Sharing the Retreat
Week 1

Week 1 - Part 2

I am returning to these exercises after a period of years.  When I first encountered them they had a profound effect on my life and subsequently changed the direction of my career.  Since then I am thankful for the retreat experiences, spiritual guides and spiritual friends who have touched me.  I returned to the US recently after another period of discernment and I hope that in following this path along with the liturgical year that I deepen my relationship with and service for Jesus.  What I found particularly significant in reflecting on the photos of my life is how richly blessed I have been.  Yes I do feel pain in some photos realising that in the background there are deep clouds of sinful mistakes and errors of judgment.  But I also rejoice at the richness of experience I have been blessed with.  Thinking of the parable of the talents, I hope that I have not been burying this treasure but rather that I can use these experiences and make them real gifts for others. 

my heart opens with gratitude, to those with whom I am traveling the following 34 weeks.
I have asked others family and friends, all saying “no”too busy or not interested it is “here” where my desire to make this retreat, meets with people “unknown”to me, I am accepted :) ahhh....Lady Wisdom, Holy Spirit, Gracious God, Loving Son Jesus, and yes St Ignatius, thank you

Lord please continue to bless us, as we make this retreat, thank you for  the gift of others making this retreat with me, I think I feel accepted, I rather know and feel I am.

Well- that was a bit of a wake up call. Realised that actually all the stuff that I do that is negative stems from me being an over ambitious control freak! With a healthy dose of humility and a bit of thinking about doing stuff to serve others rather than serve my own sense of importance, adding some acceptance of others views, it'll be interesting to see how my behaviour reacts!

Thank you for me being in this place, at this time, with these wonderful people. Let me remember stuff is up to you. Amen.

I am looking for a deepening of my prayer life--of my giving myself to God--so that there is a little empty space inside me that He can fill. This form of prayer, of being constantly in His presence, letting memories drift into my conscious mind, and looking for God in that moment and is very..."seductive"? "alluring"? Jeremiah 20:7, where Jeremiah complains to God that He "duped" the prophet with His beauty! God, I love You! Let's exchange hearts!

Although I have written my life story several times, this is something I need to do often.  Each time I write,  I am a little more honest about my feelings

I am not quite through the week, but am so glad this particular retreat is available to us all.  I feel I am being called by our Lord to come and do this retreat., and isn't it good it is the middle of September!!!  I first opened this site several months ago...

I've been taught and know spiritually there are no coincidences with God, and I am going to follow Him into this with all my heart.  I pray we all receive His graces through this. Amen and Amen

First day of week one and I see the warmth and love of the Lord in the relationships He has surrounded me with since before my birth.
There is darkness and pain there too but opening up and beginning to see just how much my Mother, in particular, has loved me, despite the obstacles in her life, including the ones I placed in her way, has been amazing.
We spoke on the phone yesterday and had one of the deepest, most heart warming conversations that we have ever had, and I knew I was experiencing (glimpsing) God's love in our relationship.
The first day! Thanks be to God. --Maria

I am in a place of some shock after walking through the beginning here. How did I stumble into this? It was all quite gradual and accidental, yet here I am, starting a retreat, holding an image, thinking about what it means to be accepted.
It feels as if an earthquake rumbled through this space and I am still dazed. --Mary M

This morning the first day of my retreat I prayed with the readings of today and the words from Jesus on the cross to His Mother and to John
(Behold your mother) ( Behold your son) and I wondered if you spoke those words to my aunt – because after my mother died she took me as
a tiny baby to her house to bring me up. I praise you Lord Jesus because you have always been there for me.  Also this morning in my meditation
I saw a bowl of rice and I took it to mean that you will multiply my feeble efforts to draw closer to you during this retreat – just as a handful of rice when cooked turns into a large bowlful. Thank you Jesus I pray also today for everyone beginning the retreat.

Week 1: I'm starting this retreat with a heavy heart and hope for more feeling of love, confidence and care that God provides me.  In the last week I lost a dear soul -- she was so strong in spirit and fought so hard in her battle for cancer.  Her class, care, generosity and love were palpable though far away…and I swear, I knew when she was dying (and earlier when she was sick) -- she came into my mind and then i found out later she was lost.  It broke my heart -- and then last night I found out about another sweet, smart person who I know was diagnosed with a very aggressive, malignant cancer. 

These woman were/are lights in my life and so young.  I need to feel God's gracious hand in this to help with the sadness…I love looking for daily God sightings.  Lately it's been blurry.  I hope that this retreat helps me feel God in my life and better understand his ways.  In the words of our focus…to know his fidelity and feel gratitude.  I hope it's easier to say "thank you"….and a little less "why?".  I know there is a reason…looking for perspective and love.

Week 1: I started reading the guide for the retreat today. I was reflecting on the monumental task of going through my story with God, and i feel a little discomfort. First because i don't know if i would have the discipline of prayer, and just going through my life story with all the pot holes, detours, indecisions. But i also revel in the fact that i now see that my childhood was bittersweet. A happy childhood, with some moments of pain, imagination, church, friends, God. God who was both near and far, but that a sense of gratitude permeates my being because He was there right in my childhood.

As I start week one I feel so blessed.  I have faced memories of not feeling good enough.  I have seen myself as a small child crying and lying to get out of being told off,  or of almost engineering this as chastisement was followed by a cuddle.  But I have also relived memories that show I was loved, and have come to realise that mum did her very best to be a good mother and did what she thought was best at the time.
I can see God there in the good and the bad times, always loving, always waiting for my love,  not the harsh judge waiting for me to fail. Thank you Spirit for being with me on this journey.  Amen

I have started this on-line retreat many times…and never make it past the first couple of weeks!  I am praying that this time I can finish the entire retreat.
Certainly, I have completed the assignment to review my life multiple times as well.  The one thing I have gotten as a message from this over and over again…God was ALWAYS with me!  I may have felt abandoned, or unloved, or just plan ugly!  But, God was there and was walking along side me to get me to this very place! 

Now, it took years of praying, praying, therapy….to get there!  but I am here at last! 
My prayer for each of you going through this retreat with me is that this week you find where you are in God’s  album…It is certainly worth it! 

I just started my First Week. The Courage to Accept Acceptance, spoke clearly to me.  It seemed like it was written for me. I am far away from accepting myself but I made the first step in the right direction.  I am blessed that I have found this site.  I feel that I have learned a lot within the last week and I am grateful for these shared insights. I pray that I will keep this enthusiasm till the end.  Thank you for this fine program.

Week 1: Just expressing my inner thoughts especially since the time I've been through the family album....( background for week 1, which i began on the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola,2014)... I'm grateful to God for surrounding me with the fragrance of His Bouquet of which each unique flower is each individual member of my family & by extension all those whom He's placed in my path through the years. I'm more blessed than i deserve.....I've never faced my past so bravely & honestly... Thanks also to all who've shared their experiences here & especially to all who've put all the content online...May God richly bless all...Please pray for me as i begin Week 2 tomorrow, 7th August, 2014... -- Edwin R, India

Week 1: Looking back at my past made me realize what a great sinner I am. There were so many things I did that hurt my God, myself and my loved ones. But in spite of all my mistakes, my failures, my weaknesses and my sins, I now see that He has never left me.
A few years back, I exhausted all my time, my resources trying to get rich so I can show my ex-husband (who left us for another woman) and the world that I can raise my children alone. I was full of hatred, anger, pride and vengeance ... and unforgiving. I spent all my time working and had little time for my children and no time for my Creator. But the more I strive to get rich, the more I got poorer. My children were not doing well in school.  I was lonely, depressed, and searching for something or someone to liven up my life. My dreams for a bright future were all shattered. Worst, on the time that I was so low financially, emotionally.. it was the time that I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was HER2 positive cancer, meaning 80% of recurrence in spite of chemo.  The only drug that would help is so expensive.  But my siblings, my friends, relatives and people I don't even know paid for all the expenses. This disease made me stay at home, and being alone made me realize all the blessings the Lord poured on me. Blessings which I never noticed before. Seven times I almost lost my life but in all occasions, my Lord delivered me. He gave me many chances to live and change my life for Him.
One thing I know for sure is God loves me unconditionally! His love is great and immeasurable.

Just started my 1st wk. So much memories of early childhood. As I was reading the "curage to accept acceptance, tears came from my eyes. I want to have the book and share it to the world. The scriptural readings are all I need to read.i love you Lord for being with me always.thank you for this awesome retreat on line. God bless you all!

This past November, my daughter had a stillborn baby girl. I have never known a loss so deep and a grief so painful. I mourned for my granddaughter, but I also would have done anything to keep my daughter from her suffering. I have spent many months pulling my daughter out of a dark well of anguish and depression. I went through Ash Wednesday with the words "you are dust and into dust you shall return" having such a different meaning to me this year. I searched for God in a Lenten discussion group at Church. I grew to understand that there could not be an Easter Resurrection without a crucifixion and death. And then recently my daughter announced that she was expecting again. It was joyous and frightening. How could I possibly walk these next 34 weeks with her? And then I found your website. "This is the beginning of a 34 week journey." Week by week I will keep in close contact with Jesus. He will be my guide through this unknown territory. My daughter needs me and I need Him. I will not walk in fear. I will walk in hope. I ask for your prayers during this 34 week journey knowing that whatever happens is His will.

Hello, I am just beginning the first week of my retreat.  I have come in with my faith worn to shreds, finding it hard to handle pain and suffering of my own and of others throughout the world. Thanks to the online readings and sharing, I am beginning to find glimmers of hope: "The Courage to Accept Acceptance" reminds me that the burdens are not mine alone to bear, but that God in his infinite love and wisdom can help me if I only become willing to let go; and even more basic than that, Luke 11:1-13, God is "ready to give the Holy Spirit to anyone who asks." Even though my confidence is shaken, if I am persistent in prayer, I may rediscover my faith... Looking forward to continuing this journey. In Christ, Cate.

I have plenty of time to meditate, pray, study or read. I began the retreat today, but actually began a wholistic (body, mind and spirit) rehabilitation program on March 10, 2014. I was sharing with my spouse yesterday that besides him, I had no one to share with on a spititual basis, and voila - the SHARE phase of the retreat.  Thank you Lord for answering the desire of my heart of hearts so promptly.  You know what I'm thinking, feeling, desiring before I do.  There is so much I wish to share. I was a member of a Catholic Charismatic Prayer group for over 20 years. I sat down this morning and wrote a letter of thankfullness to the Pastoral Leaders, present and past. They shared, nurtured and blessed me with their abundant faith for so many years.  They molded me into the upright spiritual being I am today. I am far from a perfect role model; thankfully He is not through with me yet. He continues to change me from earthly things to the heavenly.  For one month I've been reading out of 3 spiritual daily meditation booklets and also from well worn OA (overeaters' anonymous) and Al-anon booklets. Though edifying, they were somehow not enough.  My soul begged for more like the dryest sponge pleads for pure soaking waters. Voila - this 34 week retreat! Again an answer to my prayers.  Thank you Lord. And thank you for devising this online retreat.

Hello, and thank you for this retreat. Today is only the first day, and I have learned so much already - the most precious of which is that I have God's undivided attention!  How overwhelming; how comforting; how healing! How extremely humbling to know...

Today is the 5th day of my first week of this retreat.  I chose to use this day to reflect upon my college years and discovered that it was a time marked by financial and emotional insecurity.  In these years, it seems I lost the strong financial and emotional security I had as a young child, and I tried (unsuccessfully) to rebuild a new one out of what was destroyed.  Over twenty years later, I find that I  have carried the effects of that into my adult experience.  Despite this, I have learned through the readings that God alone is my security.  I hope this knowledge changes how I relate to the people in my life and my relationship with a God.God bless, and thank you for this retreat.

Today, I was sleepy all day long. I’m preparing the first semester with seminarians as a spiritual director but even I also want to journey together. I worked as a chaplain of university for five years before here. I’m exhausted but at this time I think I disposed on the proper place. Koreans are mostly hard workers because of the atmosphere of society. We need to take pause. I was expected to get some useful helps from this site. I want to feel again his presence in my life-journey. I’ll follow the guidance and lead the seminarians which I should be obliged to take care of. The dynamic of Spiritual Exercises might be useful to all of them. I would do the self-experiment first and then give them a chance to follow. Thank you for your enthusiasm of Campus Ministry.

I began my retreat week 1 yesterday.. I remember how it had been for me. I was always too scared to remember my past as I always believed that I had too many things to run away from.
I prayed to the lord to give me the strength and accept what I see again in my lifes album. However, after I began, and ran through my life experiences, I could see that in everything despite the pitfalss god was there with me..
Even before I was born, my father left us and went. My mother abused me and believed that I was the cause of her plight as she had to come back and couldnt remarry or succeed in life as she was left to care for me.
As I grew up , I was constantly reminded by my grandma and mother, the sacrifice she did for me.. she told me many times that it would have been better if I had died. Some other times, she was a loving and sweet person..
Grew up very confused, about life and god. Felt that I was a burden and full of many mistakes always bothering others/troubling others& Lost my mother in mid 20s and soon after my grandmother.
Was left alone, and helpless. But god took control of my life. And thats when he started revealing himself to me. I never knew the god of the bible.. Now, I feel that in all this also he took care of me. He wanted me to live since he had a bigger plan for my life. He made my mother care for me, despite not wanting to & he provided for all my needs and wants.. he protected me from all dangers.. he was there all the time I was sad and depressed..
Nothing is more comforting, that realizing that my past is no more a baggage.. he has taken the pain away completely.. everyone will answer him for everything& and he controls everything.. he brought me to it.. he will take me through it..
Today I feel that, I was not responsible for all the bad that happened in others life.. and he has been with me always.. lord I love you.. thank you for being with me in everything.
Thank you for making me a more silent and quieter person who understands others needs& if I hadnt faced this, I wont have realized the importance of meekness, humbleness and love.lord make me your vessel and fill me with your grace today..

Hi I really am inconsistent with daily routines. I loved the accept acceptance reading so much I found the book to order.  I am writing to anyone else who lacks discipline.  Let's hang in there and see where this leads.

This is the start of week 1. I have always thought about God being there when everything is fine. And I have had some insight into my crisis, bad judgements, wrongdoings and the thought that God was there even during those times. Comforting.

I just completed my first week.  Found it difficult, because I could only remember the unpleasant times in my life. I struggled to find the good and happy times.  I even ask my husband what he remembered in his childhood and he brought up happy times.  I struggled with this because he had a difficult childhood, but he remembered the good!  As the week unfolded, I became aware of  the need for healing in these areas of my life.  I thought a great deal of how my parents were raised, which reflects of who I am today.  I am not perfect... Praise God, and I will always be a work in progress.

I stumbled upon your online weekly retreat site.  Wow!  I might say it's mere coincidence, but I think not.  I'm normally horrible at novena's and things requiring discipline of that sort, but I will try!  Thank you for putting this out there!

Lord, thank you for giving me my life story rather than any other, or anyone else’s—thank you for leading me along the paths you’ve led me, rather than any other paths (no matter how much I might what-if or daydream or regret the loss of possibilities in choosing one to become actual).  May I be faithful to you and make you smile by following this path wholeheartedly, holding nothing back, expecting nothing except your grace, hoping for nothing except you, who are everything. Amen.


Last week (Week I) was kind of amazing, especially since this is the second time I have attempted this retreat.  What I most noticed was God’s consistency in my life.  From a very young age I have been aware of and dependent upon God’s presence and of his love for me.  And, really no surprise, He’s still at it.  The difference for me was in the way I perceived that presence. 

On my first time through the retreat—didn’t make it all the way through—I was motivated by a desire to improve my relationship with Christ; to “do something better” so that I would feel God’s presence more keenly.  Since I was the one “doing” all the heavy lifting, I didn’t really get the concept of “background.”  The retreat was just more stuff to do.  Last week was quite different.  For the first time in my life I was able to let go and let God do the work.  That may sound like a “duh” moment, for some of you, but for this type A first born it was a miracle.

And, “background” didn’t mean that I was oblivious to what God was doing, either.  I had moments throughout the week that showed me in some pretty concrete ways that God was near.  Not by big things, but in the small things that usually seem mundane and insignificant.  So, I continue to depend on God’s graces as this week unfolds.

Susan M.

This week has helped me to see that as a young child I found the unconditional love I needed and craved from God.  He knew what my parents were unable to provide and enabled me to form a healthy attachment.

I am beginning my 1st week of the retreat. I'm really nervous...not because I don't want to cultivate my relationship with God but because I have a history of not finishing what I start. I don't want to fail at this retreat like I have failed in other ways in my life. I think that the passage about Acceptance resonates with me deeply because I do not accept myself, which makes it difficult to recognize when I am accepted by others (and more importantly accepted by God). Throughout this journey, I pray that I remain committed, that I allow myself to grow in my faith, and that I become a better and more whole person when the 34 weeks conclude. Thank you God for even making me aware of this retreat and guiding me back to You.

When I read that "the deepest human need is to be accepted," and prayed for it, I asked God that He would allow my mouth to always sing praise to the Lord, and my heart only share love to my neighbors. May I always say the truth in a nice way so that I will never let down other people. May I always grow through knowing my weaknesses.

God Bless you Spiritual Directors at Creighton for creating this online retreat of the Spiritual Exercises!  I am nearing the end of week one and am so grateful for this opportunity.  I live in a small mountain town with no Jesuit priests here at the present time.  I have found the Jesuit Spirituality to be an answer to my deepening call from God to be "in the world but not of it".  At times I thought I heard the beaconing to become a cloistered Carmelite because of love of contemplative prayer.  It is difficult to reconcile that call with my busy life in the world.  The Jesuit Way of Proceeding is speaking to me now and I want to thank you for this retreat community.  I realize even though at present there is not a Jesuit Spiritual Director here in my area, we have Pope Francis who is very present with his love and teaching.  This week is especially healing through shedding God's love and light on the wounds and blessings of my life.    

God Bless you all, Juliana

 I am a protestant Church of the Nazarene minister going through the retreat.  I am on week one, but am already touched by the richness of the exercises.  God truly did touch Saint Ignatius. I at times doubt my abilities to be an effective minister. Reflecting on my life and how God has always been in it, I am encouraged.  I realize that whatever God calls me to do, He will be there with me as He always has in the past, and He will equip me to do as He commands.  

Stephen M

Thank you so much for "The Courage to Accept Acceptance". I realized while reading it that my whole life has been lived not being accepted as I am. At 63 years old it's been a sad and lonely life but I am determined to change all of that as well as my feelings of inadequacy and accept me as I am. I firmly believe that I am on the right track with the online retreat and look forward to each week of growing and learning. 

I am starting this retreat today - Thursday 19 September after an absence of some years when I moved house and got out of the rwythym, or got a new computer, or changed the server or whatever. I was confused about spirituality and was received into formation as a secular Carmelite. The regional director has become a great friend and guide and we are both agreed that there are many ways to Carmel and I don't feel the need to travel over 50 miles for the meetings which are in any event without a formator/trix.  Also I use Sacred Space and the Loyola Press on line as prayer guides in the comfort of my own home, surrounded by lovely mountains, hills and vales which go to make up this world of Wales - only the inmate does not correspond - me - to quote Hopkins!!  So I turn to this  mode by starting the retreat with you and sharing what I feel.

Childhood memories and being cursed by my mother led me to tell him about it one day when he came to lunch with us.  In the immediate he quoted from Romans 8:31,32.  I had been recalling the curse and it was upsetting me i.e. that I would reach old age and be alone with no-one to love me.  These words would recur throughout trials and tribulations but I would turn to what Michael quoted - I have just read the whole of Ch. 8 and the difficulties I experience in life are now tempered with these beautiful words to give us Hope to give us Strength - especially in times of weakness in dealing with the sinfulness of our human nature - they add strength to our Faith - God's gift to us, who waters the seed - so tiny - planted in us at our baptism - our nouriture which fosters its growth - like a secret place within us - we can't see how it flourishes nor how it droops when we separate ourselves in sinful behaviour - drawn by the subtleties of the evil one - but He has power over that when we turn to Him in Hope and lastly Love - how this charity calls - how it heals the wounds - how it is manifest in the love of others affirming the damaged love of ourselves - like the mother - poor mother so misguided and damaged herself - poor humans!! it is a good job the Trinity decided amongst themselves that we were going to rack and ruin and one of them had better come down and be Incarnate that we might be saved from ourselves and so Our blessed Lord was born to a virgin named Mary - Hail Mary full of Grace - the response when asked would she bear a son - Let it be done to me according to your Will - so we have a prayer to make ourselves, when in doubt and don't know where to go and in the immediate we are shown 'the Way' and led amongst the flowers and perfumes of Grace despite ourselves, or rather over and above ourselves, to follow with the prayer of commitment the Contemplation to attain Love itself.

Here goes - First week - I am a bit late in starting as because I follow the daily readings of the Mass which I try to get to each day but don't always make it for times vary - the nice Priest has many commitments in a large Parish all on his own - hospital chaplaincy - university chaplaincy - the catholic primary school - all the people with their needs - yet he remains, despite all these commitments, a good priest and a good mate too - with humour and able to express himself on how he is feeling one to one - very nurturing, very human yet still with that capacity to great reverence to his calling as a disciple of the Lord. I have no idea to whom this is addressed as we live in a pretty remote place and because we are getting on - late seventies - a lot of our friends have died, so for us, this is the last chapter too.  'Us' is a married couple for nigh on 54 years! I am really happy with having written all this down to 'catch up' with the week, somehow it has flowed out of me like a living stream - thanks for the invitation - God bless whoever you are

Pat S.

How amazing that it is so difficult to understand how much
God loves us, and to accept that. I never really thought that accepting god's love for us would be a prerequisite of sorts for our loving Him.That just goes to show how much god does love us, doesn't it? The exercises this week have shown me many snapshots whereI had never noticed my heavenly Father was in the picture, right next to me, regardless of the occasion... why did I miss that during al of those instant replays?

Starting the retreat this week one, I am faced with looking back. This is not new because recently in a class I had similar exercises.  Still I notice my tendency to remember the painful memories most, and dwell there. It has been a habit of thinking all my life. Recently I am praying and trying to just be thankful. It is not the usual track my mind travels, but when I can be grateful for the care I have received, and even the struggles and mistakes, that is when the forgiveness flows and the JOY is born! It seems to take much Grace and practice to change my thinking.

I have begun this journey with the first week now underway.  First I am one of those people who "know" God loves me, but don't usually realize it at all.  I now have a confessor/spiritual director who gave me some insight to be gentle with myself as I begin these Exercises. By nature, I am usually over analytical, and my hope is just to remember and look over my past and NOT become attached to the past--because it is just that--past. Certainly, it is what shaped me, and I must deal with it.  I must also remember to be grateful for the good and the bad, because it got me to this beautiful point!  I pray for courage to accept acceptance…and mostly for God's grace to stay in God's love!

The idea of God's infinite love for me from my creation in my mother's womb through all the stages and, trials of my life is awesome to me.  I want to learn how to love Jesus with this same infinite, awesome love.  I thank God for leading me on this journey through the Ignatian spiritual exercises.  I look forward to what tomorrow may bring through Christ our Lord. Amen

As I begin this retreat as an older woman,  I stare at the beautiful photo of the baby in his mother's arms with the blessed naked little, chubby body,  I'm am reminded simply that I too once was a cherubic baby in my mother's arms. I am grateful for both the reality and the reminder!

I started this "process", which is what the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius is all about, just like any diet or exercise process is for the body.  Results come with time & effort, not from just the Desire for a change.  As St. James says, "Faith without works is dead."  So too is Desire for change without effort dead.

I was blessed to have received the full experience of the Spiritual Exercises, with a Jesuit Father to direct me, just over 10 years ago, and I will say to those starting this Online Retreat, if you want something out of it, you've got to put something into it.  The rewards I received were beyond words.

We hear our non-Catholic Christian brothers and sisters speak of developing a "personal relationship with Christ" as the source of their salvation.  I will tell you that my experience gave me, not only that "personal relationship with Christ," but, also, a very real sense of all Three Persons of the Holy Trinity.

Due to some rather difficult personal circumstances, I am following the process of the Spiritual Exercises online, just to reinforce the Love of God I came to know all those years ago.  I have had some real struggles, mentally & emotionally, with the circumstances in my life, but my Faith and Trust in the Love of My God has continued to sustain me.  He is your God too, and you, too, can come to know the limitlessness of His Love.

Like some of you, Life does get in the way, and, after 3 weeks, I'm still on Week One, but that is my personal choice to hold true to the process.  I really don't care how long it takes, because I already know, there is a Pot of Gold at the end of this Rainbow. -- Kenny

I started this project the same week I celebrated 18 years of living in my current city -- the longest I've ever lived anywhere. Also coincidentally I had the chance to revisit some places from my past that I hadn't seen in quite a while. So the week was filled with "photos" of my past. I came away with the sense that while I tend to think of my past as written in stone, it's a lot more fluid and flexible than that. Not written in stone. Subject to interpretation.

But the biggest grace I experienced was hearing someone say, on the last day of the week of my contemplation of my past, that the life I'm living today is my life. He was making the point that we aren't living the life we intend to live at some point in the future, after we accomplish whatever we intend to accomplish; believe we need to accomplish to be complete or okay. Our life today is our life. The concept can also be applied to our history. I am not my history or my future. I am my present. How I'm living right now is my life.

My husband and I are beginning this retreat together, and I am already feeling God at work with our relationship, as we share in this first week memories that stand out from our separate childhoods.  Thank you for providing this wonderful resource!

Week 1: I've always tried to come to God in theSacrament of Reconciliation and prayed the penance.  But for quite a while I find I'm praying for a contrite heart.  Now, for the first time I praying week seven of Retreat in the Real World and
   trying to develop an awareness of patterns of sin in my life.  One thing that came to mind was an algorithm.  Steps of consequences, either moving towards of away from God's loving embrace.  it gets a bit personal when it
   comes to sharing patterns of sin, but one thing I can see are the seeds of habits.
   How can I give meaning to my awareness of God's infinite forgiveness and not have a contrite heart. 

Week 1: I dreaded looking at personal sin;  I was afraid of the waves of shame.  But songs and words from scripture about God exulting over me and wrapping me in a robe of salvation helped me.  It helped to read the reflections, too, b/c I could take comfort knowing others found it hard to look at their faults.  And I reflected that while it's good to desire to BE good that very desire can work against me, and the Evil One knows very well how to use that desire against me in many subtle ways.  Alleluia-I survived that storm!

Week 1: Today I am starting this retreat. I know that I have deep feelings of rejection that stem from when I was a baby. God has already shown me this. I know too that I badly need to believe in Gods acceptance of me and by the grace of God I am starting to do that. However I know that feelings of rejection are still influencing me in a bad way today and affecting my relationships. I believe that God wants me to really meditate on how he loves me and to be transformed. I felt him tell me to go back into the past and look at things with him and then I remembered about this site. I tried the retreat a while ago but painful feelings arose and I felt I could not deal with them and so had to stop. I really hope it is different this time and pray that God will be with me and guide my thoughts

Week 1: Hello Everyone,
This week's topic brings to my mind, the recent mob action carried on 4 young persons in my country.

I have not had the heart to watch the clips but from everyone's comment and the news, it was said that the mob action lasted for about 4 hours...where the 4 young university students were stripped naked, beaten to death and nearly burnt before the crowd was scattered by some security agents. Last week, i heard the voice of the mother of one of the boys that were killed when she was speaking to the press, and could feel the pain and agony in her voice.

This story combined with this week's topic just brought to the fore the suffering and death of our Lord Jesus Christ. He was beaten, stripped and nailed on the cross as we were told in the Bible. Some of us Christians will easily condemn the actions of the Jews and Pharisees, but we find ourselves doing worse things. For instance, the mob action described above might have had a lot of Christians who participated in that action. Some watched and jeered at the crowd.

Finally, for all the atrocities, violence, man's inhumanity to man, we can only count on the mercies of God relying on the death and the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ which was used to pay for our sins on the cross. May God forgive our generation, Amen!

Week 1: The sin with which I am struggling right now is two fold...perhaps three or four!  First it is anger, anger at having been told at Mass this past Sunday essentially how to vote...that abortion is murder and to vote that ticket is wrong.   I don't believe in abortion, but neither do I believe in ignoring the needs of the poor, my heart is with those who struggle to keep ends together. 

I ask myself, "are you rationalizing?  Are you acting independent of the will of God or simply doing what in your    heart you feel called to do?"

And I wonder, " is it a sin if I feel it is the right thing to do?". And "did that priest have the right to tell his people what they should do?  My husband went to a different church and that priest simply said..." informed and vote."

I will vote according to my conscience, grateful for God's love and never ending mercy.

Week 1: I did the 19th Annotation back in the early 80’s. I’m really liking this approach to this ‘retreat’ much better. I have appreciated the idea of just ‘staying with’ the thoughts and memories of my childhood and taking them with me into everything I do today and tomorrow to see where. They lead me and how God can and will speak to me and heal me in the midst of everything past and present.  I have so many very good memories. As well as very painful and difficult one, as we all do I am sure.  I’m also grateful to sit with and rest in the reality that God loves me and accepts me. As I am and not as I would like to be, so I can also learn to accept and love myself as God does. That will make all the difference. I’m also appreciating the use of mp3 player to ‘hear’ the guidelines and to listen to them a number of times to help me ‘be more in touch’ with things I may have missed.

The first time around.  Thank you God for all your great love for me and thank you Andy and Maureen for your graced giftedness being shared and passed on to the rest of us. Peace and goodness. 

Week 1: What a week!  This is my first week of the online retreat.  How different reflecting on my past life has been, this time round!  There has been none of the usual tiptoeing back through the memories, carefully skirting the embarrassments, the dark days, the confrontations, and the pain.  This time it has all been in review and exposed to scrutiny.

As is the case with most, if not all, of us, the review has involved the full spectrum of feeling – from deep affection to total revulsion.  It was easy to see God’s presence throughout much of it, comforting, blessing and celebrating the good things, the good choices.  It was harder to acknowledge that he was still there during all the negative stuff – not just a passive spectator, but patiently providing the opportunities for me to turn things round, to make a better choice.  So many bad choices and yet, so many opportunities to turn things round.

I am feeling his grace working in me now, providing insights, encouraging and strengthening.  Reflecting on this week’s theme has reminded me of how flawed I really am; but also how valued and, most importantly, how loved.

Phil (You may use my name.)

Week 1: Just finishing week one.  I can feel it working.  Thanks. JJW

Week 1: Week one was awesome. I was shown how God was there with me, all through my life, despite my side-lining him for so much of the time. I was shocked to realise how very bad I had been in my teenage years and early adult life, in that I had never for a moment relinquished control to the Lord Jesus. However, God did not leave me, and He guided me back to Him, and He is now beginning to show me what it means to be  truly free. Rebecca, London, UK

Week 1: Where to start?  Reflecting on my early years has been positive for me and spilling over to my brothers and sister.  I remember things they don’t and vise versa.  In general, we had a happy childhood, although we were born in the early 1940’s, when the much of the world was at war.  How much did the war stunt our growth, physically and spiritually?  I have in a scrapbook ration cards so I know some food items were scarce.  Did my Mom’s milk come with worry in it?  Only God knows. 

My Dad was too old for the draft, but worked in a Navy shipyard as an electrician to help the war effort.  We were left behind in South Dakota, near our maternal Grandparents.  Somehow we managed, but I imagine we had sadness and worry.  I was baptized into the faith and introduced to Jesus – mostly as a historical figure, not as my Friend.  And yet, we learned the song “Jesus loves me this I know”, so we must have absorbed some of God’s love and seeds of faith. We were also taught the bedtime prayer, “now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep….”  Not a prayer I’d recommend to little kids now.

I regret falling away from the church in my teen-age years.  Somehow, God protected me from harm despite my ignorance of Her love and constant presence and protection.  – to be continued.  Tom, MN

Week 1: I invested almost two weeks in week one because I narcissistically  believed that my story required more time to reflect because my lost childhood was so much sadder and more horrible than anyone else’s; my feelings of God’s abandonment so much more deep rooted. Now, I’m embarrassed by these feelings. I thought that, by using the vehicle of this retreat to rehash over and over the same memories I’ve been obsessed with all my life, they would somehow miraculously erase. After all, isn’t that what my religions all about? Miraculous recoveries from sickness….not! Over the course of this first “week” I came to realize that these memories, these events, that helped shape who I’ve become (I’m 57), will always be there and there’s no miracles changing that. But, and here’s the great news coming out of this week, I also came to realize that back then, when as a little kid I felt trapped in despair and loneliness, God was walking with me! Today, as I struggle with who I’ve allowed myself to become, God is walking with me! Tomorrow, he’ll be there too! I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to understand this and realize that these truths have always been there for me. Now, every time I contemplate the reality of God’s presence in my life, I feel a joyful flutter in my heart. I cry with joy to know He never gave up on me. Now, it’s time to do my part and use each moment as a gift to walk down the path to the destiny He has for me. On to week two.

Week 1: It occurs to me in reflecting on my photo album that God often does His best work during the messiest times. Why is that?

Week 1: When I started week one, I was quite scared that the week's tasks would be too painful and difficult, but instead I am feeling so loved and accepted by God, already being healed from the hurt of the past and of my own mistakes.  God knows everything about me, even the very worst, but I know that I am held in the palm of his hand.  I can feel His love and compassion, and I am increasingly able to feel love and compassion for others, even those who have caused me pain.  God is entering into every area of my life, even parts that I had closed off and treated as separate before.   I can see so many gifts He has given to me, and am filled with love and gratitude, and can see the times when He was with me and I didn't know or care, or I actively rejected Him, and I am sorry for that.  I didn't want to look at the picture as I found it painful, but God held me and took the fear away, so I could see His love there, not sadness and sorrow.  As I love my son so deeply and unconditionally, so I now see God as a loving parent to me, the good shepherd caring, guiding, and welcoming me home.

Thank you for the invitation for the retreat. I fell blessed to be part of a wider Christian community who are all on this shared journey of life. As I have started and on week 1 and reflecting back on my childhood I somehow can recall mostly sad, lonely and abandonment feelings. If only I recognised that I wasn't alone but My Heavenly Father was with me at the time. I know that now and thank My Lord and Saviour for His presence even without my awareness as I know He must have carried me through and still does all the pitfalls and obstacles which come across my life path each day. Thank you Lord Jesus for your redemption, Heavenly Father for giving me this precious gift of life and to the Holy Spirit for raising me up to a place of grace each day. Amen

I thought that I had been here before
I’d done other retreats
I’ve been fully engaged
Why do it again?

Yet I realized that my journey has just begun
And, on reflection, I realize that I have no idea where I really am
I only know that I am just beginning to set out on a spiritual journey
On a search for meaning and understanding and finding ways to contribute to the greater good

So here I go
I take a first step into this retreat
And am delighted to open it to welcoming spiritual reflections
In celebration of starting out again

I take a breath and type a thought and push send
To my fellow journeyers

Week 1: I began this retreat some time ago. Then the busyness of life kept me away. As I began my year at the preschool where I work I decided to return to the retreat. It was easy for this week to see God’s love in my life. I felt at every turn how much he loves me. I do not say that  my life was easy. No far from it and I have been wrestling many a time with why God allowed things in my life. Yet this time I feel his love. Let me ask you to pray for Jordan where I am from. All is well here but I ask you to keep my home town and preschool in your prayers.
Thank you,

For the past week or so, I have been reading Creighton's daily reflections.   Life right now is somewhat out of whack.  Our daughter is away from us...having just begun her second year in college.  And our son has begun his own two year process of leaving.   What will become of my wife and me?   I have given up a couple of time consuming activities....just because.  And I've been praying for the courage to listen for...and to answer...God's calling, whatever it may be.   Now I've unexpectedly found the online retreat.  Shall I join this journey?  I don't know.

I just started week 1 (Liturgical Calendar) of the Retreat and was going through the Photo Album of my childhood.  But this morning my 15 years old, pet dog Maffy,  passed away and I find consolation to go through the album over the past 15 years.  In taking my pet for walks in the early mornings & nights I was able to see the beauty of God’s creation all around me.  In the morning, the sky, the flowers, birds, the sunrise, the cool breeze,  meeting other dog lovers, making friends with little children who would call out to her.  In the evening the moon, stars, clouds etc.  I became more aware of God’s glory, and would recite the Psalm of Daniel i.e. Book of Daniel 3:52 – 87.  Giving below a few verses:

62Sun and moon, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.

63Stars of heaven, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.

64Every shower and dew, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.

80All you birds of the air, bless the Lord; praise and exalt him above all forever.….

While Maffy would stop to smell the grass and sniff at the ground, I would look around me and praise my Creator and thank Him for all His gifts of creation.  Today as I go through the photo album of these  past years I can thank God especially for the gift of ‘Maffy” to me and my family.

Dear Fellow Retreatants..
I discovered this online retreat through a Facebook friend and although I decided to officially begin this week, I read the material for the first week last Wednesday and began to reflect on my earliest years. To my surprise, the next day I was invited to join a “Back to the town where I grew up” Facebook page and everyone from my earliest years (and even before that) is posting memories and photos that so many of us share in common. So many memories are now surfacing that I would never have remembered on my own! God is so good! Blessings on all of you as we begin this journey together. The Lord is with us... going before us to prepare the way!
A fellow traveler!

I know it is only the start of week one but I felt very emotional thinking back to my childhood.  I was very spiritual when I was a young boy.  In fact, I considered being a priest.  So many things changed and not for the best.  Oh how I wish I could tap into my younger years especially my deep faith.  Life tends to make us suspicious and cynical.  I want have the child like faith such as St.Theresa of the Child Jesus.I looked all old photos like the book suggest.  It made me happy and yet sad at the same time.  Are these contradictory feelings typical?  I also though of my won children.  I hope that the fears and anxieties of my childhood will not pass on to them.  I pray for God's grace in this first of many weeks.

This is my first week of the retreat.  I read with some difficulty "The Courage to Accept Acceptance", for it spoke quickly to my core.  I will need to read it again, later, when I gather my wits.  I am not looking forward to looking at my life's album. I feel apprehension, fear, sadness, and do not know where I will find God in those 'photos.'  But I know he must be, as I know He has led me here, now. I also know that He does provide for me when I have made my needs known.  I just don't have a clear picture of what I "need" now.  I am needing the grace of clarity.  I do not suspect this retreat will be easy.  I look forward to what I may gain, through the grace of God.

So many times during my life, when things were going badly, the Lord send someone to make things easier or to guide me.  Of course I didn't realize it at the time, but can see it clearly looking back.  For instance when I was very depressed with 4 young children, a kind doctor suggested I go to work outside the home.  That cured the depression and made me me a much better mother.

Fellow Retreatants, as I begin this retreat in daily life my “secular” meets and greets the “sacred” again. I pause to remember that it’s not my destination, but my journey that enthralls me. I am reminded of the words of Ignatius: Keep your soul in peace – let God work in you. Welcome thoughts that raise your heart to Him. Open wide the windows of your soul.  Also, from Fr. Jack Zuercher, SJ:  Good and Gracious God: Thank you for LIFE…For THIS life…For this life TODAY…For this life NOW!
Mark, MN

Beginning today! I've begun so many times before! So many times my beginnings to kick-start my spiritual life have been short lived, I just found a notebook dated 6th July 2008. With one entry saying what I am feeling now, the need to try to be faithful to making some small changes to let God in. It then had a second entry from a month later and then blank pages. I really want this new Dawn to be better, I really want to let God in and to open my life to God fully. God help me to begin again and to truly do all for your greater glory. So let me open my photo book of my life! Thank You.

Week 1, day 3:   Every moment is a new start – a new outpouring of God’s grace and forgiveness, so that I do not have to be moulded by what has gone before – He is a constant creator, he can make me new again, he forgets my sin and never tires in starting again to make me in his image.  I am not tied to my past, to what I did and what was done to me, what I saw and thought about.  I can open my eyes, look up and see him again, and again and again every moment making a new start towards him.  Every step is new, every moment is a new life in which I can be transformed by his grace and power.
I look at the pictures in my head of the past and I am looking at a stranger – someone on their way to where I am now.  I feel sorry for her, often ashamed by her.  But she is no longer me.  I see all the blessings she had, the people who were kind, the moments she felt joy.  And God was with her as he is with me, bringing her on, guarding and guiding.
Praise you, Lord!

Week 1
I have long wanted to attend a retreat on Ignatian Spirituality.  A Jesuit-friend of mine showed me the Daily Reflections section of the online ministries.  When I opened the website I saw the online retreat and I was so excited to start.  But when I saw how long it would take,  34 weeks,  I almost backed out.  How can I finish the 34 weeks?  That's almost as long as  a baby is in his mother's womb!  
I know the Lord will lead me the way,  all the way to the 34th week. He will not only be waiting for me at the finish line but will be rooting for me along the way till I reach the 34th.
It was so wonderful to open the album of of my life.  I am amazed at how the brain can store so manfy memories. And yes,  the pain brought about by painful events of my life were also there.  Through all of them,  my Lord and my God was there.  Keeping me in good company,  rejoicing with me in my victories and crying with me during the dark times.  HE was embracing me like the baby in his mother's arms.  Back then,  I didn't know that HE was there.  Only now,  in hindsight,  do I really understand that HE did not abandon me.
Lord,  help me  go on to the 2nd week.

It is my 7th day of the first week of this retreat. I started this because I am in a state of desolation that had been on and off in the last few months. As a psychiatrist who practices what I teach, I had writrten the story of my life over and over again in the many journals that I had written through the years. Despite having grown up in spiritual direction as well, this week made me once again realize that I had been raised and continue to believe that I have to earn God's love. It is easy to believe that God loved me before I was born and He knew me by name and that He is always there with me in joy and pain, success and failures. He has never left me. My struggle at this time is to not only know it in my head but feel it in my heart and live it in my being... at all times, not only when I am well but especially when there seems to be nothing happening in my life outside... One gift from the Holy Spirit this week is the comfort to realize that God designed this time of my life to stop me from being busy in life so I can again be busy inside (inspired as in in spirit)... a lot of growth inward is what He wants me to do for the moment. Please help me pray that I learn how to let God lead me completely in His time rather than forcing Him to lead me in my time.

Week 1: Today is the first day of my online retreat.  As I was mentally viewing photos of my young life, I saw 2 photos of me as a child in school, and I remember being hungry and d id not have enough cash to buy food.  I then asked the Lord. "where You there Lord?" i remembered the guide for the week says, just than the Lord.  Then i went to suggested readings and i came upon Luke's message, do not worry about what to eat and drink for Your Father knows what you need even before you ask Him.  Suddenly, i was sobbing and scolding God why, and at the same time thanking Him, because I am way beyond hunger and want now.  Thank you Lord.

First week  - getting  in touch with the Exercises of St Ignatius on his feast day 31 July
Feeling very distressed over relationships with one of the children, due to his relationships!
First week day 1-
Unable to concentrate but turned to prayer calling upon old SJ friends – decd. To guide me, my sp. Director in particular from the past.
Went to Mass each day for three days and offered  myself as a sinner loved by God. During the last of these days had a visit with my medical practioner – this pre-booked necessity due to reporting E.C.G. results from previous week. Felt very vunerable but was cared for – cardiology appt. Pending.
Whilst at Mass prayed to St. Jospeph re domicile as unsuitable because of ill-health of husband and I.
Result led to Estate Office where realised that where I live as tenant could be given to my son as he is divorced and has impoverished himself in supplying house, car and income for his wife and dearly loved child and therefore needs a home himself.  Go back and live in town – providing easy move because could leave much property behind in house for son and grandchild.
Was disturbed by suggestion to look at earliest memories – these are prompted by temptation to dwell on Mother’s announcement at a later age that I had been an unwanted child. – My sp. Director had suggested that Romans 8 provides the antidote to this that nothing can separate us from the Love of God. This was the 18 Sunday’s reading!!
There were other memories – delightful – crying in bed and being covered and comforted by ‘a cloud’ – aged about 2-3. Wandering alone by the river and watching a butterfly/dragonfly immerging from a crysallis on the branch of a tree overlooking the river.
Having realised a move back to town from the country and providing my son with a home at the same time seems to be a possibility and one with which my husband is in accord!! Unusual for him but he has so many problems both physical and mental.  Further it would be o.k. for me to live alone there, not here as it is a very remote place and not readily accessible.
Will await further progress.  Nevertheless had prayed at the beginning that despite my depressed  state still realised that All my Hope on God is Founded – He does still my Trust renew – Me through change and chance He guideth ......etc. lines from the hymn.
As I write and when I awoke sang in my head as is my wont – Walk with me Oh my Lord thro’ the darkest night and brightest day!
Also my other son with his difficult relationships telephoned a kindly phone call last evening which put my mind at rest. Realise that God always answers my cries for help and renews my love – I think this is also the effect of agere contra as in the exx.

Week 1, Day 1:  As I read THE COURAGE TO ACCEPT ACCEPTANCE, I found that I not only recognized the symptoms of not feeling accepted manifest in my adult life, but I saw them in those people whom I love and whom have hurt me in some way. As God loves me as he loves His only begotten Son, I am called to love others as He loves them. Acceptance, in the way Peter Van Breeman suggests, is key to loving even my enemies. I am reminded of the prayer of St. Francis: "...grant that I may not so much be understood as to understand." I pray that the courage to examine my life and accept God's acceptance, will grant me the grace to understand, forgive, and love myself and others.

I am completing my first week of the retreat.  And, some of the photos of my life are very depressing to say the least.  But, I learned after watching a television program last night and reflecting on my readings that forgiveness is accepting that there is nothing you can do to change the past, so you just have to accept and let it go.  But most importantly, that past doesn't define you.  God gives us grace and mercy each day and He just expects us to focus on This day--- not remain annoyed or agitated about yesterday and certainly not to worry about tomorrow.  So I release that past from me.

Week 1: I think anyone looking at my life would say that I am truly blessed. They would be correct. Then why is it that when I reflect on my life, I focus so much on the embarrassing, negative, painful incidents? Why do I have such a hard time remembering the good in my life? Lord, please help me to focus on the good in myself and others.

Week 1:
As I went through the week thinking of the early part of my life I was reminded that the things that brought me joy and wonder as a child still bring me the same joy and wonder, particularly when I see them reflected in the unfolding life of my three-year-old grandson.  The theme of acceptance was particularly comforting to me in the midst of constant turmoil in both work and personal life – it formed a quiet core that enabled me to place things in perspective and find order amidst chaos.

I have just started the online study. My parish priest suggested I learn about the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola and a Google search led me to this site. I think that is an amazing example of God's grace right there! I have just finished weeks one and two. I am so amazed, looking back over my life, including the painful times, how I can see God's hand at work in what happened, even though I often didn't sense or acknowledge His presence at the time. I realize how rich my life has been, in both good and bad experiences. I feel like I owe God a lot of "thank yous" for being there, even when I didn't acknowledge Him. Although I wish I had lived a more godly life up until now, I really feel God's grace at this moment. He has loved me and loves me still, even though I fall woefully short of his goals for me. I am really jazzed - that is the best word for it - to continue on this journey. Thank you for this online retreat.

Week 1:

The first week is coming to a close.  Father, I acknowledge that I did not begin this week with any great excitement for the task.  Although I had been eager to begin, having planned it for several weeks, the first step seemed much too mundane and ordinary.  In my professional life, I have taken many people through the photo album of their lives, and watched you bring healing as Jesus revealed His presence in the most tragic of circumstances. What could I possible learn by applying this to myself? There has never been any great trauma in my life, and besides, I had already done this task in bits and pieces many times throughout the years.  Why once more?  But Lord, how great is your wisdom.  I end this week much more humble and grateful than when I began. Not because there were many "eureka" moments when I discovered you where I hadn't seen you before, but because you used my obedience to draw me so much more deeply into the awareness of your closeness to and love for me.  This was truly most unexpected, regardless of the guides and helps that said it would be so.  Lord, forgive my arrogance, and thank you for your great joy and delight in me.  Thank you for not only being present to me, but also for drawing me into your own personal space this last week. You have opened within me a deep hole, a well of longing that I know only you can fill.  Help me to be faithful to the calling of the next thirty-three weeks.  I desire every last drop of grace that you have in store for me. Amen.

Week 1:
During my weekly twelve step meeting this Saturday, I streamed through experiences of particularly grievous instances of "acting out" my addictive behavior.  I am sober now, and have been for over fifteen years.  In the past when recalling such experiences I have shuddered, tumultuously.  I haven't revisited them much because of that.  But this time, with memory after memory, I stood outside each one just contemplating them.  Each contemplation took the form of an image -- like paging through the suggested the photo album, though interestingly this was before I had heard of the "Photo Album" method of reviewing the past.  Each photo and all of them together left me with a feeling of peace and a sentiment of gratitude.  The peace resulted from recognition that, "yes, I've been through this crap -- but now I am free of it, and simply do not want to have experiences like this ever again.  The gratitude was in recognition that by the grace of God I am sober.  Still vulnerable, but sober.

Week 1 - Day 1:
This is my first day of a new journey.  I'm not sure how I feel right now other than eager.  God has always guided me in smooth paths and He has guided me to this retreat.  He has set me on a gently winding path so that I can see the first few steps; but what is beyond that is known only to the Divine Majesty.
To be honest (as if I'll be anything but, right? :-D), since I don't know what I'll be feeling during the next weeks, I am asking the Holy Spirit to grace me with the gift of openness to the other graces which I will receive from the retreat and to let them impel me toward a closer relationship with our Heavenly Father and his Son.
God's blessings to you all.

Week 1:
As I go through the memories of my childhood, I am struck by the fact that God was present to me even as a very young child.
I have often wondered why I was so attracted to prayer and the Church at such a young age, and then I recall some very painful times where the Lord was my only consolation or help. 
There is my answer.  God knew that I would need Him, so He always made sure that I was aware of His love and presence.  I remember being surprised as a child that not everybody was aware of the God's presence, and wondered how they could possibly survive without knowing his love.
I have been praying for the Lord to teach me how to serve Him, and I think that I'd have to say that school is in session. I feel as if I am on the road to Emmaus, and that my eyes have been opened.
Father, thank you for walking with me, holding me when I was broken, and teaching me about love.  
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for giving up your life for me, for saving me, and for teaching me.
Holy Spirit, thank you for making my heart burn with Joy and gratitude when I consider Jesus' gift of Salvation, and for giving me the desire to share that joy.  
I still have so far to go.  Father, please train me to be your servant.  Glory to you forever.

Week 1
Hi, I am Mary in Texas.  I started the retreat last Sunday.  The concept of having a background to our daily thoughts and events has given me a special Grace of seeing God's Presence is/as sustaining, protecting and permanent.  Yesterday, 09-05-2011 the wildfires here in Texas overwhelmed my family home and our entire neighborhood.  Everyone escaped.  For about 45 minutes after everyone was free, the crisis persisted with threat to our homes.  We were certainly covered up and carried through this event.  Our home was saved.  Everyone was safe and the Glory Goes to God!!!   As I enter this second week of the retreat and consider "going deeper" into the insights and desires I have become acuity aware of this week.  I am inspired that I don't have to be together (perfect) to be grateful.  Peace!!!
Christ's Servant,

Week 1
I started this Online Retreat and I was surprised to see that the first day's -- Our LIfe's Story -- references pictures. The project that I am working at present is sorting all my family pictures -- the earliest to the latest -- in preparation to create several scrapbooks for the family.  Also, when my sister, Violet, passed away -- I asked for all her pictures -- the ones that other in my family had not wanted to keep. My sister, Lorie, sent me the pictures some time ago. My plan is to create a scrapbook for Violet and her pictures. I miss my sister Violet -- she was 19 years older than me so I didn't really know her until I was older. She died when she was 69 from uterine cancer. Though we did not have the best of relationship at times, she was still --- my sister.  We corresponded through emails in the years prior to her death, and I was thinking of printing out some of the emails to add in the scrapbook.
I do believe that the Holy Spirit was guiding me as I was gathering all these pictures for the scrapbook. In the box of older pictures I found a journal I had written over in 1996, 1997, and 1998.  I had written notes then I was searching for a Spiritual path -- and I had studied a small portion of Catholic teachings as well as other spiritual disciplines. Of course, I never stayed with anyone of them -- wandering the spiritual "bookstores" for another 11 years. I became busy with a new job shortly after I wrote that journal -- a job that I stayed with 11 years. My employment with that job ended last year -- the longest job that I had ever held in my life.
Thank you,

I am coming to the end of the first week. What a week!!  Overcoming last week’s confusion and recalling childhood memories was a good way of healing by our dear Lord who holds us in his hand.  Good to address some of these issues and thank God at the end of the day. The week has been so good for relationships with all those around me and close to me and has brought much happiness and contentment – Peace to describe.  I think self-worth seems to have counted. I was in hospital for a day last week and my doctor has been helpful re my cardiac problems.  Have been able to go out and about as miraculously my husband seems to understand I need some help and has accompanied me in shopping etc. Have walked more, gone to Mass as frequently as possible and have gone back to our old Church where we lived before where everyone is kindly.  The priest stopped me in a shop to say how much he appreciated my reading.  I am not an official reader but he thought the way I read is lovely! I told him it is a privilege to read the Word of God. It should prompt me to ask can I be a reader. The children have each been in touch so that is good.  I do have All our hope on God is founded in my head and also Walk with me and have memories of my teens at school.  A boarding school for young ladies which did nothing for my education and because I was advanced in this when I arrived I was put up to a higher form with girls up to two years older than myself.  Therefore, I had no friends.  I left at an early age because my father ran out of cash! I think it is sad that I don’t see the friends that I made in a lower form – they are all very wealthy coming from Lancashire and Yorkshire industry families – they ceased including us in meetings after school as they said they thought we couldn’t afford it.  They didn’t tell us this until I found out that they were all meeting up and not including us!!  I think I am still very hurt although I went to an Old Girls’ meeting this summer and felt quite independent of them – must have moved on! Surprised that there was no envy of their very smart clothes and hair do’s! Some of these things are to do with Catholicism as I became a Catholic at 19 and lots of people don’t understand this, especially those old school friends – this was marked with one of our last meetings together when the subject of Mandela came up.  Lots of the menfolk had investments in S. Africa and thought of Mandela as an enemy to their wealth. Oh well, we can’t agree with everyone but have to leave behind some and take our own road.  Catholicism has been a source of great joy but great sadness as our one and only grandchild was baptised in the Church but since her parents divorce is not being brought up as a catholic – I am hated by her Mother’s family for my Faith and am told – we don’t do prayers by my son when he has the little girl to stay.  I leave her in the hands of God she was baptised on the Feast of the Sacred Heart -  there was a row over the baptism as the Mother wanted her to be baptised in the Anglican Church by the Jesuit Priest who had married them – he was poorly at the time and going blind and had sleepless nights because he couldn’t do this priestly function in another non-catholic church and offend the vicar.  Consequently, we didn’t see our grandchild for the first four years of her life.  We now have the son concerned with his child when it is his turn to have her and put them up in our caravan in the grounds of our little cottage – lovely space – idyllic surroundings.  The local gossip is that they are living in a caravan with no facilities – it is quite good to be so despised and rejected and makes us closer and closer to our blessed Lord who rains down upon us countless blessings and consolations as have been portrayed in the past week!! Now embarking on week 2 of the retreat.

First week  - getting  in touch with the Exercises of St Ignatius on his feast day 31 July
Feeling very distressed over relationships with one of the children, due to his relationships!
First week day 1-
Unable to concentrate but turned to prayer calling upon old SJ friends – decd. To guide me, my sp. Director in particular from the past.
Went to Mass each day for three days and offered  myself as a sinner loved by God. During the last of these days had a visit with my medical practioner – this pre-booked necessity due to reporting E.C.G. results from previous week. Felt very vunerable but was cared for – cardiology appt. Pending.
Whilst at Mass prayed to St. Jospeph re domicile as unsuitable because of ill-health of husband and I.
Result led to Estate Office where realised that where I live as tenant could be given to my son as he is divorced and has impoverished himself in supplying house, car and income for his wife and dearly loved child and therefore needs a home himself.  Go back and live in town – providing easy move because could leave much property behind in house for son and grandchild.
Was disturbed by suggestion to look at earliest memories – these are prompted by temptation to dwell on Mother’s announcement at a later age that I had been an unwanted child. – My sp. Director had suggested that Romans 8 provides the antidote to this that nothing can separate us from the Love of God. This was the 18 Sunday’s reading!!
There were other memories – delightful – crying in bed and being covered and comforted by ‘a cloud’ – aged about 2-3. Wandering alone by the river and watching a butterfly/dragonfly immerging from a crysallis on the branch of a tree overlooking the river. 
Having realised a move back to town from the country and providing my son with a home at the same time seems to be a possibility and one with which my husband is in accord!! Unusual for him but he has so many problems both physical and mental.  Further it would be o.k. for me to live alone there, not here as it is a very remote place and not readily accessible.
Will await further progress.  Nevertheless had prayed at the beginning that despite my depressed  state still realised that All my Hope on God is Founded – He does still my Trust renew – Me through change and chance He guideth ......etc. lines from the hymn.
As I write and when I awoke sang in my head as is my wont – Walk with me Oh my Lord thro’ the darkest night and brightest day!
Also my other son with his difficult relationships telephoned a kindly phone call last evening which put my mind at rest. Realise that God always answers my cries for help and renews my love – I think this is also the effect of agere contra as in the exx.

Week 1

Have listened to the audio and realise that I am only at the beginning of this Exercise! I have only got as far as my teens!!  However at the end of the period my life as a catholic began as I went into my twenties. This was all an exciting time as I had my working life and relationships with MEN.  At first I didn’t want to marry but wanted a religious life.  Throughout all I was conscious of those who were deprived in some way and wanted to help them.  My working life was in law and I was good at it but refused my articles because although I worked hard in the day I wanted to go out and enjoy myself in the evenings.  Therefore a pattern came about of working hard and playing hard and I enjoyed every minute of this with my friends, always conscious of the times when things were not in accord with my Faith and that these could lead me astray and away from my Lord and turning from Him although knowing He was there as He would call me back consciously.  I now express sorrow for the times when I turned away and was wilful and not self-regarding in my relationships with Him whom I love more than life itself and who now guides me and keeps me and feeds me at this glorious most special moment as I write. Thank you Lord.

Week 1
My earliest memory was of being in my crib and hearing my young parents fighting. Not so good. But then, my next memory is of about age 3. By this time, my parents had divorced and my mother had deposited me with HER parents when she moved away to be with her new husband. My grandfather, my primary care taker, would warm my clothes in the oven on cold mornings. I would get out of bed and run into the kitchen, where he would dress me and have hot oatmeal waiting. What a blessing he was in my life! I had thirteen living grandparents when I was born. Hard to believe, but true. Between them, they all filled in the void left by my absent parents. I'm so thankful for their nurturing care.

Today is the first day of the first week of my 34 week Ignatian Retreat. I am so grateful to you to have the opportunity to make this retreat. I was happy to become aware of God's 100% love for me. That he knows everything about be and still accepts me. God is the fulfillment of my dream to find someone who truly understands me.
Thank you

WEEK 1:   My soul magnifies the Lord.  I thank you Lord, I praise you for bringing me to this retreat.  You lead me to clear running water.  You refresh me and raise my Spirit.  You are with me today.
CHILDHOOD:  Graces have been pouring in my childhood.  I had a blessed childhood.  I felt love and acceptance from my parents and loving support from my sister and brother.  God’s presence manifest vividly in playtimes at home with neighbourhood friends, in my days in school where I learned discipline and fidelity to the Lord.
Images:  alone in balcony house front singing, ‘Blue Star” and “When You Wish upon a Star;” Grade 2 and 3 teachers inspiring to do homework and study hard for tests; Preparing for elocution contest, “Oh Captain, my captain with sister instructing.”  Punishments and scolding from parents provided pruning of bad habits towards right direction and fear of the Lord.
TEENAGE:  Teenage life was the most enjoyable and deepened spiritual formation.  Enjoyed activities in social work and catechetical instruction with pubic school children and orphans in settlement homes.  Organized soirees, teen parties, joined the Glee Club, Sodality of our Lady, School dance presentations, Student Catholic Action and Student Council. Had guitar and piano lessons, jazz and Hawaiian classes.  Ballet teacher Mr. Janzen influenced graceful dance and body movements.  Experienced admiration and courtship from boys in Ateneo, La Salle and San Beda. Had annual retreats with Fr. Reuter. Holy Week, 7 Last Words and Jesuits inspiring talks helped in life reflection and change process.   Attended daily morning mass during high school.  Felt the presence of God leading me closer to Him.  Graces continue to pour in social and school activities. Learned skills in organizing, managing and coordination.  Excelled in academic classes in Math and English.   English teacher inspired me to read classic novels and write for school newspaper.  Sisters in School influenced spiritual awakening and relationship with Jesus.
ADULT LIFE:  Experienced professional growth in careers as Psychologist/Sociologist, Researcher and Community Development/Urban & Regional Planner at the Ateneo Institute of Philippine Culture, Development Academy of the Philippines Human Settlements Program,  Bancom Development Corporation and the Canadian International Development Agency. Many graces poured in with succession of inspiring bosses in development work and financially rewarding jobs in development.  Spiritual formation heightened in community development work with inspiring priests and nuns and encounter with poverty groups.  Masters degree in Urban & Regional Planning intensified social development focus work with the poor.  Post graduate degree at Coady International Institute, St.Francis Xavier University brought marriage bliss with classmate, Greg Forbes and career in international development assistance.  During married life, joined PSI (People Synergistically Involved) and Couples for Christ honing couple skills in training and stewardship for community leaders in self-awareness and leadership development.  Blessings came in adoption of Justine Angelique, six months abandoned baby through Assumption Old Girls network  and Ricky, 3 ½ yrs old from Kalinga-Apayao Waldorf Orphanage, a beneficiary client group of the Canadian development assistance program.
REFLECTION:  God is good.  His generosity is outstanding.  He brought tremendous graces and blessings to a fulfilling family, personal and professional life.  He is with me, always is and will be.  Weaving the threads of my life, my love for the Lord intensifies. He is drawing me closer to Him, forming me according to His image and likeness. I ask for the grace of fortitude and resolve as He prepares me for greater challenges to build the Kingdom of God on earth.

Hi, Mr. Paul . Today is my first day of week 1 when I happen to read your question about understanding  God’s love. I hope that my humble reflection from my personal relationship with God could shed some light.

I have never doubted God’s love for me even as a child who was constantly harassed and bullied for not being pretty. I never took it against Him if I had been maltreated. All I know is that He is all good and will make things right for me. As I was growing up, I could not help but look back at how he has blessed me in so many ways- the loving people He had sent my way to heal the wounds of my childhood, a family to love, a Catholic education and the rest too many to enumerate. How could I deny that He loves me?

Did I feel His love for me on a personal level? How could I not when I have seen and tasted His goodness. The love He gave was directed to me at that perfect time He chose. I once asked Him: Why love me when I do not deserve Your love? His answer: It is not about you deserving My love; it is about Me loving you unconditionally.

Give God A Chance

Week 1: Today I begin this retreat asking for God's grace. The photo album of my life is opened. My infancy and childhood were filled with moments of warmth and love and acceptance at home especially from my grandmother. Enveloped in her arms in her rocking chair I felt totally loved without question or reserve. Other times I felt it necessary to try to earn that acceptance by behaving  a certain way and I never measured up. "You are bad and I am going away and never coming back" was a painful message I got from Mom at a very early age right before Holy Week and Easter. I received this message while crying uncontrollably in the garage while trying to keep Mom,suitcase in hand, from driving away. It turned out she was really going to the hospital to have her gall bladder removed and she later con forted me. I felt I was not worth anything and was being abandoned. " What did I do wrong?" I thought. I was scared and confused.
How consoling it is that God will never do that and threaten to take away his unconditional acceptance !  I struggle to believe God is bigger and better than my lack of acceptance fueled by this kind of experience in my childhood. I struggle to forgive those who threatened to withdraw their acceptance, to move beyond this experience and grow. May I receive the grace to accept myself and others.
- Dave

I have finished the first week and found it a little cold, or something.  I was surprised by some of the things I thought of, and enjoyed thinking of some things, like my and my wife's courting days, but overall I found it a little boring.  Much hope for this week.

  I began the retreat on Sept. 19th (beginning of the litergical year) with the hopes that others would do so as well.  And although we may be in different places and different time zones there would be community in our reflections and prayers.  Some of my growing-up memories from last weeks reflections I feel would be best left undisturbed, but it was in those difficult times that I began to cry out to God.  Standing outside my bedroom window having "snuck-out", 14 years old, smoking, I told God that if He was there... then show me.  That was the first of many cries.  He has shown himself to me, many times and continues to seek time with me and show grace in my extreme brokeness.  Bless us God, bless those of us on the journey.  -Susanne in Switzerland

Week One
From my childhood, I was constantly plagued with feelings of inferiority and always being just second best.

I was not being truly humble nor honest when it seemed I was almost always apologizing for my gifts and talents. I wanted to fit in. I did not want to stand out. Now in my early senior years, I am beginning to see those attitudes as often resent-filled pride in reverse laden down with selfishness, ingratitude, and insecurity totally lacking in the confidence that God would use me as He would and always bring good out of any situation but this He did accomplish in my life quite often without my knowledge or full co-operation. He was always more than willing if only I would let Him. What a painful journey it has often been to come to love myself as Jesus loves me. Now, I can finally rejoice and sing---"This little light of mine. Let it shine. Let it shine. Let it shine."

When I gazed at the picture of the baby being lovingly held by its mother, I wondered if I was ever held, loved and comforted like that baby seems to be, and immediate thought brought sadness when I realized, probably not.    The next morning as I was preparing to go to my mother's house and prepare her first meal of the day, something I have to do out of obligation and love rather than doing it lovingly.  It was then that I realized that my response to my mother today is probably stemmed from her lack of intimacy with me as an infant.

week 1: when i think of myself as an infant, the image comes of my mother with my first son.  I was anxiously trying to DO everything I could think of to take care of this little baby. The way she gazed at him, drinking him in, made me realize she had looked at me that way. I learned through her that my most important function as his mom was to really see him and love him.  I had never felt UNloved, but was overwhelmed with gratitude that I had been awash in such love and  never really appreciated it.   I have come to believe human love is an 
imperfect example of God's perfect love, and my realization of the enormity of that is dependent on that experience of my dear mother teaching me by example how to simply SEE the beloved.

I’ve just begun week 1.  This is the second time for this retreat format, the first being in 2007.  I sense a bit of joy at the thought of life memoirs.
Perhaps it is because  I am at this elder stage of my life.  During the past two years I have participated in a write your life story group and found it so rich.
My current life is full of gratitude.  I’ve invited several people to participate along with this retreat 2010-2011.  I want them to know I am praying for and with them.

This is my first day of my retreat on week one and I feel many different things but farmost as I listen to the prayers and stories I realize how much I have ignored God and not allowed him into my heart. I stress so much with everyday life and for what?? I don't feel any better at the end of the day instead I could end it with a prayer. Going threw the photo album will be a task for me but one that is necessary and I will ask God for his help everyday as I reflect my years of growing. This retreat for me is very important as it is not something I have ever done before. I feel that I have lost my way and my faith but I know if I ask for God's help he will help. My goal is to understand where I go from here.

WEEK 1: Lord I am here. Be with me as you always are. Thank you for this retreat. Thank you for my childhood memories for they are full of love and laughter and above all, Your blessings. Amen.

As I begin the first week, I am filled with a sense of gratitude for the relationship that I have enjoyed with God from a tender age. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever—I am grateful that God has been with me in both good times and bad. God did not take away the most painful times, but God’s presence in those times made all the difference. Thank you, Lord, for your love and your grace.


I just completed week 1 of the retreat.  Due to distractions that I used as excused this is the second time that I’ve given this retreat a try.  This time, I feel ready to commit to it and not let the distractions of my life get in the way, but to weave in the program to my life as is described. 

On that note, I was reading Psalm 139 this morning and finding myself totally enthralled with it.  I’ve heard this many, many times before in church, and there is a song that we sing at church with these words, but for some reason it really hit me today.  That God loves me, the person that I am right now.  That I cannot fool him like I might be able to fool people that I know.  I am also struck by the way that the Psalms (all of them are written) – like the way a lover writes to his/her loved.  They are written with complete admiration and praise.  So many times my prayers are about things or people here on earth and not praise to Him.  Why?  I want to begin praising Him in my prayers like the Psalms do as well as asking him for blessings. 

I’m truly excited about the adventure I’m beginning.  I already feel a change in my heart.  I know good things are going to come.

Week 1: It's day 1 for me on this retreat and I pray the Lord will show me till the end of this retreat how my life is at His palm. As I start to think about my growing up years, I can't help but thank the Lord for giving me my parents who were there to teach me. As I was seeking my own identity in school, I thought I could get this from school politics and academics. But I realized now, these extra medals we earned while in school will just fade in later life.  What is important is how we learned to love God personally and know Him by heart. That saved me from the self-destruction and I guess I am happier now that I know the Lord was there molding me even before I was born.

Week 1: This is my first week of the retreat. Every day, God has shown me something that seems to relate to the period of my life that I am  thinking of. I recognize these events as gifts or signs, but I don't  often understand them. I just record them and write thoughts that come to me about them. I pray that my responses will become more about  feelings than thoughts and that they will be a way to deepen my faith and my reverence for God. I don't want to get caught up in just obtaining insights...I don't seem to have the space, either in my life or my heart, for true feelings to come up.

I know it's early (1st week), and I can't expect to understand. I do 
understand a little of the importance of praying, "Lord, I know you 
are with me today." Because when I really believe that in my heart, I  can give these questions the time that God wants.

Here is my prayer:
Thank you Lord, for being with me today. As deeply as my heart can say  this, thank you for what you have brought about this week to bring me closer to you. I love you!

Week 1: I started this week with lots of enthusiasm and joy in my heart because I had attended a lot of retreats in the past. So I started off by remembering myself being formed in my mama’s womb. And so on as I reached the age of 2yrs, I remembered one particular joyful moment of my life, to which I was so attached that I could not accept things after that. I continued praising God and asking Him to give me the grace to be detached and accept everything with more praise and thanksgiving. It took me two days to go through that pain, but ultimately Gods love victoriously triumphed. Even as I was praising God for making me in His image and likeness, this was the first time, I praised God for  my skin, my hair, my eyes so wonderfully and beautifully made. To accept myself the way I am – so difficult but not impossible unto the Lord. I thank u Lord, and give me the grace to continue with this retreat with the power of your Holy Spirit and with the intercession your dear Mother, Mama Mary with all the angels and saints.

Week 1:I will turn 50 on All Saints day.  I had hoped to give myself the gift of going on an 8 day retreat with at the Eastern Point retreat center.  But earlier this year, my daughter had a psychiatric crisis that almost destroyed her and my husband and me.  She has been regaining the ground she lost but this is not a time when I can leave her so with great sorrow I cancelled my reservation for the retreat.  Then today, I stumbled on your retreat in daily life program.  As I read the guide for the first week, I was overwhelmed with gratitude.  Not two hours ago, a friend I have not seen in over 30 years had sent me a picture of me when I was a tiny little girl, a picture that tells me a whole lot about myself.  A picture that can help me get started on this path.  I have such a hard time remembering that God's dreams for me exceed my wildest hopes.  Today, I see that again...

Week 1:I've gone through much of my history through other prayer, and I found what I got out of this meditation was not a sense of my own guilt or shame in things I've done, but rather an understanding that I did what I did because I didn't understand who I really was in God.  Looking back on it now, I see that I was looking for love outside of God in a variety of ways, all of which was destined to fail.  I now see that my identity is in Him, which makes all of those other events irrelevant

.Week 1: My first week which ended last Saturday was the blessed day my daughter brought into the world a precious son and my grandson.  Her daughter is only  19 months old and at the Mommy clinging stage.  As I reflected this week on my life, both happy and sad times, I couldn't help but feel such an overwhelming and abundancy of love for life by spending this week with my daughter and helping her adjust to this life-changing event.  As I saw this young woman and daughter of mine juggle a new infant and toddler with such patience and love, it continued to re-affirm how proud she has always made me.  The gold nugget in my life is when I gave birth to my daugher watching her grow in the beautiful mother and young woman she is today.

Week 1:  Difficult and at times painful.  I have no memories before the age of 14.  What “memories” I do have come from photographs I have seen.  Memories after that are scattered.  I became very good at putting periods of my life in a closet and shutting and locking the door early on that this continued into later life.
The events resulted in a lifelong struggle with alcoholism and depression.  I thank God for 15 years of sobriety.  I know that God has always been with me through these struggles and because of them I have been able to reach out and help others in a way I might not have been able to. 
I praise God for the beautiful creation I live in, I thank God for forgiveness and mercy and grace.  However I have lost the close connection I used to feel with God.  The gang rape of my 12 year old god-daughter has shaken my faith in God despite my knowing that people have free will and “bad things happen to good people”.   Her cries for help were not heard.

Week 1: During the first week I went to meet with my spiritual director. While I was waiting for my meeting I planned to do my prayer time as we meet at a retreat center. I struggled with this time as it was part of the darkest time in my life. I thought it would be good to be prepared to talk with my director if there were problems. At the very end of my prayer time I looked down the slope of where I was sitting and there were two empty plastic soda bottles sitting in the fallen leaves. I had not seen them when I sat to pray and then I was afraid of falling when I went to retrieve them. As I carried them back up the hill to the buildings I was looking for a trash can. As I looked around my eyes caught the two bottles in my hand and my heart swelled and I felt a glow encase me and the Lord told me to just go and put the trash of my dark times into the garbage along with the bottles and to know how truly loved I am even when I make sinful mistakes.In the glow of God!
Week 1: I've been in alot of 12 step programs and examined my life. But always looking more at the negative. The Lord wanted to also show me the good, riding my big wheel down the sidewalk, running in the backyard with Dallas Cowboys helmet, getting held by my mom after she came back from the hospital. And a lot about music which has always been an important part of my life. rocking back and forth on my feet hearing "hey Jude", me and my brother running around while we heard Tina/Ike Turner's version of "Proud Mary". Lord reminded me he was there during all those times bittersweet.
-Ed God makes it quite clear in His Word that He has only one answer to every human need -- His Son, Jesus Christ.  (Watchman Nee)
Week 1: As i enter week 2 I am drawn to a memory. It is a beautiful story of how God cares.  That God has caring, loving plans for me. As a child my mother hated me. She would tell that. When i was in grade 4 I started to take religion classes. A beautiful loving sister became my teacher. Every week i anxiously awaited her arrival.  I could barely wait for the class to end, because we would walk together. Arm in arm. Recently someone helped me to open this gift of love. Sister's verbal expression of love outnumbered the  expression of hatred directed at me.
God did not abandon me. As an adult when i visited her, Sister would come to the door and there she would be standing with her arms out stretched and greet me with the words "I Love You".
When Sister died i remember walking up the aisle in the church. Her own sister was sitting there. Her sister looked at me and said "She loved You". Her love was a lifeline.
 I don't know how I would of made it or been able to express love without her loving example. Her last name was D'Amours. Of Love, she'd say.
God knew. I am so grateful to God. The love I received was liberating.
Thank you. -carol
Week 1: I appreciate this retreat so much as it's opening my eyes to many things in my life.
I just finished the first week yesterday and it was very difficult for me to bring up many of my past experiences but very healing, too.  At first I tried to just barely touch on some of those difficult memories but then I began to realize that it's important to allow myself to offer up the tough emotions to the Lord for healing.
It was a very emotional week for me but I'm glad I went through the ups and downs of past mistakes and sins and good memories, too.
It took courage..but I can see that the Lord is with me and forgiving me, too.
Week 1: I had put off starting the retreat for some time as I had spent three years in therapy trying to deal with my childhood.  When I finally felt ready to begin, I concentrated on the question “Where was God at all the various points and stages of my life?”  What I discovered was that God was always there, either in the gift of someone who had kind words for me, or the occasional presence of someone who loved me. Even as I rebelled against God, church, family and goodness in general, I could always feel His/Her gentle tug. There was never a time in my life where I ever felt that God had abandoned me, in spite of however much I wished to abandon Him/Her.
Week 1: I began the week with the fear that like most things in my life I would stop by the third day of the retreat.  I've tried this retreat before on-line with that result.  Something this time seems different.  I am keeping a journal which is a help.
I have been an ordained deacon since June of 2003.  Besides the liturgical work in the parish, I did prison ministry for about 12 years (I started at the suggestion of a wise priest when I began my formation).  I believe that good work was accomplished in forming a prison community. This year, I realized that my ministry had run out of gas.  That feeling had happened in the past, but each time God had sent me someone to "fire me up" and I remained.  This last time, no one was sent.  I am convinced that God is calling me to a new ministry.  Before I run off helter skelter into something that perhaps I called myself rather than God calling me, I wished to go on this spiritual journey. 
    Please pray that I'll discern God's will.
Week 1: It has been enlightening going through my whole life in a week.  I am picking out patterns of behaviors, looking at past experiences from a different perspective, reacquainting myself with people I hadn’t thought of in years.  Ironically, on the day I started my retreat, my best friend from high school, a person I hadn’t been in contact with for 5 years (and we graduated 25 years ago), friended me on Facebook.  I will take that as evidence of the Lord working directly in my life.  I am thankful to feel the Lord unfolding the events of my life for me in such a real way!-Teri
Week 1: RECENTLY,I was inspired and motivated by a CD I recorded of a retreat given by the late Father Driscoll. In his final comments,Father encouraged his retreatants to go and make somebody happy that day.It so inspired me,that I went out and bought a bunch of red carnations and took them to and old parishner in an old age home.You can`t imagine how happy it made her...I think it put me on cloud nine.She was so happy to have someone to talk to.This caused me in get back on track.
the first thing I thought was to get back to this retreat...just finished my first week GOD Bless All,
Week 1: I just started the retreat and i am over whelmed at the way  my life opens up before me. Going through my childhood days i realise that i have pushed aside thoughts that were painful and hurtful. All these came to mind and i know now that God was with me during those times otherwise i could not be who i am today. thank you Lord for being right beside me during my trouble times.
I am so grateful to those who planned this retreat and helping me straighten  my life.
God bless you all
Week 1: I have just begun week 1 and have to say I felt much acceptance as a young child. My father in particular was very affectionate. (This changed later.) My sisters and I would run and play together for hours on end. School was fun, too. But here I am at a crossroads no longer accepted by the one person I thought would always be there--my husband of 24 years. Where has the love that bound us gone? Now there's just God left, and the acceptance I felt my husband gave and received is now totally focused on God.
Week 1: I have, again, started this retreat.  I have read and/or listened to parts of it over the past few years on my MP3 player.  This year, I printed out all of the weeks (before I found you had published it).  So, hopefully I won't have an excuse if I can't get to my computer right away.  I like the idea of doing this in the liturgical year.
My mother just died, after 5 years with Alzheimer's.  My eight other siblings did a lot of sharing and looking at photos, with mom, during her illness, as we prepared her funeral when she died and as we were cleaning out her house.  It was mostly joyful memories.  At the times that seemed uncomfortable or painful I have to focus on and look for how God was and still is present in each photo, memory and moment of my life.
I pray that this retreat will help me and others get closer to God.  I want to experience God more as my close friend rather than the abstract "being" that I sometimes create Him to be.
I look forward to walking this journey with others on-line.
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