Sharing the Retreat
Week 4

Week 4

Week 4

Balance and Harmony:

“…make ourselves indifferent to all creation…”  At first glance, this sounds so harsh.  Did St. Ignatius mean to give up what prevents us from getting closer to God?  Think of that for a moment.  Does that mean if someone believes differently than you do (in practicing faith), or is of a different faith, do you stop being friends with that individual?  It depends, I guess.  If that individual seems to influence you more on the sinful side, then yeah, run away.  That was my first thought.  Do I want health more than sickness…or anything at all in and of itself…uh…the health and sickness part…you betcha!  But I am also thinking you can have all the good things of life, but it is what you do with them that matters, that they are not used for selfish means but part of them used for the good of others.  (Part of them because in this day and age, you do need some of it just for basic needs.).  Maybe detachment means no matter what life hands you, stay faithful to God.  I get hung up on these type of concepts.

When getting introspective and looking at myself to find my “unfreedoms,” I hit a brick wall.  Why?  Well, I guess that has to do with the fear of recognizing what prevents me from getting close to God and letting go of what does exactly that.  My pride?  My stubbornness?  My words?  My impatience?  My being judgmental?  My gossiping?  My habits?  Smoking?  Alcohol?  My arrogance?  My fear of venturing outside of my little world?  How do I let go of any of those to get closer to God?  Would just being aware of them be a start?  Do I tell God that I surrender those inclinations to Him?  That’s a big YES!  I can give those unfreedoms to Him and change will happen, but not overnight, I suppose.  It’s like how conversion is not a one shot deal.  Conversion is a life-long process, and every day you are graced with getting up in the morning is another day of conversion and attempting to draw closer to God by your thoughts, actions, words, prayers for others, small acts of charity, etc.  

People who inspire me:  Of course, at the top of that list would be the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph, individually, and as a married couple.  They both had the freedom to say yes to God’s plan, no matter what the difficulties of that yes would be.  They were not wealthy, or of high stature but were very humble and in the true service to God.  Despite their poverty and hardships, they never forgot God and they relied and trusted God more than they trusted themselves.  Something I would like to cultivate in my life and pray others can too.

How about St. Francis of Assisi and Dorothy Day?  Both lived carefree lives at first.  They both had the freedom of conversion and completely turning their lives around for God and found that to be of service of others, they were serving God, and were truly free.  They were free to be open to God.  (“My ways are not your ways.”)

Then, there was this sister from the Little Sisters of the Poor who spoke after Mass one day at my parish a few years ago.  She was asking for donations for her community to serve the elderly in our area.  She said straight out that she was freer than most of us.  She said that as one of the Little Sisters of the Poor that she was free from wealth, free from employment, free from stress of married life, free from our ordinary secular life.  I remember feeling a little surprised at that and somewhat envious.

Then there is my boss.  She is an extremely busy attorney.  She is very devout and goes to Mass most days of the week.  Despite her busy work schedule, she finds time to cook for her elderly neighbors and bring them to their medical appointments.  She has the freedom to serve God by helping others.

These people, past and present, I believe had/have the quality and ability to stop and listen to God’s inspiration to change their lives, to heed His calling despite what others might think, or the difficulties in heeding that call.  They had/have the ability to “step away from life” and do the good.  Is that “stepping away from life” detachment?   I think so.

I want that.  Is fear in trusting God the reason I don’t have that?  Yes.  I sometimes think to myself “Look what happened to most of the saints when they gave their lives to God and trusted Him.  Look at how their lives ended!  Ouch!”  Well, didn’t they serve God by serving others?  Even if it meant a horrible death.  But not all saints’ lives ended horribly either.  What am I getting at?  I pray to trust God.  I sometimes say “God I trust in You.  It’s me I don’t trust!”  I will give my fears and “unfreedoms” to God, and He will help me work on them.  That I am sure of.  Even if it takes the rest of my life

.Week 4: Reading Luke 18:9-14, sometimes I am like the Pharisee. I think I’m a better person than many people I know because I’m religious, pious and I follow the commandments. But if I look carefully in the history of my life and in my soul, I realize I can be a hypocrite; I judge others when I don’t want to see my own sin.

Lord, allow me to not look at other faults, but my own. It would be the only way I can grow in faith.

I am a senior and it has not been my experience so far of a God who "centers affectionate attention upon us." I notice in several of the readings and writings of this retreat as I do in many books, prayers, the bible, essays and talks of "God's love" - his "infinite merciful love."  It hasn't happened for me so far - at least not the way it is being described in the Spiritual Exercises of this retreat. In my life I have experienced disappointment, failure, darkness, aridity, unanswered prayer, and plain unhappiness at times.  These experiences don't seem like "a revelation of love" which "presents the beloved with the opportunity to receive affection",  or as outlined in "For the Journey" in Week 2 "God wants only that we experience infinite love being revealed within our finite experiences and our reception of that love in our lives." Tell me please how this "love" would be received by someone  - a child especially - who has been abused, abandoned, bullied or betrayed.   I have never ever been even close to the feeling "I am flooded with a sense of the love and care you had for me even before I was born." It's not as if I'm new in my spiritual search either. However, I'm thinking all these disappointments and failures must be a way of God getting my attention, of bringing me to a deeper awareness and a more enlightened state of consciousness. But I wouldn't call it "affectionate" attention. It seems quite harsh actually. If I'm correct in this reasoning, perhaps we need a new definition or understanding of the word "love". I'm confused. However I just haven't  experienced God's love in the traditional sense of peace, joy, serenity, consolations and the way it is being described in affectionate terms in this retreat. Does anyone else feel left out, abandoned or that they must be doing something wrong. 
Week 4: As I pray this Sunday night and listening to "The Summons" while following the Week 4 guide, I am left with the thought of "It's OK to not have all the answers," I need to let the Holy Spirit guide my decision-making this week. This is particularly important for me this week as we make more decisions relating to your school reopening next month. I appreciate the challenge of looking to others this week, who are those who show us the WAY to getting it right ourselves-I need this.,,
Journeying through Week 4 I have reflected on Jesus, Mother Teresa, St. Ignatius, Abraham Lincoln, my mother, two of my sisters died and one of my living sisters.  And, looking at balance in my life.  One day I had a brief glimpse of ordering my life through the Principal and Foundation.  This morning I looked through my To Do list and asked if what I proposed to do today really did "praise, reverence and serve God" and if so, how did it.  It really was a good way to reflect and hopefully these thoughts will permeate my day.  We shall see.

Thank you all for sharing.  It inspires me.

Week 4: This is my fourth year of at home retreats.  The first year was with "The Ignatian Adventure" by Kevin O'Brien, SJ, the second with Creighton, the third year with Kevin O'Brien again, and this fourth year, back to Creighton.  I'm now just starting Week 4.  Each year has been a new adventure. I have always journaled.  I started making silent retreats at our local Jesuit retreat house in 1981 and each year I would write on the biggest problems I was facing at the time. This year I re-read these journals, as well as some from before, and was amazed where I "was" in all these past years of my life.  The very good news is that God has always been there, guiding me and loving me.  There have been no U turns in  my life, such as Paul or Ignatius, but slowly I see God's love for me and my need for greater trust.  In Week 3, last week, I was able more to appreciate "my purpose" a bit more, the many helps I have received and the need to orientate my life in that direction.  It surely is a very slow process.   I am now starting Week 4.

I will pray for all of you making this on-line retreat, and  please pray for me.

Week 4 I am too hasty. Awaking and always praying I feel the Holy Spirit is praying and prompting me. There is a desire to look at my life and see the mistakes and choices made down the years, all wrapped up in the desire to live my life in accord with the Will of the Lord.

From this horror of seeing the reality of my life, this false way reviewed, now speaks with Grace, when I read the readings offered for week 4. These strongly aid the way forward by not living in the past, despite the sinfulness encountered, and going over the wrong choices made along the way.

I am 83 and it seems to have taken a long time to become real. This retreat is revealing how to move forward when I address all the aids given for the week so that my desires for ‘i know not what’ (says william barry sj) are given as graces, inspired by the Holy Spirit to lead me to the Trinity who desired to save us by sending the Son of the Father to save us from our very selves -Thomas Tallis’ motet  - puts this as (forgive this misquote of scripture from memory) ‘The Father says if you love me and obey my commandments I will send you my  Spirit to comfort you. The spirit of Truth’.

Truly if I count my friends who have influenced me and whose example has been given to me, certainly it has been so since my conversion to catholicism at the age of 19, a precious gift to guide me on my way. That gift, of course, is from many members various,  living and dead, of the Society of Jesus whom I have known and am knowing.

I am most grateful for the retreat. Thank you.

Week 4

The question was asked:  Are we free enough to face our unfreedoms?  And we are told "Be not afraid"..

My gallery included:

1.   Sister Norma Pimentel:  She is serving the migrants at the border.  "The Caritas Campaign is a great opportunity for promote and encourage others not to be afraid, to welcome, to understand why (migrants) come, and not simply block the idea that they are people, they are human beings like you and me".
2.  Pope Francis : "If you follow these 3 ideas (Go, Do not be afraid, Serve), you will experience that the one who evangelized is evangelized, the one who transmits the joy of faith received joy."
3.  Mother Teresa:  "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one".
4.  My Mother : She stayed faithful to her faith, she was humble, persistent, wise.
5.  St. Francis of Assisi :  "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible."

WEEK 4:  My life has been in many ups and downs, particularly during my younger years. Now, this Retreat, made me more to feel conscious on how to balance.  That it is God’s Will as it comes to me through people and events in my daily life.  Fine tuning is needed in order to stay in Harmony with God and Jesus Christ.  I realized that Harmony in all dealings with living things and non-living items is crucial and that, I must always see the presence of God.  There is purpose for each object, nature’s condition, environment change, people’s movement around me and that I am responsible to making sure that my thoughts, desires, and every activity throughout the day are in harmony with God’s Will.  Hard though, but impressed by his holy Will.  They say, “it is a jungle out there”; “fast lane”; day-in day out”; “people change”; “tweet”; “holy macro”;.. and many more.  Harmony: Living in Balance.  This Guide has indicated to me the importance of my own Freedom, that when I come low in tuning, right up I have to exercise my freedom to consciously surrender my erroneous tendencies; that I then stay course in the Habits of my Heart with God.  Yes, God always call me wherever I am, for He is faithful to me.  Could I be always, that’s the fine tuning towards Harmony.

Week Four: There are several elderly people who live lives of praise, reverence and service.
It is an honor to be near them.

End of week 4 and it has truly been a blessed one. Each day I recalled memories of loved ones and the values they portray, the life they lived, that attracts me. They were honest, they were faithful, they loved much and loved very very well. They are vibrant and alive and living testaments to Christ. I want to be all that, those who have moved on and those still with me. I am drawn I find to the social activists, those who stand up for the children of God some people want to shut out, those who take a stand and are willing to take the heat for what they feel is right. Pope Francis, Father James Martin, Saint Theresa, Dorothy Day, St. Theresa of the many. And last but NEVER least, our Blessed Mother, Mary. Remembering my consecration and renewing it this week. Truly a blessed week. Looking forward to what week 5 has in store.

I'm learning that I have a tendency to get stuck looking inward, looking to much to the past as being negative, of being melancholic in my rehashing the 'failures' of the past.  I'm learning that looking outward, being hospitable, not being co-opted by my emotions, moving forward is a more healthy way of life balance and helping me to be more whole in how God has created me.  In short: stop looking inward and getting stuck in the ruts, and look outward and upward in the present so I can look at others and enter into the future and the direction of this week's retreat goals -- Week 4

At beginning of week 4 today.
I realize that as I give myself up and render myself helpless before our Lord, he gently and persistently offers me peace of heart and consolation of spirit and the knowledge that He is working in my life.
I do not need to try so hard to do my best to impress Him.   He loves me just the way He made me and if I follow His lead, everything will go well according to His plan, not mine.
- Week 4

The kingdom of God is Justice and Peace. I am involved with a drug addict, so it is said!, whose job is in jeopardy. His employers are divided amongst themselves. Those that I admire on my list are those who are or were, brave enough to speak out for the poor and the weak without compromise, up front and not dodging the issue, who risked their lives and reputation to speak up for the sake of the Lord. I had a friend who did just that for me when I was wrongly accused who is obviously on my list. Am I willing to make that commitment fully, or am I seeking to uphold my reputation so as to be favourable to others? God help me to be brave and have the courage to be completely honest in helping those who trust me and look to me for support. Courage, courage to walk on the water for the sake of another and not to count the cost. I must be willing to pay the price, otherwise, all I hold dear is inwardly false. Those who I admire were transparent. This week helps so much in making the step out of mealy mouthed self!.and to follow the example of such as Thomas More. -- Week 4

This retreat is definitely inspired.  My family is going through a very rough patch.  We are trying to harmonize our lifestyle with our beliefs.  We had a plan, but the plan is not working as intended.  A number of events have occurred which we can’t control – economy, job losses in the community, etc.  This has created a hardship and we have been feeling a bit like Job.  We have been learning through this, expanding our prayers, and focusing on our faith with full knowledge that God has a plan – we just don’t know exactly what it is.  God has his timing and it may not be our timing.  The prayer that was suggested for Week 4 just hit home in a huge way – it articulated exactly what we are feeling.  Just knowing that others have been in situations and feel the same way is so comforting.  It has helped calm a very stressful situation in our lives. - Week 4

So as to resist distractions and getting above myself, go back to addressing my desire as William Barry sj says 'for I know not what' and so, I continue to praise the Lord with the fact that he 'prospers my work and defends me'. Surely, 'in his goodness and mercy he daily attends me'. So goes the hymn and continues to remind me that he nourishes me, befriends me, restores me and befits me for the tasks that are before me. In this, he is like a mother,  speeding to spread his wings of grace over me. I am aware of adopting the words of the hymn to express my desire for 'I know not what', but Barry's pointer is leading me.

What is gratitude? Being led away from every evil, past, present and coming under the shadow of his wings!!!

Save us Lord while we are awake and protect us while we are asleep! That we may watch with Christ and rest peacefully as we go. (Apologies for taking the text from compline!) - Week 4

I have just started the 4th week of this retreat and I look forward to reflecting on people and personally traits that I admire and would like to emulate in my life.
Although I am a truly blessed man, having found my way back to Christ about 15 years ago, I continue to struggle with fear based, negative, self centered thinking.
I thank God for the gifts of prayer, daily mass and frequent reconciliation which have enabled me to continue to overcome these negative thoughts on a daily basis.
I pray for the Grace to continue on my journey and ask the Lord to increase my faith to believe in His healing power. I am truly grateful for online retreats like this which offer me other means to express myself and grow closer to Christ. -Week 4

Love, freedom to Love Others. In this the Fourth Week of Lent, I am receiving an Invitation from Christ to Love, along side of Him, all Those who cross My Path. During the First Week of Lent, I realized I would not have transportation this Lenten Season to attend Weekday Mass, nor any Lenten weekly Fellowship at My Church. Needless to say, I was disappointed and convinced I would not have an enlightening time, being Home bound. The Holy Spirit showed Me your wonderful Online Retreat. I was so relieved and hopeful. I truly am enjoying this website and feel so blessed to use it as a resource.

The Most and the Best thing I can do for anyone is love Them. Whether is be through Prayer, Fellowship, Sacrifice if needed, I will love Those around Me. What better way is there to Worship and Honor Our Lord Jesus Christ than to love Those in His Name. This is my Calling this Fourth Week. I shall pray, prepare and allow God to use Me to Love Others. This Desire, will require me to lower all walls, physical, emotional, and spiritual in Order that I am opened enough to feel that Real Love. I want to experience this so completely that I will be washed by the Love, healed by the Love, and my Eyes might be opened by this Love. Then, I want to share this Love with those near Me, at any given moment.

This is My Desire, to be a Source of God's Love. Wonderful feeling, in the middle of Lent, I ask for prayers, in order that the Holy Spirit will continue this Journey with Me. I do not want to miss any knowledge or Love, God the Father has available for Me. Thank You for this Wonderful site, it is a much needed Resource, thank you for allowing Us a place to share as We Journey.

May The Lord Bless You and Yours! -Week 4

"In these or similar words" in Week 4 so touched me b/c it's the kind of honest straight-forward talking to God that I can relate to and where I identify with those exact feelings and emotions. Thank you. My Grace was my wife suggesting that we volunteer at out local elementary school to mentor reading one-to- one, for an hour. We're going b/c God has been shoving me in that direction for years! -Week 4
In the evening of life, you will be judged on Love alone.

St John of the Cross

If you err in haste, you will find yourself repenting at leisure.

I am just completing my fourth week of this retreat. The first three weeks were made while I was away on a Carribean cruise and did not have access to a computer. The Lord has been sending me many blessings and I am so grateful for his love. I did not do well on my own the first weeks when “I” tried to look back on my own life by myself. But when I invited the Lord to walk with me through my childhood and the rest of my life, He showed me where He was present and working in my life. How He put people in my life that would invite and encourage me to draw closer to Him. How He waited quietly at my side when I strayed and was sinful, and continued to draw me back to Him. How in these last few years He has continued to draw me closer and is inviting me now to an even deeper relationship with Him.

The third week was easier. I have always been able to find and be close to God through the wonders of His creation. Thank you, Lord for the love with which you surround us. Help us to share your love with those around us who do not know you.

At the end of the third week, and in preparation for the 4th week, the Lord spoke to me through a meditation in my daily prayer book. It was a comfort for me to know that when we open our hearts to Him, He speaks to us in many different ways.

During the fourth week, I once again had difficulty trying to think of and make a list of people who inspire and show us the way to a balanced spiritual life. But when I invited the Lord to show me, He filled my thoughts with many of his Saints and also with people from my own parish, community, and country. I am finding that the secret to success for me in this retreat is to let Christ be the center and director of my thoughts. Thank you Lord for all the many blessings you send us. -Week 4

Blessings to all who are walking with me in this retreat. -Jeanette

This week(4) is going to be my hardest. I don't look to other people as possible examples of my life, balance, whatever you want to call it; and I've always taught my children to do the same. The reason, you never know what goes on under the cover of that book: what goes on at home! What you see/perceive, can only be the best of a person, shown only in public. Sins stay home.

Ps my role models Jesus and my mom, both servants. Bob N. -Week 4

Kindness has converted more sinners that zeal, eloquence or learning. ~ Frederick William Faber

Wow week 4. I saw it clearly this morning what the Holy Spirit has been teaching me but I havent had the words for. Then reading what Ignatius said about when my desire and choices moves in the direction of self absorbtion - i know I am out of balance. Love it. So helpful. I can see that God has been teaching me this but these words 'sunk' it into my heart with clarity.
Sheryl :) -Week 4

O God I want so to belong.
This prayer spoke into one of two direct issues of my heart. Finding a community of faith is a challenge for me. These words were helpful. 'I want to be close, teach me to reach out'.
Knowing which direction to go regarding the second half of my life - counselling or spiritual direction training. This will perhaps unfold as I let go.
Sheryl :) -Week 4

Becoming one's true self. Knowing that I am chosen exactly as I am. Listening for ways to express that on this earthly journey. -Week 4

On Week Four, the meditation that has come though again and again is that God loves me as I am and that I am called to be better, to be whole in the context of who He has created me to be. -Week 4

I found myself quite scattered in this week although I did give thanks for a wide variety of people I have been privileged to know and in some way have taught me a little more about how they play out their faith. But it bothered me that I kept losing focus and so towards the end of the week I decided to look more deeply into just one of the saints whom I admire and often come back to in prayer. I focused on St Alphonsus Rogriguez whom I have admired for the simplicity with which he brought Jesus to others through the basic task of door-man at the Jesuit House in Palma, Mallorca. In looking more closely at his life I found that even as he was in the Jesuit House he still felt many trials including ill health in addition to having suffered many tribulations before he decided to enter the order and indeed to even get accepted. He was able to say "thank you" even for these. Indeed he suffered many spiritual dry spells but his focal meditation was on the Cross with Jesus. I repeated that. I realized from doing this before that I often shy away from looking at the pain. I shy away from the fact that I collude with the same forces that brought Jesus to this position. But my impatience which still surfaced this week because everything was not quite perfect in my world vanished in this meditation. When Jesus dies I stayed there longer. Again, this is a point at which I usually depart from the meditation. This time, I feel the relief that the suffering is over. I hear the sad silence. I slowly prayed as St Alphonsus would have ended his prayer, "Lord, what have I done for you, what am I doing for you, what will I do for you?" Whatever, I can answer here I need to rest in Jesus' answer. There is nothing heroic about having this conversation on Calvary. -Week 4

Week 4: I found myself quite scattered in this week although I did give thanks for a wide variety of people I have been privileged to know and in some way have taught me a little more about how they play out their faith. But it bothered me that I kept losing focus and so towards the end of the week I decided to look more deeply into just one of the saints whom I admire and often come back to in prayer. I focused on St Alphonsus Rogriguez whom I have admired for the simplicity with which he brought Jesus to others through the basic task of door-man at the Jesuit House in Palma, Mallorca. In looking more closely at his life I found that even as he was in the Jesuit House he still felt many trials including ill health in addition to having suffered many tribulations before he decided to enter the order and indeed to even get accepted. He was able to say "thank you" even for these. Indeed he suffered many spiritual dry spells but his focal meditation was on the Cross with Jesus. I repeated that. I realized from doing this before that I often shy away from looking at the pain. I shy away from the fact that I collude with the same forces that brought Jesus to this position. But my impatience which still surfaced this week because everything was not quite perfect in my world vanished in this meditation. When Jesus dies I stayed there longer. Again, this is a point at which I usually depart from the meditation. This time, I feel the relief that the suffering is over. I hear the sad silence. I slowly prayed as St Alphonsus would have ended his prayer, "Lord, what have I done for you, what am I doing for you, what will I do for you?" Whatever, I can answer here I need to rest in Jesus' answer. There is nothing heroic about having this conversation on Calvary. -Murray D.

Hello. My name is Stephanie. I am working on week 4 of the retreat and am so surprised that I have very few people that inspire me.  There are people, historically, that inspire me.  People who are generous and kind (that i hear about in the news, for example) inspire me.  However, in terms of people that I interact with and share my life with regularly don't seem to inspire me much.  This just leads me to think that I may need to get off of FB,, etc and start opening my eyes and ears to better, more inspiring sources. 
This retreat is hard for me.  Week 3 was really hard for me to grasp.  However, I am starting (slowly) to see God more in everyday things.  It has to be purposed, it's not coming natural for me...but it's coming and I'm grateful. 

Week 4: Very introspective this week. I have plenty of thoughts putting them down  is another. I am looking forward to this journey.

Week 4: A difficult concept: To make ourselves indifferent to creation in that we do not desire health more than sickness, riches more than poverty, honour more than dishonour, etc. Obviously I have a long way to go.

Week 4: Since my husband died suddenly I have been addicted to playing on line bridge.  This took up a lot of my time and my prayer life was greatly reduced. I decided to give up bridge for lent and I am sure the Lord directed my to this sight.  After starting the retreat I can feel the Lord present in almost everything I do I am much more aware of Him. Even though I am not very good at thinking about things I still feel the Lord helping me.  The symbol of the orchestra touched me and when I found myself straying or dwelling on thoughts and feelings which overpowered me I would instruct the cymbals to be quiet or the piano to play more softly etc. and I found this a big help.  I also found myself being more honest telling Jesus I was trying to be more balanced but it was very difficult.  Just looked at week 5 and it looks even more difficult but I know you are with me Lord Jesus guiding me along.

Week 4:
Listing those those people who inspire me has been so interesting for me as I go through my week.  It seems that there are so many traits that I admire in those with whom I come in contact whether they are clients or co-workers.  I have tried in some cases to point these things out to various individuals, and when I have remembered to do this, they have seemed to be pleasantly surprised and appreciative.   I need to do more of this. 

The part that I struggle with most often is the "indifference."  I want to trust in God's plan for me, but there is always that doubt that with everything else on His plate, that he just won't see exactly what I need to move forward in my life or that He just doesn't get how unhappy I am with my current situation.  It is so hard to believe that this is where I am supposed to be and to understand the "why" of it all.  There was a section in the readings which of course I can't find today as I am writing this that talked about the Holy Spirit praying for us when we don't know the words to use-maybe this is the key to helping me overcome my resistance to my current circumstances???

I am on serious overload
My work and personal life has swamped me
Every minute is one of trying to run against a rising tide in a pool of molasses

I take a few moments today
They aren’t spare moments
These are moments that I steal from me inexorable To Do task list

I click on Week 4
I read the reflections of our spiritual leaders who have walked their paths centuries before us
I read the literature citations
I listen to our guides

I am reminded to glance back to this Week’s photo
I am reminded of higher purposes and deeper meanings and the challenges of others
I take just a moment to breathe and give thanks

Ah, these precious few moments of reflection
So important, not just for what they are
But also, for what we are missing when we pass them by
Because we are too busy

Week 4: This week we are asked to focus on those people who seems to have gotten it right.  Those people who have found harmony in their lives by being free from the unfreedom surrounding mortals like us.  Freedom from fear,  freedom from natural desires of money,  wealth and health.  
I realize how unfree I am.  Being a mother of 4,  I am anxious of so many things.   Bills to pay,  college tuition fees,  grocery and marketing,  hospitalization and so on and so forth.  Money is the answer,  or so I thought!  When it's panic time I forget there is a God who knows all the things I need even before I tell him.  Help really comes and more often than not it's even better than what I've been asking for.  My life is out of balance.
When I called on him with childlike trust and with total abandon,  that's when harmony set into our lives.  
Lord,  may i always remember what you said: "Be still,  and know that I am here." 
In the symphony of my life,  may I always follow the conductor,  our Lord and God.  He conducts,  I follow.  

Week 4
There seems to be much in the way of Grace this week in as much as my son who is divorced is now to come and to live nearby and will have his child to live with him on a ‘sharing’ basis with his wife.
This means an end to not being allowed to see our one and only grandchild!  For the first four years of her life we did not see her at all. When the separation came about she came into our lives but recently her Mother decided not to let her come to us anymore.  This is completely routed by the unusual freedom of the tenancy of a house across the fields from us in this elysian place.  She will be able to ride her bicycle over the tracks to us at will.
There is only God’s generosity which has put this house in our way allowing us to be near!
These and other gifts are lavished upon us through the Grace of God.  Furthermore she is not being brought up as a Catholic as promised at the nuptial Mass but now it looks as if she will be attending the local Catholic school because of her reading difficulties.  This will mean that she will now make her First Holy Communion and become familiar with the Faith in which she was baptised.
Furthermore my youngest son aged 38 is to be confirmed!!
How about that!!!
Many thanks – God bless

Week 4: I have come to realize I don’t have as much “freedom” as I would like. As I considered the lives of those I felt demonstrated freedom, many of them being priests or religious, I imagined if I would be able to live such a life, if I was called to do so. I immediately found excuses: I’m too old. I am in debt, and would not be able to leave work. I have expensive medications I have to take, so I would be a burden on any community I joined.
Then I thought, “What if God made all these barriers disappear?” I still had excuses: I am not a very strong person, and maybe I could not handle such a life. Or if the Lord asked to give up my life, how would I respond? I would be sad because I would feel I had wasted my chance here on Earth. Then what if I was told I did not have to give up my life, and I still had a chance at life, what would I do? That was a hard question. I still have a lot of excuses. I don’t know what to do about that. I often pray to God to change me, to make me a better or different person, but it is not happening in any ways that would make me more like a Mother Teresa, or the others.
Sometimes when I think about that, it makes me feel a sense of self-loathing. But that is a sin. And so I guess I will have a lot to think about for the coming weeks. Onto SIN.

Hello I am doing the retreat for the second time and just finished week 4. My life has changed so much in the year since I finished. I have lost both my brothers from cancer, and my mother, my job, my cats and family relationships are strained. Certainly I feel very blessed to have God near and I can see him present even more throughout my whole life this time around. I would like to say that it is important to consult God in all matters and not to worry you are wasting his time because others suffer more etc. Little things quickly become big matters with even bigger consequences and looking back I know that I could have avoided some pitfalls if I had talked to God more about my little concerns. Thank you for this opportunity. I am going to share this time around. Others sharing was a blessing to me last time.

Lord, week 4 of this retreat seems so much harder than anything we’ve covered so far. It brings the concept of trusting you with every part of me, of placing my life in your hands, into an all new light. This is a concept I’ve battled with recently but I think you have sent this retreat to me at a time I candle it – not alone but in partnership with you! I’ve strived for many years to get a balance in my life – trying to be everything to so many, including myself (the criteria I’ve used have been skewed though!). This balance has sometimes come at the price of my health – burning myself out in an attempt to do all things that fill my life and make use of the talents you have given me. I’ve started to realise that this balance does bring me happiness and the respect of others but when I find myself spending more time exercising than working on my spiritual self for example then the alarm bells start ringing!
I’m living too much for this life and not for the next.
My dreams, goals and ambitions all of a sudden seem empty and worthless and my whole life’s purpose seems to need a serious review. I know I can do with fewer comforts in this life but this transition is not going to be easy. It’s going to be lonely too. I feel like I am losing perspective as to what extent I need to adjust my life. It’s going to take a lot of trust in you Lord, trust I can only achieve by your grace. I think things will get worse before they get better. It seems almost impossible right now to not desire health or long life for example. But I am entirely grateful for the opportunity to learn these lessons.

This is the end of my 4th week and my focus has been who do I admire and I realize that the people that come to mind are the people who are constantly kind and patient, Im remembering a nurse whom I worked with years ago who I saw always easy to talk to and never seem to be too busy – that! I wanted to emulate.
My sister is also one who I often look up to I don't think I've ever seen her respond angrily, she never seems to says 'no' not that it's a good thing for her , she works night duty so that she is available to her children and family, she often give up her sleep to attend to all demands ,I really don't know how she does this and keep healthy – so when I think I'm tired I think of my sister and see I don't have anything compared to her. There was a time in my life because I felt I couldn't do anything right that I let my sister who is younger than I , make the decision mind you even minor ones too – that was a real crisis in my life.
As I meet people in my daily activities , I'm often great full to see the respect care people give you, there's always the odd time when that doesn't happen but I have to make sure that that doesn't take all my attention to spoil the majority.

Week 4
Merciful God I adore you,
    Desire your presence,                                                                                                                                                                                
          Want to recognize your nature in others

Jesus my friend you welcome me in friendship

Saint Ignatius pray that
  I might leave my friend elbow room in ALL situations this week
         To encounter God’s nature in others

Day Week 4 Sharing
People admired and qualities
1.  Mother Teresa – vision and courage to apply God’s purpose in her life; simplicity, deep faith and unconditional love for the poor, outcast and oppressed.
2.  Gandhi – Wisdom, fortitude, boldness and determination; drive for non violence
3.  Mother Mary – obedience, openness, trust and readiness to do God’s will – “be it done to me according to Thy word.”
4.   Dad (Father deceased)- simplicity, humility, kindness and love, hardworking and commitment to family life
5.  Older Sister – kindness, thoughtfulness, servant leadership, mindfulness, present at the moment and every moment for God
6.   Brother – kindness, unconditional love for the poor, faithfulness to God and his mission for him, obedience, accepting, trusting
They all have qualities to live for stewardship of others for the greater glory of God’s kingdom.
Their fortitude, commitment to love and serve the Lord stands time, circumstance, people or events.

Week 4: This, for me is where the journey begins.  I feel as if I am drowning, and there is no pool edge to hang on to.  I picture all the people I know in the picture outside the pool, at the edge reaching out, but no one can save me.  They are all trying, but they too are being tugged at by other people, children, dogs, family, anvils.  Heavy items attached to weaker one.  I know no one can save me of this world.  There are so many at the water's edge, but they weren't what I was looking for.  I need great help than being saved, I need to know how to chart and traverse the waters.  This chapter I will carefully reflect upon, as I take it slowly, and get to the shallow end with God's help.

Week 4: of my retreat - the last full week in August of 2009. Senator Ted Kennedy died on Tuesday of this week. Ted Kennedy was not on the list I made earlier of people I admire, but as I have read about his life this week, I have learned how devout he was in his maturity after having been a reckless and unfortunate youth. It has struck me that this is the week that St. Augustine - also a man with a flawed youth - is remembered in our daily readings. The mothers of both men are remembered for bringing their sons to faith. 
The lesson for me is that Ted Kennedy became a great public servant and brought much good to the world after a poor start. I can admire the man who remembered the family dictum, from Luke 12:48, "... to whom much has been given, much shall be required...."
Whether the good he did offsets his errors is not up to me to decide. I feel that I can add his life as a public servant to my list of lives I admire. The work he did helped an unimaginable number of people.

Week 4: Up to Week 4 and a few names came to mind right away, Annette and Sharon. I was so privileged last year to be able to share weekly dinners with them. They exemplify how even with hardships they trust completely in God to direct their lives.  Not to say there aren't frustrations and heartaches. They've just learned to turn it all over to Him, pick themselves up as many times as it takes and trust once again.  Perhaps the repeated lessons are what we need, we so easily forget when things are fine that we need to see His hand it that as well and praise and thank Him for whatever comes into
our lives.  When we acknowledge His involvement in our lives we're spurred on to serve Him by serving those around us. And I've found that being of use to someone, even if it's only to lend an ear, is the most satisfying thing we can do. We're so quick to ask for things for ourselves and we expect God to be right there, when we want and need Him.  And He always is, even when the answer is not yet or I have something better in mind for you. He is always there in ways that may be unexpected.  He always gives us just what we need.  We should be wary of asking for more or for what He's given someone else.  If we're so busy being jealous, thinking others have more or better, we lose the appreciation for what He's graciously given to us. Those who do not acknowledge God in their lives (or at all) have no foundation for security.  They're buffeted by everything that comes their way, and end up confused.  May God graciously remove the veil that obscures their vision.
This is my fourth week of this retreat.  After making a list of the persons I most admire, I noticed they all had one thing in common: all of them have / had in  them the freedom to say what they believed in, despite opposition of one kind or another, from others, even in some cases, “unto death.” They had the inner freedom and courage to speak, free to be true to who they were and what they were about. Free for Truth and what they needed to do. I recognize I do not have that freedom. So this  is my particular Journey of, hopefully, transformation. I am at a “crossroads” and must now make a decision, and am thus being forced to confront my own particular disharmony, my lack of inner freedom to be true to what is in me, what I need to say and choose to live by. The persons I most admire (though not necessarily In this order, plus there are many more I could have listed) are Jacob Boehme, Pope Benedict XVI, Galileo, St John of the Cross, Meister Eckhart, Emily Dickinson, Joan of Arc, Thomas More, Patrick Henry, William Blake, Gandhi, Malcolm X, St John. I am finding that this retreat helps me keep focused and conscious of my need to actively work towards what I need. I wish the same for everyone here.
Week 4: I am a spiritual being, made in the image of God, have a capacity to worship and relate to Him.I am created to praise,reverence and serve God our Lord.I develop my spirituality by practicing it daily to reach this objective.The other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created. I rely on the presence and leading of the Holy Spirit in my daily walk.Things brings us to week 4.
Theme: Living in harmony of purpose and balance.Key words are: inspired by, indifference, choice.Indifference: I have always had a problem with people who see God as a sort of vending machine...gimme, gimme...I want and yet John 14:14 says...ask for anything in my name and I will give it to you.I choose to ask only for that which helps me achieve my goal of walking with a living Lord, to praise , revere and serve Him.With requests comes always gratitude.At the  moment my cup is running over with gratitude and joy .( so much so that I have bombarded my poor spiritual guide with an avalanche of words)
 At last after a long long wait the Lord has seen fit to provide me with a spiritual guide, a cybercompanion, a fellow pilgrim to help and lead me along the path. One has to wait for the best, this guide was worth waiting for.
I am also  grateful for this in another sense because my intense loneliness in a foreign country is greatly reduced by this CLC retreat and having a guide who gives intelligent and pertinent feedback with brotherly love, care and grace. But how to achieve my goal in the practicalities of daily living? What resources are available for me to use?Music has become the stongest force. Favourites are Arcadelt, King Singers :Il bianco e dolce cigno and Ave Maria. This creates an inner environment for me which enables me to worship and praise Him. Again I am grateful for modern technology , namely You-tube.Requests this week. In my childhood I had an intense fear of being called into service for Him. This I would gladly do now, actually consider my normal daily living in service as I walk in the spirit. Instead this has been replaced with a fear, equally strong, that he will ask me to do something else which I fear, am terrified of ( I know what it is).  This has to do with trust in the Lord, and punishment. Of having to do better in a situation I made a real hash of first time round.
My prayer is that I may learn to trust the Lord enough, to love Him so much, that fear is removed, cause His perfect love casts out fear.
Also pray for understanding of love. How can I ask for something I don't understand?-- ruth
I begin the 4th week of this retreat. I t is getting easier , but not easy!! I will continue to try and find myself and where I fit in the grand scheme of things. with the help of God.
I'm on last day (Sunday) of week 4 and I've had great difficulty this week... trying to "let go" of my wants and needs.... but it's where I know I am supposed to be... living with my husband and trying to spend more time here with him really pulls me down many days because of his depression and negativity. I have been involved with 12-step programs for the last 24 years and I always thought that I'm SUPPOSED to take care of myself FIRST -- this totally is being "in the world" -- because this week's focus is not on me but on all the people that I admire that give of themselves wholly to others. It actually started out with a movie unbeknownst to me that was exactly what this week's focus is about -- a sister who devoted her entire life LOVING her very sick father and aunt -- who were not in their right mind -- but she emptied herself out with so much love and caring for them. Her sister came back after years of staying away because she didn't want to be tied down taking care of her family so she could take care of herself. But in that process she didn't give her children much love because she was so needy for love herself. I really can relate to that when my children were young and I was divorced.... I was so needy for love that I went from bad relationship to bad, trying to fill that "hole" that only God can fill. God actually brought my husband and I together, and I know that, but it has been a real struggle almost the entire time. I am really trying to give of myself more to him and his son who is living with us (he's quadriplegic). I do still need to be around a few close Christian friends for small prayer group meetings occasionally, which help keep me "plugged in" and joyful. My husband really resents this time away from him, but I truly need it or I couldn't survive here with all the negativity. In the movie I watched earlier this week.... the caregiver got very sick with leukemia and only had a short time to live.... her sister and her nephews came to visit ... thru the love they saw the caregiving sister give to her father, aunt and also to them, they started to change into more loving individuals also. The sister who had been away asked her sister why did she devote her entire life to taking care of her dad and aunt, and she replied it was because of the love -- the sister said she noticed that they loved her very much -- but she said "no, it's not that -- it's the love I've been given to love them. That really hit me and stayed in my mind all week.
Week 4: Throughout the week I continued to visualize regularly the face of the young woman whom at first I thought was blind. I thought hard about this as I imagined her taking a blood pressure reading by using her heightened senses. As I continued to think about this, her smile overpowered me and I tried to imagine myself as blind feeling such great joy and enthusiasm while performing the job that was needed. I thought how important it is for me to spend most of my time at Mass with my eyes closed so I can focus on what is happening at the altar and not be distracted. What an irony--not seeing but focusing at the same time!!!

I later thought that this young woman is not blind but is so full of joy she rejoices at doing her job. I was able to experience such joy last year as I was in horrendous pain that led me to be hospitalized and a short time later to have surgery. While I was in such pain I kept offering it
up to God for the conversion of those that need to know Our Lord. That surrender was what made a difference! Inviting Jesus into my suffering allowed me to smile and even joke while in the midst of those circumstances.

I thought about those that have influenced my life. From childhood I always felt a closeness to Our Blessed Mother and to St. John Bosco. Later in life I have been very influenced by St. Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein). From those persons I know I have been influenced by my mother, my husband, our son and daughter. My spiritual director, who has gotten to know me well throughout the years, has guided me towards Jesus and has shown me what loving your neighbor really means. I feel I have been very blessed in my life and I continually seek to be free in Jesus Christ. Slowly but
surely I am on this journey and am learning to adapt to whatever comes my way. It is difficult at times but I have become more open to receive from Our Lord; to serve, to love and praise Him in everything in my life, every day of my life.

Thank you and God bless everyone! I hope this can help someone as
other sharings have helped me.

Week Four: Let me find wholeness in less than perfect health. Let me find contentment in a less than a full stomach. Let me find acceptance while falling short of social standards. Let me find love without encouragement. Let me find refreshment without diversions. Let me find satisfaction without saving the day. Let me find honor without leading the charge. Let me find freedom without control. Let me find answers without intellect. Let me find beauty without pleasure. Let me find order without having time. Let me find power without control. Let me find wealth without materials... In other words, let me look deep into the eyes of my Lord and properly answer the question He put to Peter: Do you love me?
I have just finished week 4. At the begining of the week it was hard to look at others. They seemed to be doing so much better than I in their faith lives. Then I turned to Jesus and turned to his love. So I was more able to look at others and to see how I could learn from them and their hharmony in their own lives.

Week 4 I have been hard pressed to stick with this online retreat so far due to many distractions. I just found out that I have been fired from a job I have worked hard at for almost 27 years.My wife is due for surgery tomorrow so I have been holding off telling her.
The one thing about this retreat that sticks with me now is a line from one of the prayers for this week:
"I want peace;
show me the eye of the storm."
When I read this at first it did not make much sense to me. However thinking about it right now I must say that I am surprised that while this storm is around me I am not without peace. I know this is coming from above (or deep within which is the same I think) because my normal reaction to all of this would be to have a meltdown.
I do sense the Lord is answering a question I posed with this lose of my job.
I am not sure it is the answer I was looking for or expecting.
I think I am trying to project my will into the outcome.
I will try to trust that the Lord will guide me here and do my best to say yes cheerfully for once. If you have a moment say a quick prayer for me. God bless,
-- Ken

Week 4: The prayers this week reinforced for me God’s love for me. Nothing should distract me from this awareness and nothing can be more important than this. This awareness gives me integrity and joy.
-- Anita

Week Four: Harmony and Balance? So often I am not free, not "l iving in that harmony of purpose", not " in balance" and it is ministry itself that binds and restricts. To those who are given much---much is expected. At what point can I say "no"? Do I dare say "no"? How can one be free when the expectation and responsibilities of Christian ministry/living are so great, when completion in never met despite attempts made (for it is only the Lord who can complete the task)? How does one " rid [oneself] of whatever gets in the way of [ones] purpose", of the stress and anxiety that is so entwined in ones attempts? Knowing we must listen for the music and allow the Lord to lead, we want to dance but when...? This is as far as my faith can carry me at this moment. Lord take the lead and sweep me off my feet...."Dance then, where ever you may be, I am the Lord of the dance said He"

I am a Catholic; I go to Mass every Sunday (as long as nothing comes up to prevent me) and also on certain Feast days. I came across your sight by pure accident I think as I can’t remember how. I saw the information about joining the online retreat but decided that it was too late so join then so I would start from the beginning in September last year. I think I made it to about week 4/5 following the readings etc. but never quite got to putting anything down on paper. Somehow I just couldn’t get my head around that area and I think because of that I just left it.
This is a shame really because I so much wanted to do it! I felt the need to do something like that.
I was just reading the sharing of some others and thought that I was not alone after-all. There are others like me who finds it difficult and time consuming as well so I just thought that I should share this.

Week 4 I found this week more difficult than I thought it would be when I started. I have no difficulty naming my "litany of saints". Of course, I have no trouble seeing Mother Theresa as someone I admire for her "freedom" to follow God. But naming people who I know I found more challenging. This is not to say there are not a lot of people I admire but we tend to admire people for what they do and achieve rather than the freedom they display. Of course, I could think of a lot of clergy who have influenced me over the years both Protestant and Catholic. Now I'm quite clear that there is not a causal relationship here … being clergy leads to freedom … just that the "being free" that I admire seems to be more present in some of these clergy. There are a few other people I reflected on. Paul Farmer the physician who developed Partners in Health to provide fundamental health care in Haiti and now in other parts of the world. I do think of my mentor and friend L . I see him as being totally free and continuing to follow paths that bring God's Kingdom here today. But thinking through my litany of saints and these other people lead me to reflect on the Martha and Mary dilemma. I see the people I admire as being sources of action to change. But that action comes not from Martha's "doing" but Mary's "being". I found the prayers this week especially relevant. "In these or similar words …" were close to my words. I cut our and saved "Jesus, Join my life to your's". But how much this is in contrast with my own world … the clanging chords of disorder were clearly there this week: lots of useless anxiety … corporate "battles" over budgets … how easy it is to become involved in self-serving, critical even negative thinking and behaviors. How I long to give all this up … but how it also possesses me. Pray for me that in the symphony of my life I follow Jesus as my conductor rather than my own score.

Week 4 Yes, praise, reverence to God who created us and service to others. I need lots of patience to be moulded by Jesus and service to others. I shall try to stay with these 3 words -praise, reverence and service before the end of the week.

I am in week 4. I am having trouble getting caught up in this retreat, but have to keep reminding myself that it is long in duration, so, I have time. When I first looked at this week's topic, I really struggled. It's seemed so odd to be indifferent to everything, when I have been trying to get myself to pay attention to life, to stop and smell the roses, as it were. But, in re-reading the intro, I see that I am to just want to be whatever it is God wants me to be this week. That is more in line with what I have been trying to do in my life. That works for me. Whether I really can achieve that is another thing altogether.

This is Week 4 for me. As I was remembering people whom I have admired, I recalled a little German nun named Sister Imelda. Sister Imelda is the Star in my lineup of admirable folks. She was "alive" in every way. She was old but didn't seem to know it until she couldn't get around anymore. She appreciated every gift anyone ever gave her, and then promptly gave it to someone else. In the 1960's when the other nuns tried to persuade her to shorten the length of her habit she apologized lovingly but said no. When they pressured her more she compromised by raising the hem almost to her shoetops, but that was as far as she would go. She mourned all the changes as they came along but never criticized those who welcomed them. One time I heard her mourning aloud; she complained sweetly, "The Sisters want applesauce for supper but they don't want to pare the apples." One day when she came to visit us she was hot and gasping from her rush.
Unceremoniously she tossed the veil from her head and flopped down on the sofa.
She loved our Lord and she loved people. She was good, she was faithful, she was generous, a nun from the age of fourteen. God blessed her on earth, and I know He's blessing her in Heaven.

Ah yes, week 4. I knew it was coming- the wall of resistance. As a retired health care professional, I get stuck on the "not desiring health more than sickness"- I dont know if I can get through this one. I have always believed that we are body, mind and spirit and that our bodies are gifts from our Creator and that they carry meaning and emotions and that we should honor our bodies by taking care (exercise etc) of them as best we can. So I do value health and dont know if I can let go of an attachment to it.Or perhaps I am not understanding as well as I could.I do grasp the concept of "overcaring" and can see that I do this at times with my adult son who has a chronic potentially life threatening illness. This week will be a difficult one for me and as some of you have said I will probably need to spend more than a week on the topic.But I do find inspiration looking at the beautiful expression of joy on the young student's face in this week's picture. I am also inspired and enriched by each of you sharing your struggles. And oh yes- a hummingbird actually "buzzed" me this morning- he was so close that I heard the whirring sound of his wings- it was a beautiful moment and I am grateful for it. God Bless you.

I began looking at the retreat over the summer and in September began to follow the week by week guide and I am now on week four. My Christian journey has been long with some high points, but over the last few years I have been stagnating and I have realised, taking my faith for granted. I have been drawn to look again and go deeper and I am expectant that God will fulfill this in me. It is amazing to learn again that God is guiding me and loves me despite all my limitations and faults. I yearn to know him in an even deeper way.

As I move into week Four, I find I want to move "too fast", even in this activity. This week I will take time to look at those who truly "inspire" me by their ability to stay in the moment. And, by doing so, I will find the balance I require in my "life's symphony".

this is the last day of the 4th week for me. god bless all of you who are out there. initially i had a rush of thoughts of people in my own life who have inspired me and i listed the names and could see how blessed i have been . then i decided to look at the lives of saints because from my background i know very little about them or about the qualities which have led to sainthood and by tonight i am delighted with the uncommonsense of what i have been reading. my life seems a not very successful life in worldly goods. i havent formed a relationship with a man and there seem to me to have been some great failures . but as the week passed and i read more - i became increasingly peaceful. i know its not about ' good deeds' . or even kindness or even service of itself. i am just chasing butterflies wiht a net here - just catching glimpses of something which then is gone. leaving me with only a sense of something beautiful. ! my children and grandchildren move away this week. and i have some peace with that ( execpt when i think about it ) _ the indifference . so far in my life hasnt led me astray. and wont now. what i glimpse at 56 is being at peace within the calling from god which is mine. whether its sitting here on my hill looking out over the world . unseen by others . whether its with my little grandaughters or sitting in the back of my meetings of aa.
i have a legacy of illnesses from years of drug addiction and they cause me pain and distress but i begin to see that they serve other purposes.
my mother used to speak of our DRUTHERS ( i would rather .... ) and she had a calmness. if she didnt get her Druthers - it didnt matter. they were just Druthers.
i was also thinking of my son when he was little - and had a new stepmother who was a far better cook and housekeepr than i am. one day when he came b! ack from a visit and his sister and me and him were reading Lord of the Rings in bed on mattresses on the floor of our living room - he said "i see . your Lord of the Rings is J's baked dinner " . so for me the theme of the week has been that there is no ' right or wrong' so to speak in the people who inspire me. the element is that they are true to their calling. so one may live in rags and sleep in the gutters of rome and one may be wealthy or speak to 1000s of people but each is true somehow to the calling of their god. some are gentle and some are wild. some are soft and some are loud.
so this 4th week ends for me and autumn is just beginning for us here on the tweed. i am about to be here in this area where i have only been for 5 years and i shall be here without any family members or career or partner and no visible 'purpose' for being here. im so glad i found the retreat to accompany into this strange new time . it is giving me direction and a sense of travelling with companions. love to you all , Nell

This week has led me to a haunting old meditation, 'The Lord is your shepherd, you shall not want', but Leigh, what do you want and why do you want it?
I still want. And those wants inform so much of who I am. My wants tell me so much about where I am and where I am still so 'attached'. Great week. Loved the gallery.
-- Leigh
Ignatius told us what we need to do to be in balance - indifferent - I saw this in a new way this week as I began to understand that I am not totally indifferent. I desire the grace to freely say from the depth of my being, "take Lord, all I am". I want to be able to say that it does not matter health or sickness, riches or poverty, honor or dishonor. I desire only what God desires for me. Lord, my God, help make real this desire in me.
Last week’s directive to focus on how we are called to “praise, revere and serve God” kept translating into the Baltimore Catechism dictum, “to know him, serve him and to love him.” We have all heard this so many times that I had trouble coaxing any new meaning or “perspective” out of it. This week was different. Remembering models of those who live up to the call to “praise, revere and serve” or “know him, serve him, love him” is easy and pleasurable. One could simply start with Butler’s Lives of the Saints and go from there. My own life has been touched by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, St. Maximilian Kolbe, St. Frances Xavier Cabrini and St. Joan of Arc, to name but a few. But this week also gave me the opportunity to reflect on more “hidden” lives that exemplify a hearty response to Christ’s call to live the Gospel. I have been grateful to remember a former pastor, who went to his reward this year, as well as a baseball coach and a teenage friend of my daughter. All are models of holiness that I strive to emulate. So are my wife and children.Tom, Pennsylvania
I started this week a little resistant to this exercise. Maybe part of this was wanting too much to hold onto the fruit of last week and another just plain resistance to noticing myself. At any rate, it took me longer to get in. Do I know my saints well enough? Do I confuse people I admire for their skills or because they’ve helped me more than I notice their freedom? What helped me was thinking about a conversation Liz and I had this summer with our good friends M and B. Both are tireless workers for social justice and M works as an advocate for the handicapped. M spends quite a bit of time herself looking after her sister who is quite severely handicapped and lives in a group home. Her brother had gotten into trouble some years ago and had been in prison. Anyway, as we were catching up as friends do on a wonderful summer evening, we found out that her brother had gotten into trouble again and had his parole revoked. M makes weekly or more frequent visits 60 miles away where he is incarcerated. My first thought was … this is incredibly unfair. How can someone who is so tireless at helping others and reaching out unselfishly have another burden imposed on them? Maybe I said something like that openly. M replied that in her work she encountered many parents of severely handicapped children and she observed they were normal people who just got on with it. “That’s what you have to do … just face it and do what you have to do”. I thought at the time that this was a special witness of faith and courage even though it was said almost as a matter of fact.The when I think of the saints I admire and I feel have touched me in some way (e.g. St Ignatius, St Vincent de Paul, St Francis, St Francis de Sales) I see a common pattern that they are all well organized at facing life and in some way getting on with it. When I also think of people who have influenced me and represent for me people who praise, revere and serve I see this as a theme. They use whatever is in front of them and wholeheartedly approach the situation. Some of these people are extremely courageous but others are simple exponents of being able to accept that God works through them although they may never quite articulate it like that.So I thank God for wherever He is leading me in this week’s meditation. I see again the burning social justice themes which have motivated me at various times in my life. But most of all I see that God calls me to see Him in whatever situation I am in and use whatever gifts he has given me for that situation. This is something I am still discerning.
Week 4 - This has been an enjoyable week of reflection. Listing the people that have inspired me in my lifetime has been a pleasure. There were about 8 people that came to mind for me, however, I'm only sharing on a few today.
The person I most admire is the Blessed Mother. Having been raised in the parish, Our Lady of Fatima, my life and education was molded in her way of life. Devoted to her as a child, I strayed away as a young woman from the beautiful qualities she offered me. Fortunately in 1999, the Lord called me to rekindle my love by honoring His mother. By the grace of God, my love for Mary grows more everyday. The quality that I most admire is her complete centerness on God's will in her life. When asked by God to be the mother of Jesus, her answer was an immediate yes. Mary thought nothing of herself. Her humility as a lowly servant of God was her source of happiness...a simple life centered on God. Mary not only knew the purpose of her life, she lived it in total serenity.
Secondly, I especially admire my own dear mother for her love, tenacity and perseverence. After years away from the church, she was in a near death situation when she made a promise to God to return to Him and the church if He'd allow her to raise her five children. Despite many obstacles (one of which was that my father left us because of this decision), she kept her promise to God. My mother raised five children almost single handedly during the 1950's and 60's. Her trust in God's faithfulness was inspirational to me. I am a Catholic Christian today because of my mother. I find my happiness in God because of her decision for us to know, love and serve Him.
St. Padre Pio is another person I admire. He was a living saint, who I wrote to in 1967 and who interceeded to God for me. He died in 1968. I admire his humble obedience to God's will inspite of the persecution and rejection he was subjected to because of the stigmata he bore for 50 years.
Having studied his life, I especially admire his frank honesty with those who came to him for spiritual guidance or confession. He could read people's hearts and told it like it was, especially when peoples intentions were insincere.
The last people I want to share with you, who I admire so much, are friends on mine, Sharon and Camille. They are truly women of God. I admire Sharon for initiating and organizing (many years ago) the first faith sharing group in our parish. I am grateful to Camille for inviting me to join them. They were the first friends that openly expressed and demonstrated their love and committment to Our Lord. They were instrumental in bringing God's Word alive to the women of our parish.
All the people that I admire have one thing in common, their lives are centered on and in Christ. They desire to know, love and serve God and it is evidenced in their peace, love and joy. I am so-o-o grateful to God for allowing us to walk our faith journeys together.
Last week was difficult as I came to terms with the disharmony I allow in my life. As I begin week 5, I brace myself for what I anticipate to be a difficult week and instead, I am flooded with images of God’s mercy. His mercy shines in all our Catholic Faith traditions; through all of the sacraments. I received a strong image of Jesus being transparent so that God can only see my sin through Jesus’ love. I am incredibly grateful to have received this gift. I pray for all of us on this online journey, that God will continue drawing us closer to His love and His plan for our lives.

I have spent much time praying for good health, an increase of faith, for my children to return to Jesus, for my friends to return to good health. 'Indifference' is new to me and I am unsure how to let go of some prayers and concentrate on praying for the gift of 'indifference'. Will this come as I keep centered on letting go?
During this 4th week of the excercises I decided to see Mel Gibson´s film of the Passion, I had been reluctant to see it before. It was really helpful to focus on evil and Redemption.
Week 4: What a week.The birth of my first grandchild, my son in the Air Force finally home( within 2 hrs drive time) and I was the lector this Sunday. Then I met Bert who was ordained as a Deacon. A model provided to me for this week. He even quoted Ignatius during his sermon.
He was an inspiration to me and most of the assembly. I had the opportunity to be better. Thank you for my free will. I had a chance to touch 2 people today, just in a daily walk. I could feel the power in just being a godly instrument. What power.... I am exhausted now and will pray comfortably tonight.
Week 4: When  I thought of someone  who had been my model, memory came back.  I used to be a very quiet child when I was small.  One day, someone  asked me if I would like to have a pen-friend and I said yes.  I started to write and shared a lot of my life with her.  It was a great help for me because I could express myself and there was someone listening to me.  At home, I had nobody to talk to.

When  I look back now, I believe it's God's grace to have this person to accompany me at that particular period.  Glory be to the Lord!
Week Four: The people that inspire me most are those who are the most humble. These people are those who are kind to others without expecting anything in return. These are the people who do not look for great fan fare.  These are the people who give of themselves and their generousity unconditionally.  These are the true deciples of God who do such nice acts of kindness on a daily basis freely and spontaneously.
My major attachments seem pretty predictable and mundane.  But I was struck by something this evening.  My oldest son was showing me the chairs he set up in the "tree fort" and I suddenly realized how I've left the kids out of our planning for a possible move.

I realized, "He may not have a tree fort if we move."  In fact, it's likely that he won't.

I guess I discovered that I'm pretty attached to "getting my way" with this move based on a desire to return to graduate studies.  I'm not planning on dropping that idea, but it does have me thinking about how much I take the rest of the family into consideration.

WWID (what would ignatius do)? Week 4
My first Sharing and 1st Jesuit retreat, and just entering the 4th Week. I had this prior experience/impression of being in a spiritual desert, and was putting one foot in front of the other during this retreat: the old Merrill's Marauders line. It's been two years since last cancer treatment and the words in the reflections and prayers of this 4th Week feel like they fit well.
I have now finished my fourth week of the Retreat.  It was a nice week as I focused on those who are/have been inspirations to me.  Each of the persons on my list really do have a certain 'freedom'.  It was equally nice to be able to focus on the fact that it IS possible to have this 'freedom'.  This freedom is probably what I admired in them all along but do not think that I ever termed it as 'freedom'.  In those on my list whom I have personally known, I have witnessed the kindness, care, and concern that these people have exhibited to myself and others and I truly admire that.  They are/were willing to go beyond themselves to be there for others.  They do/did not worry about what others will think of them and are/were generous beyond what is expected of them.  They have truly been the face of Christ on earth for me as they model the way of Christ.  I also know that I have a ways to go because there are still parts of my symphony that are out of balance that prevent me from operating in this mode of 'freedom'.  But these people have inspired me to follow their example.  I know that I have been blessed by having these beautiful people in my life.
As I read the reflections and prayed this week for freedom and indifference, I realize the question isn't 'how much or what am I willing to give up'; but rather, 'How much or what am I willing to receive'.  The dance of surrendering to receiving is at the core of this week's prayer.  It seems harder and takes more freedom to receive the gifts than to give up something.
There was a beautiful red sunrise the other morning. The awesome splendor of the Lord was present in the stillness of the morning. I was thanking God for His blessings, for His harmony with man and nature but also praying for those who do not or cannot experience His majestic beauty. I praise you Lord Jesus and offer prayers for all those taking this retreat. Thank you.
Just beginning week 4 of the retreat, and I'm struggling with a mistake I made last week which is causing me great shame. My marriage has been in turmoil and approaching separation since July (after 10 years of marriage), and I'm thankful that God led me to this retreat and other resources that have truly helped me to grow spiritually in the face of all of that. I've felt that no matter what was thrown at me, I've been able to face it with God's help and have been growing as a person and a child of God during these past months of hardship...

 I've been praying sincerely that God would take a hand in our attempts at reconcilliation and I've resisted several "close calls" at separation, so maybe this is God's way of forcing the issue and maybe that's what needs to happen for His divine plan to come to fruition, but still I'm sick at heart with guilt at having done something so stupid that has ended up hurting the person that I love dearly, whether or not that hurt is rational or irrational. This week's exercise struck me in that my greatest desire has been for the love of my husband to be restored to me. Perhaps this is the thing I need to learn to be indifferent to. One of the readings also emphasizes God's loving forgivenes! s, and so much of the past few weeks' exercises have been about liftin g our lives up to God, even the parts we're ashamed of, and I'm trying to do that now. I'm just so sad.
Week 4. I deserve nothing but the love of God. This is my pearl of great value. This is the focus of this week. Lord, give me the grace of detachment so that I can keep or release all my worldly gifts and curses. Allow me to focus on the pearl of great value, Your love.
Week 4 The phrase that keeps haunting me from this week's  reflections is "desiring 'I know not what'". It sooo fits where I am at this point in my life. Good to be reminded that that "desiring" is a desire for Godness and what God's plan is for me. And that I can stay alert and watchful for where everyday events take me and make sure I make them an opportunity to be at one with Him.
Another phrase that keeps coming back to me is "free to face my unfreedoms". That one is going to take more than a little thought. I know it fits, but where????? is it just an acceptance of the realities in which I find myself surrounded?? Is it an acceptance of my inability to do the same things I have been accustomed to doing??? Is it a call to BE free from...??? what I "think" holds me back from...??? an urgency to DO things...???

I am at the end of week four, and I feel that I must spend more time here by adding another few days or a week.  I feel that I did not do justice to the theme this week, by not focusing the way it deserves...... ... The freedom that  I am imagining is a freedom that is such that most people have to take a life time to get right...and others seem to get early on.  I believe  freedom does involve developing a profound relationship with God, in that everything in life is now viewed as part of God's creation and the desire to please and thank God is greater than my will. I am a long way from total freedom, but I have seen it in the dedication of those who care for the sick, work with the poor, and in those that recognize Christ in others.  I still cling to things that are secure at times, and am not willing to let go of certain things in my life that would give me freedom to live a life that is more loving, more open and one that is in communion with the will of God.  
I need to seek balance in my life, for at times I feel that I am not in harmony , my prayer has been for a while to seek to change.  To become more loving , more open and more able to be what  God wants , but I still resist out of fear and insecurity ...What if He wants me to give up my selfish is easy to talk the talk ,but  please Lord allow me to live my live in harmony and balance particularly in those areas that need healing and allow me to reach out to others in relationship,  to be a reflection of God's great and glorious vision of what love is. 
Those people who I reflected on had courage, compassion, love, and the desire for justice, they had a resignation that life here is not what it is all about and a desire to share  their love of God with others; all of the people I thought about have a wonderful self giving and surrender to God's will ,some in the face of trials.

The past two weeks of the retreat (4 & 5) have been difficult. Four wasn't so bad, except I couldn't think of anyone close to me that was really free. I came up with a few people, including a Blessed and a saint, and some people I admire at a distance. So that made it difficult, because I felt like no one I know well is free. In some ways, week 5 was hard and easy for me. Easy because with my Protestant evangelical background, I was taught very well that everyone sinned, to see the effects of sin. So it's not hard for me to look at the world, think of events, and see the link with sin. But I noticed I tend to think of it at arms-length. And I'm not sure I ever really connected the second part of Christ's mercy.

The first day of week 4, and wouldn’t you know, the gospel is the story of the rich man who asked what he needed to do to enter the kingdom. I am that rich man (not financially, but otherwise). The Lord has been so good to me, has ‘spoiled me rotten,’ or so it feels. I enjoy my comforts: my sleep, my favorite foods, my lies (to myself and to others), my, my, my. I am so afraid right now that I will have to reveal myself, the REAL me. Who could possible accept that person that I have become? How do I give up things I have clung to for so long? Thank God that Lent is upon us this week. I need to fast, to let go of ‘me’ for a while. Thank God also for having put people in my life with whom I can share my struggles, my questions, my faults, and maybe even my strengths.  Lord, I know you are with me but I feel so alone right now. I cannot do this without You. Have mercy on me and give me the strength and courage to do what I must do. How long, I ask myself, can I spend time in prayer, fasting, and acts of piety before I really change my life? My weakness overwhelms me. I know I’m now rambling, but I feel so lost. Show me the way. 

Each week I make numerious discoveries about myself and God's love for me.  This week I reflected on the times when my life was not in balance and in harmony.  I reflected on how distant it made me feel in relationship to myself and others but most especially in my relationship with God.  I also reflected on the times when my life was in harmony or balanced.  Recalling what it felt like.  That when I was in harmony and balance, it also created balance in the lives and relationships of those around me. I realized in those times when I was not in harmony, it was when I was not with God.   My heart and head was focused on the worlds desire rather then God's desires. 

Once again, thank you for the Online Retreat.  I did the Retreat two years ago, and it blessed my life.  This Fall, I decided to do it again.  This week, (Week 4) I am struck by what I've experienced.  Having made the lists of individuals who inspire me, those I've not met or known personally, and those I do know personally.  I see an obvious 'more-than coincidence', and I wanted to share it with you.  Of the list of persons I know personally who inspire me, most are individuals I met twenty-plus years ago, when a young priest newly assigned to an inner-city parish began teaching scripture with such enthusiasm and love, many from all over the city were drawn to his little parish, where he held Bible studies. This young priest was on fire for the Lord Jesus Christ, and in-love with God's inspired words in the scriptures.  God had given him an inspired vision as an evangelist.  Soon our Bishop gave permission for the young priest to do full-time evangelization.  Those were exciting years.  Watching the leading of the Holy Spirit.  Observing the blessings of the work the young priest was doing, seeing it develop into miltiple ministries, far reaching . . . radio, TV, telephone  prayer lines, a Bible College, a Bible Institute, a Pregnancy Center in the inner city for poor families, praying with the women and the babies, counseling and ministering to their needs; a new order of Priests and Brothers, (Fathers and Brothers of Pentecost.)  Monday, this week, I made my list of individuals who have inspired me.  The young priest's name was on my list (he is now 56-y.o.), and most of the others were names of co-workers I've met through him, over the years of his ministry.  Monday evening, the young priest went to be with Jesus, after a long
battle with liver cancer. As we grieve our loss, and prepare for his funeral at our Cathedral this week, I was struck by the magnitude of the love of Christ shining through this dedicated, holy, faithful servant, who touched our lives so profoundly, and who was still teaching Jesus, right up to the very end. Even when he was too weak to get out of bed, the Bisop gave permission for the Eucharist to be with him in his room, and daily Mass said there by another priest . . . but our dear young priest gave the homily at each Mass until two days before he went to be with Jesus, refusing any pain medication right up to the last two days.  The power of Faith! The power of the tiny mustard seed!  The influence of godly individuals in our lives!  Very inspiring, and very powerful! Thank you Jesus! The young priest is Fr. Al Lauer, a diocesan priest; Pastor, Old St. Mary's Church, downtown Cincinnati, O.   Founder of Presentation Ministries.  We feel we have met and known, and been inspired by a modern-day prophet and true saint.

Helder Camera, Dorothy Day, Rosa Parks, Dan Berrigan, Rutillo Grande, Jeff Deitrich, Bill O'Donnell, Toni Flynn, M L King, Ruth, Anita Caspery and her L.A. Immaculate Sisters, my parents...My list is long, these are only some of the names on it!   What in them speaks so loudly to me? Their courage to speak out for God's little ones, to "speak truth to power", their love of justice, of non-violence, their freedom...their willingness to put their very lives on the line for their beliefs...Then there is Maria Vargas, a brand new citizen who understands the plight of her people so well and nudges me to greater compassion in my everyday work in the food pantry...This was a hard week as we watched our country slip closer to war despite all the efforts of great people and groups...This morning's prayer put everything in perspective for me (for today at least): "Help us to grow in understanding our freedom, so that we may discern wisely and respect the gift of freedom in all our sisters and brothers.  Grant this through the intercession of all who have died that others may be free. Amen."  Thank you for all the sharings and especially for the weekly "director's" e-mail - your words are very encouraging and supportive. 

I'm the last day of week 4.  At first, I  thought St. Francis of Assisi was the model of freedom for me. I revere St. Francis especilly because of his real and spiritual poverty . I realized I can't give up over- caring about  my son  and my work. sometimes I think myself  whether to be workolic in both my church activity and job or not. Going through week 4, I 'm so happy to see my unfreedoms. Then  the photo reminds me of another model  for me. It's Fr. Stephen Shin O.F.M, South Korean, who builds the rehabilitant center for leper in China and lives  with many old lepers abandoned by their family and community. Whenever I read his writings, I envy him  courage ,dedication and love. Someday I'd like to stay with lepers and help them temporarily for one or two months.  I 'm so afraid of getting along with them. But like In Philippians 4,13 "Christ gives me the strengh to face anything" , I believe Christ will also give me the strength to face anything. This retreat helps me discover myself and God in my everyday life. now I'm so happy. Thank you for this wonderful retreat. 

I took the Ignatian Exercises with a nun from Sept. 1991 to May 1992 on a weekly basis in depth.  When I saw this opportunity (and considering I have a very busy schedule), I decided I would do it as simply as possible.  It will be in God's hands. I am starting my 4th week .  The 1st week, I was sick over something I I really had time to think about my early life (there was a lot of illness in it)........and to recall the gifts God gave me----patience, endurance, recovery (full recovery from polio). The 2nd week I really didn't want to continue the backward look (I'd been there, done that through therapy, shock treatment, etc.)  Again the gifts of God brought me through.  That week I was able to recall things about my father that carried guilt; but  I was able to look at them realistically, let go of the guilt and LAUGH. The 3rd week I was looking forward to; and I printed the large picture, and of course, used it as my wallpaper on the computer.  I loved the vastness of the scene but right up front was an all-too-realistic reminder of my alcoholism.  I wanted to write and complain about the bottle and the 1/2 full glasses being part of our focus this week.  It really took me back.......................but the focus this week was on perspective. Although I've had a lot of recovery time, I must never forget the illness' cunning, baffling ways of calling one back.  I again recalled the gifts of God and the good life God has given me.  This week was a busy, tiring run-around-week.  I didn't give the lesson that much time, but always in the forefront of my mind was the 'scene' and the reality of my precious gifts and God's never-ending love. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity. 

I am on the fourth week of the retreat. I go through a lot of ups and downs and am grateful for the texts to keep me at it. Yesterday I wrote in my journal that I could not understand what it means that the purpose of our lives is to praise God. This morning I began to understand a little what it means to see the world through God's PERSPECTIVE, the whole history of creation and redemption and me being an important part of all that - as far as God is concerned. And seeing things like that I realised one bursts into praise if that vision of things is clear enough. So I understood a bit more the PURPOSE of our lives and realised too that I allow myself to get very bogged down with the task of surviving each day and loose sight of that PERSPECTIVE. And the desires that surface are usually superficial desires for temporary release from the struggle (looking for something that cheers me up, and gives a tickle, a quick respite, ignoring the fact that on the long term such superficial enjoyments are trecherous and enslaving). 

I am in my fourth week of the retreat. I find myself struggling to read and pay attention to the prayers and reflections. When I can reflect on the readings they only stay with me for a matter of minutes  ---- then gone, back to life as usual. I want so to make God part of my life again. I say again because just three years ago I was a leader in RCIA at our local church ( since moved to another state ). I piloted a project in Re-membering Church for Catholics who had been away from the church. I established a medical clinic for the homeless in a privately funded outreach center and taught health there ! Sounds like I had it all together. I probably did. I can not describe what has happened since. Nothing really bad just nothing. I feel distant from God and not really apart from His works. I have been spending most of my time visiting my children and grandchildren in their respective states. It seems a time to keep the family together and grounded. This holds true of my wives family too, though not as "urgent". Though I know this is valuable and important work, it just isn't rewarding in the sense that I don't feel God's presence in it. I will keep plodding along praying more to FEEL God's presence and his love. 

I managed to get to week 4 in a very diffused manner.  Wish I could be more regular but distraction abound.  But this week's focus is very difficult for me.  I can identify heroes such as Robin Hood and Ivanhoe as inspirational but real people I find difficult to list.  Perhaps by the end of the week I may be able to please God. 

As I am in my fourth week I've been reflecting on freedom as a gift of God in Christ. In the Readings for this week it captured my attention the reading of the Epistle to the Romans: "...We know that God is always at work for the good of everyone who loves him. They are the ones God has chosen for his purpose, and he has always known who his chosen ones would be..." Freedom... is specialy attached -it was very clear for me along this week- to that feeling of confidence that you have when you are loved (and now we are talking about God's love!). That freedom, we, moderns, as we are prone to think, is not arrogance, but confidence; not fear to the absolute, as a strange reverence due to a king most feared, but that attitude that Paul describes as Parresia; I called it Parresic Reverence, and it has been a gentle discovering from the Spirit that has, since this days, started to shape my prayers and my general attitude towards Him. God chooses me first. God wanted me his friend from always: I am just trying to follow His call. Thank you to the Creightons people for make available this space of encounter with God. 

I'd like to respond to a sharing just read this morning by the gentleman who was in his fourth week of the retreat ... had moved from another state, and was somehow feeling a lack of God's Presence in his life.  Nothing particularly ... just nothing. He mentioned being very active in his previous location, "Re-remembering" and a medical/health clinic program he was very involved with establishing. Then the move, or relocation.  First, I was touched by this apparent loneliness.  Second, because I too, am a grandparent, I appreciate and value his concern for his children and grandchildren.  And, I believe his desire to "make the rounds" keeping the family connected is truly worthy.  However, I do know first hand how that somehow can leave us feeling a bit unsatisfied, or empty.  Mainly, I think, because their lives and ours are so complex, and we somehow can never go back and reach that level of "connectedness" we long for.  Or, so it's been with me. And, at this point in my life, I'm beginning to sense that this is a part of God's plan.  He's anxious for us to spend more quiet time with Him, to rely more on Him for our joy, comfort, and "connectedness".  Which brings me to my next thought, which is this:  The gentleman was so involved, busy, and "rewarded" in his previous location and endeavors, he was feeling accomplished.  And, I'm thinking there must have been a lot of fellowship with people in his spiritual community during all the prayer, planning and work.  
Two things:  First, I believe God always leads ... but sometimes He! ! allows us to experience these valleys or dry periods.  (The scriptures are filled with stories of individuals who were in the "desert" ... particularly the Psalms.)  And, when this happens, I believe, it's always for our betterment, our growth, our good ... and, for His glory!   Secondly, I also believe the Lord established His church for us so that we would have solidarity, and fellowship.  We do this in various ways through prayer groups, bible studies, worship committees, or studies in pastoral services, volunteering in hospitals for our parish, praying with parish members in need, etc. The list is ongoing.  And, the Holy Father, Pope John Paul has for years been writing letters to the Church (us) explaining our responsibilities, and our importance in the Kingdom work, for Jesus, making us aware of the power and value of our prayers, family support, justice, human rights and dignity, etc. So I believe, for most older citizens in God's Kingdom, because most of us have a little more time than our children do, (as they busy themselves in the rearing of our grandchildren ... just like we did) God is calling us to become more involved.  We need the fellowship and identity which comes with being an involved Christian, and He's looking to us to do those things that our children aren't able to do now, either because they don't have time, or aren't mature enough yet to realize the enormous significance of Kingdom work. 
I hope this helps somehow.  Know that we are all being covered by thousands of prayers around the world, by God's people interceding for us because we are part of that Kingdom.  Also, that as members of this very special retreat, we receive additional prayers, and intentions.  God is still leading you ... and me, and He is still in control.  He doesn't miss a heartbeat, not a flick of an eyelash. And, He won't let go of us, or let us down.  TRUST!  And, Merry Christmas!  I just believe God has something really special for you, just around the corner for this coming new year which will help in your feeling "reconnected".  You maybe just need to "turn the corner"? ... i.e., check out with your parish areas where you can become involved. Areas you'll feel God would like you to be involved.  God bless you! 

It seems the further I go into these spiritual exercises - the fourth week now, the more alienated I am feeling - because of personal relationship problems I am experiencing at the time that seem overwhelmingly on my mind at all times. 
I want the freedom to dump them - and get back to the peace and contentment I felt before I begin in this relationship.  At first, I thought the relationship came from God - tho not necessarily sought by me, the attention and warm feelings seemed like a special gift.  Now they seem to be interfering with the call I feel to have a closer relationship with God at this particular time in my life.  Yet, the "addiction to attention" I am feeling, is causing me to hang on to a relationship that seems to be a deadend for me - for our aims, ethics and purposes are too far apart.  I am hoping to gain the strength I need to choose God as my important relationship, and let the other fall by the wayside, if the other person does not pursue the same ends.  Please pray for me to have the courage to keep my commitment to Christ - that I will hold no other Gods before me, including the desire for human consolation if it interferes with good communion with God.  

In my fourth week, I find that I do not like the word "indifference" but I treasure the concept.  When I first read St. Ignatius a long time ago, I seized on the part about health because I have had a particular health concern for many years.  I am obese, and have been for most of my life.  Like many fat people, I have lost and regained huge amounts of weight.  My average food intake is 1/3 that recommended for Americans, and I exercise six times a week.  (about 3 hours.)  Here is my dilemma: I might be able to lose weight by exercising more, but I don't want to be obsessed with my body size.  I have health problems because of my excess weight, but I have a wonderful life.  Much of what I have learned about empathy and tolerance has come from my own experience of obesity.  Because I was fat, I concentrated on building a deeper reality for myself, and I attracted people who were capable of seeing beyond the superficial.  I have a great husband and family, an interesting job, terrific friends, an enviable education, a questing spirit, and a level of joy that most people find enviable.  Some years ago I wondered if God might possibly want me to be fat.  It seems that the pain and disfigurement of obesity and related health problems have taught me a wisdom that would be hard to acquire any other way.  People imply, at times, that compromising my health in this way is sinful.  Yet I don't smoke, drink, eat unhealthy foods, or indulge in other high risk behavior.  My life is stress-free, compared to most people I know.  My obesity may cause others more discomfort than it causes me. One of my hopes for this retreat is that I find clarity on this issue.  I am willing to work harder to lose weight, but I have to find some way to do so that does not use all  of attention and energy and conviction.  I need to do it with "indifference" or "non-attachment." 

Into the fourth week of this retreat I commend the angels and saints responsible for building this website.  My first thought when a friend gave this to me was, I don't have time for a retreat.  I can't seem to leave it now that I've started, however it may take me longer than 34 weeks. God bless each of you, and let's continue praying for each other which is the greatest gift we all share.
I have tried the exercises before, but felt very lost.  Please pray for me that I will have the courage and the trust to follow through this time.  God keeps calling.  Thank you. 

As I reflect on my role models and heroes (week 4), I am struck by the humility all of them have  ( or had ), forgetting themselves, very much like the smiling student in a Dominican Republic sense of grandiosity even as some of them are famous. They ( have ) displayed remakable energy and focus, perseverance against seemingly impossible odds, moving forward towards what they perceive(d) as God given goals with a faith greater than mustard seeds...Nelson Mandela ( divinely-inspired ) forgiving his erstwhile tormentors after assuming power, Vaclav Havel transforming poetry's power to l iberate his people, Lech Wales using his gifts to organize a new nation, Ninoy Aquino sacrificing his life so that others may live in freedom,  Mother Theresa giving service a new meaning, St. Paul exchanging his earthly wisdom for True Wisdom, and St. Peter leaving his safety net for a greater harvest ( of souls ). It gives me strength to know that the Source of their power and wisdom is the same God I worship and Who invites me to be like them.

Starting week four, the idea of indifference, not wanting, seems a hard ideal.  The very idea brings out how much we are bound to ambition and recognition. Society feeds these "tions"--we're told to "be somebody," get our fifteen minutes of fame.  I think for many of us, that craving really hints at insecurity within.  This is where we really need to pray for utter trust. 

I am doing this retreat with 3 other women.  When we first started I wasn't sure about how I was doing with it.  Was I getting it?  Was I doing it right? I realized that after week 4 that I am getting it!!!  "It" is what God has for me.  Even though we are doing this as a group it is still a very personal experience.  Talk about a grace!!!! 

I am in the fourth week now but want to share something of the journey so far. What was wonderful about the first week was to realise that what had been bad in the past - a sense of being rejected when I had polio, and later being the butt of a school - was not what was coming to the fore in my mind as I reviewed the time. What did come to mind were the people who were there to help, and who wanted to help even though they were not helpful. That was most encouraging. In the second week I was caught by the number of cross roads there were in my life and found myself staying with the choices I faced leaving university at the age of 21. The choice I made almost certainly brought me into the church having been away, and then into the priesthood in the Anglican church ten years later. I have also discovered things about myself and acceptance which have been really helpful - how I have tended to boast to attract attention and gain acceptance. I don't need to do this any more. Thank you. 

Happiness to  my blessed friends on this sojourn to truth.  I am struck by the concept of using God's gifts of creation to achieve the end for which we are created while ridding ourselve of whatever gets in the way of our purpose.  The fourth week started by departing from merely appreciating the life and the path we lead to inspecting the people who inspire and the qualities they possess..   The balance we achieved in the gifts of creation including employment, friendhsip and faith to recognizing God's call and direction to our purpose and conception.  I am here amidst the green grass, blue sky and music from his birds and water falls lingering, appreciaiting and available. 

Today I spoke with a friend who has been living through her sixth recurrence of cancer. This time the experience has been unremitting and continues to make her increasingly frail.  Yet she immediately spoke of the beauty of this autumn day.  "What a gift we've been given," she said.  I was humbled once more by her ability to look outward and to see, and marvel at, the beauty of God's creation, despite the magnitude of her physical problems. She is one of those who inspires me in this, my fourth week on this retreat. I have been awed by her courage before this week, but I never really thought about the way she has her life in balance.  She continues to live--to read, to study, to enjoy her family, to become irritated by the messiness of the house she can no longer control--but through it all, she seems to be at peace, to have turned over the decision-making to God.
The prayer in "These or Similar Words" in week 4 was  almost thought for thought how I feel.  I was very moved.  I thank you.
I am in the fourth week and have been going along quite nicely ----basking in God's love for me. However , when I hit this week and read the Ignatian admonition to "not desire" I knew I was in trouble. This philosophy is not new  to me--yet my resistance was huge! It may take me weeks to get thru this one. I do desire and as Fr. Gillick wrote --am I frree enough to face my unfreedom.........only with the grace of God.  

Last week was week 4.  I struggled through a personal crisis.  But I was at the right place at the right time.  I stood up in my room, held my hands open in front of me and  realized what it means not to care for one's honor, not to care for one's let them all go. There are floods and suffering all round me.  People who have lost everything  they own.  They have to have another point of reference.
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