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15,15a and 16 - I awake and am back in that stable/cave with Mary her new-born child, Joseph and all the animals. What a mess. Who am I? The cattle are lowing, Mary needs to be washed, dressed in a clean robe and fed. The baby awakes, he does not cry. He is at his mother's breast taking in her warm milk. All around us glows a light shining in the dark, the glory of the Lord is upon us. The shepherds come. Their fears subside as they melt into the scene. They are helping me to clean the stable, laughing and joking as they clean up the mess and put down new straw and bring hay to feed the animals.
They go to the inn and fetch the inn keepers wife who attends to Mary and the child. He is a lovely child and we all adore him. Joseph is so proud to be there. He is so strong and helps with the heavy work, shifting all the old bedding and taking it away to the midden outside.
The inn keeper arrives, he is so ashamed he had turned the little family away. He brings food, fresh bread to satisfy our hunger and our desire to be fed. Wine too to revive our drooping spirits after our work is done. We are all filled with joy, accepting, without understanding, the miraculous gift of the child, born to us this day.
The dawn breaks and outside three weary travellers appear dressed in finery. They too are welcomed in. They share our bread and wine. They bring expensive gifts in homage to the baby born to us.
The scene is set. We are not alone, our fears subside, never shall we journey without the comforting help we feel, no matter what prevails. We are at rest and little me included, for I am but a child too with much to learn by being present!
I am reading the Readings for this 22nd Retreat week. At first read, I feel a frontal challenge. I know I need to go back and read again, but the first feelings are of some comfort. The rest are disturbing feelings are about the challenge to follow him and do what he says. It feels directed to me. Jesus asks why I listen to him and don’t do what he says. I cuts straight to my heart. I am surprised at my response and it hurts, painful. This morning’s (6th Sunday Ordinary time, Matthew 5: “let your ‘Yes mean 'Yes;, and ‘No’ mean “No”. Jesus’ words are clear, straight, and uncompromising. - follow me - do what I say - I’ve had conflicting feeling lately and they are intensifying. Social and secular acceptance vs more moral and traditional mores. I am not doing well trying to keep these “liberal” and “conservative” views at bay. Doing the right thing should not be fuzzy. I am needing to follow Jesus and to rely upon him. I need the Lord to help me. And He will.
Week 16 - I can't contemplate Jesus' growing up without thinking of my own childhood. Reading others' reflections as an aid didn't trigger any imaginations either! Am I narcissistic! Wrapped up in selfish self?
Addressing this I am reminded of the intimations of a good friend, monk and sharer of his own contemplative life. He told me he thought Jesus was missing from home because he was with Joseph of Aramathea journeying across those ancient trade routes, across the Mediterranean to Cornwall in search of tin. We are told by some that Joseph was a blacksmith not a carpenter, so metal working was part of his trade. Jesus would have been familiar with this work as he watched Joseph work as a child.The need for metal would have been apparent.
Mary and Joseph would have encouraged the idea of Jesus to go with Joseph of Aramathea in order to broaden his outlook. Mary knew there was something of a mystery about Jesus from the time of his conception at the annunciation and presentation of him at the temple to Simeon with all that was said and with Anna present. Joseph complied with this mystery.
These two people, as we are told by holy scripture, were totally compliant with the Will of God. Like st Ignatius' 'take Lord and receive, all my Liberty, all my memory, my understanding and my entire will, all that I have you have given to me I now return to you, only give me your grace and my love of you for that is sufficient for me' applies.
This is not ignorance, far from it; it is the humility of these God given people created to show us the way. In doing so, we may in total imagination see our blessed child Jesus travelling afar.
What did he see? Well, not least, the wonders of his father's created world, not just as described in the Hebrew psalms, with which by this time he would have been familiar, but in total reality as the creation was revealed as he journeyed. Wonder, wonder of the Angels all about him! The seas, the mountains, the valleys, the rivers, displayed in the glorious light of the world about him.
Only later would the memories of his journeying be shown in taking up the scroll and reading his mission in the synagogue on his return.
Thanks be to God.
Before starting week 16 and after sharing weeks 15 and 15a, the revelation of real failure is upon me in that I am critical of others.
Summing this up, whilst reading today's Sunday readings, I know that this nudging of the Holy Spirit during the week was right. Luis Rodriguez is so good to remind us that in all our failings, the source is from the heart.
So I must make, not only amends, but consciously do something to correct the critical stance I take in regard to my behaviours towards others which come from the heart lest all my devotions and pride in 'being good' lose their purpose and transparency.
I have made the first steps towards correcting my behaviour towards others and feel confident to look at week 16!!
Thanks for the Graces received to write and I enjoin with all who read in love. Patricia
Week 15 - O Absolem my son. David's cry at hearing of his son's death, still loving him and wishing he could have died for him and in all that with no reproach for his past behaviours. Moving on ...........
My Mary suffers the pangs of birth in a stable, filled with cattle, sheep and their excrement. Joseph is with her, by her side, just like fathers are now in our world. He comforts her and the breath of the beasts of the field keeps her warm. She is grateful for the shelter from the storm, the storms of weather, yes, but also from the hostile world of outside ' no room at the inn'.
Our God of the Our Father sustains her. One last push and her baby comes with lungs filled with cries at being born, our saviour who is Christ the Lord! She bends down and buries his wet body in her arms, despite her blood, still covering over his little body. She wraps him in cloths and looks up at Joseph, grateful for his love and care but most of all for his acceptance of the mystery surrounding the child's conception.
This little holy family are forerunners of living the will of God for them, not their will. Unquestionably, they journey, leading the way for us to follow whatever befalls, so that because of them, we are enabled to hand over our lives, in trust to the Lord our God who loves us, is born to us, forgives us and will die for us so that we may live with him for ever.
Week 14 - Nothing to say as in handing over to the Lord, I am sustained and freed from anxieties. The mystery of faith is an unexplainable mystery, it grows within, nourished by the Spirit the Lord has left us when he returns to the Father, our Father, who is in Heaven.
What can I say? Gratitude, thanks for the love, mercy and forgiveness lavished upon my being, my body, my soul for being so precious in the eyes of the Lord, whose gaze upon us, is our sustenance! giving us Hope that all things will be made new in Him who loves us all so much.
Thanks to all for the privilege of making this retreat and with all those too, with whom I share.
I may have it wrong, but in following the readings today, in conjunction with my on line retreat with Creighton, and recalling too, our Jewish ancestry, I am reminded of these in the account of david overcoming the giant of the philistines.
Goliath was massive and well armed and laughed at the young shepherd david, staff in hand, daring to confront his magnificence. But the Lord was with david and only He, strengthening Davids arm, sling in hand, enabling the stone he threw to overcome and kill the giant, thus, by taking goliaths sword from its sheath, david beheaded the tyrant.
What is this to me? A reminder I am not in control, yes, a sinner loved by the Lord, to whom I am praying every day to enable me to put all my trust in him and to pray that his will not mine be done. Leave it all to him he says. Just as david did and in all the supposed impossibility of overcoming Goliath, it was made possible. So must I proceed.
Thank you Lord for the grace of your Word to remove my darkness and shed your light on all that would overcome me in regard to coping with our sons addiction.
Thanks to all as always
Week 12 All that I shared in week 11 is now a week ago but the intention to answer the call to care for our son remains, despite the dark days of the past week. Our son relapsed and was taken to detox where he took an overdose and ended up in hospital.
He survived and is detoxed and we have him home. He is hoping to go to a Christian rehab after we go through the admissibility procedures.
The call remains to care. My prayers were made in the night and fortify our lives. Creighton's reflections today about the tempter's darkness is a reminder of discernment. Not going through the rules as intellectually incapable, but listening as best I can and following the lead of the gospel and deus ego amo te is all that I seem capable of!
Hope is best and total reliance and trust in the Lord who, if left to him says 'leave it all to me' in answer to my feeble approaches to him who loves us so much, dies that we might live to see him more clearly, love him more dearly and follow him more nearly day by day.
I wonder who writes this for me? It must be the Holy Spirit of the trinity who conferred and sent us the holy name of salvific Jesus Christ our Lord and our God. Thanks be to him who lives and reigns with us as King for ever and ever.
Week 17 THIS is the first time I share some thoughts. I am going to be 70 years old and desire to write some reflections on my faith journey.
THAT I may be open
I will hold Jesus hand and walk in the direction that he guided me and not worry about what people say. I would like to continue to hear his voice and have courage to try something different. Please pray for me.
Week 15a. It has been a difficult retreat for me. My own resistance has been showing, I pray, but not as I think I should. Now, looking at the Holy Family seeking shelter and not finding any, I find myself as one who “refused” Jesus. I find myself as not letting Jesus “inside.” Jesus has been asking me to let Him enter. I’ve said “no." I feel so unworthy. Tears form as I write this.
Week 11 - Ups and downs, sustained by the love and forgiveness of the merciful Lord our God - answering his call is made clear through this love, much greater than me. When I would be tempted into confusion as to how to proceed in caring for our son's affliction, I am enabled to get out of the way.
The Lord isn't just for selfish, self absorbed me, he is for others too and it is they who lead the way, the road ahead, how to proceed, in order for my ' yes 'to be positive.
Ducking the issues is not now for me. Facing, caring providing stability for others is the answer. I now know full well not to abandon my son in his need to be understood and loved in his copng with his affliction. His attendance at mass is his comfort as he takes his spiritual food from the open hands of his healing lord's divine mercy.
God bless us one and all in this world wide community, especially today, the holy name of Jesus, recalling our Jesuit friends who are our companions on our journey, especially at all our cross roads, turning our footsteps in the right direction to the way ahead.
My name throughout this journey in the eleventh week of the Exercises of St Ignatius is Patricia! No longer anonymous in my nothingness!
Week 15a - These “Christmas days” are beautiful but anxious for me. My children and grandchildren are visiting. I struggle to make each moment memorable for them. Accidents happen and peace is disturbed! Let me sit back and remember what is important - it is You Dear Lord - You in the peace of the stable surrounded by the gentle cow, donkey and sheep. Shhhh! Just kneel before Him and watch and listen to the Baby sleeping.
My life, a stable,
Week 10 - Have been absent for a week or two? The hurly burly of christmas preparation and coping with a move of property, in order to make a new home, from one unsatisfactory home to another. A thought? Maybe that is why I give generously to the JRS?
However, I don't know where I am going nor who is going with me. I am confused. Out of control - that sounds really good and a step in the right direction! Above all, I feel I am in the right place, writing this.
I have had what I think is a deep prayer life, but what I think is a deep prayer life is not honest. I see, as I stand before my bed, the cracks in the wall. The little girl is me. Frightened, afraid, unable to cope, especially with the mis en scene, christmas celebrations, all awry, all that preparation, all those gifts to the needy organisations, so much self and wilfulness in it all. The masks are torn away from the face and into the stark reality of the nothingness of me.
All that love and forgiveness has not been handed out to me for nothing. It shows on the one hand the love and the grace of a loving Lord. All these things in my terror I pray for, over and over. They are not real prayers from me but I know they are heard which is why I write. The message I hear, over and over in answer to my troubled mind, in dealing with the illness of addiction in my son, is 'Leave it ALL to me'. A friend explains, the ALL is my attitude and wrongful action.
Now I am stripped down to nothing. What a grace that is. In my nothingness and not being able to see the road ahead or how to tread it, maybe all that arrogant self can let in the Light, shining in the darkness of self, full of pride in its self possession. Please God.
Circumstances are changed dramatically. My son is coming to life, not through me but through others. I must, therefore, take a back seat, be with my husband as we approach sixty years of marriage and give thanks and gratitude to those who pray for me from their high places which are filled up with their humility to bear my troubled mind.
How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will take the cup of salvaging love he extends to that frightened little girl in the picture, displayed as an aid for week 10, that is me at 83! Thank you Lord for your humour displayed in that bit of my imagination which reveals your Truth in all that we experience!
Thanks for allowing me to share, being on my own making the retreat.
Week 9: Over and over the message is clear 'leave it to me'! By handing over my life, my will, my understanding, my freedom, my memory, especially for my sins!- all that I have and call my own, even my children, especially the one who through sexual abuse, sought relief from the pain of it in alcohol.
I earnestly beg my creator to take all these things into your goodness and your mercy in order for me to do your will, leaving me only to give you my love and receive your grace, especially when I waiver in putting all my trust and my hope in leaving all to you, my loving and true, most holy saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ who lives in union with the triune God in heaven.
I said in my sharing of week 8 that I await the lord's loving embrace. I am coming to terms with this. The Suscipe - 'give me only your grace and my love of you for that is sufficient for me' applies. '
How can I repay the gracious love the Lord has for me'? - well it is clear - I must pray earnestly that I put all my trust in him, our Lord, to guide us on our way. Thus, we diminish our will, our way, so that he may transform our selfish selves in order to reflect his immense love, manifest in his warm embrace,combined with his healing grace.
Thanks be to our God, creator of heaven and earth. Thy will be done. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who transgress against us.
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from every evil, past, present and to come. Grant us your peace dearest Lord in our time and mercifully hear us when we call upon you. Amen
Week 7; As I am going thru week 7 of this retreat I am having a hard time seeng what my sin is specifically. When I was young I could say I lied, I committed fornacation or even adultery. I was angry with my children and even cruel to my family. But now at almost 70 years old I have removed the elephant in the room. This retreat is helping me see the patterns of sin in my life. The need to be accepted and loved. And last week the Lord Jesus showed me the prodigal son, I was the prodigal but now I have become the older brother, I am harsh and judgemental in my mind. I have been reflecting on what would happen if the prodigal meet the older brother and not the father. As the older brother would I embarrass him with love or condemn him?
I look at week 8. I awoke early, a miserable sinner, praying the Our Father and the Anima Christi and asking Our Lady to untie the knots. Get up, do my jobs, sit down and rest. Difficulty to do my daily readings, turn to Creighton retreat. Recalling that I haven't moved to week 8, read my sharing reflection for week 7, and turn to the picture posted of the mother, embracing her child, my son, now sought by our loving shepherd, lost and found, deep in his recovery in the rehab and facing his future with new found confidence.
My offering of the confiteor, my cries to the Lord, confessing my weaknesses, my wrongs, my hurts, especially my decisions although as I recall, made in good faith to trust the recommended Benedictine school's education to help his learning. Such an intelligent child, outstanding vocabulary at the age of three. God alone my Jesus, I weep for all my wrong doings over the past 80 odd years in all its forms.
Now I turn to week 8. All about our most merciful Father in heaven whose forgiveness is extended in his loving embrace. I will await to absorb this embrace with a hopeful heart, set aside my self absorption and ask the Lord once again and always to help me to put all my hope and trust in his most loving and sacred heart.
Thank you, all of you for reading. God bless
Week 7: I haven’t had access to wi fi for a week. Just the daily missal following the weeks readings and mass where available. The attendant care for our son, now in a clinic some way away. The temptation to be overly concerned for his addiction led to me to pray the Lord - help me to put all my trust in you.What transpired was having done all i could possibly do in every area of my daily doings I received a firm command ‘leave it to me’.
Week 6 A Spiritual Director has been critical to my evolution of understanding the retreat and making it impactful upon me personally. This week has been hard but also freeing. Reflecting on John has been very Eye opening to understand that church is not a gathering place of spiritually health people, the church is where the sick gather to be healed from the disease of sin. “In the creedal affirmation of the holy catholic church, the communion of saints stands besides the forgiveness of sins. That conjunction is not accidental. The measure of sainthood is not human sinlessness but divine vocation. The community set apart in Christ lives continually by the gospel of God’s forgiveness, precisely because we are sick and need a physician.”
Weeks 5/6 Despite my sinfulness, acknowledged and forgiven through god’s mercy, looking at the retreat so far, we do not make it alone. We stay with the daily readings and the gospel message and if we try to keep the commandments, the Holy Spirit the comforter comes and sustains us in the Truth.
Moving on from week 4 last week drew a blank. True chaos caused by our dear son’s alcoholism was acute, lasting the whole week until today.
Addressing now week 5 is amazing. I awoke, singing in my head ‘fight the good fight’ adapted from scripture. The words of the hymn brought both comfort and consolation. At the eucharist, during the week, i felt the embrace of our loving god. But that led to acknowledging my lifetimes sinfulness in all its detail down the years. Is this the cause of all our suffering today? Am i so wicked that i am led to destroy myself and give up the practice of my chosen religion to which I converted as a girl?
My son was raped by a monk at a catholic prep school and feels he was abandoned by me. Not so, the school informed me they could help with his diagnosed dyslexia.
My son’s anger upset me and he too.
In attempting to self detox he became very ill and made a decision to go to rehab. He goes on Tuesday in trepidation of course, but we are at Peace, the Peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding.
So forgiveness of self attains and the Lord alone, not me, will be the judge of those perpetrators of evil within the church, not me.
Thanks for reading.
I found that reflecting on my childhood was kind of difficult for me. I felt really emotional, and both the good and bad memories made me cry lol. I think a lot of it is because my dad passed away suddenly 2 years ago and he was a part of many of those memories. My parents didn't have a great relationship, but they were both wonderful, devoted parents to me, their only child, so when I listened to the audio guide and they said, "Where were you Lord in the midst of all the arguing and shouting?" it struck a chord with me. It helped to think of Jesus being there with me through it all and thanking God that I was raised knowing Him, so that I never really felt alone during those times. It brought me to tears that God kept me in His care and kept me in a relationship with Him from an early age the present, though it was not always a close relationship, it was never severed. As I cried in the car on the way to work Monday thinking about these things, I also felt peace and a strong sense of the Holy Spirit there with me.
The article "The Courage to Accept Acceptance" is really relevant for my family living with 2 children with a rare medical condition called glycogen storage disease (GSD). It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that God is rejecting us when GSD hurts our kids in various ways, but we have to have the courage and faith to not buy into that lie and know that God is the only one who 100% accepts us for who we are. GSD isn't our punishment; it's part of living in a fallen world.
Words multiply! Does wisdom?
Week 4 I am too hasty. Awaking and always praying I feel the Holy Spirit is praying and prompting me. There is a desire to look at my life and see the mistakes and choices made down the years, all wrapped up in the desire to live my life in accord with the Will of the Lord.
From this horror of seeing the reality of my life, this false way reviewed, now speaks with Grace, when I read the readings offered for week 4. These strongly aid the way forward by not living in the past, despite the sinfulness encountered, and going over the wrong choices made along the way.
I am 83 and it seems to have taken a long time to become real. This retreat is revealing how to move forward when I address all the aids given for the week so that my desires for ‘i know not what’ (says william barry sj) are given as graces, inspired by the Holy Spirit to lead me to the Trinity who desired to save us by sending the Son of the Father to save us from our very selves -Thomas Tallis’ motet - puts this as (forgive this misquote of scripture from memory) ‘The Father says if you love me and obey my commandments I will send you my Spirit to comfort you. The spirit of Truth’.
Truly if I count my friends who have influenced me and whose example has been given to me, certainly it has been so since my conversion to catholicism at the age of 19, a precious gift to guide me on my way. That gift, of course, is from many members various, living and dead, of the Society of Jesus whom I have known and am knowing.
I am most grateful for the retreat. Thank you.
I finished the 3rd week today. I remembered to praise God ( at times I really didn’t want to) as much as possible even in my daily trials and personal troubles. Moments of praising God actually kept me in the present moment; helped me to somehow feel protected; reminded me that I have so much to be thankful for; I know am loved. I feel happy and secure. I am looking forward to next week!
As I am finishing week 1 and edging into week 2, I have been having reminders of feelings from my past. Like feeling photos that seem to crop up and surprise me at unexpected times. I felt shame yesterday after a conversation that pulled up memories of my childhood. I felt loss and sadness earlier this week after an event. As I recall it and see it for what and when it was, I am asking God to accept, comfort and be with me then and now. Acceptance holds a grip on me as I see it and place its role in my life. Sharing is my a step in being real with God and myself.
Week 2: This is the 5th or 6th time I have done this retreat, I keep lots of notes and expand on them each time. I wasn’t going to do it this year, but the Holy Spirit prompted me. I realized there were areas in my life that I had yet to talk about with God. So I meditated and prayed on it and He opened several areas for me, some I would prefer to forget and others that brought back long forgotten pleasant memories. I understand why He brought me to these places, we are working on them together.
This is the beginning of a new year and I hope, a new direction in my life. The last ten years have had their challenges. It contained the end of a thirty-five year marriage; the purchase of a new home, ( which has been named the Cloister) the returning to an empty house each day, the breaking of bread each day, alone. I live in a province where I have no family. We had no children.
There are many close and wonderful friends, friends that have been the warp and woof of my life, for over four decades. I have two amazing siblings who live in different provinces, but with whom I have regular contact. My life is an abundant one. Over these last ten years I have led groups, done the Camino, visited Oberammgeau, travelled extensively, hiked, read, prayed and grown. I have learned to change furnace filters, set up my sprinkler system, buy items such as hot water tanks, air conditioners, appliances and floor coverings. The kitchen and baths have been remodelled and I purchased a new vehicle in the frozen depths of an Alberta winter.
As I begin this online retreat, I look back on a life that for the most part was full, rich and filled with God’s graces. My parents were strong Christians and from a very early age, I was aware of the goodness and graciousness of God’s presence in my parents’
This is a new decade for me, a decade for last hurrahs. I am 71. I am active and healthy.
I have finished Week 9, and decided to share some of my thoughts and feelings. I think, after having experienced the Exercies in daily life many times, that I have finally come to a deep sense of my sinfulness of selfishness self centeredness and the fear and anxiety this causes. Flowing from this fear and anxiety is an absence of love in my relationships. Instead, they are selfish, controlling and protective of self and the things I consider mine: money, property, pretstige. I hope God can heal some of this at age 68, so my remaining years can be in service to God and God’s creation.
My sharing for week 25 is that I never appreciated the Scrutiny readings before. Thank you for bringing them alive. Love this lesson. I can see Jesus wanting to heal parts of me that have dried up and gently untying the bindings holding me cold and frozen. I pray again with renewed zeal on what have I given up on and doubted Jesus could transform. The last three weeks have been very powerful. One thing I heard from a podcast this week that helped with last week is that Jesus may have used very strong language with the Pharisees and Sadducees but before that he had developed a relationship with them. Jesus he had eaten with them and had conversations with them. So his rebukes came from a respect of the Pharisees and Sadducees as people worthy of engagement. I struggle with how to be authentic in love. Thinking about developing a relationship built on what I can agree with a person on first, is very helpful to me.
I need to promulgate my sharing for week 2. The golden nugget, the unwrapped gift, the joy, the revelation, the consolation and, not least, the understanding in answer to my daily prayer, the suscipe, ‘take lord and receive, all my liberty, all my memory, all my understanding, my knowledge and my entire will........’ all these gifts i acknowledge and now return them to the Lord to do with them as he wills. Begging that all i need is my love of him and his grace for that is sufficient for me.
What a week this has been, right from the start I was graced with insight to the attachment I have to my marriage, which has led to my husband and I living in different cities. My constant need to get reassurance that I am not the one who has caused this from all who I speak to... this led to me coming to realise that I am very attached to the need to be seen as a “good “ person. Still trying to make amends for my failings of my youth.
As I read “Our Sinfulness and Our Goodness,” from week 6, a few rogue (yet sacred) thoughts came to me which brought me deeper awareness and compassion for my own sinfulness and goodness, as well as a greater receiving of Christ’s Love and compassion.
The cross – the arms on the cross – one representing our deep sinfulness and the other God’s great Love – the suffering causes them to be as far apart as humanly possible – humanly. Yet – the Love of Christ compels this suffering to come to a final conclusion – death. This death allows the arms to be brought together - ending the separation. And further more it compels the arm of the sinner and the arm of the Divine Love from that cross to not only come together, but around us. Around me. The embrace of Love. Bringing together death and life – rejection and love – humanity and divinity. The final acceptance of both is within myself.
I am so grateful for this LOVE. I welcome this embrace. Thank you Jesus for your welcoming Presence.
I am meditating on Week 23, Jesus as lover and healer, and it is so cool because my Kingdom Community (who is not doing the online retreat) went down this path in our prayer hour yesterday. Jesus as lover and healer! We had a week of prayer and fasting in our churches this week and 200 people are showing up every night for prayer. Jesus is healing. Love how this intersects with where I am in the online retreat.
Have started the retreat and sent reflections for week 2.
Trying to continue, am overwhelmed. Reflect why? Husband and me coping with a recovering alcoholic. Our youngest son. Dealing with we hope, the death throes of the final stages of alcohol addiction in a middle aged man by aged parents, adds up to confusion.
So today, thinking there is something wrong, I resorted to Luis Rodriguez SJ’s on line eight day retreat, displayed on Creighton’s site. He explains how the Holy Spirit, the comforter, cares for me because day 1 of Luis’ eight day retreat, reveals my misunderstanding of week 1’s retreat.
And so, the Lord is there with me now enabling me to recognise Him being with me ‘then’ in all my doings, good and bad. Not just being with me but loving me and holding me, forgiving me and as said already, John14:15-17, ‘if you love me, keep my commandments...........’
Now I realise what depths these words mean. They are not superficial. The realisation of the life story is apparent in that whatever is or was, flawed or not, the king of love my shepherd is whose goodness faileth never. - deus ego amo te - for being my king and lord amen.
O.k. Despite the gramophone record played over and over for 83 years by putting the blame on my mother for circumstance all attaining to the unwanted child syndrome; as today's gospel says, it was the lord who knitted me together in my mother others womb. Gratitude and grateful for my being at last! It has taken a long long time for the revelation!! I need to forgive my mother too.
As I read “Our Sinfulness and Our Goodness,” from week 6, a few rogue (yet sacred) thoughts came to me which brought me deeper awareness and compassion for my own sinfulness and goodness, as well as a greater receiving of Christ’s Love and compassion.
The cross – the arms on the cross –one representing our deep sinfulness and the other God’s great Love – the suffering causes them to be as far apart as humanly possible – humanly. Yet – the Love of Christ compels this suffering to come to a final conclusion – death. This death allows the arms to be brought together - ending the separation. And further more it compels the arm of the sinner and the arm of the Divine Love from that cross to not only come together, but around us. Around me. The embrace of Love. Bringing together death and life – rejection and love – humanity and divinity. The final acceptance of both is within myself.
Week 19 - As I contemplated the story of Jesus' leaving his home in Nazareth and then entering into the sacrament of Baptism, I remembered a time when I left home to do mission work. I eagerly left my family, because home wasn't a happy place. I went to Switzerland first, a foreign country with a language I had studied in school but was only learning to speak. Being immersed in a different culture, in a position of service--I worked as a maid and kitchen assistant in a retreat center, it was like being baptized by the Holy Spirit.
I was the only Catholic and had to take a bus or boat to Mass every week. The prayers were in German, but they were still familiar. The familiar was merely expressed in a different language.
I spent the second half of that year at a Navajo mission in New Mexico. Again, I left home eagerly, heading out to serve the People in the name of Jesus.
In both of these settings, the work was hard, and Jesus bore me up.
The cultures were completely different from each other and from my own. I learned to respect people and take the time to get to know individuals.
I experienced Jesus in a new way that has never left me. I've never been the same.
I'd like to share my Week One retreat with you. So far the retreat is going well, reflecting on my earliest memories until the present time. I was easily filled with joy at those happy times and the happy times I forgot I had, a joy infused nostalgia. One thing that stood out was that God was active at my early childhood through Art and Prayer; I remembered so strongly the time that I consecrated myself in prayer to Him at around 7 or 8 even though I had no idea what it meant, and its probably the reason that I could'nt forget my relationship with God altogether even though God took a back seat during the tumultuous life of puberty and early adult years.
Recalling the sad memories wasn't hard either and the painful feelings associated with it. Family misunderstandings, bullying, temptations, illness, etc. God was faithful at those times even when I wasn't. And when I was old enough to understand, it was through the same problem God brought me back to Him and now start taking Him seriously. My relationship with God is still a work in progress and I believe will always be, but one thing's for sure, God sure is not in the backseat anymore, thanks to Our Lady.
Weeks 17 and 17a:
I am working through Week 20 and am moved to share for the first time...
Something that jumped out at me from the Temptation reading that I hadn’t thought deeply about: “…the Spirit led him into the desert.” It wasn’t an accident, but it also wasn’t as if he purposely went out to “test his strength” of resolve. He went out led and accompanied by the Holy Spirit, and after a time of fasting and prayer (during which, also, the devil tempted him, according to the text), the temptations we’re considering this week happened.