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At any time this week, if you have anything you'd like to share, that has touched you, you can share it by leaving a note here, even anonymously.

The Latest Sharing

Week 10: This is my first time sharing and second time reading the sharing of others making this online retreat. I have tried making the traditional exercises twice before and never finished primarily due to the male imagery.
I have sailed through weeks 1-9. But I am struggling now. I don’t seem to “feel” the passion or depth of love that the exercises imply and wonder if I am doing something wrong or if it’s just not in me. I cannot seem to get to a full on Yes to God’s call and I wonder if, like another retreatant shared, if could have an intimate relationship with the male Jesus.
However I am a lover of the Word and I am trusting that the Spirit will guide me to continue even with feeble my Yes.

I am finding a lot of comfort in the making of simple ordinary things and events
a focus of one's prayer life and this week's attention to creation and service
has solidified that for me. Sometimes I tend to think that only the extravagant will do. 
That often becomes un-doable and one can tend to give up too easily. With the 
process of re-examining our life situations (last week) I need only remember the faith 
lives of my parents to recall how much simple acts can mean in one's own life and
the lives of others- and how those actions lead us to service. It was always Sunday Mass
as a family, the Rosary in the evening, the reading of the story of Fatima when we were
young children, the volunteering at our church and Catholic grade and high schools, the
weekly Holy Hours- my dad's being in the middle of the night. Not dramatic but when I
think of the gifts I received from my parents over the years- the BEST was and is their example
of faith. I was one lucky girl. Blessings to all. 

Week 1: I am so excited to begin this retreat experience for Lent. The past couple of years I have been recovering from various health situations and Lent seemingly passed me by. I really need the freedom and focus to get back to a faith life I felt I once had and need to re-kindle. I read through the guide and looked at some of the resource material and will review again prior to Ash Wednesday. Blessings to all.

Week 20: Slowly, slowly, we come to listen. Prayer in time of trouble is answered by a loving God who shows us the way. First, to bear our trials for the love of Him. Thus, In taking up our cross, we liken ourselves to Him in sharing whatever befalls. Our burden, therefore, is lightened. Our trials, whatever, are made to fit; like the oxen pulling the cart, their harness is made for each individual one.
Now, in acceptance, we go further. Our anxieties and fears are understood because they are human. We wallow in our humanity in them. Our Lord leads us to understand further, they are self driven. Selfish cares and worries are making us ill, they do not respond to our prayerful needs.
 There is something greater. Letting go, we are given a gift. The nonsense of self is diminished, step by step, there is an awesome Presence to whom we bow down from our arrogance of self, to offer ourselves in the hope of a more true self.
Trusting and fully hoping in Him in all things, frees us to live in Him not in my self, tainted by fear, to Him, who lives and moves and in whom we truly have our being.
We can pray more peacefully now than in the terror of what is happening or may be.
Thank you Lord for answering our prayer to you with this gift , giving us your grace  by your Love for us and ours for You.

Week 19 - In desperation,  it seems, that through these weeks I have turned to the novena of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in time of trouble, as I journeyed with my addicted son, rescued and now placed for six months in a refuge, from being homeless , on the street , in the cold and darkness of penniless living, after having dissipated his funds over the Christmas holidays.

 Calling upon me from the street where he lay, I have spent each day, hour and week in the ensuing weeks with him and his plight as we, his parents, living hundreds of miles away, through the use of the modern communications systems.

Reading from my last sharing @ 15a, the time has been spent praying amongst the turmoil. First,  to pray to put all my trust and hope in the Lord. Second, to rid me of my independence and honour my marriage commitment more fruitfully with my husband of 63 years and thirdly and most importantly, to rid myself of pride and be led to humility in recognising the gifts and graces thankfully received in the rescue of our dear son.

 As I go through these intervening weeks it seems, in so many ways, it has been his journey away from the consequences of addictive behaviours in the darkness and into the Light of Christ. Please God he will travel the road, independent of me who has been helped and guided by You, dearest Lord, with your gifts to help our son, that he also will be guided by You now , to live with his truly gifted skills which will put him safely back on the straight road of his desire, in the use of these, to help others whom he will be able to treat again. The strife is o’er the battle won.

Gratitude to You, Lord and to all who have enjoined us in our prayers. Especially to our Lady of Monserrat who has and does support me when I am frightened and weak.
We have learned so much in enjoining with You in Your suffering and being graced in accepting ours, being helped along the way, to do your Will by You ridding us of ours, thy unworthy servants.

And  yet ‘behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away, the sins of the world’

A BLESSED NEW YEAR to you all with whom we share from Pat

15a: Thank you for all the devising of this, our retreat, which means, in real terms, the fruits of your vocation in the spirit of our friend too, Ignatius of Loyola!
The Spiritual Exercises lead us through the mire of the sinfulness of our previous lives, to receive the gifts of God’s bountiful mercy and forgiveness into a cow shed wherein cattle lie, breathing their warm breath into the cold and darkness of their abode.
In the still of the night a Light is shone not just here, but there, outside into the homes of all those who are suffering throughout our whole world, bringing a brightness into the fields of darkness wherein lie hidden gifts of great treasure, as yet unseen, awaiting to be uncovered by the unbinding  Love, in the form of a shivering babe, the Lord Jesus,  sent unto us by the Grace of Our Father in Heaven through the invocation of our Holy Spirit.
From Pat with love to all who enjoin!

Week 15: Christmas and all it entails is upon us. The liturgy of these days is present, amidst the demanding preparations for the ‘Feast’, are our celebrations with families and friends. All too in the overall crises and world chaos brought to us in the daily news bulletins!

 Wow! Where am I in all this? In my retreat?  Mary takes the lead.   In all the messiness of our life, in the desire to trust and hope, she shines through in the light of the sun, the moon and the stars of our little planet.  Sitting amidst the vastness of the Universe, she places her total,  obedient, humble little girl like self. She is magnificence itself.

What is this ‘lead’?

Overall, commitment of the desire,  is to place ALL OUR TRUST in the Lord, our God, despite our frailty.

 We stretch out with trembling hearts and hands to the human babe and divine Lord who comes to save us, suffer for us,  die for us a terrible death, hung on a cross, amongst sinners like us, strengthening us, making our lives positive for us and helping us, in response, by reaching out to hold our hands in Love for us and one another.

 Praise Him, Praise Him, Praise Him ….Praise the Lord of ALL in His Glory as the King of Kings born for us today.

Happy Christmas one and all!

Week 14: This is a beautiful week! God is truly here. It has been a hectic week and Ive been desiring time to sit down and pray harder but wasn’t able to do so until today, a Saturday and a weekend. Despite the noise brought by the ongoing construction of a bathroom in my room but Im not annoyed 😊 God is here. THANK YOU so much Lord. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for putting things in order. It is true! When we dedicate ourselves to the Blessed Mother, who conceived and gave human life to the WORD, our lives will be put into order. May not be perfect but life is lovely! THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Week 13: In this busy time, leading up to our Child being borne to us Emmanuel, God with us, it seems to have caused me to overlook my ongoing Creighton retreat! So ‘going back’ as it were, to week 13, I am drawn to look at my childhood.
In retrospection I have looked at being unwanted. This trauma is passed now in my old age and I try to be forgiving because the Lord is and has been so forgiving to me in His Mercy to me, calling me, as a sinner, to repentance and reconciliation with Him in the realisation of how much He has loved me down the years.
In return, looking at my ancestry and by association with my father’s mother, my grandmother, I have a recollection of staying in her house. She had readied me for bed in her sweet smelling sheets. I had climbed in. She, from the chair beside the fire, called me asking me had I said my prayers. Answering no from the warmth and comfort of the bed, I got up and I went and kneeled before her by the warmth of the fire and she taught me to pray the Our Father, line by line.
This was the gift Our Father gave me, unawares, through her, to leave my past as an unwanted child and journey through my future life to another very different land. Thank you Lord for protecting me and loving me all the days of my life.

Week 12: This response to the Lord, who loves us so much, is the Call to love Him in return. There’s a gap here in true understanding of the reality of love itself.
Aware of the coming of the Lord Jesus by the compassion displayed by the Holy Trinity to send us Love, in the guise of a shivering babe, both human and divine, to lead us o’er this tempestuous sea of life, so readily displayed in the chaos that exists not only around us but in the world over.
Advent’s liturgy helps us understand to wait with patience for the Coming.

Love for us is brought about in truly understanding what love is for each other as husband and wife. Heavenly Light on my understanding is being shown by the Way, and the Truth of Love itself.
How? Being aged and married for approaching 63 years we are beset by failing health issues. Amidst these, the sacrament of marriage is clearly displayed in the reality of love hitherto neither fully known or understood. We have been experiencing the Love and mercy and forgiveness of a loving shepherding Lord so far in our retreat helping to remove self absorption. Thinking of ways to help others, homeless the poor, marginalised and afflicted.

Suddenly it comes as a surprise in the enactment of this desire. This very human thinking turns about to focus on our home where the hidden heart lives.  Love is the gift we have been given, expressed, as we are brought to be made aware by necessity to most willingly give care for each other in love. This enables us in unity towards the needs of others.

Week 10: I have to share what’s happening…’’.the Love of my Lord is the essence of all that I have, here on earth’ …..a hymn… Louis Jesuits sing too Oh Beauty ever ancient…..all comes in as clarity of what it means to ‘answer the Call’.
Our frailty in understanding, the reality is brought home. A friend in need writes of his adverse circumstances….his vocation in jeopardy. His appeal for our prayer at his time of need makes for believing, in Faith, the invitation in gratitude and thanksgiving to have the opportunity to answer this Call in order of how to fulfil my grateful thanksgiving for being healed of all my transgressions, known, unknown, past, present and to come.

Week 8: Yes it is a happy week shared with many blessings and gifts from the Lord. His Mercy abounds, but more: His Mercy comes with such immense Love that He reminds us that we are also not perfect. It is when we fall His Mercy prevails. Our pride and giving in to ‘outside’ influences makes for thinking We are judged. Back to the dreaded illusions keeping the reality of Peace ‘from dropping slow’.
Allow for our imperfections, which do not separate us from the overwhelming Love of God . Be still in the Presence of the Lord through, as always, the intercessions of our Mother, Mary and all our beloved Martyrs and Saints who have gone before us, including those who have loved us during their lives.

Week 7 - This is actually a "compilation" sharing for Weeks 5, 6 and 7.  For me, all three weeks were tough.  Week 5 was hard, but Week 6 was tougher and Week 7 was the toughest yet.  

What I did was to review all the confessions I made over the years to see what my patterns of sin were.  Sure enough, themes came screaming through: judging and ill will toward others, neglecting the needs of others, hanging on to regret, lack of gratitude, lack of patience.  I then tried to determine the root cause of all these sins and, with God's grace, discovered them.  It was very painful, but very freeing.  Reflecting more deeply on Jesus' death on the cross, I now more fully appreciate what He did for each one of us.  Doing this made each of these weeks less difficult to go through.  I look forward to the rest of the retreat in anticipation I can truly become the person God created me to be.

Week 7: Coming to the end of week 7, in facing sins, past, present and to come and in experiencing this, it brings forth great gratitude that our sins are forgiven.
 This is not the end of the Week, as illusion and the fear it brings comes unexpectedly , as well as the Joy in knowing I am loved and forgiven through the Mercy of a loving Lord in endeavouring to answer His Call.
‘Peace, therefore, is real, terror an illusion. Peace grows and terror vanishes.’ So says Thomas Merton ‘the sign of Jonas’ p224.
Ignatius’ lead teaches that we must waft away illusion as it plagues and interferes with our desires to advance in faith towards the Lord in our day to day journeying.
The illusions are like cobwebs covering us; like a mist, in order to mask the Light unseen through it.
Great we can share this especial comfort with others who, when sharing their fears with us, expressed in the ups and downs of their lives, Inspiration is a given, through sheer Gift of the Lord, not ours, of course, of what to say in return, helping them too, towards their Joy and Peace.
More gratitude for the privilege! Love and blessings be upon us all as we continue to week 8!

Week 7: I live now on an island just off the mainland above which the mountains stand out,  covered in cloud at dawn. In contrast the island sky at dawn is lit by glorious light as the sun rises. This contrast reflects my human condition reminding me to pray for those I have known who have died and gone before me. I name them and bring them forth in the hope that they are now in the presence of a loving God free from hurts and any harms that I may be responsible for.

Week 7: I’ve been wallowing in self satisfaction, not acknowledging, with great gratitude, the Graces received over the past few weeks. Surfacing is the inner self, the reality, the dark places of mind and heart. This awakening is borne out by the knowledge that I am, in effect, influenced by shutting myself off from the loveliness of the Love, bestowed on me, by a loving and merciful God. This is played out on awakening, at dawn. The sky is filled with the Glory of God as it appears in its brightness; the blazing sun rises to greet this  coming day. Amongst this brilliant Light, small areas of cloud display the darkness of my wilful sin. I turn to greet the dawn and in acknowledging Love beg to be not only forgiven, but to reach out to that now acknowledged Love, to be healed by my Creator, in order to reach the clarity of the blue sky beyond, helping me to wholeness.
 God bless us all in the unity of the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Thanks for the Grace to alleviate our loneliness, leading to the darkness of sin and deliver us Lord from every evil, past, present and to come. Give us Peace in our time O Lord and mercifully hear us when we turn back and call upon You.

Week 1: Very glad that I am back in this page. 

Thanks to the cancelled flight due to Nalgae typhoon. We were supposed to be home last Saturday but were not able to as advised by airport authorities.

This afternoon, while waiting for our flight. We have around 5 hours waiting time, I got the chance to read articles and other materials that have been overdue for reading. Until I scanned my bookmarked online retreat. Thank you dear Lord for this another opportunity. I started this last year but didn't finish the 34 weeks. Hopefully Lord, with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, I will have time to read, pray and reflect. 

Thank you for the love dear Lord. Please help me declare and live a life that is loving you. Help me Blessed Mother Mary to love your son by condemning the acts of sin. Help me Papa Joseph to turn to God in times of temptation. When the invitation of sinning comes, please Lord remind me, pull me back towards you. 

Week 6: Just beginning. Something has happened. A past Good Friday moment recalls the need for shame and sorrow that because I have been so loved and created in that Love, I have lived in arrogance and pride in self and towards others. I recall them, the harm that I have done towards them. In loving self, not them, it broke our relationships. What I was seeking, unknowingly, masked by pride, in using the gifts given to me wrongly, was the cause of the brokenness and the sufferings experienced. This tremendous revelation reveals my own sin, not necessarily that of others and which, is the cause of my brokenness  and shame for what I have done, ruining my own chances of happiness. The Cross of Christ His suffering for this ‘mean’ being, created ….and am I to be redeemed?…… revealed as I am fully exposed in my frightening shame to the real me, not the pretentious one , but the real one now revealed in entirety, worthy now, to be rescued from hiding in terror, under a rock, not realising that is the Rock of Refuge the Rescuing Rock of Saving Grace, it is He who died for me. Now I can truly  reverence the Cross on Good Fridays because I renounce the destruction of self in the sinful life I have just brought to mind. The Wind blows where it will breathing new life into a miserable sinner, loved by God….it is He who loves me not the me who loves self.

Week 5: Muddling thoughts, memories and confusion oppose the heart’s desire to serve by prayer and by any other means, in the sufferings and agonies of our world, daily brought before us by the media. Acknowledging these what can we do?
It would be best to recall another time of reflection in the Exercises of Ignatius, readily revealed in the contemplative prayer of the imagination . The scene is vivid, in recall, as I witness the Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane. He lies face down in agony as he focuses on what is to come, but being both human and divine, He asks that what is to be will be taken from him. This Trinitarian Grace, enables the human plea to create a volte face as the divine enables Him to desire that the Father’s Will be done. The grace of the Holy Spirit is enacted.  In trepidation my hand reaches out to comfort the suffering Lord. Aware of His greatness and magnificence, being sent by the Holy Trinity to save our sinful suffering world as Jesus Christ, born in a humble cattle shed as a shivering babe, into the arms of our loving mother Mary, I stretch out my trembling hand to touch the suffering body of our Lord  and our God. In amazement I feel  His hand reaching out to hold mine! Clarity comes. What is this that the holy Trinity brings but Hope if we Place all our Trust in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, giving us the necessary Grace to be led to relieve and go out of our small, insignificant selves to others in whatever way the Father’s Will be done for us.
“Lead us, heavenly Father lead us o’er this world’s tempestuous sea.” Blessings and mercy received, all of us, as we follow the gift of grace in our journey of this retreat through the intercession and prayers of the Jesuit community of Creighton!

Week 4: ‘I discover something not inspired by your Holy Spirit ‘ through my love of music, in this instance, listening to songs sung by the human voice. Deeply moving, yes, but portraying a loveliness which is a sentimental love, a reminder of the past deep affection for another and unrequited!  This became quite frightening because it has a powerful hold on me. This awareness led to prayer to Our Lady,  Our Lady of Monserrat, ever united with Ignatius’ appeal to Her. Put these things behind me forever I pray. Don’t let them separate me from the totality of my new found love,  portrayed in the stirrings of the heart by the Holy Spirit, to love the Lord Our God above all things; despite the inclination to bring to mind the memories of another. This prayer puts these memories in perspective. St theresa’s lead by her inspiration in forming the discalced Carmelites is a way forward together with the lovely stanzas of St John of the Cross……the beauties in things created in our world are the means which lead us to a higher beauty ……the desire to offer this great Love given to us back to  the Creator of all.

Week 4: Following sharing my reflections today I was walking with my dog on the sea shore when cardinal newman’s prayer came to me…’lead kindly light amidst the encircling gloom; lead thou me on…….’ I sang the verses in my head and it summed up my prayer in my sharing as an answer to that prayer…’.be with me Lord Jesus I ask thee to stay, close by me for ever and love me I pray’….words from another hymn, ‘away in a manger’. Thank you Lord for being with me and for loving me always.

Week 4: Pulled up short, shortcomings revealed, pride has a place in my heart. How come? The Word, the all important Word of God leads me to stand still and look about me. What do I see? Memories reveal those who have helped me and led me and showed me a way out of my self absorption even to giving me a present of a little lamp to place and stand on my table. The purpose is to shine out on others on the one hand and shed light on my darkness on the other hand. The call is there. Please help me Lord to answer and fully say ‘I’m coming’ rid me of me and the desires encountered, holding me back from following You.

As we proceed in week 3 there’s a multitude of Grace encountered in mistakes we make, especially when we fail, by loosing patience in an important undertaking. This acts as a reminder of the tumbling down to all our failures past, present and to come. Out of the depths of this revelation, appeal is made to Our Lady to show us how to climb out of this misery. We recall Our Lady of Monserrat and Ignatius visiting and presenting himself to her as he is in his present state, desiring to leave and be forgiven his past way of life.From this moment, he is shown the way for him as he proceeds to Manresa where he forms and writes the Spiritual Excercises given so graciously and with intent for us.
Recalling another, SaintAugustine, who, in a similar way, in regretting his past, becomes a reminder of what it takes for us to become as God intended in creating every moment and movement towards Him in our being.
St Therese of Lisieux records this as being the enormity of the great Graces poured out with His Love upon us all when we turn and turn back and away from our selfish selves in return to this amazing Love and Grace.
God bless us all who with His generosity calls us to make this retreat.

Week 1: thanking God for having found this retreat 
thanking God for having been with me my entire life even though I didn't know anything about Him until I was 33
thanking Him for being my Lord and Savior for the last 26 years
may He bless and keep each of you as you walk through this retreat

Week 3: Just for a moment, on waking, in a glimpse around the curtain and through the window pane, I see the sunrise as the dawn breaks. God’s glory fills the skies, my heart awakening cries, may Jesus Christ be praised. This is the me my Lord and my God desires me to become always.  In order for this creature to become, it must accept its shortcomings. Shortcomings which don’t match up with the Lord’s desire for me.The Lord who leads, shows me a way out of any selfish introversion and behaviours. Looking around me are others who see the dawn breaking but who are poorly, brought down by infection. He leadeth me the quiet waters by, to cross the stretch of divide to tend the other and go out of self to serve and care for this other’s needs. It’s not mean, selfish me, who crosses over it’s by following the prompting of the Lord’s invitation. “My soul He doth restore again and me to walk doth make within the path of righteousness e’en for His own name’s sake”
Whither shall I go, where and when?

Week 2: Gratitude for making the retreat, in conjunction with the daily readings.  This week, like Job, trials abound. Lesson learned that we must bear these for the sake of the Lord who carried His Cross and died for us so that our many sins now and in retrospection, may be forgiven.  I’m not righteous but a repentant sinner in need of the bountiful Mercy, Love and compassion the given Lord has for us. Knowing this is important and in believing we are loved, helps us carry our crosses for that Love showered upon us, enabling us to love Him in return, most willingly, by bearing our trials which abundantly beset us. Bit of a struggle in continuing to address this week’s retreat, especially in view of the great Graces given in week 1. However our good Lord is in all as we live and move and have our offtimes miserable beings. Being rescued in His arms, like the lost sheep of Israel who stray, is a blessing. More, we, in return, are given opportunities to offer blessings to our neighbours whom we come across in life and who share their trials with us. It’s a wonderful world! Beauty created and containing created creatures like us! God bless us all one and another.

Week 2: A huge grace this week is discovering the prayers of Ted Loder.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  Each day, as I used his prayer "It Would Be Easier to Pray if I Were Clear", God led me to a different phrase and we used it together to draw closer.  The prayer is what my words would be if I could articulate them.  At the end of the week I find myself noticing God everywhere and being grateful for everything.  - Susan in Vancouver, Canada

 I end Week One with immense gratitude for the places where God has been present in my life. He placed me with Christian parents and led me back to Him like the prodigal son when I strayed. His angels continue to care for me through health difficulties. This week, the Queen has passed away, and I have been drawn to look closely at how her faith gave her the strong sense of servanthood she graced us with throughout her life. I am pleased to see that King Charles seems to share this strong faith and commitment to service. I am looking forward to Week Two! - Susan in Vancouver, Canada 

Week 1: As I made my photo album this week, I noticed that I didn’t share any images of me sitting at a laptop working, even though that is how I have spent the better part of my adult life. Nearly all the images that came to mind are of people/relationships. This shows me what is most important. The fact that I have a very independent job where I’m working solo most of the time means that big swaths of my time/life are not represented by the photo album, and I wonder if this time could have been better used? I think God wants to change my focus a bit to focus more on people and less on work. Even though the work I do is good for the world, my photo album shows what is most important, and it is people. - Kim in Maryland

Week 2: I think this exercise helped to integrate my various conceptions of self. For some reason as I picked up more responsibilities over my life, I gradually gave up the idea of myself as a child and was only a mother/adult. I realized through this exercise that I have never stopped being a child and that this was an error. I think God wants to love me as a child. Lots of my “adulting” is just a sense of responsibility or striving to be an adult, and it’s not really authentically who I am. In truth, I am totally dependent on God for everything, and very much a child among children in this world. - Kim in Maryland

Week 3: Through the reflection this week, I am receiving abundant graces. I have often thought of things called Daily Sacramentals. These are everyday things we encounter that remind us of God’s presence. Things like water. Every encounter we have with water – showering, washing our hands, brushing our teeth, cooking, drinking – each time we touch water, we can be mindful of the goodness of the Lord. Or a stoplight. I have often thought of a red light as a mini-Sabbath. It’s a time that is set aside to stop, take time out to see where you are and to be reminded that God is with you. I have a lot of these Daily Sacramentals, and when I’m practicing active awareness, they fill my life with meaning and joy. - Kim in Maryland

Week 4: I look back over what I have written in the past three weeks, and I do see some disorder. First, in the photo album, you can see how my emotions change when I start to have pets or children to take care of. All of a sudden, a major element of my experience is feeling “responsible,” and when I have my first child, I say that the sense of responsibility is “crushing.” This is disordered, I think. Love shouldn’t be crushing. Something happened there, in my mid 20s, that I’ve been living with for 25 years. It’s a sense of having to do things on my own. This may have robbed me of the joy of following God wholeheartedly. As I became an adult, I felt that I had to give up my status as a child, and that included being a child of God. Now that I have realized this disordered way of thinking, I am becoming more comfortable calling God, Abba, and I am trying to be more childlike and trusting in my relationship with the Holy Family. - Kim in Maryland

Week 5: I wonder what is it like for God to watch the people He created destroy each other? He cares about every single soul. Imagine that grief, imagine His patience as he continuously invites, reaches out, and is rejected time and time again. Jesus must be so disappointed, so sad.
Especially when you think about original justice, the original plan God had for humans. It was just so beautiful. And then our selfish pride destroyed it all, and we’ve just been a bundle of vices since then. It seems like at every turn we are subverting God’s plan and inventing our own purposes that are contrary to His. Think about how many of God’s covenants have been broken by man. And yet God keeps coming back, not giving up on us. He is still our Abba and has not disowned us.

On the contrary, God wanted to come down into all this mess and live in poverty and amid danger. He took on the vulnerability of a baby and endured ridicule, torment, and torture. All to give us an out. He built a bridge back to himself so that we have a lifeline. We can grab onto it if we choose to do so, and we can climb out of this mess around us. It is liberation from the corruption of sin and death that we have made of God’s wonderful creation. It is true mercy. - Kim in Maryland

Week 6: The cross is a sign of wondrous love that frees us from our sin. God loves me and has mercy both for who I have been and who I have become. I can ask Him to heal my heart that resists loving other people and resists loving Him. I can ask Him to give me a sense of trust in him as a loving father who will do much better than I could ever do in all areas of my life. This trust will battle the fear, anxiety, worry, and stress that I feel that cause me to hold onto areas of my life. Humility will combat pride and will allow me to surrender myself, even sacrifice myself as Jesus sacrificed himself – didn’t He say to take up his cross and follow Him? We should follow him even to the cross. Finally, understanding of God’s truth and courage to speak up and act in love will combat complacency and inaction.

Letting go of my hardness of heart, disorder, and rebellion fills and warms me with Christ’s love. I seek to open myself to God’s infinite supply of love and let it overflow my heart and spill out to those around me. To do so, I must cry to Abba as a young child, helpless and in deep gratitude for God’s wondrous love for me. I am not worthy of His passion on my own, but Christ’s love makes me worthy. - Kim in Maryland

Week 7: The retreat materials say, “The gifts of my life have been given as a relational experience; God as person contacting me as person. I have objected to the personal contact from God and refused to see these gifts as from God, but simply as objects for my own conversation with myself.” This image of my own conversation with myself is spot-on. I have gladly accepted the gifts God has given me, and then I have run with them, thinking that by devoting every minute of every day to work and self-improvement, I would glorify Him, when in reality, He just wants to work with me through the process. I am committed to stop seeing myself as accountable to the gifts I possess and instead see myself as one who has stewardship over gifts that were freely given but that did not originate from me and do not ultimately belong to me. - Kim in Maryland

Week 8: There is something inside of me that is holy. It is the part of me that is made in the image of God, and it persists even when I am furthest away from being a child of God. I pray that this something grows to take over my entire being, and that as it does, I can experience closeness with God. Sanctification is becoming We, becoming God’s. I certainly need His ongoing mercy as well as many graces to advance in this way. I pray for the will to receive mercy and grace gratefully so that I may ultimately be freed for my continued journey of faith.  - Kim in Maryland

Week 9: It is incredible to think that God wants to go so much further than mercy and that He wants to completely heal us as well. He wants to be with us always and give us wholeness and holiness. By uniting with him and expanding our hearts to accommodate his unbounding love, we know that we no longer need our self-serving independence, and we no longer need to fear. We can trust completely in God. He will always be with us. He will heal my pride and free me from destructive patterns and disordered ways of thinking. He will give me a gift of freedom from my inherent vulnerability to vices, my self-centeredness, my rebellious spirit. He will heal my patterns of being unloving, shutting myself off, and not responding to the needs of others. If I need more trust, humility, and courage, I can ask for them and know that God will pour out his graces, and that I need only cooperate with them to advance in holiness and become more like Him. - Kim in Maryland

Week 10: I need to call to mind the incredible consolations and graces that the Lord has lavished on me, and yet I STILL refused to turn everything over to him. Surely it’s time to start trusting Him. I know He is going to give me a better life than I could possibly imagine for myself. I ask for the grace to overcome any resistance I have to the path to which He is calling me. - Kim in Maryland

Week 11: I would like to say that I am placing no barriers to my full sacrifice of self. In order to do that, I desperately need God’s grace to conform my will to his. I want to be willing to be with Jesus in his poverty and to enter into the same surrender of self that was his. I know how terribly he suffered, and intense pain scares me, but I also know that through that suffering the world was transformed, and that is worth it. I feel the Holy Trinity within my heart, and I want God to expand within my heart and enlarge it so that my self becomes smaller and God’s glory can shine through. - Kim in Maryland

Week 12: This week, we are to imagine the choice of God to redeem our world, even (especially) in the midst of the sin of the world. This choice is just what must be within an environment of pure love. It’s like if one of my kids really messed up – my first instinct would be, “Well, we need to fix that.” Not, “Well, I’m kicking you to the curb.” God saw the disordered thinking that led to the rebellion in the garden and loved us so much that he couldn’t imagine our being cut off from him. So he decided in that moment to do something drastic and demean himself by taking on the form of one of his lowly creatures. And he continues to reach out to us (each one of us, personally), guided by love, so many ways in every single day. - Kim in Maryland

Week 13: In my own family, there aren’t too many stories of my ancestors. I know they came to America a long time ago, probably in the midst of a famine or other reason that caused them to take such a big risk in traveling to a new country. They were rough people who had to work very hard to survive. There were tales of the Pringle brothers who were deserters from the British Army who lived in the trunk of a big tree to escape, and stories about my father’s great aunt who lived with goats in her house. I didn’t come from a very refined stock! The general message was: There’s no guarantee that you’re going to make it. Some in our family don’t. You need to go to school and work hard. Life is tough.

I think about what kind of message was prevalent in Jesus’ time. I think it was more along the lines of: Not everyone is faithful to God although all are called to be. If you are a good Jew and keep the law, he is going to send us a Savior who will deliver our people from the hands of our enemies.
This seems like a healthier context than the one I experienced. Today I pray to unite myself in longing with the Jewish people who submitted themselves to God’s plan for redemption. - Kim in Maryland

Week 14: My takeaways from the imaginative prayer exercises this week: First, from the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, I learn not to assume that we know God’s plans, never to doubt that He can do anything, and that He knows what is best for us so much better than we do. From the story of Mary and Joseph, I learn the most important thing is trust. Everything that God asks of us has its own challenges, but by cooperating with God’s will, we are able to participate in His plan for redemption of the world. - Kim in Maryland

Week 15: This reflection really made me realize just how tentative Jesus’ life was as an infant and toddler. The family was constantly traveling and seeking food and shelter. Certainly Jesus knew poverty, but he also knew great love and the kindness of strangers who didn’t even speak the same language. Mary and Joseph willingly followed God’s plan, even though it was scary. They trusted God to take care of them, and He did.

How much more should I rejoice in the Lord and thank him for the very many gifts in my life that He didn’t even get to enjoy in his own life on Earth – consistent shelter, more food than I can eat, excellent health, steady employment. And how much more do I see my Lord in the plight of the homeless, the hungry, the immigrant, the refugee, and the unemployed. - Kim in Maryland

Week 16: It has been 10 days of the most incredible feeling – of my heart expanding, of the one God within me, of an intense burning desire to win souls for the Lord. I feel like I have a very direct purpose, and that is to do the will of God in the world. I feel so blessed to be experiencing this grace, to so clearly know the Lord is with me, and I’m trying hard to remember it is a gift freely given and not something I should expect or that will be with me for a long time. It is so useful for me though because it is helping me come to an experiential knowledge of God-with-us. - Kim in Maryland

Week 17: There is a spiritual battle being waged over my will. Satan tempts me to feel crushing responsibility for my children, my family, my business, and to hoard resources so that we will be “okay” no matter what life might bring. He distorts my thinking until I believe I have to prove myself to God like I have to prove myself to potential clients. Satan works through fear, feelings of inadequacy, and a sense of personal responsibility to get me to separate myself from God.

Conversely, Jesus gently calls me into a relationship where His love is a given, and the only thing I need to bring is a willing heart and openness. He promises to take care of me and to love my family even more (!) than I do. He promises to make us complete and happy in His love. -Kim in Maryland

Week 18: God, your glory and grandeur are awe-inspiring and humbling. Knowing you helps me to put into perspective the trivialities of this world. Cultivate in me a burning desire to do your will – to do things that really matter -- and free me from anything that can hold me back from knowing, loving, and serving you. Draw me into spiritual union with you. Replace my will with yours, and use me to do your work. - Kim in Maryland

Week 19: I read that we are called to love as God loves us. But we can’t love God the way God loves us, because he always loved us first. In order to love as God loves us, we must love our neighbor, people who may not reciprocate our love. This is powerful to me and a really good reason to serve my fellow man. - Kim in Maryland

Week 20: In the desert, Jesus is fasting from food, but he is also fasting from all his worldly attachments – his mother, his small town, his work, his friends, really everything he knows. This fast is almost more difficult than going without food. He often thinks of his mother and a temptation arises – to rush back to her and give up this ordeal. But Jesus knows that his role as Son of God is what he is called to now. He has had 30 years as Son of Mary. And God isn’t asking him to give up his love for his mother. He’s asking Jesus to expand that perfect love that was cultivated in the Holy House to the entire human race. We do see later in the scriptures (Matthew 12: 46-50) that this detachment was successful when Jesus says, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers? Whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”

This is an area where I gravely struggle. Love of family looks so holy, but if I put it above God, it is disordered. I need this kind of detachment so that I see a familial relationship with each person I meet, not just my parents, sister, husband, and children. - Kim in Maryland

Week 21: In my prayers, I went to the kitchen of the Holy House to talk with Mother Mary and Father Joseph. I cried in Mother Mary’s arms, explaining to her that I love Jesus and want to drop everything and run to Him but that I feel like I can’t because of work. She listened and comforted me, told me that Jesus loves me so much, and that he loved me even before I loved him and that he won’t stop loving me. She also said that she wanted to follow Jesus into his ministry, but instead she loved him from her home because that is where she belonged. My vocation is married life, so I belong with my family as well. Mary explained though – just because your place is in the home doesn’t mean that your soul can’t run after the Lord. And Joseph said, yes, that is true, even when you are working. Let your soul go to God. - Kim in Maryland

Week 22: One insight I had from this week is that I am the poor. Jesus sees me as (and I indeed am) a captive who needs to be set free of my limitations, my unfreedoms, my selfishness, and my seeking of the easy way out. And he calls me to serve the poor, who are others like myself. Jesus offers me himself and his friendship as I join with him and live a life of serving these poor. I thank Him for revealing to me my poor and humble spirit, my liberation from the ways of death, and my place in His creation. - Kim in Maryland

Week 23: I really needed this week. I feel like I was starting down a road of being critical of my family members in an effort to show courage and speak truth, but this week’s focus on Jesus the Healer really made me focus on love and healing. St. Catherine says to speak about virtues, to lift up, to share one’s own struggles, but not to correct, criticize, or condemn. Jesus’ love is a love that heals. The more complete the love, the more profound is the healing. He is not afraid to touch and touch deeply because His heart is full of compassion. Through this type of love, Jesus suffers with the one he loves and enters into the depths of — even the roots of — that person’s pain. I love the thought that Jesus can love the whole person into wellness, precisely because he loves the whole person in brokenness. It’s this deep acceptance of the whole person, sins and all, that wipes them free of those sins and heals them. - Kim in Maryland

Week 24: Holy Father, Abba, please send me the graces of courage, wisdom, and understanding, so that I make speak your truth in a non-judgmental and fearless way. Help me to clearly see the forces at work that are offensive to you and to be able to speak up for those who need help. I want the courage to stay by your side in all of this; to work like you, for justice; and to bring your burning love to all people. - Kim in Maryland

Week 25: Truly, Jesus satisfies our every thirst, even those thirsts we didn’t know we had. It feels like as soon as I recognize an area of deficit in my life, Jesus already has the remedy waiting for me, and he has already been waiting with it for a long time! He was just waiting for ME to realize I was thirsty! I wish I could see all the barriers I have up to keep Him away so I could knock them all down. I pray for the knowledge of the Holy Spirit to see things as they truly are. For Christ truly is the one I have thirsted for all my life – I have so much thirst and longing inside of me, and it’s all for Him. In many ways, I shut God out of portions of my life for so many years. So, to the invitation into living water and eternal life, I make an emphatic YES. - Kim in Maryland

Week 26: As the blind men come to see, Jesus offers us all a vision of a better future. For the disciples, it was blurred by their desire for the glory that they anticipated in Jerusalem. They had other plans, and those plans involved grandeur and power. This is why it is such a struggle for them to let go of self-absorption and become servants. As Jesus’ followers, we must say “yes” to the poverty and powerlessness he is welcoming. He is journeying into vulnerability to rejection, even humiliation, and he asks us to accompany him. - Kim in Maryland

Week 27: The experience of the Last Supper is beautiful but painful. I feel such a sadness in Jesus, but also a determination to get across his main message to the disciples who still, after all that time, lapse into arguing about who is the best among them. It is also a solemn covenant from God, a new covenant that promises us everlasting life through His son. The meal both nourishes us for our mission and gives us the example of servant love that marks our identity. - Kim in Maryland

Week 28: When Mary and Jesus meet on the road to Calvary and when Veronica wipes Jesus’ face, these are very painful, intense moments. I feel so sad that Jesus had to undergo such horrible torture and such an inhumane death. He certainly has a profound obedience to God, surrender of self, and love for us.

It also shows that Jesus is able to empathize with us in our own suffering and struggles. Even just thinking about Jesus being betrayed with a kiss from one of his close friends and then most of his other followers just running away… He certainly knew the feeling of being alone and abandoned. I like to think I would have been with the women and children from Jerusalem who came to meet him along his walk toward Golgotha, but I don’t know if I would have because I typically avoid any violence (even violent movies). But I think also about how abandoned Jesus must still feel even today, with so many people turning their backs on him. This is an ongoing tragedy, and I wish to be with Him, loving him and ensuring him that he is not alone. Can I be Veronica for him today? - Kim in Maryland

Week 29: This week was so sad, but very beautiful. I finally got to pay back the favor and was able to wash Jesus’ feet like he washed mine. Jesus has seen depths of evil that we will never know. No matter how hard it is to be honest about ourselves with Christ, we can be assured that he is already whispering words of love and forgiveness even before our confessions come out of our mouths. At the turning of our hearts toward Him, the mercy starts flowing. We just need to be humble enough to receive in gratitude. - Kim in Maryland

Week 30: I put myself in Mary Magdalene’s place as she met the gardener who asked her with such kind eyes why she was crying. And then Jesus said my name: Kim, and I knew him at once and ran to him, hugging his very real body. When he told me he had been raised, the magnificence of what had happened came over me and I dropped to my knees before Him, holding on to his feet so he couldn’t go away again. But he asked me not to cling to him and instead to go tell the other disciples what had happened. We are called to be witnesses to His risen life. The retreat materials remind us that “always intimacy moves to fruitfulness.” Jesus did not return to gather his disciples and take them all to Heaven with Him, but he invites us to remain in the world (but not of the world), being a blessing and doing His will. - Kim in Maryland

Week 31: Jesus is breaking through my locked doors by infusing my soul with humility and trust. He is transforming my work to be work with Him, for the winning of souls to His kingdom. He knows the patterns of sin that I face and is slowly working to strengthen my soul against them, and I ask each day for the will to cooperate with the graces he sends. Someday I hope to be able to embrace the pattern of self-giving and sacrifice that our Lord represents. - Kim in Maryland

Week 32: John exclaims, “It is my Lord.” At that, Peter puts his shirt back on and jumps overboard to swim to shore. There is absolutely nothing that would keep him from running to Jesus. He arrives on the shore before the others dock the boat, gives Jesus a big hug, and sits down by the fire. Before the other disciples come over, Jesus asks him some questions. As I imagined it, though, he was asking me the questions. “Kim, do you love me more than this?” He holds up my laptop and makes a motion representing my work. “Yes, Lord, I definitely do.” “Feed my lambs. Kim, do you love me more than these?” He gestures to my children and family coming in on the boat. “Yes, Lord, you gave them to me as gifts, and I love you more than anything for it.” “Feed my sheep. Kim, do you love me more than yourself?” “Yes, I truly do, although it is hard sometimes.” “Follow me.” I will do whatever it takes to accompany him on his mission. - Kim in Maryland

Week 33: As God created the entire world and me in it, I ask Him to continue creating and recreating me. Through this retreat, I have come to know myself as a child of God. But the retreat materials tell us that the “child of God” is a mature human who knows what things are, where they have come from, and where we are going. All things that come from God return to God, including me. And that is my one desire, to return to God wholly. - Kim in Maryland

Week 34: Help me, gentle Jesus, in my life as I try to live a life of self-giving, with you at the center. Help me to feel you with me at all times, in all that I do and in everyone I see. Give me the patience and insight to recognize you in the people who make demands on me, the people I don’t understand, the people who seem to want to take your peace from me. Let me see your eyes looking back at me when I speak to them. Please help me in my struggle to be free from anything that keeps me from loving and serving you. All I want in my life is to love you. - Kim in Maryland

Week 1.  Isaiah 43: 1 “I have called you by your name you are mine.”  But for ages I did not have a name as my parents could not decide.  I  felt God reply ‘not one your parents gave you, but from the moment of your birth I knew your name.  I whispered in your ear “Do not be afraid Patricia, I have risen, I, the Christ, hold you.”

Week 34: Again, post holiday!
A different perspective to the anticipated one, now me getting out of the way and allowing  the Lord to speak and take the lead and teach me how to be. Always at the back of me is my will and not His in how to proceed and be brought back to centre, to where my desire to love, as He loves me, teaching me the Way to follow Him unreservedly.
As I am conscious of sin and bring this estate in prayer to the Lord, the Holy Spirit is manifest in my heart and soul helping me to understand the human condition. This is a leveller ….I am loved, consciously so, overriding completely the temptation to be unworthy of that love which conquers all.
Also the grace to be aware of the reality of being still in the Presence of the Lord because He, the Holy One, is beside me, just as if He truly is in my body, my mind, my Spirit. Thank you Lord for teaching me every day.

Week 34: Off my head with stress and worry. The day, yesterday, unraveled. Ps 91 and incrementally my troubled heart mind and soul was brought back into the fold, led by revelation after revelation and the road ahead was made straight even more than before and NOT by me but by Him who says today ‘do not let your hearts be troubled’.
The sacrament of marriage pours out it’s grace like a waterfall washing away at every turn the muddied muddled thoughts so that the river of life is made clear and bright, the sun glistening on its waters, the grasses on its banks reflecting the light sparkling like diamonds.
Yes, we are going away today to sail to Barcelona and take a train up to Monserrat above Manresa up and away, confident that all will be well and all will be well and all manner of things will be well!
Praise be to Him, this speck of dust upon the ground of God’s created Love!

Week 33: Is this the final, I hope, attempt at the evil one, to upset my belief, my calling?
I am going away on holiday, with my husband of 62 years. Unwell and fragile, suddenly I am brought back to the beginning of our relationship when, on meeting with his family I was told… the beginning was Pruddah.(. their family name…) .NOT from the prologue to St. John’s Gospel…i.e. ‘in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’.
At the time, this was an affront to my newly found conversion to Catholicism. Not that this was in order to marry, far from it. My ‘to be’ husband was very much a non practising Catholic, his father who had had him baptised, was killed in the war, when the child was six. Married again, the mother ever anti the Church, had married another catholic who had seen to it that her child was sent to a catholic school which had had little or no effect on him being indoctrinated in the Faith. Stupidly, ego driven me has sought to share my so called new found Faith with him over the years.
Have I succeeded? I doubt it. We bring with us our background. My father’s mother taught me the Our Father, kneeling at her feet as a child after she had bathed me and set me before her, warmed by the fire in my nightgown. I was staying with her and still feel the cosiness of her warm bed and the scent of newly laundered sheets.
My beginnings.
I have felt during my retreat to be called to serve others, their suffering and their pain. Does this include my husband in his ignorance as a child. His mother was very anti catholic and would abhor my practice and faith in the Church, making her feelings known against me in this respect.
A crisis at the end? Pat

Week 32: This poor man (woman) called and the Lord heard him (her).
Rescued, this now more reflective, ego driven sinner, who is loved by God.
Am I to return to my old ways of living prior to the retreat as before?
My call is answered….my Lord is with me, blessed is the name of the Lord…who in whom I believe and in whom I try to put all my trust and hope.
Prayers of asking how to serve Him as the retreat has progressed, are now clearly shown as to how to unravel and  untie the knots of my daily life’s confusions in order to bring about life changing daily habits. The Grace of the Lord’s ‘Way’ is opened up and revealed …the eyes and mind and heart are given a clearing in the wilderness of my own self directing; it is the Lord who speaks! All obstacles are removed allowing a simple daily life as to how to follow Him, in answers my appeal and helps me to listen to His call when He asks ’what can I do for you!’. This contrite repentant sinner asks to seek His Will in the stead of my wilful will.  This I seek for all of us too, that is of any ‘religious’ persuasion or none!

God bless everyone …keep us close to the Lord whom we have been taught to love, adore and serve in our retreat. Our gratitude expressed in the psalm….what can I do in return to the Lord for all the wondrous gifts I have been given? I will call upon the name of the Lord for a graciously received answer. Pat

Week 10: Something I have found very helpful that may be valuable to others. I am more of an auditory person, so while the pictures each week are nice, they do not move me as much as they have moved others.

However, in Week 1, I heard a song from my past that matched that week perfectly. So each week I have had a song that I think best matches what I am feeling or what the Lord is singing to me. Instead of the weekly image, I listen to that song before or after the readings and reflections each day.

I try not to overthink picking a perfect song each week. I assume it will come. Sometimes it is the same song for 2 weeks. Sometimes there is no song. But this is adding such a richness to my journey and keeping me enveloped in the arms of God's love, I figured it could be valuable to others that 'hear' more than 'see'.

Now in Week 10, the song brings consoling tears each day. 'See how I am with you, in a unique and special way. Please Be with Me'.

I have enjoyed this retreat immensely as I do with all the Retreats that I have listened to through your web site.  I pray all of you who are responsible for this content.  It has and continues to enrich my life.   Thank you.

Week 32: Reading my last sharing am being nudged by the Holy Spirit to let go of my independent way of proceeding. The conversion of the Ethiopian eunoch applies. He has the humility to seek revelation by inviting Philip to explain the meaning of the passage he is reading from Isaiah.
I am brought down to see more clearly the necessity to join in with the crowd surrounding me rather than to slip away. It doesn’t prevent me from having my quiet moments of prayer for all, it allows me to return to the crowd which surrounds me and listen to what they have to say and discern.  No man, or woman either is an island! Get in there girl and be present. Pat

Week 31: Today’s readings relates to Catherine of Sienna and the Gospel speaks of letting go of trying to use the intellect in our struggle to interpret and understand. Our kindly loving Lord speaks to us ……..don’t struggle, become as little children; our burdens are light they are made to fit, just like those of the oxen, whose harness was made to fit especially for each one. This makes life comfy in order to undertake our daily tasks willingly and in accord! What is this? To see Him more clearly,  follow Him more nearly and love Him more dearly;  that is in imitation of Him, leaving behind all the noisy clamour of the crowds and the wrangling that goes on; the questioning, poking our noses in and trying to control! The Church is not a political venue! We must, like Him, slip through the crowds to a quiet place to pray! A mountain top! Which we are persevering in climbing every day! Just to be alone to offer ourselves for His mission to serve Him and to love one another as best we can.
God bless us all in our retreat with the Way of Ignatius and His gift of the Spiritual Exercises, given to Him by our loving most gracious Lord. Pat

Week 31: Being in the tomb too, but the Lord is risen! Alleluia! Experiencing darkness and discomfort in daily life. Getting down in the dumps. Overnight deeply troubled and in a muddle. Praying is continuous when awake, but with no sense of relief. Our Lady comes, she whom I tended and washed clean after she gave birth to Our Blessed Lord the babe incarnate! She enables me to ask Her tender, loving self to bring me out of my egotistical self! Praying the Angelus is the constant resort. The conceiving, willingly being it done unto Her (me accepting my feelings of despair and discomfort )and finally Your Word being made flesh and dwelling amongst us! I go back to sleep, go to Mass next day and receive in Holy Communion, Your bread, broken by You and given to us.
Gratitude, that great Grace, delivers us out of evil. The sun rises in my heart as the day dawns bringing with it life. Later in the week….
Today is Sunday. A different Mass, a different place. A little Church. Placed along a straight road the distant mountains seen with a gap…..known as the Breaking of the Dawn! My dawn. my road is no longer crooked. The little chapel has its own Divine fragrance, filled with people I have known over years gone by are there to love and embrace and the priest presides who is so faithful to his calling.
I am back home my prayers marked with knowledge of abusers of Christ’s little ones, suffering unto death, now safe, secure and comforted in the arms of the Lord. Even the crucifix over the beautifully dressed  altar for Easter, is shown with His arms outstretched and so, joy cometh at last as He is risen from the dead and He is Lord! Pat

Week 30 - Holy week is over, Christ’s dead body is no longer there. what does that truly mean……?..

We give You thanks for being with us in sickness and in health like our marriage vows. The week passed, resting after minor surgery so not able to attend church services. However, on line (good old Creightons’ ministrations!) made it possible to join in as it were.

  Peace came and was brought about by the quiet of being alone. The Grace of partaking in Your Passion in this way led to appealing in prayer to the words of the suspice to alleviate the struggle of trying to understand the magnitude of Your Passion. Intermittently reading a book about climbing a mountain, the north face of the Eiger intimated our own struggle to understand what it means to all of us; thus…..

 If we die with Christ, we will live with Him, if we live with Him, we will one day reign with Him seemed to be the procedure . It was summed up in a song, given and lost to my memory which Came back and which I sang in my head … follows:-

‘As the deer pants for the water
So my soul longs after You
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship You

You alone are my strength and shield
To You alone may my spirit Yield

I love you more than gold and silver
Only You will satisfy

You alone are my strength and shield
And I long to worship You

You’re my friend and You are my brother
Even though You are a King
I love You more than any other
More than anything!’

Happy Easter as they say……..trying to love one another as you love us so much!

Week 30 - The confusion of the Risen Christ, exemplified by Our Lady’s sorrow and grieving and that of Mary the Magdala, finding the stone of the tomb where He was laid rolled away, leaving her dismayed and fearing. Back in the Garden there’s a man. She thinks he is the gardener. I am standing apart, looking on at the scene. Three women are conversing with this man. He looks over their heads at me, directly with His eyes. He beckons…come and join us as I stand apart. Further, he calls me by my name. Slowly almost reluctantly I move to join with the group. Who is this man? I seem to know Him. As I draw near my eyes, blinded by the morning sun, clear as I walk under the shade of the trees in the garden. My mind, in its confused state clears too. This man is coming to life in my mind. He is the same Lord Jesus in the garden with whom I lay beside,  trying to comfort Him, He our teacher and our friend,  who took my little hand into His, as He knew and accepted the Will of His Father in what He was about to face.

We’ve lived with His appalling suffering in His Passion and now where has He gone from His dead body laid in the tomb? Now, I am searching for It to anoint it with spices and there is a man standing in the garden and beckoning to me, calling me by my name to come and join the others. His eyes tell it all. He’s not the gardener. He’s something different. Slowly my senses recognise the shape of Jesus my Lord and my God. I rush now towards Him to hold Him in my arms……He is transparent….I can’t grasp Him! He asks me to let Him go. Nole me tangere! He says to go and tell the others that He is risen from His dead body in the tomb where it was laid. I turn to the others by His Side. Mary His Mother is full of joy and happiness as She smiles at me and tells me to go and do His bidding. I leap away with a joy and happiness at my experience. I don’t understand what’s going on but there I am in His service again. He’s not left us after all, His Truth is before us in His telling that ‘ I am with you all always ‘! Back to believing, back to placing all my trust as before …giving me His strength and shield, to yield to His Holy Spirit leaving me with my heart’s desire to long to worship Him in the Love my Father,  our Father, in Heaven gives us and one another! Pat

Week 30 - Good Friday speaks to me in many ways,  the Gospel,  the Stations of the Cross. I am reminded of how You, Lord, took it upon Your own Good Self to bear the sufferings of the abused, physically and mentally. Instead of hiding in secrecy, watching a movie, Goodnight Mr Tom, it relates to me and my childhood. Now, through Grace, praying to My Mother, Mary, it frees me up from reacting, freeing me up from doubt and fear enabling me to forgive my mother, the perpetrator of abuse to me, unwanted child that I was to her. All these memories, brought now through my retreat, into the Light of Christ, enable me to forgive her because, in understanding her, I realise she bore her own troubles to the extent she couldn’t properly embrace motherhood. However, I was never abandoned by my Creator and there was always something and someone to stand by me, forgive me my sins and bring me to give thanks for these. And now, today, helping me along the way, to try to the utmost of my being, to thank the Good Shepherd in His own pain and suffering to die for us, further enabling us to recognise the pain and suffering of others and to pray for these, by bringing them to the Lord our God. Pat

Week 26 - Stripped of everything, leading to a sense of nothingness, leads on to having everything!

The great change of heart comes about. Thank you Lord.

Ashamed and full of guilt at presuming I could be with You in the garden by Your side. Pondering over this and feeling very uncomfortable throughout the night, praying the Our Father at every turn…….Joy comes in the morning. I change my position of  MY wanting to wanting what You want from me. The desire, the motivation changes. Conscious in reading the liturgical readings today the sudden awareness, the unexpected gift; healing the disturbance and shame of having the temerity, sinner that I am, to lie beside You in the Garden, as You struggle to accept what You will suffer as Your Passion approaches. I need not have been concerned at the desire to be with You, stay with You, pray with You, be with You, particularly as I take in Your love with every breath I make………all of a sudden I feel You take my cold little hand in Yours and warm it in Your own. How could my heart not melt and change to be more loving and and forgiving of those with whom I have borne resentment? Pat

Week 26 - Being brought low through covid is a Grace Amazing Grace!

 Seeing sin, acknowledging sin, is not beating oneself up but recognising the Love  freely given by Grace. The response is not working out the struggle, the whys the wherefores, but leaving the intellect behind to pray the Our Father, Our Father.
Need to get the message of the Gospel.
In good company with the disciples who struggled to understand as Jesus foretells His destiny as they travel the way to Jerusalem.
Fundamental issues. Healed by His Water His food, giving life, seeing the Light in the darkness, being rescued from dying death, lying in the pasture with the flock.
What of it? The fact remains. I see, but not clearly, love, but not dearly, follow, not nearly each day. Why then, why do I struggle? Because it is explained to me in my weakness and frailty that whilst I may see with my eyes I do not see with my heart.
 My self is all on the outside and is not my true,  unknown yet to me, inner self. I know  not who I am.
‘Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, then shall the lame leap as an hart and the mute tongue shout with joy! Isaiah 35:5

Lo He comes, ever there, with a request ‘watch with Me, stay with Me, be by my side with Me,  as  He falls to the ground in His pain and suffering, begging His Father and yours, to take this from Him.
I lie by His side in the garden, my imagination feels the cold, damp ground, His body is warm, the night is dark, the others fallen asleep. He has woken me up from my slumbering sinful self. My hardness of heart, following rejection and the suffering it brings,  is transformed and softened with a beating of compassion for those who disappoint Him by not comprehending.

I’ve read others’ contributions by their sharing of week 26 and am grateful for what they have to say, incorporating and including me makes me welcome to join in and share too!
 The blessings of Our Father are made and come to all of us together. Thank you Lord and for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
 With my love

Week 25 - Wavering Faith, recovering from the effects of covid. The water You will give me to drink is more than the water we drink which leaves us thirsty for more; Your water gives life everlasting. You are upset because of my wanton dying and lying dead in the field.  No will to live. Dead in my illness, lying in the dark, unwilling to recover. Like a sheep in the field, dead to the world surrounding me. My eyes closed to all its beauty and the flock about me. Then You come, You Yourself, You raise me up, you bathe my eyes, I see once more, the Light returns. I follow You Home where I truly belong through Your healing when I was blind and didn’t see in the darkness and despair of living, losing sight of You; then, You Yourself, coming, ever coming, to rescue me who had given up. Pat  
With thanks for all who care for me with my undeserved love!

Week 24 - Message, loud and clear It’s be confrontational …….especially of counter cultural behaviours!………coupled  with how laughable, how ludicrous , sometimes even in our so called faith-filled cultural behaviours!……so, … order to follow our Leader! Who is our Leader?

 (The dynamic, the corrupted unrepentant self righteous ones, the proud, self assured etc v the sinner, conscious that he is,  despite his sin, the beloved of God, portrayed so succinctly by the distinction made by our beloved Pope Francis).

Christ the Justice seeker, the Comforter who brings comfort to the poor the sick and the suffering. Moreover the Forgiver, when we fail to put our Trust entirely with the Father, rescued always, repentant, by that everlasting Holy Spirit, rounding us up, leading us Home back to the Father, enfolding us in the loving care He brings when we are lost, or fallen, or sick.

 Experience this week of the virus! Covid! Nasty! Endless coughing! Sneezing! Yet ‘what marvels He has done’….amidst all there was a gift of Hope, a momentary glimpse of loving affection came of the knowledge that ‘I am with you always ‘, such consolation after desolations endured! Feeling better!

Love to all and keep you safe! Pat

Week 23 - Healing ..Christ’s healings apply to us as well as to those shown in the Gospels…. All tied up now , as it is Lent in my time of the Retreat……a time of Thanksgiving for healing needed to enable freedom from preoccupation with self to go out to others, the near and the far. Freedom to align with the Christ of the Cross, bearing our sins and dying for us …there’s a joy in Lent by this enjoinment because we bear our trials , ours as nothing in comparison, for the Love of Him given in every breath we take in….breathing out is giving that Love to others, especially those in need and carrying heavy burdens, weighing them down with sorrow.

A bit of a leap forward from giving thanks for the journey so far! All my sharings as I move on from weeks 21, 21a and into week 22 go deeper! The reality of my contemplation of the Loving Shepherd of our Sheep. To explain. The Sheepdog who rounds up the herd is for me, the Holy Spirit, the Lord Jesus is the one who carries us, in His Arms into the Fold, one by one, including the little newborn lambs. The Father, our Father, owns the sheep the flock, entire and the land upon which they graze. However, as I journey myself in this Wonderland, left behind amongst the rocks and crevices, there is one, me, an old ewe, separated from the flock, left there dying for want of feeding and nurturing. The Father does not neglect her and leaves the flock now gathered in the fold, comfortable, well fed and safe. He goes out and fetches her in to His Home where there is a warm fire and milk for her to drink from His Hand. She, in her gratitude licks the Hand that feeds her. She is full of gratitude for His love for her throughout the days of her life, acknowledging her weaknesses, her frailty now, recalling the nurturing she has given to others, despite and also amongst her sinfulness, even now, as she has been abandoned by the flock and left alone to die, separated from them, who are still alive and kicking! As in her feeble frame, she licks the hand of the Father, weak and trembling in gratitude for His rescuing and bringing her Home, to His Home, where there are others who He has brought to live with Him, whom she has known in the flock in earlier days and with whom, when she dies of old age, she will join with and live for ever. In the revelation of this knowledge, she falls asleep in the Peace, Love and Mercy shown her in her distress of being abandoned, alone on the mountain where the sheep safely graze! Pat

Week 21: Awareness that the Holy Spirit, the Shepherd of all of us, His sheep, living in the pastures where we move and have our being, amidst the turmoil, distractions and all that besets us and surrounds us in our outward, ongoing lives, which can disturb our equilibrium. Lo!  He comes and rounds us up! Having done so, He gathers us in, all of us together, the sheep which belong to Him, enfolding us in His arms, bringing us Home, like little  lambs, saved from the ‘storms’ which surround us! Pat

Week 21: A Light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not comprehend it……….but the Light overcomes it.
It surely does when, through our pleading in the darkness of our acknowledgment of sin, past and present; what is to come by the gift of our becoming? We persevere, not we but our Lord who pleads for us in Love in every moment, the present moment especially, as we cry out, wholeheartedly for His forgiveness.

Ignatius goes to Monserrat on his journey, following his lead, I go too! Our lady of Monserrat answers my plea to be reconciled on my journey………..Put every shade of darkness behind you and follow Him! He who is the Way, the Truth and the Light of Life itself.  Every day, every moment of every day, is a new beginning of our being, by being brought Home. ……………….Pat

Week 20 Repetition: Divine Grace‘s response, in questioning who I am, amidst my temptations and in  acknowledging the feeling that I am living in a desert. Is this a desert of my own  imagination I ask. Ask who ? The gracious, loving living Lord invites, ask Me!

This manifestation invokes me to ask another, one in the process of canonisation, to intercede for me and the response is immediate and specific;  I am to be  ‘brought home’ where is home I ponder? ………My home, surprisingly is me, my selfish absorbed self,  enabling me now, in freedom, to go out to others the ‘outsiders’ and feed them with the Love, they crave.

Man does not live alone but on every Word that comes from the mouth of God!

Help me Lord to show You my thankful gratitude for being with us all, always, Lord, at every turn and twist of the road ahead . Pat

Week 20: The Word of God leads our every day existence, Christ is our corner stone, hastening, healing and bearing our trials for the love of Him who comes to save us ….the Anima Christi, oft repeated, is our cry amidst confusion, doubts and the fears which beset us. In the misery of our darkness, Our Father in Heaven (which lies about us) affirms us that having in prayer to Him followed His invitation to leave our ‘home’ , that is our selfish self, and go out beyond even ‘church‘ going, to seek out and offer love and comfort to our outsiders, the marginalised, the lonely, the sufferers in mind, body and spirit, deprived from the fount of all living, the Eucharist, the essence of our Masses. Who shall I send asks the Lord? ………send unworthy me says I……how can I fulfil this exalted role, little me, unknown, by myself, except by my loving Lord who comes, as I reach out to touch His healing Love contained in the little tassels of his encompassing robe. Thanks for sharing with me, all of you, my friends, as I live in this desert of my imagined self. Pat

Week 19: I seem to be questioning what and who I truly am in this world of chaos. The realisation of an inner Presence, other than self, amidst my ‘terrors’ leads me to admit I am troubled and fearsome! There’s One, within whom I live and move and truly have my being, who waits,  patiently in love, beside me, in my searching heart. Is this a new beginning, leading me now in this feeing of the ‘desert’ in my life,  guiding me to once again place ALL my trust, as I did, wholeheartedly, when our son was so afflicted?
Tested today by seeming trials, the answer is partly confirmed by my son’s release, now  healed from addictions, by him reminding me that it was by my advocacy towards him, expressed in my Faith and practices, in which his healing was aided. This comes as an answer to my relationship with God in prayer, set apart from just attending ‘Church’ services, showing me the way to follow our Lord, faithfully and truly, amidst the desert in which  I feel I live and move and have my being; it is my true ‘home’…!!Hurrah! Hurrah! On with the retreat in this new found freedom! Yipee!

Week 19: Our Lord Jesus Christ leaves home and goes to the river Jordan and is baptised by a rather surprised John the Baptist. At the commencement of Jesus’ mission, he calls us in our certain knowledge that we are miserable, unworthy sinners and somewhat outcasts, to fulfil us in our missions various.
Leaving home for me means leaving ‘self’ and the absorption with self. The call is made clear. By His loving Mercy we are healed, the demons are many and diverse , our mean and selfish worlds are turned upside down. Leaving yesterday numerous organised religious activities behind, I seemed called to go out to those not in attendance , those on the fringe of our churches and visit them in their homes where they live on the margins, suffering, even some, from life threatening sicknesses of body; confused and lonely and in need of comfort, support, love and help. The strength and courage was a given by the Lord to go out in answer to His call also, bringing new life and Hope into me. Prayer for all. Pat

As Week 4 began, I recalled how my faith has been so deeply aided by a range of God's people who have touched my life. All of them are saints but probably none will never be canonised by the Church. I think of so many who have been used by God to touch me on my journey. Most are just like me, trying their best to be loyal to their family who share their journey. But I am particularly grateful for those in my life who have responded to God’s invitation to follow more closely in religious life (especially our son). I am inspired by all priests and religious and see them as a real blessing and a strong conduit of God’s grace to me. But it goes without saying that the Incarnation of Jesus and His Death and Resurrection – all on our behalf - is my greatest faith inspiration. But there are some others who help too.
Mary, the Mother of Jesus is first among all the saints and is always in my life. Her humble beginnings hardly prepared her for the life she faced. But she showed us so much to imitate, and in particular, her spontaneous acceptance of God’s call. She had to deal with prejudice and much confusion at the beginning, and then much sorrow later on. Mary is often my “go to” in prayer and has always helped me to be grounded. Her obedience to search for and follow God’s Will, and her unfailing trust that God will always be with her, helps me enormously in my own life’s highs and lows. Best of all Mary always leads me to Jesus.
St Francis Xavier is my St Francis. He was such a strong ally of Ignatius of Loyola. And when Ignatius asked him to make the treacherous journey to the other side of the world, they both knew they would never see each other again. Francis arrived in Goa after a voyage that took a huge toll on him, and then worked tirelessly in his missionary work in Ceylon, Malacca, Japan and (nearly) to China, where he died on an offshore island aged 46. I am inspired and humbled whenever I think of Francis Xavier in bringing the Good News to Asia amid such difficulty. Here is a man among men, a one in a million. No wonder that at one stage we claimed him as a patron saint in Australia.
St Marcellin Champagnat also holds a very special place for me. It was Marcellin who led my own son to follow his footsteps to be a Marist Brother - to educate and aid the spiritual development of young people. The Marists were my educators too and I have been a Marcellin fan all my life. Marcellin imitates Mary’s ways and like her asks his men for quiet obedience to Jesus as they offer “All to Jesus through Mary” and “All to Mary for Jesus”.
But I must never forget St Therese of Lisieux. She lived only 24 years but was a great intercessor for me at a difficult time of poor health. At that time, I sought prayer help from the Carmelite Sisters here in Brisbane, who brought me to know Therese better. Her simplicity of expression and absolute confidence in God is remarkable.
Closer at hand I have my precious spouse who teaches me so much every day about kindness and compassion. She typifies the message of the Second Joyful Mystery, The Visitation, which places such great emphasis on the caring attitude of one human being towards another. She not only shows that caring attitude strongly to those close to her but with everyone she meets. Thank you, Lord, for your great gift of the perfect partner in life.
Of the others who have given me a leg up in faith is a dear friend whose own strong faith has shown itself over many decades in our friendship. But he was just recently born into eternal life. What a friend he has been to me!
I understand at my deepest core what real goodness is because it is there that I experience my weak and fragile heart being nourished by the bountiful love of Jesus, especially present there in the Eucharist. In spite of the advances of the evil one who can move me out of balance somewhere and my harmony is not right, I hope and trust in God and pray that I can take corrective action. My inspired past and my inspiring present leads me to new paths towards an even more exciting and inspired future. God never stops inviting me to reach new places in my faith journey. What I need to learn is how to step out of the way and let God take me there.
Lord, thank you for the reminder that I am never alone in my life’s journey of faith. There are so many reference points in the many people You have given me to share life with. And whenever the evil one attempts to draw me away from You, help me to use every help in prayer to rediscover a course adjustment. Help me to recognise that through my difficulties my faith is purified in Your name. Amen

Sharing week 18 repetitions: There is so much power in the Word of God to move mountains and also to make the tiniest of seeds, placed in the ground, to sprout and grow. This immense knowledge is imparted to us, vulnerable little children, in order to lead us to confess all our weaknesses, empowering us, in Truth, to bring us the knowledge of our own faults, manifest in sin. When we are thus enlightened, it seems this exposure to our darkness , reveals the cause ; in our grievances and  complaints against others’ behaviours, are we not using these to cloak and hide our own sinfulness by using them as scapegoats? Wow what mercy and grace from Our Lord and our God,  is imparted, combined with the loving, constant embrace of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, poured out upon us all, always!  Amen!  Thanks and gratitude be to our Father, in heaven. Pat

Week 18: Ah, ha! struggling to understand and avoid pain and suffering paramount in relationships. Heavily burdened by circumstance, in relation to my vulnerable alcoholic son’s invitation by the parish priest to share, by way of a talk to parishioners, his rich contemplative prayer life. Invitation rescinded after priest’s consultation with a named parishioner. Who is running the parish! A matter for comment to synodal invitation. However, son is right just to let go of the matter.  I am wrong in getting involved in recriminations. What is the depth of this wrong? Not to bear our trials for the Love of Christ who bore our sins for us and went to the length of dying for us. So, get on with it, take up our crosses, mild in comparison. Accept suffering , especially on the part of others as did Mother Theresa. The struggle is not alone, the Word of God shows us the strength and courage to forebear ..what is this Life of Christ? He gives us the Grace to proceed in His name and sure thing, give up our introspection, made aware by preoccupation with self on the one hand and our position of not being disturbed from our comfort zone on the other.Go out and about then in the name of the Lord and try not to do my will but His! Always aware of the needs of others, especially in the state of our world’s poverty and injustices, the starving and the homeless and our refugees. We continue to pray for them all and each other, as before, that they may be given all their needs both spiritual and temporal . Pat

Week 3: Hello to all here who are on the journey of this retreat with me and are being blessed by the graces that God offers us - both as individuals and as a combined study group. I am doing this retreat for a second time and am currently at week 3.
I am part of a men's Scripture group here in Brisbane, Australia - we share reflections weekly and now meet online due to COVID restrictions. Responding to a recent nudge from the Holy Spirit I have asked the members of this group to join the retreat program too. I am waiting and praying that at least some of them will do so. Please pray with me for a positive outcome.  

The guide for week 3 resonated strongly with me and especially the understanding of God that Ignatius presents to us: that we can find God in all things and in every part of our every day. That insight is quite revealing and yet it is so very logical. God created all of it, so God must be in all of it. God’s presence knows no bounds - every plant in every forest, every rock in every mountain, every drop of water in the oceans, and in fact every atom or molecule in every object that makes up our universe. And God is in every person too. God is magnificently big. But God is also small – infinitesimally small. We can take a powerful telescope to look at a distant star and awed as we might be, we have seen but a tiny fraction of what it contains. At the other extreme using the best microscope that has ever been invented we can look at a small leaf or an insect at super-magnification, but we are nowhere near its inner core.

God is in all that is good and I believe God is present where evil is too. Of course God is NOT evil, but is available at any time to minister to the evildoer. Even if the evildoer will not listen to God, God is still present. You will know the expression that people use to warn you when what seems simple enough is in fact more complicated. They say: “The devil is in the detail”. I believe they have it 100% wrong. They should be saying: “God is in the detail”. All the people we see around us also exhibit extreme depth and complexity. What we see on the outside is nothing compared to what lives inside them – people we know well and people we don’t know at all. When we look at our own selves, we think at least we know all about who WE are. But there is so much we do not understand even about ourselves - our thought processes, our ideas and most especially our emotions. What we DO know is what we DO NOT know: that several layers below all knowledge of what the human mind can see and understand is only the starting point of the mystery of God. I chuckle sometimes when avowed atheists stand up and argue for science, and believe the answers to everything can, and eventually will be found there. I put one question to them for which they have no answer: what is the number obtained from dividing one by zero, i.e. explain infinity to me. Until that happens I will leave the answer to God. Negative infinity and positive infinity are terms only God can explain and one day God will explain them to us.

Our human minds usually think along one axis (one track minds!), but we are smart enough to define area and volume too, so that makes three dimensional calculations possible. And we do have a concept of time (some better than others) – we can work with elapsed time in seconds, minutes, days, months, years and even centuries. But not so with God: God is not constrained that way. Genesis tells us that the world was created in seven days, but seven “God days” is meaningless to us humans.

But the best (and only) clues we have about God do in fact come to us through the Scriptures - most especially through the life, passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit that Jesus has introduced us to. That is all we really need to concern ourselves with. For the rest, we can simply love the mystery of God and place our trust in God. The Spirit is always fully alive in us through our Baptism, but the degree to which the Spirit is released may depend on us. Our greater openness to the Will of God allows more of the Spirit’s Graces to flow through us and from us to others as we spread the Good News. And as our awareness of God increases perhaps we will better understand that. Although we are so desperately limited in comparison to our Creator, I believe that if we maintain an openness to God, we will at least find a greater respect and real reverence for all that has been created – in the things we see, and in the things we cannot see. We will truly value our created self too and the other members of His Creation in those close to us - in our families, our friends and indeed in all those we meet and are meant to serve in the name of God. And we can then be in awe of the fact that our wondrous God of might, power and minute detail is pouring His abundant love into us on a personal basis at every moment of every day of our life. How stupendous is that?

Almighty Father, Your unlimited and unconditional love for me is beyond my comprehension. But the Scriptures make it clear to me that Jesus lived His short span of human life always emphasising His love for You and Your love for Him. I pray that my blessed mother, Mary, will always lead me to Jesus, so that I might be worthy to live my life modelled on Him and learn to love You, Father, as Jesus does. Amen.

17a - Startling revelation……recognition that because I am a sinner loved by God, I am in need of ‘new wine in new skins’; casting off the old broken damaged skins by trying to put new wine in them. As I let go of the demands of fervent prayer for the healing of my alcoholic son and all that that entailed for us as aged parents, the cracks these have made, have  let in the Light, the Light of Christ, our Redeemer, sent by God to enlighten our lives.
What is revealed is recollection of the old Adam and Eve, hiding in the garden because they are aware of their nakedness (their sin) of which I am aware of in my own self.
This sin contains pride and deceit in the form of treating the Spiritual Exercises as academic, thus distancing self from the true reality of self ….what is this pretence? Again reality and the Truth that I am a sinner loved by God Himself, through His sending His Son to redeem us together with the Graces of the Holy Spirit……..the wind blows where it wills.
Awareness of this tremendous Gift is grace itself for which I give thanks. Thanksgiving itself is for His mercy in the graciousness of forgiveness of our sinfulness and all  our weaknesses.
  Restoration and encouragement to renewing this retreat allows me to give back praise to the Glory of God our Father. Thanks for the intercessions too of our Blessed Mary, the Holy  Mother of God, extended to us as our mother.

Week 17 - Feast of the Epiphany brings joy. The wise ones interrupt their journey and are confronted with Herod’s wiles.
They, however, continue to follow the star that leads them to the place where our Saviour is born of Mary. It resembles our place of doubt, in the mire of our wilful independence. Visiting now this place, together with the shepherds and animals, adoring the Babe, we are moved to desire a better way, a right way, away from our introspective wilful stance. How to do  this? Our Lady Mary, Mother of God, the Immaculate Conception, revealed in Her appearances to Bernadette at Lourdes, Fatima to the young children and significantly, at Monserrat guiding Ignatius’ choice, shows us a way home out of our selfishness and sinfulness as we beg her in prayer to lead us and place us back to where we truly belong, with Her Son. Temptations fade the race to the finish is begun. Trust in Me He says when I struggle to be quiet and struggle, to learn to be still, before Him and Listen through His Word made flesh, dwelling amongst us now and forever. The wise men choose their way home by a different way thus overcoming the wiles of Herod. Gratitude abounds. Thanks to all who share. Pat

I began this week with the picture of the expectant mother sharing the coming birth with the young child, whom I take to be her daughter. I do my best to imagine that this is my own mother waiting for me to leave the womb and my sister is there sharing the moment. However, the scene is totally at odds with what I glean is real for me. An aunt who was always causing problems for my family once told me as an adult (and already a father to our son by then) that "it was a big shock to your mother when she discovered she was pregnant with you. You know that  she didn't want to have you". I remember how hurtful that was at the time, but I simply let it go and to this day think it was a lie. However, my mum and I were never very close and as I look back now, I wonder. I know my mum had her own issues growing up, especially with her father, and whatever her failings towards me eventuated, I do forgive her UNCONDITIONALLY.

But reflecting further on my own early adulthood, I recall many times of mixed emotions. Nothing in my upbringing really prepared a very immature me for affairs of the heart. I learned as I went but was always afraid of what God would do to me if I fell into a state of mortal sin. I realise now how completely naive I was at this time, but by holding back from some situations I believe that might have been God's way of protecting me from serious harm. Along the way I convinced myself that the choices I was making were my own, but now I am certain that they were primarily God's choices for me. And yet, I kept God at arms length, while still ticking all my “God boxes”. I kept going to Mass and the Sacraments and honestly tried to toe the good Catholic line. However, my spiritual development was really nowhere. God was still “out there” somewhere, but was not my personal God. And I had no relationship with Jesus at all.

At age 23 I thought I had found my life partner, a wonderful Catholic girl who was leading me into a deeper relationship with God. We had met in Sydney, and reconnected in Europe, but our future together would never materialise. (I had her on a pedestal alongside Mary, and confused that with love for her.) There was a lot of hurt that followed when we broke up. And yet only months later the Lord led me to the lady he wanted for me. We met in Spain and a whirlwind romance followed with our future solidified at Lourdes in France. We were engaged officially in London and married in her home town in South Africa. That was nearly 56 years ago. We were sure that Mary was on our case then (and still is!), and we were overjoyed later when our only son was professed as a Marist Brother and has just completed 33 years in his vocation. How blessed we are in the name of Jesus and Mary! Through the toughest times of my life, the hurt, the sadness that I endured and that I caused to others, not to mention bouts of illness and health uncertainties, I can always find the suffering Jesus right at my inner core. I know now what I did not know in my young life - that I am privileged that Jesus is with me always and when I am called to suffer and to grow with Jesus, I can see that as only the greatest privilege.

My makeshift altar at home contains a very small rock which came from a retreat I made at the Marist centre at Mittagong near Sydney a few years back. The rock is my symbol for my Almighty Father, solid and impregnable. But I also imagine the rock as how the Father might see me – uneven, broken, rough on the edges, inert, small and (to myself anyway) complex. There are plenty of rocks around that are larger than me, even mountains. But if I look very closely at me (the small rock) I can see a few sparkly crystals among the dull grey. Are these the parts of me that God sees too? God knows I have some good points, some talents that he gave me. And God wants me to recognise these too and to use them to help others. The candle flame that burns during my prayer sessions reminds me of the Holy Spirit flickering away and sending me messages of support and hope.

But there is also a small metal statue of Mary holding the baby Jesus. She gazes towards the rock and the flame. She sees things that I cannot see, and wants God to see them too. She wants Jesus to take all this in too. Just as I have always known, Mary cares for me and wants to add what she sees to what God sees in me. My altar is therefore a combination symbol of the Trinity. But Mary is also there looking on as she holds firmly on to Jesus.

My Lord, I am your creation and I continue to wonder why you chose me. You have always been with me from pre-conception to the present day, always finding me and holding me through all my pain, suffering and joy. You understand me in all my complexity, my weaknesses and strengths, my pain and hurt, my joy and my freedom. Everything I have was given to me by you. Help me to find ways to give all I have in my life back to you. And dear Blessed Mother I appreciate all you do for me too. Amen 

Week 17a: Continuing payer to Our Lady to place me with her Son.
Led to pray for our divisions and divides She answers by pointing the way.
Pray for those with whom we are divided.
Pride and judging separate.
Independence makes for separation.
The King of Love my Shepherd is;
Whose Goodness faileth never;
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine for ever.
Deo gratias

Week 1: -  Looking back at an entire lifetime over a single week seems daunting at first, and yet many “snapshots” come back quite clearly. I guess the ones I do not want to see are still buried in there somewhere, and might come out later in the Retreat process. One thing I do know is that I have had the good fortune to have been born and raised in the Catholic faith by parents whose cared for me gave me the start that I needed – a first class education and their great example in the practice of their own Christian faith for me to follow. They never questioned church teaching and never ever missed Mass. Neither mum nor dad was overly-demonstrative in their physical affection, and sometimes I wonder whether in my relationships with my own children, I tend to be like that too. They were not great huggers and kissers, but I think I am better at that than they were. Sometimes back in those early years I wondered just how much time they had for me in comparison to other things they did with their spare time as I grew up. Did I ever misconstrue that for a failure to love me? I hope not. Whatever I think their “failings” might have been, I forgive them now – UNCONDITIONALLY - and love them for who they were in my life. Thank you mum and dad.

That gift of faith that God gave me through them was only a start for me. I had to embrace my faith at some point in late teens and early adulthood and “own” that faith for myself. It had to be my personal decision. Again I had the good fortune to choose to follow Jesus, but now I see it much more than good fortune. It was Divine Grace – God choosing me. And my Blessed Mother Mary was always close by as my faith developed.  My Marist Brothers school in Sydney, Australia was a big part of it too. All the time that I thought it was just me calling the shots, making the choices and deciding what to do with my life, my choice of career, my urge to travel, my choice of friends, especially girlfriends, etc. etc. I was in God’s safe hands. God was guiding me, holding me, picking me up when I fell, tugging me this way and that to keep me from great harm. I didn’t always know it then, but I know it without reservation now. My young adult years had challenges that were often difficult, and even when I wondered whether I had made a wrong decision, somehow God was always there to save my bacon. I simply can’t explain why my life has had so few upheavals and why I have suffered so few bumps and bruises when I look at others of my vintage who have so many. I know I am blessed. My marriage has been one made in Heaven. We have been together for 56 years and counting.

So I can be forever grateful that God chose to create the unique me, then knitted me together in the womb and presented me to the world. God gave me the free will to be myself, including my faults and my foibles. God has always loved me, but it is only now that I realise just how much love has come my way - back then and still now. My challenge is to return God's love to the greatest of my ability. The weeks of this Retreat will be my testing ground.
Thanks a million to Father Andy and Maureen for putting this all together. This retreat program is a winner for God.
Please pray for me in the time ahead, as I will be praying for all you others doing this retreat. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

week 16 sharing
I would like to think that Our Saviour, Jesus Christ,  from His humble beginnings grew to maturity in the Wisdom of the Lord our God. There’s something here in relationship in the mystery of the growth of ourselves. Combined as we are in the Love  of Him always with us in the stages of our growth. Ever there when we stray. Fetching us back into His everlasting Fold, despite our wilfulness which leads to despondency.
Where did He journey to as a teenage child.. We have it in the Gospels, much to the chagrin of His beloved Mary and His loving carer Joseph, that when He strayed, He was in the Temple, preaching to the elders, explaining to Mary and Joseph in their anxiety, that He was ‘about His Father’s business’.
Thereafter, as part of His education and with the blessing of His ‘parents’, legend has it that, together with His uncle Joseph of Aramathea, following ancient trade routes in search of tin they came to Wales, the Wales of Gerald Manley Hopkins who wrote…..Lovely the woods………..cwms and vales……that go to make up this  world of Wales……only the inmate does not correspond’ ….maybe not! Hope also has it that we live and move and have our being in a loving,  forgiving, merciful Lord for ever accompanying us and at our side, no matter what befalls us. My loving Lord, Rescuing Redeemer !;!!MuWMPV1_1eXDnA!h-4Q9pA_leS7mxgDBEhWqPzyPOegddjMugQjJQMSqpx3YG0cq6-Nk-if2ika4diBoA$

15a The darkness of the stable pervades into my heart’s darkness and confusion. I don’t know where I am going or who’s going with me. The uncertainty makes me fearful. Conscious that I am being asked to get up and go to the Child, whose invitation is to follow Him as He grows and to share in His Mission. To leave behind my reluctance, my fears, my weaknesses, my anxieties and turn away from my darkness, to let in the Light of Christ, born for us, bearing our sinfulness. Recalling the showing of His Mission by taking me by the hand and flying over the world, up on high. Follow me He says as the Babe in the crib of the feeding trough, grasps the finger of my outstretched hand. His Holy Presence washes me clean as my fears subside, giving me back the courage to get up out of my darkness, amid the stable’s dung and travel, once more, with Him in the sweetness of Him, sweeter than the freshness of the hay, the food of the cattle and on which He is bedded down. He smiles and beckons us ALL as we surround His glorious Presence amongst us. His Mother, Mary, looks on, together with Joseph, Her faithful spouse. Pat

15a I see His blood upon the rose’……greetings to all of us for the providential opportunity of making this retreat with the kindness and consideration of the jesuit community at creighton. Through St Ignatius’ spiritual Exx, we are brought to allay every anxiety and fear and place our Hope and Trust in the Lord, rising above and putting aside the  temptation to succumb to being afraid during the pandemic, which enables us to pray most fervently for all, especially all our little children who have died and are in the loving arms of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Pat

Week 15: In the darkness and the chaos of our sinful world, I am praying, kneeling on the cold unremitting  ground, beseeching the Lord, our God, to deliver us from every evil, past, present and to come, beseeching Him to come and deliver us. I am surrounded by the shepherds, watching their flocks by night. Suddenly, out of the depths of the darkness surrounding us, the sky is lit with a brilliant brightness, dispelling the gloom of our hearts and more importantly, our minds and the frail weakness of our humanity. Like my companions ‘I am sore afraid’.
This brightness surrounding us is no ordinary light. An angel appears bringing us the glad tidings of great joy as he tells us that today,  there is born in the city of David below us, a saviour who is Christ the Lord! The earth upon which we are kneeling warms up, as the Glory of the Lord surrounds our feeble frames. We get up transfixed as the Heavenly Host, the choirs of Angels, sing Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on earth, Goodwill, and Goodwill surrounds us. We hasten to answer the call to seek out this precious Babe, scrambling down the hill with shouts of joy to seek the cattle shed where we are told,  He lies with His Mother watched over by such a loving, caring fellow called Joseph, seated amidst the munching cattle. What can I bring with me, poor miserable sinner that I am, so frightened by the horrors and degradation of our chaotic world? I pick up and carry a new born lamb, likened unto Him, with now a rejoicing joyful heart at His coming to save us!

The richness of being present when our Saviour, the Emmanuel, is born of Mary, sent by God, our Father, through the covering of the Holy Spirit, to save us all. More practicalities ensue. I have cleaned and dressed my mother, Mary, while Joseph, ever faithful and lovingly caring, has removed the soiled bedding from underneath Mary and replaced it with fresh, soft sweet smelling hay. The cattle are lowing, awaiting their keeper to come and feed them and change their soiled bedding too! Now the inn keeper’s wife comes bustling in, conscious stricken over the circumstance that there was no room for them at the inn. She has brought the necessary food and drink to her hungry travellers. Meanwhile, the blessed Babe awakes from His slumbers and is taken up into the arms of His Mother Mary, feeding Him the sweet milk from Her young virgin girl’s breast.

Week 14
The arrival of the Babe, shivering in the cattle feeding trough, warmed by the breath of the beasts of the field, but wrapped by His Mother, in swaddling clothes. He lies, content, the Son of God, sent to save us, miserable sinners, but loved by God Himself!  Pat

Week 14
Thinking of the little donkey carrying Mary by the side of Joseph as they journeyed, interrupted by the necessity of Mary coming to term in her bearing of the fruit of her womb, Jesus.
When they are looking for a place for this event to happen, the only one is a cattle shed. I am obliged to take care of the little animal, tired from his journey, hungry and thirsty. The shed is warm and has water and fodder to feed him. At the same time, it enables Mary, the theotikos to lie down amidst the soft sweet hay and begin the process of giving birth to our saviour, who is Christ the Lord. Ever kind, faithful Joseph at her side, fortified by the grace of God to be chaste in order to play his part in caring for his wife as God intended.
Now, my turn to do what I can, after the birth of Jesus, laid down now in the feeding trough of the cattle, for Mary, our Mother too. I wash her and dress her in clean robes.
It’s really good to contemplate today this scene making it an eternal reality for us all.

Wk 14 entering into the lives of Mary, Joseph,  Zacheria  and Elizabeth by readings from Holy Scripture, what comes is Time, not our time but Timelessness. Desire to be still in our present moment is indeed a sacrament so that we can enter into these four’s lives and the history of the Incarnate ones in our imagination: John the baptist and Jesus our Lord. Aware of our limitations, in order to do this from our vain glory, impedes our desire to grow in the lord’s  Grace offerings. Continue to be still, be quiet and watch and listen to a lovely innocent young girl’s response to the Angel Gabriel’s message, ‘How can this be’ she says, to a virgin. Because she has been chosen, Mary the Immaculate conception, is  not totally aware that she is filled with the Grace of God, enabling her to respond with a Yes, ‘be it done unto me according to Your Word’. Our response is in accord as we pray ‘Take Lord and receive, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my entire will, all that I have and call my own,  You have given to me. Now I return these gifts to You to do with them, what You will. Only give me your Grace and my love of You. That is sufficient for me.Pat

Getting away from being too subjective. This week is not about me, nor what I have shared, it is about Jesus, the Jew, steeped in His traditions. I found listening to Handel’s Messiah…..part 1 first, is helping me to be more immersed in His life and His Mission to fulfil the prophesies by His Incarnation. I agree not an intellectual exercise is this. The music and texts just heard are an invitation to joyous being in the ‘now’ of things, keeping still in the Presence of our loving God as He reveals Himself in our hearts and restless minds!  Great gratitude once more for this!  Pat

Week 10  Sharing by Francesco from Dixon, California  Saying YES began for me in a very small way.  I was asked to write a letter to my Nephew who is serving a life in prison term for a terrible mistake he made as a teenager. He’s now 42 years old.  I discovered that saying YES resulted in an ongoing series of yeses after yeses. I began to see that saying YES to God’s invitation to love is not a passing fancy, but a lifelong commitment to whatever invitation event He may happen to send our way. I see that LOVE germinates and multiplies.  I now have a regular loving communication with my Older Brother…who first asked me to write to our nephew.  I now have a regular loving relationship with my Nephew’s Grandmother…my Aunt who is married to my Mother’s younger Brother…My Uncle who recently passed into eternal life last month.  In saying YES and giving freely of my LOVE through God’s LOVE…I am receiving regular doses of LOVE.  Happy Online Retreat to one and all.  I write this sharing on the first Sunday of Advent 2021…HOPE…LOVE…JOY…and PEACE to us all…!!!

‘I came not to abolish the law of the prophets but to fulfil them’ :  these words of Jesus,  in the gospel of Matthew, make a start to understand for me why He was sent by the Father, Our Father, the Holy Trinity, to give us Light to our world of darkness. Somehow, my darkness adds to the darkness of the world. It seems to me that as I awake each day I must pray, as I raise my first morning drink to my lips, that I want every man, woman and child to be able to share in this simple, but necessary, act for survival,  not just me. Extending this desire …….show us the way Lord to share your Love with ALL……..way beyond our safe exclusive backgrounds, like that of Jesus born a jew, but extending it to all inclusively to beyond the law of the prophets. I must do the same, not clinging, exclusively to my God given gift of faith, but praying to go out of it, beyond it and over it to the boundaries, to help in my poverty, to bring a glimmer of light into the world . More love to all fellow sharers, Pat.

Wk 12 deepens as we are carried back in the arms of our merciful Lord to HIS fold, safe and secure! At the same time,  all attempts, from all sides, are being made to shake us from His presence. We follow on, as best we can, however imperfectly, in  response to His call.  Not to give in to temptation is because He holds us, safe in our total trust in Him,  mindful that our yoke is easy and our burden is light and is made to fit us by Him, His very Self!  We rejoice that we have been upheld throughout our countless trials, not only upheld, but no harm has come to us and through His Grace, all is resolved as we are preserved, safe and sound, in order to carry on with our retreat! Thanks, and Love to all. Pat

Beginning wk 12, overwhelming Love given and received during these past weeks. Strong remembrance of the Lord carrying me home like a sinful, straying lamb in His arms. Now I strongly feel His Presence as I am clasped most firmly to His breast and am  brought home into His fold. Symbolic of what this means in literal terms. Once, during my past retreat when the Gospel was on Jesus taking up the scroll and reading from the Torah in the temple,  I was seated below Him and He looked over the ‘lectern’upon me and smiling down, asked me what was I doing there. Then He took me by the hand and we flew over the whole world in its devastation and need for Him to show us our need and how His Word tells us just what His Mission is and mindful to be followers of Him, as it relates to each one of us in a personal way! Thanks for Your Graciousness Lord towards us all as we proceed in our retreat. Love from Pat

Wk 11
So very difficult resistance to my call to mission, ordained by God for me. I am like a wriggling worm, trying to escape all the calamities, one by one, all around, surrounding my very existence, like being annihilated from reason itself. Keep going through all, resisting nightmare situations, crying out to the Lord and Our Lady of the knots. Deeply distressed. Turmoil. Then prayer answered. Fortified in weakness by Love in order to place once again, ALL my Hope and Trust in You my Lord and my God. Slowly ever so slowly, unwinding. My rationale returns. All things are passing under the gentle breeze sent by the Holy Spirit pervading and passing over my feeble frame.
Thanks be to God, thanks to fellow sharers, all of us under the umbrella of our great retreat. Gratitude abounds for when we admit defeat and are raised up by the Holy Spirit intervening and praying for us to Abba , OurFather in heaven.
Understanding now the specific call to serve one another in our family, especially our damaged son, escaping into alcoholism from the pain endured from clerical sexual abuse as a child. His rationale in working through his damage, a miracle in itself.  The Grace of God a given, as he exercises the talents he has received.

Week 10 presents a challenge! However, reading others’ sharing is a gift as I make the retreat alone, one which I deeply appreciate and in turn, give thanks for.
Realisation that we must bear our trials for the Love of Christ. The suffering incurred encourages me to  ‘offer’ it  as a penance for the the memories of past, but now, through the Grace of God and His  Mercy,  forgiven sins.
Consideration: to avoid mistaken feelings in regard to suffering and all its concepts  Ignatius’ prayer the suscipe, ‘take Lord and receive all my liberty (freedom),  my memory, all my understanding and my entire  will…………’. Applies.
So it is this offering I make, in order to prevent me from taking my upsetting sufferings into my own hands, remembering to place ALL my complete trust, in the Lord our God, to move me forward on our beloved retreat’s journey! Love to all and thanks to our lady Mary’s guiding hand!

The richness of week 9 is a merry go round, back and forth is the experience, from bad to worse and back to calm and equilibrium! At the end of the week we are again brought back by the Grace God from the farthest field. Starving!  Sheltering ! Huddled! Perplexed!  even cringing, under the rocks of refuge, through  our miserable ignorance.  However!  rescued! The Word of God is gratefully received, we have persevered by His Grace. He comes, His gentle embracing arms of mercy enfold us to carry us back into the fold aided by Xavier University ‘s humility prayers, found  on line! The richness of these words  are given for my hunger in the guise of a great  banquet to digest and enjoy , to energise our way forward to what is to come from our 34 week retreat! Thanksgiving to our dear friend Ignatius too, from all  of us as we journey on! Pat

Week 9. Having listened and prayed in the night after wakening, disturbed and upset at dreams, resourced to Our Lady for her help. Starting with the angelus and adopting it to my need-fullness in my fragility. Falling asleep. Awakening again and looking at the choice of readings for today’s Mass, one from the book of Job, with attention to the psalm on how I can I repay the Lord for all His goodness to me. Outstanding message is ‘I know that my redeemer liveth and in my flesh shall I see God’ the recitative from Handel’s Messiah. Gratitude. Looking forward to Mass at noon for all holy souls known and especially unknown to me, the marginalised and forgotten. Thank you. Pat 

Week 9 puts on a different perspective for me. Suffering makes for endurance says St Paul, thank God for that! Instead of rejoicing at being saved and forgiven, being a sinner loved by God, I am miserable and in the depths of selfish self ,that all pervading being, wrapped up in its self, inwardly and outwardly! This time and as always when I am uncomfortable with myself, I turn to our Blessed Lady for her aid, who turns me around to look at week 9 again and reflect more deeply and have a LISTENING heart. Love to all.Pat

Week six is a thorough examination of life as a whole, year by year by a sinner (great) loved by God Himself. Selfish self excludes the Lord when we turn away in all our sinful behaviours leaving our minds and bodies defiled. Through these, it is not  just our shame , however, but because it enjoins in the collective harm it does to others.

Where do we  go, what do we seek, what do we desire? If we rid ourselves of self, get out of the way, it is the Lord who comes, who speaks, who comforts, who loves, whose mercy forgives until we realise that nothing can seperate us from His love, my Lord and my God. So in turn we are rescued, brought back home, rejoicing, undefiled, filled with gratitude in order that we might, in turn, turn to others and be a community of love in the Lord; remembering that He bore our sinfulness and shame, by taking it upon Himself and dying for us on the cross.

During the 2020 year, I performed the 19th Annotations through a Spiritual Director. We used The Ignatian Adventure book by Kevin O’Brien, S.J. My journey was a marvelous one, enriching each day through periods of desolation to consolation. Bringing to life the experiences of Jesus and relating them to my own circumstances.

So affected by 19th and working directly with a seasoned Spiritual Director, I have been sharing this process with another man along his journey through the Exercises. Still using the O’Brien book, I have now included the Creighton University’s Online Retreat program as part of this journey together. This has served to heighten both of our relationship with Jesus, as well as enlightening us to the passion and compassion of Jesus.

We both have reviewed the “photographs” of our lives and have reimagined how God has so directly and impactfully influenced us.

Thank you for making this program available.

There seems to be no such thing as a just war. Cf the picture of Bosnia. But there is such a thing as collective evil. We are all partakers. I awake and sing ‘Away  in a Manger’.  ‘Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care. And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there’. All evil practised against little ones  is complicity with evil. ‘ Be near me Lord Jesus I ask thee to stay, close by me for ever and love me I pray.’The image of you bleeding on the cross, the nails driven into your flesh, hands and feet, water pouring from your side. All for us to give us a second chance. To turn to you each new day given for us.  Thank you lord for giving us a way out so that we may rise again through Your dying .  Beginning week 5. Pat

There’s a wow factor in ending week 3 and beginning week 4. All that self examination disappears and is over and done with. Waking up, praying the Magnificat, the Our Father, wretched toothache accompanying, makes me smile! Accepting pain, old age at 85 and death to come someday is not to be dwelt upon . For today, enjoy every minute of the present moment, combined with the love and graces given and received. Past relationships of examples  of the men and women I have known and who were beacons of light illumine the way.  Isn’t  that lovely ! Greetings Pat

Still in week 3. So much in everything before moving on, aspiring to a balance. Regret lack of forgiveness towards those who have harmed us, intentionally or not. This flawed judgemental self needs to address her resentment towards others.Glad it makes me feel uncomfortable. The graces asked for to forgive are instantaneous . ‘Ask and  you shall receive, seek and you will find.’  Your Word Lord sure is alive and active. Thank You. Making a start, before moving on, in forgiving those whom we have resented and worst, borne a grudge. We are not superior because we are ‘on the inside’. Not at  all. It is hateful that we are so condemning of others in our superior ways and sinful pride.
Thank you Lord and thank those with whom we share. Pat

Week 1: I was struck that God  gives so much  beauty to the things of the natural world, even though they are thrown on the fire.  God literally has beauty to burn!

The weedy place in the field behind my yard, where we dump the grass clippings and where I walk the dog each morning, is a riot of exquisite plants and flowers, glorious colors and smells, birdsong - a kaleidoscope of beauty throughout the seasons.  God spreads beauty around casually and liberally, for no reason at all but his own delight.

So many mornings I've walked rubbing the sleep from my eyes, preoccupied by all the stuff I have to do today, the tension already starting.  Stepping through the path between the forsythias and cedars,  next to a pile of discarded branches, I have been ambushed by a splendid new flower or the spectacle of the morning sky, different and glorious every day. Sometimes it's the riveting song of a bird; or the tracks of deer who passed silently and unseen in the night.

God lavishes such beauty on a dumping place: how much more so does he lavish it on me? On everyone? 

Lord let me see your beauty in myself and everyone I meet today.

Week 3 and the vista. Gazing out and reflecting inward, seeing and admitting this flawed person. Need for repentance for the times I need to beg our Father in heaven to deliver me from every evil, past, present and to come. Bow my head in shame and lead me not into temptation, Lord, pray to help me to live always in thanksgiving for your merciful healing and love. Amen Pat

Leaving a note, in perspective of the wider vision in the vista, incorporates going out, in thanksgiving , for the graces  received in the first  and second weeks, revealing the need to embrace, in love, the poverty in the world. We have so much and so many  have nothing. We give what we can, forgetting that hunger and lack of fundamental sharing is their right. Much more, climbing down  from pride  and our thrones of plenty helps us to feel equality with all God’s Creation and their entitlement. Help us Lord to increase in our service to the  rest of your creation through service to others whom we meet in all manner of ways .

Last day of week 2. Not an easy week to concentrate on what the picture is saying to me. There’s so much healing of memories in week 1 that the picture relates to me in the womb , feeling my mother rejecting me at my birth! However, and a big however, there’s another picture in an imaginative contemplation I have had. The Lady is  my Lady Mary! She is in the lowly stable and the Holy Child is born, wrapped in His swaddling clothes and lying in the comfort of the beasts’manger . I love myBlessed Mother so much. I tend lovinglyher tired exhausted body and wash her and dress her in clean linen. She fills my heart with joy to serve Her as my mother all the days of my life ! No regrets now,  full of forgiveness and prayers for my dead parents who cooperated in my becoming.. big thanks to the Lord who I now understand, making this retreat, loves me! ‘He leadeth me, He leadeth me, the quiet  waters by! Pat

Second week, coming to an end now, was interrupted by ill health, pain and suffering. Reflection on the Word of God in today’s Gospel, Luke 8 1-3 : Jesus, after praying alone,  tells His disciples of  His great suffering to come.

 As we ourselves acknowledge the Word of God, we see clearly that to be truly redeemed, we are invited  to join in the great privilege of sharing in that suffering.

Thanks be to God for this understanding, given to one who would control her way, instead of relinquishing all into the hands of a merciful Lord, who accompaniies us with wonderfully kind nurses and doctors whose most loving services lead towards a return to health, in order to serve each other and Our Loving Lord as He  Wills. “Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven”
Love to all

When completing Week 1…I was startled at the great amount of sin in my life. My only small consolation is my age…74 on December 26th.  Much of my sinful ways have been and today continue to be Habitual in nature.  

When I was not drowned out by the magnitude of sinful ways, I was delighted by the never-ending blessings of God.  The start of Week II was like a second chance.  I missed several significant people and events in my life.  I had no focus and direction on sorting out events, as we’ve all now discovered by the directions and suggestions of Week II.  - Francesco

Coming to the end of week 1 there’s an article on crisis you give. I have been specifically unwell so at 85 the comments there on facing death are pertinent indeed. They make me unafraid and give me courage as I face more tests this coming week.  Also gratitude for grace this week in understanding how I am loved, by God, my husband and my son who lives with us. Caring, consoling and comforting all the while. Great journey in understanding this week. Also reading the sharing of others at the end of this first week is a bonus as I make the retreat alone. It’s lovely to have their company as I go along. The initiative of this online retreat is amazing! Be not afraid, wait and see is the hallmark! God bless everyone. Pat

My name is Pat.
I have shared twice so far in wk 1. I have been praying all this time the suscipe, asking for You to give me my love of You, Lord.  Reading further the given readings, psalms and Peter van Bremen’s notes on acceptance, in my frailty I have missed the point! Because of rejection issues at birth, this damaged person doesn’t fundamentally believe that she is loved first and foremost by God who brought her into being! So, ‘only give me Your Love and your Grace, for that is sufficient for me’. Belief in this and in being Your creation Lord is a mighty revelation, a healing. You say, ‘ask and you shall receive, knock and the door will be opened, seek and you will find’.   Behold, You say, I stand at the door of your heart, let Me in, for I love you and you are precious in My eyes. Thank You, Lord let me believe and place all my trust in You. Let me stand aside and stop getting in Your Way, wilful me. God bless everyone making this retreat.

Week 1: Early in my youth I read a book by Taylor Caldwell called The Listener.  I was intrigued by the need for each person to be seen and heard in their authentic being.  As I drew closer to God during good and bad times, this calling to become a listener to others deepened.  I was drawn to develop my skills for listening so I could listen to others through Hospice volunteering, then Stephen’s Ministry and eventually to support parents of AIDS patients as well as the patients themselves.  I was devastated by my firstborn son’s death from complications of AIDS in 1986.  In my grieving, I truly endorsed becoming the Wounded Healer, so eloquently written of by a favorite author, Henry Nouwin.   My woundedness became a grace, to be used for the greater honor and glory of God.  I related well to Mary as she mourned the loss of her son.  We were both mothers who deeply loved our human sons.  What a cherished gift from God, to be given children that we can love unconditionally - which also helps me to know myself as a cherished daughter of Christ. 

More week 1. In bed now with sprained ankle. Lovely day outside. Windows opened wide. Ignatian spirituality on internet today, re day dreaming. Plenty of that as dozing on. Further down the line from babyhood. I see more clearly, down the years from 85! Where as a baby born and poor mother not wanting and caring for her, made trying to make her happy affected my whole life before she died, poor thing. Marrying where money was to support her, buying her a house, giving up our own home and providing for her until father died. Good advice Benedictine monk. If she ever became ill, not to be responsible for her care. Left it to brother to choose nursing home after she had a stroke. Day dreaming reveals forgiving and understanding relationships. The call to conversion at 19 was another divine intervention, enabling me to fulfil my desire for others, especially those on the margins. Manifest now in my youngest child as he recovers, through prayer, to healing from drug and alcohol addiction. He has always reverenced the poor and homeless. In addiction, lived with them on the streets. Now he is a blessing, defying all my mother’s curse that I would end up alone, unloved by my children. He cares for me and my husband with such loving care. Love to all as I make the retreat alone and blessings on all of you serving us in the Society of Jesus plus, of course, your associates! Amazing how starting this retreat again opens up the heart from the head. Thank you. Pat

My name is Francesco from Dixon, CA.  It’s OK to use my name.  I’ll turn 74 on December 26th, 2021. I’ve been a Creighton University Daily Reflections Website User for quite some time. 
               On the Feast of Saint John Chrysostom, 13 Sep 2021, I clicked on the “Invitation to Join the Retreat” thinking that it would be “Brand New”…but after recognizing that I had already done it many years ago…I felt  disappointed. But then I had a Sudden Discernment…It WAS “Brand New!!!” It was around ten years ago that I first made the retreat online…Now I’m 74 years OLD….and 74 years NEW.
               After my New Outlook, I realized that God was giving me this gift at just the right time.  I’m confident that the Retreat…this Go-round…will help me overcome my Various Physical, Emotional, and Spiritual Challenges.

                                                      God Bless Creighton’s Many Reflecting Souls

Start of retreat 12 September.
This is the second time of making this retreat!
A bit different. No resentment now at recollections of being unwanted child Created in mother’s womb by God Himself!
Poverty of mother understood. It was she who needed me to comfort and sustain her throughout her life, not the other way round!
Memory’s vivid lasting recall, sustaining and comforting me throughout my life, of the little child, crying in her bed, overshadowed by invisible Presence, felt and touched, embraced and loved. All despite being a miserable sinner, guiding me throughout life’s journey. Realisation along the way, falling, being picked up, carried, cared for, lost, found, brought back into the fold, yet again straying over and over being a wilfull  wanderer. Never neglected, but reminded always, when crying out, that I am a sinner, great, yes but overall, loved by a living God, reminding me to pray for the good of all God’s created creatures in the whole of His Creation!
Thanksgiving wells up inside the whole of my being.
How shall I repay the Lord for all these blessings? I will take up my cross and follow Him all the rest of my days.
Thank you

(Hi Fr….Patrick here…this is such a grace to be able to do this 34 week retreat! And how awesome that this is here for anyone to utilize, so as to draw closer to God! Yes, you may use my name!)

The grace I would like to share is the grace of simply beginning…God has invited me to this 34 week retreat, so it is not lost on me that He has called me to walk upon this road with Him at my side.

I found it helpful, after the rich reflection of Week 6, to repeat as a kind of a Mantra while I took a walk during my retreat.

I have belonged to a 12 step for over a decade and was reading about the Exercises today and saw where you could do a self-guided retreat  online. When I read that today was the day to start w/the program that moved w/the liturgy I knew things were lined up.

I am grateful for the
Ongoing, redeeming love of God
That cancels the debt against me
And works
That I may have LIFE and
Have it to the Full
I pray that this reminder of God’s compassion which is greater than my weakness stays with me when I return to my daily tasks..




Sharing Archive

Read the Sharing for each week of the retreat, as people have shared their graces over the years.

Week 1 (Part 1)

Week 1 (Part 2)
Week 1 (Part 3)
Week 1 (Part 4) 
Week 1 (Part 5)

Week 2
Week 2 (more)

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8

Week 9

Week 10

Week 11

Week 12

Week 13

Week 14

Weeks 15

Weeks 16-17

Weeks 18-19

Weeks 20-21

Weeks 22-23

Weeks 24-25

Weeks 26-27

Weeks 28-29

Weeks 30-31

Weeks 32-34