - in hundreds and hundreds of little ways. I have been content with being a "little" sinner...what arrogance and self love! The helps for the week helped me to begin to see myself as a sinner in need of forgiveness. I am a religious and some of our founder's words to us are " Be There for the Whole Church, be there as a pardoned sinner..." I began to understand better how my sinfulness effects my ministry - how could Jesus have continued to love me and forgive me...but he did/does...I have had so many second chances. Lord, help me to see where I need to change and how.
I was considering my sinfulness. I was thinking about my "progress" in this retreat and how "well" I was doing and how dedicated I have been to this point. Maybe I have been slacking a bit, not giving myself totally. Then it hit me. I am doing as good as I can do. Even if this was the best retreat of all time, at the end of the retreat I will still be a sinner. Hopefully a more enlightened and in tune to God, but still a sinner. Despite all of this, God will still love me! To be honest, it is difficult for me to comprehend. Please God, help me to better understand your ways. Thank You for your love. (Week 6)
I am in week 6 of the retreat . My greatest grace has been the realization that God has always been with me loving me for nearly 70 years . It means that my life was always about God not about me . So now I caan peacefully remember events and periods that I normally gloss over out of shame for sin. This is a great joy .
While reading the reflections for week 6, I realize that I have been guilty of both of these attitudes which make up the arms of the cross. Many times, I have felt so worthless... as though God made a mistake in creating me and should not have suffered and died for me. Other times, when my life situations seemed difficult, I resorted to devious and privately dishonest methods to resolve them, and taken great pride in doing so. Pride in my own cleverness and ingenuity. This instead of turning to or trusting in God. I did not wait upon Him. I see now that I still have a great deal of trouble waiting upon God. Help me Lord to see both the horror and the beauty of the cross and your sacrifice for me. Help me to realize that I am accountable for my actions and for my lack of action. Help me to see you in those I meet today and to fully realize that we are all worth saving in your eyes. Forgive me Lord for my sins and be with me today because I cannot do it without you.
When I first opened week 6, my heart sank. How do I go back over my sinful life? Nearly 50 years of rebellion and rationalization? In prayer I realized, because of God's mercy I only needed to go over the gift of forgiveness and the lessons I learned because of those sins. It brought tears to my eyes to feel His compassion and love for me, a loved sinner. I also felt gratitude and hope. Gratitude that I have been given the opportunity to change. Hope that the love I feel can be expressed by me towards strangers who are suffering. Mostly, I add prayer that I might be given the courage to proceed in honoring and acting upon God's will for me.
Yesterday, I encountered something that was revolting. my first reaction was to condemn the person for the act. I tried to quiet my mind to get to a place that I could hear God talking to me. I prayed under my breathe and tried to see this person as a child of God, too; just like me. Then it dawned on me, that someone could have done the same thing for me. Sometime in the past, when I was doing a "no brainer", someone (probably my mother) prayed for my soul. That thought took a load off my mind, because then I knew I had something precious to give to this person. Thank you for this retreat. The format works very well. I can participate on a flexible schedule and enjoy the gifts that it produces. I am in week six, and it is a tough one to look at sins that I have buried and tried to forget. Looking at myself everyday and trying to catch the sins that I still generate; isn't fun either.
Week 6 has been difficult to really get into. I have expanded the time to two calender weeks because it seems so important. Remembering the sins in my life is not a problem (unfortunately) but truly feeling their sinfulness and God's mercy has been elusive.
There is nothing more welcome than reading the struggles that so many of us share in our humanness. There have been gifts in every week - some more difficult to see or accept than others, but available, nevertheless. I am only at week 6 in the journey and I know I have so much to learn and grow from, if only I can allow it to happen. I have always been on the very self-sufficient side and can barely make a request of anyone, knowing I can do it alone, if not better than anyone I would hand it off to. I have had very few people in my life that I have allowed to contribute to me - and only in the recent past have I allowed that to happen more. It is just overwhelming when I let down the guard, trust, and let somene give to me. And I know I have not done that with God- always wanting to be in control myself (or deluding myself to think I am) and not letting God move in my life. I am working on letting go of that notion - and I know it will take time for me to get where I need to be - but I do recognize it more and more now having worked on the retreat. Please pray for me in this regard - I so want to allow God to use me and to accept what is offered from everyone in my life, especially the Lord. The story of the Prodigal Son this week is a favorite of mine. I read the book by Henri Nouwen on Rembrandt's painting, the "Return of the Prodigal Son", during an especially difficult time in my life and it made a tremendous impact on me. God Bless each of you who has opened up and shared your thoughts. I count each one as a gift.
I have just begun the sixth week of the retreat. I had not had a problem looking at my sinfulness. When I go to confession, I make a thorough examination of conscience. However, something that I did realize from the reading is that most people do not really think of the little things as sins anymore. I had been told by someone once that I make too big a deal out of the little things that I do (giving into envy, etc.). I know that people see me as a holy religious person and that sometimes makes me feel even more like a hypocrite when I know the feelings or things that I have done. I had also been told that if you believe that it is a sin then it is a sin for you and if someone else does not believe it is a sin then it is not a sin for them. Not to make myself sound more pius but I believe that I partly know how the saints felt when they recognized themselves as wretched sinners when everyone else saw them as saints. (I am not saying that I am a saint. I know that I have a way to go. But I am saying that I maybe can relate to this idea) It makes me wonder, and I don't mean this in a self-centered way, if I am truely a better person than I sometimes think that I am. I also wonder if it is even good to think that way. I know that the Lord said that the tax collector went home justified and the Pharisee did not in the one Gospel story. It makes me wonder where I really am in my life with the Lord.
I had stopped my retreat...just left it behind but God had not given up pursuing me.. The other day...I went to my bible... I don't know where it came from but a desire to read the old testmnet kind of just stirred my interest. I cannot believe I sat down and just read for hours about the story of David.. And then a few days later?... I wanted to return to the retreat. When I did I thought I will just brouse on thru this stuff.. but I got stopped on week 6..(i think the opening dialogue was about the story of David.. then I knew that is where God was trying to direct me too... Its how I treat others.....that is why I have no friends... it's a lonely life........when you run around with a strong critical parent in you......... well........that is all I have to say.........that is where he wants to take the knife to me.. and that is what causes me the greatest deal of pain for me....... I just thought I would share. Merry Christmas everyone........and keep going.......don't give up.......if you try I assure you God will just keep on hounding you........you see he sees something valuable in all he creates.....he can see thru the smuck..
When reflecting upon my past life (6), I am 50, I see nearly only the good things: how lucky have I been! A good family, good friend, a good work. I didn't marry, even if I think I could have been a good wife, but I didn't find the right man. was I too exigent?? I thank God every day for what He has given me. I passed of course bad moments: the death of my little sister, the death of both my parents, but after some time I accept all, as life is so. I don't find yet any moments I am ashamed of; I don't think I made bad choices in life, family and work. I don't find God's presence in any particular moment, I Thank Him for giving me faith, which I sense is a gift of God and not only an effort by us.
My English is not very good, as I am Italian .
Week 6 has been extremely powerful for me. The week long examination of my life has been very revealing as I've had to face the patterns of sinful behavior woven throughout my history. However, the stronger picture that emerged was the pattern of God's faithfulness - His protection, His gentle drawing me closer to Him as I chose paths to run from Him. I thank God the Father for not giving up on me; for seeing me as someone of value to Him. I thank Jesus for his willingness to go to the cross for me, and I thank the Holy Spirit for guiding me.
I am ending week six and have found out a lot about myself, mostly how God has kept me in His hands. I have been given so many graces throughout my life that I can never thank enough. I am nearing 69, twice widowed, live alone as my children live and work in different places and countries. I have always relied completely in God´s love and providence. I know that what I am sharing is irrelevant and boring but being sleepless and lonely it seemed a good idea to share the loneliness, which I am sure is true for many other people. I pray for all of you who are also doing this retreat.
Just finished week 6. Found it hard, dificult and demanding . Extended the week to two weeks. God help me I do not feel shame for my sins sorrow, repentance but not shame. Moving to week7 more in faith, hope and love than with real conviction. Perhaps this where a sprititual director would be helpful.
I just finished week six and wanted to share that a few months ago I was doing a lot of thinking about my own sin. I was really wanting to be closer to God, but something was 'gettin' in the way' . It was like a wall blocking things every time I tried to pray. Then, I was compelled to go to confession, so I wrung my hands and cried for a week before I finally called up my priest. He said, "Why don't you come now"? Despite my nervousness, I went and told him what I called "old stuff". At the end of my confession, Father said "know that your sins are hanging on the cross, so you don't have to worry". Those words reached out and took hold of my heart. "My sins", I thought, "Jesus Died for ME"? It personalized it for me, so much. I felt so humbled, so reverent, but mostly, I felt grateful. More grateful than I had ever felt before. When I walked out of there, my sins were gone. And so were my tears. I learned so much that day. Jesus is there, waiting to pour out his loving mercy on us. And yet, for so long, I've resisted. I want His gift now, and then, I want to give Him a proper Thank You.
I am in my 6th week and I have recently completed my photo gallery for the past 59 years. There were some things that I am proud of and also a period of my life that I am ashamed of. But the exercise was wonderful. It was amazing what I remembered...getting a licking on a Sunday after Mass for dirtying my diaper (we had chicken soup that day)...lying on the side of the hill at about age 8, looking at the sky and feeling the strong presence of my guardian angel. One ommision that I felt sorry for concerned my brother who was a missionary up the Amazon River, got bit by a poisonous spider, was sent home weighing about 100 pounds...looked terrible. I was happy that he didn't die but I never did discuss his feelings about not being able to do this type of missionary work, something that he wanted and trained for his entire life, gone. God bless.
I have rehashed the big sins of my past (6) so many times, trying to figure out how I could have done what I did. But not until I did it once again in this retreat did I feel fully free of those sins. By seeing my life differently now, with Jesus as the center and myself and my sins as the frame to the picture of God's love for me, everything is so beautiful. I, too, have become more transparent in my relationship with God.
The hardest part of this week (6) has been the realization that the notion of "patterns" in my life means that this stuff has not only been there for a while and is deep, but it's a more realistic picture of who I am. I always thought it was "unhealthy" to look at the "negative" stuff. The picture I have of myself after the last two weeks is the most unveiled I've been to myself. As I try to be more and more transparent in the key personal relationships of my life, to be completely transparent to myself before God makes so much sense. And it feels great!
The 6th Week helped me realize that I sinned because my faith was weak, or nonexistent. I must not forget, even for one minute, that I live in the world created by God, the world in which He is constantly present. Abba, I have sinned against You and against other people. Forgive me. It happened because I did not live in Your presence, I did not seek Your ways, I disregarded Your commandments. Help me O God, repair the results of my sin wherever it is possible. Please, give me the grace to know my sin in all its dimensions, and the ways to compensate others if they were hurt by my sin. Above all, I beg you Lord to help me live in Your presence, to follow Your commandments and to always seek Your ways. Amen
As I entered in my sixth week of the Online Retreat I've been immersed in "one of the specialties of Saint Ignatius" as an intercessor to us, the ones who do the Retreat, according to the contemporary physician and mystic A. Speyr. I am very confident on the active and lovely presence of God during this beginning week. The center here is Jesus, who died on the Cross for every one of us, and my sinful life and attitude is to be seen from the light of this picture. How often "I have auctioned off the Cross"... But he offers himself with actual love and is always here to save me.
I feel compelled to comment on what has touched me deeply, this morning ... and, that's the photo by Fr. Don: Auctioning of The Cross, Week 6. I am moved by the accuracy of the portrayal in the photo, and it's symbolism. My first impression (before I enlarged it) was of a rally or some sort of protest. And, at first glance the individuals looked oppressed, tense, even fearful or angry. Second impression, after enlargement: Complete disregard, disrespect, ignorance of The Cross. Perhaps a hint of awareness by the man holding it, as his "indifference" is tinged by his obvious discomfort in holding it. One man actually has his back to The Cross. Scanning the photo, no one is looking at it! No one, except the unseen photographer. Third impression: This photo reminds me of the sins I don't like to look at, and I find it unpleasant and I'll move on quickly. EXCEPT ... then I notice the beauty of the Light, high above The Cross, gently flowing in, highlighting, spotlighting it, in all it's Glory! And, I'm aware of God's Presence and my undeserved redemption through His Love and The Cross. Praise God! Thank You, Father! Thank You, Jesus! Thank You Holy Spirit!
It seems every time I ask God to lift the blindness from my eyes, to see what it is I am missing, what sin am I not looking at, I go back to my relationship with my mother. It's a hard place to be because I have never been good enough, or I don't have any rights to feel, or she just judges everything I do or say, and then she gets mad at me. I have wondered what sin is here that I am missing. I know I keep going back to this because I am missing something, and this week I realized that I too am critical of others like her. I judge not only God's intentions but my own, I am my worst critic and I never realized what a sin that was. I know God has healed my blindness here and I have hope and faith I won't be back, I can go forward now and see all my sin for what it really is. As I finish the 6th week of the exercise I know God is mercyfull and loving, and there is not anything that will keep him from loving me.
I am beginning the sixth week of this beautiful spiritual experience. I thought I may have to put this off two weeks ago when my sister died, but soon realized how important this is. I haven't shared before. My brother, daughter, and nephew commited suicide. My daughter would be 37 this week; she shot herself in the heart at age 30. I still weep for her. I know how important this spiritual journey is to me and I want to thank those who have made it available because there is no other way at this time for me to make a retreat.
I have struggled to make Week 6. I chide myself with the 'on and off ' nature of my commitment and rely heavily on the prayers of you to keep me fuelled. I would like to share the thought that persisted with me throughout the week. In considering my particular sins, I was so blinded by one particular type of sin that I could not see the many others that also need to be addressed. Thankfully I have others around me who do not hesitate to point out my every fault. This has caused me to get so angry with them that I cease to hear what they say. But now I can hear them and see that they are right and I thank God for the grace I have received to be able to do so.
I'm on Retreat # 6....One of the first things that comes to mind is "All Sin and fall short of the Glory of God" Romans3:23 - 24 ...Well that tells me I'm not alone....BUT...as Christians we have a helper to help us overcome, Jesus, thru the Power & Influence of the Holy Spirit....God's Grace.. My second thought....my sins .....they seem to come and go and I believe the Holy Spirit keeps me informed when I do a no no...or such. Resistance or Rebellion seems to be a biggy & as in Retreat # 1 could see it happening in my youth. ... I did it again....and here I am,Lord, again, eating humble pie. What more can I say except....keep reminding me Lord thru the Holy Spirit & one of these days I'll get it right.
Thank You for this On Line Retreat & Thanks be to the Holy Trinity for keepin me on my toes.
PS: I"ve included Internet Families & Intentions on my Prayer list now,also....please do the same for me too.
Having finished week 6, the image of Jesus bent over the world on his cross is the most soul enlarging. I can see a little my own sin and those in our world, but they become more real when I can look into his face, see the pain there and the .love. It has moved Jesus from 33A.D. to 1999 A.D. Redemption continues, is NOW.
My God Owing to illusory self, impatient and imprudent conduct on my part, (6) I have created a world which was estranged from Your presence . I was not so attached to You. I turned aside from the path You wished me to go on. As a result of my sins , I was unsatisfied and without joy in my heart. Now, as I look again , I know that You are always loving me, I can feel an opportunity is lying there if I so wished , in the basement of my heart . Oh Lord Help me to unlock the door of the basement of my heart and to go on the path where only Jesus Reigns. Help me to co-operate with Your working through me for the complete elimination of suffering and evil