Place to Share
The Latest Sharing
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.
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.
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!
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’.
Is this the final, I hope, attempt at the evil one, to upset my belief, my calling?
Week 32: This poor man (woman) called and the Lord heard him (her).
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.
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.
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.
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 …..as follows:-
‘As the deer pants for the water
You alone are my strength and shield
I love you more than gold and silver
You alone are my strength and shield
You’re my friend and You are my brother
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 ..an 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.
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’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!
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
Week 24 - Message, loud and clear It’s o.k.to be confrontational …….especially of counter cultural behaviours!………coupled with how laughable, how ludicrous , sometimes even in our so called faith-filled cultural behaviours!……so, …..in 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Week 17 - Feast of the Epiphany brings joy. The wise ones interrupt their journey and are confronted with Herod’s wiles.
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.
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.
week 16 sharing
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’.
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
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
God Bless Creighton’s Many Reflecting Souls
Start of retreat 12 September.
(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