Sharing the Retreat
Week 10


Week 10

Week 10:  The Invitation of Love – Please Be with Me

As the weeks move forward in this retreat, I find it harder and harder to complete each week, mainly due to my occupational duties and finding the time to contemplate each week.  Sometimes I have taken a little over a week to complete each one. 

In any event, Week 10 seems, to me, an invitation from Our Lord to live up to our potential in the most simplest of ways.  (Like, St. Therese of Lisieux’s The Little Way - embracing the small tasks in your daily life and the simple interactions with those around you and living a life of holiness.)  I would think that following St. Therese of Lisieux’s The Little Way is Week 10!  I feel that is exactly what Our Lord is asking each and everyone of to do.  Sounds easy, but from my own personal experience in day to day life, it takes much focus and effort to remind myself not to fall into those instances of small petty annoyances, frustration, staying in our shell and not even acknowledging each other in a way as simple as a greeting, smile, holding the door, letting someone on a bus before you and not complaining and muttering under your breath about your job, workload, office manager, or grumbling about anything at all in particular.  I think what you kind of have to do, before anything else at hand, is say a quick prayer to Our Lord and ask for his help to go about your day in a manner pleasing to Him as you interact with the world around you.

Week 10 - Have been absent for a week or two? The hurly burly of christmas preparation and coping with a move of property, in order to make a new home, from one unsatisfactory home to another. A thought? Maybe that is why I give generously to the JRS?

However,  I don't know where I am going nor who is going with me. I am confused. Out of control - that sounds really good and a step in the right direction! Above all, I feel I am in the right place, writing this.

I have had what I think is a deep prayer life, but what I think is a deep prayer life is not honest. I see, as I stand before my bed, the cracks in the wall. The little girl is me. Frightened, afraid, unable to cope, especially with the mis en scene, christmas celebrations, all awry, all that preparation, all those gifts to the needy organisations, so much self and wilfulness in it all. The masks are torn away from the face and into the stark reality of the nothingness of me.

All that love and forgiveness has not been handed out to me for nothing. It shows on the one hand the love and the grace of a loving Lord. All these things in my terror I pray for, over and over. They are not real prayers from me but I know they are heard which is why I write. The message I hear, over and over in answer to my troubled mind, in dealing with the illness of addiction in my son, is 'Leave it ALL to me'. A friend explains, the ALL is my attitude and wrongful action.

Now I am stripped down to nothing. What a grace that is. In my nothingness and not being able to see the road ahead or how to tread it, maybe all that arrogant self can let in the Light, shining in the darkness of self, full of pride in its self possession. Please God.

Circumstances are changed dramatically. My son is coming to life, not through me but through others. I must, therefore, take a back seat, be with my husband as we approach sixty years of marriage and give thanks and gratitude to those who pray for me from their high places which are filled up with their humility to bear my troubled mind.

How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me? I will take the cup of salvaging love he extends to that frightened little girl in the picture, displayed as an aid for week 10, that is me at 83! Thank you Lord for your humour displayed in that bit of my imagination which reveals your Truth in all that we experience!

Thanks for allowing me to share, being on my own making the retreat.

Week 10

So here I am at the end of week 10 Praise God!

Each week I have been blessed with grace love and wisdom which can only come from a desire to give myself more and more to my Lord. I can only thank God for calling me to do this retreat, as it is opening me to a new relationship with Him and others in my life.

The call to serve has been very strong for a number of years now and although I would love to pack my bags and head off to the Yemen, Afghanistan or any one of a number of countries in the world needing practical help, I just don’t know if that is what God has in mind for me.

I have been reflecting on my own family and how so many have “watered down” their Faith or turned away from God completely. I wonder if this is where God is asking me to work?  I chose the first reading this morning in our list and it was Jesus returning to Nazareth and reading the passage from Isaiah to friends and family. He was rejected and ridiculed, and am expecting nothing less. But if this is where God wants me, I will stay. God will provide, and I will expect miracles.

Thank you for your prayers I continue to pray for you.
God bless you ALL

Jane NZ

Week 10:
“I am listening, Lord. What do you want me to do?
All week I have been thinking I would like to do something for Jesus, however small, to start. God must have a sense of humor because in the middle of the week, before Mass, I was asked to be altar server as - Joe, a retired parishioner who serves at weekday morning Mass -  did not show up that morning.   I am also retired, with limited altar serving experience from a long time ago, but was assured that the priest would give signals on what to bring to the altar, etc.  So I agreed and proceeded to join our Pastor in reciting the Prayer Before Mass during which I could feel my heart burning or about to burst, a new or rare experience for this 66-year old.  The experience was repeated while praying the Prayer After Mass. What joy!

My 10th week blessing came in timely with my mother's confinement in the intensive care unit. She had congestive heart failure and still unstable. The call to be with me resonates the call of my ailing 98 year old mother. My siblings and myself after dialogue with my mother's physician agreed not to submit to extraordinary measures prolonging unnecessarily her pain and stresses. The call to be with me is my prayer that we will be around with my mother when her earthly time is going to end. It may be soon or not too soon. I ask our Lord to lead the way and give light if we are in the dark as far as journeying with my mother is concerned.

I just began week 10.  As many before me have written, I came from a home filled with hurt, shame and evil.  I was good, I remember, but I made a decision at age 2 or 3 to be 'bad' because that's all I'd ever heard from my family. I was the scapegoat. And I sinned during my college years and stopped receiving the sacraments. All mistakes because I thought myself unworthy of love.  Now I know better.
The Nuns at school saved my soul.   Their devotion, prayers to Mary and hymns they taught us every day will always be part of me.
I feel called to share my faith with enthusiasm within my parish, as I am a retired nurse now, with an ill spouse....I still want to help people.  I know that God hard-wired me to be a helper.  Now I ask the Holy Spirit to help me help others as needed.
I pray that my adult son and I can be closer geographically.  I miss him so much.  I pray that my husband will reconcile with his mother who also hurt him a lot during childhood and again, attacked him physically recently.  So much healing needed.  I have faith that this healing will be given.  Thank you for prayers and for this amazing retreat.  I have a wonderful spiritual director as well.
God's greatest blessings and may His will be done.

Susan - Week 10

I started this retreat at the urging of my Spiritual Director whom I had just begun to see in August of last year. I was beginning week 10 in December and found that I was a little burned out and needed a break from the retreat for a short period of time. I was diagnosed with Neuropathy almost 13 years ago. It is a very painful disease for which there is no cure and no real treatment. It affects the hands and feet and for those of you who have it know it is a disease common in diabetics. I however, am not a diabetic but according to my doctors have one of the most severe cases they have seen. I have been to several different Neurologists and after every test imaginable, none of them can tell me why I have it. I also have an ulcer on the bottom of my left foot that will not heal. Ten years ago I had what should have been a simple surgery on my foot but instead it turned into a nightmare. After two surgeries, the bone structure in my foot collapsed, which is called Charcot Foot and is also common in diabetics. Once again, I am not a diabetic. I have been tested many times with the same conclusion….not a diabetic. So once again, my doctors were baffled. The ulcer that developed on the bottom of my foot is something that usually occurs in… you guessed it, diabetics. I have had more skin graphs than I can count that failed, more bone removed from my foot to the point where there is not a lot left in there and so many other failed procedures that I became very discouraged and a little angry at God. I have spent the last ten years 90% of the time confined to a wheelchair. I had an injury to my back which requires surgery, but I have decided to put off the surgery for a while. A little over a year ago I was finally forced to quit my job and file for disability. I was approved within a month of filing which is basically unheard of. I have worked since I was 15; I am now 52 and I found myself sometimes feeling depressed and no longer knew what my purpose was. I was feeling resentful and bitter because of my situation.
At the urging of my Spiritual Director, I began this retreat and have already learned a lot about myself, about forgiveness and about God’s love. Also, my Spiritual Director has been urging me to share which I find that difficult to do. He feels there could be others out there who need to hear my story because they may be going through a similar situation and knowing they are not alone could help in some way.
Today I picked up my laptop to start back up doing the retreat after a longer than expected break. Two weeks ago my brother in law had a heart attack. Had it happened a day earlier, he would not be here, he would have been alone in a hotel room having been on a business trip. My sister saved his life by doing CPR while waiting on the paramedics to get to their house. Within the next day and a half, he coded two more times. Fortunately, the doctors were able to get him back both times. He was moved out of ICU yesterday and it looks like he is going to make a full recovery. I have seen what the power of prayer can do over these past two weeks. The outpouring of love and prayers from family and friend has been remarkable. Praise God! -Week 10

Finally willing to share starting week 10. I want to thank those of you who have shared all along as it is such a help to know there are others taking this journey and that there are people at various stages of healing and wholeness, yet we all are seeking the same thing. I have found life difficult to say the least and have often sought ways to avoid this valley of tears, which paradoxically always brings more tears and anguish. It is truly only by grace and family praying that I can join you all here. I now lift my prayer for my mom, my sons, brothers and sisters, extended family and the whole world. I particularly pray for all of you on this retreat and ask your continued prayers. -Week 10

Please pray for me.
I have sat with Week 10 and with God. There is so much I wish to do, so much I have done for God and God's people. Now I am ill. I have had Lupus since I was 12. It has taken much from me. When I am not ill, I rush to do and work and overdo trying to get my work done. For the 1st time, because I am so blessed, I have been to ill to do anything. Week 10 has been a long 3 weeks as I began to see through God's eyes. I see a lot of "I's" and know that while I believe God has used me, I have also used God. It is through my work I sought to help but also sought my praise and my will. I worry that I am now not being ministered to as I worked to minister to others and I worried that I have no purpose. What can God do with me? I now listen to God. I trust that God will use me as God wishes, that my purpose will be fulfilled, that even in my worst days, I am never alone or without hope. I am filled with Grace, hope, peace. I ask humbly for my worries to cease, my trust to grow. Truly, God's love and grace are all I need. Healing has new meaning. I consent and open to the presence and action of God and the Holy Spirit in me. Transform me. Do with me what you will. -Week 10

This is Week Ten and the dialogue has turned to love. How to love? To be with, to experience, to accompany on the journey. In this time of transformation, in this time of heading down a road where the destination is unknown, I am challenged to just be and to listen and love those I encounter. All of them, to the best of my ability. I ask God to accompany and to give me the wisdom and courage to know and follow His will. -Week 10

I’m just finishing week 10…been here for a bit trying to make sense of “ the call…my call”. The first entry under this week’s sharing really spoke to me as our histories are so similar. I’ve been uncomfortable in that , as I read people’s entries, I haven’t felt the type of strong emotion that so many describe. Have been praying about what I perceived as a failure to respond to all the love that has been lavished on me. Finally came the realization that I’ve been making this all about ME and, in reality, it’s all about Jesus!!! What a gift that realization is! As is that 1st entry under week 10. Finally grasped that God sends what we need when we’re ready for it. Thanks be to God!. My prayers can now open to include all you others who are making this journey and are so generously sharing the trip. -Week 10

I started the week with a great deal of restlessness. I find the instructions for listening to God's invite appealing but I am distracted by concerns about finding a permanent place to live and other issues on our recent relocation.

I also have a little resistance: "Didn't I get here because of Your call, Lord?" But I eventually settle in to just sitting and being present to the invitation. I find Cardinal Newman's prayer, "Lead thou me on" useful. I recall the times I have pursued the "garish way" and I remember that the invite to respond is out of thankfulness at the depth of God's forgiveness for me and His immense love for His whole world. Am I really living out of gratitude? I revisited making this prayer and listening at the foot of the cross. That is one place I can displace my self absorption.

The Sunday Gospel reading is about the separating of the sheep and the goats. I am pulled back to considering where in my life I am being invited to reach out to those in need. Our homilist warns that the works of corporeal mercy are not a checklist. I wonder about that. His point was that Jesus is inviting us to suffuse our whole attitude so that we can be ready and present in any situation of need. I accept this but I know I also feel a real tug as I consider whether I have been present enough and giving enough. "Lead thou me on". -Week 10

Week 10: Today I was particularly touched by the prayer to stay with this week with patience. This week holds out the promise of so much more to come,  that there is a temptation to rush on to the next thing.  But when reading that I feel comfortable resting in the love of Jess letting him show me the way. I shall spend the next three days growing ever closer to him, thank you. 

Week 10: I started the week with a great deal of restlessness.  I find the instructions for listening to God's invite appealing but I am distracted by concerns about finding a permanent place to live and other issues on our recent relocation.

I also have a little resistance: "Didn't I get here because of Your call, Lord?"  But I eventually settle in to just sitting and being present to the invitation.  I find Cardinal Newman's prayer, "Lead thou me on" useful.  I recall the times I have pursued the "garish way" and I remember that the invite to respond is out of thankfulness at the depth of God's forgiveness for me and His immense love for His whole world.  Am I really living out of immense gratitude? I revisited making this prayer and listening at the foot of the cross.  That is one place I can displace my self absorption.

The Sunday Gospel reading is about the separating of the sheep and the goats.  I am pulled back to considering where in my life I am being invited to reach out to those in need.  Our homilist warns that the works of corporeal mercy are not a checklist.  I wonder about that.  His point was that Jesus is inviting us to suffuse our whole attitude so that we can be ready and present in any situation of need.  I accept this but I know I also feel a real tug as I consider each work and whether I have been present and giving enough.  "Lead thou me on".

Week 10: What is the meaning of "life in its fullness" that Jesus promised to His followers?  I thought I knew what it meant:  excitement, miracles and travel,missionary work. And I knew that I didn't have it.  But after these 10 weeks of deep contemplation, meditation and listening, I feel that God has taught me His meaning.  Life in its fullness includes the mundane.  It includes illness and suffering as well as joy and excitement.  Life in its fullness is the ability to be close to God in all situations. What joy to discover life in its fullness! Thank you for this retreat opportunity.  This is my second attempt in 10 years.  I pray that I finish, but even if not, I am blessed each week that I participate.  Christine

Week 10:
Lead Kindly Light – a song I remember very well from childhood has been my epiphany throughout the week.  Surrender and humility has been my plight – the childlike TRUST that I long lost has been restored!  Reading the “history” of this song, I am reminded of the God who is merciful and gracious but most importantly, is always in control of our lives.  My prayer from now on, is to strive for a relationship with the Light who Kindly Leads me:    

Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene--one step enough for me.

I loved to choose and see my path; but now,
Lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will: remember not past years.

So long Thy power hath blessed me, sure it still
Will lead me on,
And with the morn those angel faces smile
Which I have loved long since, and lost awhile.

Thank you for this powerful message at this point of the retreat; thank you for the reminder that we are never alone in this JOURNEY OF FAITH!

Week 10: I begin the 10th week following our UM Annual Conference.  I am coming from retirement to once again serve a small local congregation.  The past 4 years we have lived and worked on a small island in the Bay of Gonave, Haiti.  The "getting started" resonated as I recalled our decision to live and work on the remote, underdeveloped island with impoverished people.  Together we were always fearless, even during the earthquake, but often frustrated and uncertain.  The "road" was wherever we walked and often uphill both directions but we were guided each step of the journey.  It is an unending "sortie" and we have only begun a new chapter.  How timely this retreat.  Of course, I believe this week must be another "God thing."  Thank you.

Reflecting on the picture for Week 10 (the girl standing by the bed) reminded me of my mother. She lives in a nursing home and basically has a bed similar to the one in the picture and needs a lot of help as she is blind and often in pain. When I visit her I often feel helpless to relieve her suffering. Although I would much rather have a different assignment, this week I received the grace to realize that my personal invitation from God is to work in that nursing home with my mother even when I feel helpless and would rather be somewhere else.

Today I begin the 10th week.  I started off really full of enthusiam it was the beginning
of Lent and I can say  it was  good Lent for me.  Then it got more difficult, I felt as if I
wasn't making any progress. I was reading the words that was all.  Today when I started
 week 10 I found the invitation I received from Jesus on the first page of week 10  to be a
 complete response to what I had written in my journal on week 9.  I felt elated I know
Jesus is with me on this journey but it is so good to given a consolation.  I felt I had to
 share with others - just keep going no matter how you feel - Jesus can work wonders in
 your lives if you open your heart and invite him in.

Week 10


... have been on this Journey without sharing so far and looking for Comrades to Share this  ' ignatian 'Journey

... WITH Graces... like the prayer of St Francis comes to mind... @ there is a situation/INVITATION at work were I can be THAT  channel... to bring sides together ... but it is so easy to slip and label people in" forgive them because they do not know what they are doing" mode of operandi

... & if not humble the vice of pride, like here " I am the Peace-maker" attitude will call me back on the carpet.

Week 10, Second time around.  Completed the Retreat Last Year.  In the Military, there is a term I recall  “recycle”, usually applied when a party did not complete, for whatever reason, injury, performance, etc. the complete training “cycle”,  and move on to the next opportunity.  Appropriately, or not, although I completed the retreat, I am taking a second tour.  It is almost a brand new experience, maybe it is.  A good experience.

Week 16:  This is what I thought about the "hidden years" of Jesus.  I think He was a very charismatic child and adult.  How could it have been otherwise when Jesus would call to fishermen and say, "Come follow Me."  And they got up and left family, friends, and work and followed Him.  So I see Jesus as charismatic as a child and as a teenager.  He was a person with a welcoming smile and an open "come on let's go do something together" look on His face.  I also picture Jesus as being mature and smart for His age.  He possessed scriptural knowledge far beyond His age.  At 12 years old He was teaching Rabbis in the temple at Jerusalem.  I see Jesus as part of a large, loving family.  I think Jesus would be the leader in any group He was in.  I see Him as a child playing school with family and friends.  Jesus is the teacher or Rabbi, teaching scripture passages to His peers, practicing His preaching style on His family and friends that He will use latter in His life.  I also see Jesus as the one, especially in His teen years that keep all of His friends out of trouble.  When His friends suggest some "naughty" activity, Jesus uses His persuasive personality to gently suggest something better to do.  And being the natural leader of the group, they all follow Him.  In His childhood and teen years, Jesus honed the skills He would need as an adult to lead masses of people to God.  And He set an example for all of us to follow in His footsteps.


It is two days before Christmas and week 10 of the retreat is drawing to a close.
This week we are encouraged to…” All week of this retreat, we will ponder the power of this imaginative invitation”
It is incredible to reflect on the nativity scene and in Luke 2 verse 19 notice that after the arrival of the shepherds with news from the angels, that Mary quietly treasured in her heart, the things she had heard from the shepherds and thought about them often.
How do we make what Mary did so well,…treasuring and pondering God’s love often, part of our every-day life?

Week 10 Sharing:  An Invitation to Love
Lord, I feel your bountiful love and mercy.  Your invitation in the picture of an orphan girl in the Dominican Republic, to join You in administering to the poor reinforces where my husband and I are in our mission work in Chalice, PSI and ANCOP.  The call has been set forth and the journey continues in Your loving embrace. 
As I am healing in my wound, you have given me the gift of seeing my life in perspective through this retreat.  You are healing me each day to bring me closer to You.  You are giving me strength to continue our mission in the Philippines mightily and powerfully.
Thank you Lord for the gift of healing and Your assurance of Your abiding presence.

WEEK 10. I am 62 years old and my health and financial situation wouldn’t allow mw to go to Republica Dominicana in a mission. I feel that my mission is here at home. My wife is Buddhist and lately we have had some difference of opinions which have created some distance between us. I ask God patience and compassion towards her.
A good way to do something for the poor in the world from home, apart from helping with money, is praying a lot. The Rosary is a fantastic prayer. I pray daily for the Peace with Social Justice in the Middle East, especially for Palestine and Israel.
God bless you all.

Week 10: My first posting and thus far the most unexpectedly difficult week. Like others, a depth of fears leading to avoidance and distraction-seeking, perhaps disappointment, and some confusion of how much I may be thinking my way through this part rather then letting my heart open to receive. I hope to recognize and accept my weaknesses, selfishness and desire for control and protection and offer them up for help. I feel as though I have arrived at a core crux exposing parts of my essential way-of-being that I have yet to recognize or understand - and don't particularly want to. I'm afraid I may fail this week and loose the thread of growth and development that has been inspiring me. So much deep consolation has already taken place - now I dewperately want to capture and hold on to that. Lord, may I be open and accepting of truth and change.

Week 10: Hi ! My name is Linda .I've been following this retreat. I had turned away from God for a while after something really hard happened to me .I had prayed for my couple and family .But My husband left me anyway .So I was mad at god for letting that happen.But as I go along I see that it was propbably a good thing that happened.My ex is in drugs and partys and maybe he would have taken me along with him .Maybe that is why God permited for that to happen.I don't know . Anyways ,doing this retreat is bringing me back closer to the ONE who NEVER left me ,but was waiting for me to turn back to him. I need God to show me he still loves me and to heal me from my past memories .
   This week 10 is hard for me , I still have trouble to believe that God loves me ,that he forgives me my sins ,that he accepts me as I am. And I'm scared of what he might ask of me .Like Peter, I want to run away.But I know that I need God in my life ,even though I'm scared .I can't live without Him.Please Pray for me so that God may show me His love and forgiveness and make me understand why some things happen so that this wall between me and Him(God) may fall away.I will pray for you all .

As I come to the end of week ten I am very aware of the prayer that I started saying in week nine, "Soul of Christ Sanctify me." About the time I started this retreat, my confessor said, "For your penance, do something nice for someone and then pray for them." This week's challenge has been to listen. The prayer and the penance are what I hear right now. "Someone" is my wife, family, the other driver, the homeless, those asking for donations and I hear the call to become aware. I believe that God is offering baby steps, a small cross, and I trust what comes will show me the way "...that with thy Saints I may praise..." Him.-- Joe 
I have begun week 10 and yet I still find it difficult to truly and deeply take in to my heart the truth and reality of Jesus' mercy and the infinity of his love. I believe it in my mind and I truly want to feel and believe it in my heart - and I know he has said that the key to his mercy is trust. I pray that Christ in his mercy will increase my trust and grant me the grace to love hime more and more.
Week 10: I can't believe I have to do this again. Many of the memories are so painful. Yes, God was there, but why did he let me suffer?? I know the answer, intellectually, but still have trouble accepting it. I always craved acceptance, and, I don't think I got it too much. Looking back at some of my attempts to be "the same as" everyone is very painful. I drank too much, way too much, made a complete fool of myself and on and on. Really difficult
Week 10: I was confused by last weeks exercise, as I was meditating and reflecting on Jesus's invitation. I wasn't really sure what I was supposed to be hearing/doing, what Jesus was trying to tell me. I had a dream about him being taken down from the cross and being held by someone. The only thing I could see vividly was the crown of thorns still on his head, I thought about this dream the rest of the week trying to figure out what it all meant, what he was trying to tell me, when I realized his message to me was I have to know him, know how he lived, what his life and death was all about, I had to know him in my heart and soul before I could truly respond and know what what he wants me to do. Of course I say yes to whatever he wants me to do for him....but I'm also going to do all I need to do know his heart, my heart to his.

I also saw how Jesus was speaking to me throughout my life, either through dreams, people or just life happening. And, I also realized when I didn't pay attention to his messages, my life just did not go well...I hope I can listen to him now. Thank you so much for this opportunity to be a part of these beautiful exercises. God Bless,
-- Patti
Week 10: was harder than the other two weeks. It was not easy to tell a friend nor Jesus that I would go with them wherever. In this week I heard about the fact that my director would be traveling and at the same time my brother and sister in law would be traveling as well. I am the assistant director. So this means more work for me and the same at home. I felt overwhelmed and began to hesitate. Yet at the end of the week I decided that no matter what I would say yes to Jesus and he would be with me. I claimed the promise of week 9 and still do. I know that Jesus is with me so where ever he will take me he is guiding and helping me.

Week 10: "I believe: forgive my unbelief" [Author?] As I've been reflecting and praying this week, I realize that while I really want to say "yes" and fully trust God and his love for me, at
the same time there is fear. Kind of reminds me of the story about the person who falls over a cliff. On the way down she catches hold of a tree growing out of the side of the cliff, at least 50 feet above the sharp rocks below. As her arms begin to tire and she is praying to God for help, she hears a voice from heaven " want my help?"
"Yes, Lord"
"Do you truly believe I can save you?"
"Yes, Lord!"
What would my response be? I like to think I'd say yes Lord, but I rather suspect I would beg and plead with God to help me in another way. To send rescuers, for example. The thinking portion of my brain would say, as long as you are holding on, there is hope someone (human) will rescue you. Then it would say, yes, but your arms are going to give out anyway, so why not let go now instead of in a bit: either way you are going to die. Ah the mind! Sometimes it overcomes the heart. I am only just beginning to understand how much God truly loves me and cares for me, even though I've known for a long time that I am where I am because I have been led. So, I'm praying for an open heart and mind, to be able to not only hear God's invitation, but to be able to respond in love. Here I am, Lord. Send me. [Isaiah 6:8] Am I capable, strong enough? Can I hold to that kind of commitment? So, I've been asking for courage and faith. I realize that through my whole life, God has waited patiently for me to turn and follow. Even when I've gone down a path leading away from God, I've met an invitation to return to the journey onwards. Jesus has been at my side every step of the way, even when I didn't see, hear, feel him and has protected me, especially at those times
when I was most distant.
Where is Jesus inviting me to accompany him? I'm not 100% sure. It's the mundane that scares me: it would probably be easier if I were called to go to Africa or volunteer at a hospital or hospice or even do something heroic like put myself physically in harm's way to
save a loved one's life. I think (and fear) I need to divest myself of stuff. You see, I'm a packrat (lived in same house for 25 years), whereas my husband is a nomad (airforce brat). My stuff is weighing me/us down. We certainly am not ready to move anywhere, nor to do anything else that requires me to abandon my stuff. Now, who gave it to me in the first place?
God, of course. and of what use is it to me: much of it packed in boxes or sitting in the bottom of drawers waiting for someone who can really use it? But for me it is extremely difficult to let go. What if my calling is to make my home more open to others, or even to just
simplify so that there is more space in my heart and mind for Jesus? Or how about my busy schedule? Am I called to give up some activities so that there is more time for meditative prayer, or perhaps just so that I am available for others who need my ear, or presence or help?
Hmmm... so lead on, Jesus. Please,,,, Teach me to love, to truly love. Hold my hand. Encourage me every minute of every day. Give me patience. Blessings.
I have been struggling about whether I was following God's will. After my wife's death, I really didn't care if I lived or died. I started to read the Bible among other things. And little by little, I realized that because I was still here, He had a plan for the rest of my life. I actually stumbled on this retreat from my church's website and it's been a Godsend. I needed to be reminded everyday of my life - where I've come from and where I'm going. I feel God working through me has inspired people around me. I have my daughter and two sister-in-laws that have come back to Jesus after being also devastated by Sally's' death. I thank God for the grace that brought me to this point. I pray everyday that I continue to merit the grace to do His will.
God bless you all - Jim
Week 10: This week was a rich week for reflection. It is almost precisely 12 months since I came here for a job interview that lead me to change career and move. I tried to do this in the spirit of discernment that I had learned in this retreat setting. It has been a very fast 12 months although in some ways my previous job and life seem far away. I sometimes ask myself whether I really needed another "adventure" at my age. Certainly, my wife has been very supportive and it has not been easy for her. Yes I've found it exhilerating at times and at
other times frustrating. So this week I allowed myself not to yearn for something different but to rest in Jesus' invite ... to ask forgiveness when it has been my will and not the Lord's that has driven me. I especially relate to Thomas Merton's prayer: "I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that
I am actually doing so". I pray that my response to Jesus' love will lead me to where He desires my presence.

In week 10 I have appreciated the value of the photo image as an aid in keeping the weekly theme as background. My work (at non profit that serves families and pregnant women) brought many challenges this week and some discouragements with the resignation of a well loved colleague. In the midst of it all, the photo image of the little girl standing alone by that bed was all that kept me focused on serving that little one who was present in all of the stressed out, fearful, anxious and hurting people that came in my path this week. God has remained faithful and on the final hours of work before Thanksgiving break He gave me signs of encouragement. He is always faithful.

Starting Week 10 I felt unprepared, as if I was gatecrashing on a more advanced Week. I didn't feel I could possibly be receiving an invitation from Jesus. My heart didn't feel thankful, I didn't feel free. My life didn't feel like a gift or an asset, it felt like a burden, a liability.

I brought to mind my sinful life and the particular pattern of sin which I pray now is in the past. I ran over it again and again in my mind - how I had disobeyed, how I had carved out my own path. I made a confession to God and asked for his loving forgiveness and healing.

I looked back at readings from the previous weeks, to remind myself of God's great love and mercy and our reconciliation with him through Jesus Christ's loving sacrifice. For the first time I started to realise that I am a sinner. I began really to feel that I'm a sinner. Amazingly, that made me feel thankful. Could it mean that, because of my sinfulness, I am the very kind of person Jesus wants to sit and eat with? That he suffered and died for me too? If I have sinned much, I must seek to be forgiven much. And if I am forgiven much, doesn't it mean I can therefore love much? The possibility of this made me feel joyful and free.

In this retreat I feel I'm being made acceptable to God, not through anything of my doing, but through his gifts to me. If Jesus invites me to work for him and with him, it will be because, for him, I am capable, I am ready and, such as I am, he needs me.
-- Rachel
I'm coming to the end of Week10 in which I spent some time arguing with myself about "dying to self" being our mission. By the time the argument was over I had a new understanding of what dying to self is and what it isn't. When I was in fifth grade one of my best friends was killed in an automobile accident. A couple months later my closest friend died of acute leukemia. A new girl started to our school; she was upset because her family had to move frequently. We spent our recesses talking about serious things and asking each other what we thought. Then one day this friend told me that she had to move again. When I got home from school I cried while telling my mother this news. My mother must have had a bad day because she did not offer me any sympathy. Instead she said, "Stop crying! I don't know what you're crying over her for anyway--she isn't even a relative!" From then on I didn't tell anyone at all when I was hurting. I taught myself to say, "I don't care" about the things that hurt me worst, and I transferred the hurt to something that hurt me less. In other words, I taught myself to lie to myself. This is the wrong kind of dying to self!!!!! Dying to self is not covering up my feelings. Dying to self is the joy of giving someone an African violet plant when they admire mine! It's a real revelation. When I divest myself of something I care about I am losing myself, but the "hole" really is filled with joy--the joy of providing joy for somebody else. On the other hand if I feel someone is yanking something away from me, I feel angry inside and mentally sulk. That is not dying to self; it's emotional suicide. So where I need God's help the most is when I feel someone is knowingly taking advantage of me in one way or another. You must be laughing at me for taking so long to realize it. Thank you for the Retreat and thank you very much for your prayers for all of us. God bless you.
Week 10:  My wife and I have had many conversations over the last year on what I (or we) should be doing … whether where I am today fulfills my response to Jesus whether or not it fulfills our material needs. (I followed this retreat last year and decided to continue on the path I set doing the retreat this year again with a friend). As I reflected on the theme of invitation I was struck with the introductory statements on how Jesus might be expressing this invitation. I was moved by the promise that Jesus might want to share completely with me ... If I accept His invitation ... in the same way that I know that my wife shares with me as I describe what I want to do. I have always had a strong feeling that Jesus was willing to guide me, prod me, and even rescue me. But share with me ... even though I previously would have been able to articulate this in a theoretical way, this personalization was emotionally very strong for me.
Week 10: Many thoughts and symbols have come to me through these 10 weeks of retreat.
William Barry’s article on “Why Do You Pray?” started me thinking about the idea of “transparency” that is needed in an intimate relationship. Adam and Eve were unafraid before God; their transparency symbolized by their nakedness.
God calls us more deeply into this transparency –that we are transparent to ourselves also.
Like a good gardener, I realize that pruning and weeding are necessary for the good health of the garden. I don’t like the personal “pruning” that this retreat calls me to; but by seeing myself honestly, I can be shaped in the way that is most fruitful. I’m all into “abundance”, but sometimes cutting back is necessary. I ask for guidance to see where and how to cut back.
Guidance contains the word “Dance”. Dance is a partnership – both cannot lead. Leadership may be subtle, but one leads and one follows. They merge and act as one. It takes lots of practice and hard work, but the freedom and joy and beauty can be wondrous! God, you and I, Shall we Dance?
Weeding the garden is important, too. I need to recognize the little seedlings that need pulling before they get too large, and the large ones that are outgrowing what that which God has planted. – Wisdom to know the difference!
What is Truth? Pilate asks. The truth is that we are loved by a most personal, intimate, forgiving, understanding, strong, gentle, compassionate love. A love that is not distant, but became one of us, took flesh, laid down his life. A love like the Prodigal son’s father, who loved enough to let us go, then waits longingly for our return.
Week Ten Reflecting on all the different ways there is to say “yes” All the expressions –doubtful, determined, scared, forced, timid, elated, awe struck, wonder, angry because it’s a should, quiet, with conviction, etc.
I know I’ll waiver in my attitude and expression, but let my response always be “Yes”.
You did, You came in love, you asked “not my will but yours be done”, you ended with “Into your hands I commend my spirit.” The many ways of saying Yes.
Thank you for understanding and accepting me where I am each moment.
The difference between Respond and React. Only when I can look at what is being asked, what will it cost, what does it mean for me, etc. Only then can I honestly respond in freedom.
The song THE SUMMONS: Will you come and follow me if I but call your name, Will you go where you don’t know and never be the same?
Thanks you God, for loving us deeply enough that you give us freedom, and you are there to pick us up when we waiver and stumble.
I am finishing the tenth week. One week ago, when I have given my will to God I had seen, that so many times my liberty was handing me and my will.
Last week I was praying with Thomas Merton words and I was seeing that I had to give Jesus my liberty. After few days I saw, that there was the next necessarity: to give Jesus my imaginary. Jesus, my Lord, take these both my high-handed powers and give me Your Spirit to have liberty for You and imaginary serving for Your Kingdom. Abba, no more my but Your will let be.
In polish: will names “wola”, liberty – “wolnosc”, imaginary – “wyobraznia”. All three are www.forGod. It’s only mnemotechnic, but I saw behind this the deepest God’s Love, which allows me to be without my powers but as an infant in Abba’s arms. It would be good to have child ears to hear Your calling in human voice, face and eyes, and gesture. I am thinking that with You all of these will be possible. In Your hands my life is...I am conscious with this new time of seriously beeing with God, even with troubles, even with cross, more and more time with praying...
-- A.K.
Week 10 that others struggle with God’s calling too. Two readings especially spoke to me. The first, the gentleman who did not make CEO and the lady taking care of her autistic child. I recently had to go on family medical leave to take care of my mother who was not doing well in assisted living and not quite needing nursing home care. At first at work I had a lot of support. Now because my hours have been “tailored” to my needs there is an undercurrent of resentment and people wondering if I will be staying on. I have the backing of an understanding boss and manager. However, as time goes on that will probably change. There are others that want my position with this wonderful physician that I work with. Currently, I have asked for help with my mother’s care with a day service so I can go back to work. I don’t know if I will be able to stay at this job since part time positions have been abolished. I have struggled and do struggle time to time with the restlessness of not knowing what to do yet.

I've been been two weeks with Week 10. This has been a particularly busy time for me. Family. Birthdays! Seven. (I try to do something for or with each one, SPECIAL!)

Through all the 'extras' I've continued to pray and reflect on Week 10. God has shown be some important points to reflect on. Four, below:


(Remembering a beautiful print, from the 1970's; a popular phrase.)

Back then I understood it. Now, almost thirty years later I 'receive' it again. I'm a mother and a grand mother! According to scripture, that's a very important gift, and responsibility. I'm realizing now there are things which only grand parents have been 'commissioned" by God to do for the family. What a lovely assurance.

2. I really don't feel called to some foreign place, perhaps because the need is obvious right here. I believe my 'Love' has shown me ministry to do right here, both for the family and in the Church.

3. Interesting observation: When I was young and had the energy, I lacked maturity, and spiritual guidance, or awareness to go into foreign missions. Now, in senior years . . . I realize I've been doing ministry more than fifty years, by trial and error, and the grace of God.

He allowed me to raise four wonderful children, away from home and family (married to a man who traveled Sunday to Thursday, regularly . . . sometimes with assignments overseas, extending several weeks at a time . My mission and energies were devoted to raising my children. (I wasn't aware at the time that I was doing it for God and His Kingdom, but I realize now . . . that is/was my calling.)

4. Years later when I reentered the work force, it was in a children's hospital where I worked as support staff in intensive care. That truly was hands-on ministry. Being there with sick children, grieving families, and often exhausted staff, whom I loved and admired so very much. They, gave it their very best, and remain an inspiration to me even today. God bless them!

Thank you for 'Sharings' . A wonderful place to pray, and come together. Writing thoughts, prayers . . . sorting! It helps. We all benefit through this. God bless you!

Moving on now to Week 11. May the PEACE of Christ be with us all.
throughout week 10 i seemed to hear different calls to different places and people and to different things . one was to remain homecome here till at least the end of the retreat . 3 times in my life i have heard the call which meant leaving everything i owned and following immediately. once brought me into recovery from addiction and the second time i took my children home to our country town and family and the third call beought me here to the tweed. when i read week 10 - i expected to be asked again to leave and go elsewhere but as the week passed - i found increasing peace in staying homecome a little longer here on the hll. travelling a little to my children and going on with the v ery simple things i do in service and in my life apart out here.
on the last day of week 10 - 2 miners were rescued in tasmania after 14 days buried in a small hole underground . other miners had burrowed inch by inch to reach them for 10 days and when they were reached - they walked out. still joking and thanking people who had been there for them. watched it for hours - and i could clearly hear an invitation to a divine optimism which eldues me. to some form of courage and good cheer which defies the logic of earthyl life. the 'experts' were predicting the terrible condition they would be in - and they simply werent. as i watched the invitation to love came clearly that i pay more attention to god and less to THEM. whoever THEY are.
i am familiar with my inclination to despair and dont know how i shall go with this but it is a golden key to me. divine optimism. there is no hole god cant or wont dig me out of. if i stay calm and dont panic or despair and take care of my own end. be of good cheer girl . all is well.
-- nell from tweed.
Thank you for this site - I got to week ten and thought "what am I doing here " I haven't done the weeks perfectely so I went back and reread week 7 -so much more comfortable - I know sin . So i have taken two weeks with week 10 along the way some very poweful thoughts surfaced . One day I woke up very angry and kept thinking " I didn't ask to be born " " How do I know if I even have any faith" Eventually a very wise person said that the invitation wasn't a comand or a demand and the two thoughts were related - to much detail for here but the grace that came was waking up one day with the thought that my life was a gift and that heaven is where I am headed for and I have things to work out here.Today is Easter Sunday and I trust that Jesus is alive and loves me - I don't "feel" Gods' presence but I will trust.I wish I could have a cup of tea and chat with you - so much I don't understand - but I've known the longing for so many years.I am not afraid to continue on to week 11 now and I keep all those making this retreat and those who make it possible in my prayers.
-- Patti
How I needed this Week ! I have been so grieving over the things in my life that Alcholism have stolen from me.

I am grieving over all the mistakes I have made in dealing with this disease that has affected my entire family: parents, 6 children, 11 gchildren.

I need to hear and feel that God loves me.....I so wish to be healed of all this pain.......

All I can do is surrender.....I am powerless !

Thanks to everyone and all the work you do to help people like me !! It restores my faith ! God Bless !
Week 10: To me, this invitation feel like being on a treasure hunt, and sometimes in the dark. You never know where it will take you or what you will find. The paths are uncharted. Only one thing is certain: The invitation reads, "Come as you are." I look at the little girl in the hospital room, decorated with Walt Disney's Bugs Bunny and friend, and remember another little girl-- one of my own, at age 2, in a room similar, even to the Disney scene. My mind fills with memories of my own childhood, and pictures of my daughters, and now, grand-daughters. What's the story behind the picture? What is it Jesus wants me to know, to see? What about the little stranger do I need to attend too? What about my daughters? My grand-daughters? Myself? My husband? There are both good, wonderous memories that fill me, and sad ones. Like the picture, the memories only hint at more...

I've been in Christian ministry for over 30 years, the last 7 were spent traveling, sharing, and responding to the invitation to go, to leave my comfortable pillow behind, to travel the by-ways and behold what is there, --out there,--and if possible, to leave the peace of Jesus and His love, in each place I'd visited. With all my heart, I pray I did. But now it seems the invitation is to see what is right in front of me, asking me to embrace the words of the Master for myself, for my family. Ah-h-h, it would be easy to keep on moving, to keep on seeing what others need. But He has stopped me in my tracks. It is hard. I'd rather minister in a more "professional" way, to the masses. There, I don't have to get close enough to see what isn't working, what still needs healed, where this or that stranger is still in bondage. I don't have to stick around after the meeting to watch when they may fall down, or struggle to find hope again. Ah-h-h, this invitation is harder to accept. I don't feel afraid of the inner journey. I just wonder if I'm up for it? Ever now and again God decides to walk on my soul. This seems like 'heavy walking'. Why? What do I need to see, to embrace, to live in? I think it's the mundaneness of every-day-ness that challenges me. It didn't always, but as I grow older, it feels confining, leaves me wanting and restless. Yet, I know it is LIFE for me right now at this time in my journey. If it weren't so, the invitation would be to something else. God knows and acts for all the right reasons.

I have chosen, after weeks and months of struggle, of letting go, of asking and seeking, to simply sit, and to let the picture speak to me. To wait for its secret to unfold. I've chosen to listen for and too the invitation. To hear it! I've been invited! Wow! Do I understand it? Ha! That makes me think of the question asked parents at a child's baptism: "Do you know what you are undertaking in having this child baptized?" I always giggle. We have found Love, and Love will light the way... The secrets in the invitation must be allowed to unfold, be discovered, embraced. For now, this is enough.
I couldn’t help but remark that, in your example, my loved one doesn’t invite me, as the glossy travel brochures do, off to some tropical paradise or on a cruise, where I’ll be treated like royalty and bathed in delights. No, I’m invited to a children’s hospital, refuge of the atheists’ favorite argument: “If there is an all-powerful, benevolent God, then why do innocent children suffer?” There is only one invitation, though it comes in many forms. Christ invites us to the cross.Tom, Pennsylvania
I found this week’s reflections quite a blessing compared with the previous week when I felt restless. I did deeply reflect what I would say if my wife came and said she was deeply committed to moving to quite different environment responding to a deep need or call. At this point in my life I would respond quite positively. Would that always have been so, I’m not sure. I resisted the temptation to answer the question so then “what is God really calling me to do?” I stayed with the invitation. But I contrast other times when I have tried to answer a “call”. I reflected before that I was sure when I was in my early 40’s that I had a deep calling to pack everything up and move to Africa and then surprising myself in deep discernment that my calling was to remain where I was, doing what I was doing. Similarly, after a big disappointment at work when someone else was chosen to be CEO of my company I was sure I had to find something else but I was not going to damage my family and colleagues in finding it. I was restless to find this and maybe even annoyed that God didn’t oblige with a nice CEO role somewhere else. I don’t feel this anymore. So I’m not sure where this journey will take me but I’m thankful for release from restlessness. Week 10.
Amazement is the word I come up with this morning as I share with all of you, my friends, on this journey! God, continually, healing me, His’ forever’ love for me, even in my sinful and undeserving nature! How can it be?! I have stopped asking myself…I am just convinced, truly convinced that there is ‘no rhyme or reason’ for any of it…He is just my loving God…no more, no less! It’s funny how life is going on as it always has, all the struggles and pains are there, but He uses my gifts that I have been holding back. (…too risky…too much work, the usual garbage) Now I seem to be tireless in doing His work!!! Hopefully, all of you and me will continue to revel in His glory and serve Him as He deserves! Someone’s sharing, in particular, touched me this morning. I don’t know when it was written, but it was reflecting on Weeks 9 or 10. It was written by a man whose marriage had been destroyed by his “unfaithfulness to God and his wife”, and how this has caused such pain in his family’s life. He is separated from his wife and she doesn’t want to make amends. Yes, consequences, they’re always there. I pray for your wife, too. Forgiveness, in any situation, ‘sets the captives free’, and we are the captives more than those we forgive. Hopefully, we can learn from the mistakes and help to teach others not to make the same ones. That’s what we are here for. This is how we spread the Kingdom of God. But, just a little encouragement from me to you…God never lets anything bad happen to us, we do that to ourselves, but He will always let many, many, many graces and blessings come from them. If we just remove the ‘scales’ from our eyes, we will see them, oh so clearly! And, even, if the scales are still making things cloudy, He will show us at another time when He knows we will need it more. Peace to you, my friend, and to us all.
As news of the devastation of Katrina unfolds, I'm in the 10th week of this retreat. Would I, could I, go to help those people, suffering from the many ways this hurricane has altered their lives? This retreat makes me feel the possibility. It makes me realize that God has given each of us special gifts, and that this is like Christmas when our gifts are most welcome.
And our world needs all of our gifts, given graciously, not just at this time of tragedy for so many, but in the everyday ordering of our lives. I pray for the possibility that lives may be returned to normalcy, but with the assurance of grace that lifts us up and out of the despondency of life without faith.
OK, now the rubber meets the road. The part I've been afraid of. Would I go for a year to a mission, for example? I don't know if I'm big enough yet to say yes. But I'll keep going on. What else can I do? I can't go back.
I was just rereading the ‘Getting Started’ section of wk 10. My phone rang with an invitation to be one of the people having their feet washed on Holy Thursday. First impulse, no. After hanging up, and again rereading what I’d just read about LISTENING & BEING TOUCHED by the invitation, I called back and said yes. God works in mysterious ways.
Week 10 has really jolted me to face my fears that keep me from being generous in response to Christ's call. I realized that while the call to go overseas has persisted over half my life, my motives needed to be purified. Every time I tried to go, the doors were shut. When I finally wrote to the University of Louvain (Belgium) a month ago and the doors seemed to be opening, all my fears started surfacing. Fears not only of failure in completing the dissertation or that I will not be smart or disciplined enough, but also fears of success. What will it mean for me in terms of taking more responsibility for what I say or write in a public realm? When I read the Newman prayer, I realized not that "I am far from home" but I will be far from home. As I looked up at a photo of me on the coast of France, I remembered the verse in Psalm 139, "If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there my hand will guide you, and my right hand will hold you fast." I am challenged to put out into the deep and leave everything behind for the adventure God may be calling me on. I pray for the grace to say "yes", to trust Jesus more, that He will go before me and make all my paths straight.
Week 10: "I feel a profound call to go there and serve for a year. If we can work out all the details to get time off here, will you please come and be with me? I know we can make a difference together. I need your love, your support. I need you. It won't always be easy, but we will have each other to lean on." - from the Online Retreat Guide 10

Such intimacy. Everytime I felt overwhelmed with the amount of work that had to be done this week, this invitation always came to mind. It reminded me that I'm not alone in this task and that this is a journey that I have taken with the one I love. There is so much intimacy in this journey that I often forget and ignore. There is so much room for sharing and growing with the one I love and the one who loves me more than I can ever love myself. May I not turn away from this realization and may I not forget... and when I do, I know that it'll be okay because we're together on this.
Week 10 When I started this week, it was a little frightening to read the challenge of being a “missionary.”  As I continued to read and study the guide I realized that the contemplation for this week is to determine with God how I can best meet this request.  I have been trying to listen to God and really believe I will be led to “something” that satisfies this desire to serve. The sharing of others is very beneficial - that interaction with others working on the same thing.  It is wonderful.
The invitations in the Guide for Week Ten really touched me.  At first reading how could I want to say anything but "Yes".  However, the fear creeps in.  I 'know' that ultimately God's plan for me will bring me more happiness, peace, contentment, and fulfillment than any other life course.  But there is fear in taking that leap of faith to say "I trust you and will let you lead me completely."  Why do I have this fear?  Part of me knows that there is nothing to fear in trusting God.  However, part of me wants to hang on and maintain some control myself.  I suppose part of the fear is expressed in the Merton prayer from this week in that I can not know without a shadow of a doubt that I am truly following God's desires for me even when I think I am.  Another part of the fear may be in allowing myself to completely trust without reservation the truth that God only wants good for me and has the power to follow through and will be with me every step of the way.  Ultimately it is a matter of faith.  It was reassuring to be reminded that even those disciples and saints who are examples of faith were met by God in their fears and uncertainties as well and that their faith and relationship with God grew and blossomed through it all.
Invitation to love.  God is so patient with me. I do want to follow Jesus and in many ways I do, but the resistance to change is still there at times.  Through this retreat I am becoming more aware that God does indeed want to free me if I will only let Him.

May I follow Him knowing that He is tender and loving and will lead me to where  He wants me to go.  I pray for trust  that with Him all is love. Let me be aware that each day is another opportunity to grow in that love.  Lead the way, Lord and keep me close, for I often forget to lean on you as I should.
Thomas Merton's prayer is my prayer. I want to do God's will. I try to do it as I see it...,ah, but that's the rub. As I see it. Help me to understand what it is You want of me. I like the prayer that suggests I sit with hands opened, palms up beseeching God to speak to me, to guide me toward Him, just be quiet and listen.
I am still working on week 10:  what I think that I am being asked to do by the Lord is to be where I am and to serve Him in the all the tedious and mundane details of life.  Acceptance of this has taken much time and resistance.  I would much rather do something glorious and concrete that points to my doing something for the Lord; yet, in fact, it is in the everyday that I am being called to meet God and extend Him to others.  I am thankful for my involvement with the Holy Family Institute (part of the Pauline Family which provides married and/or widowed individuals with the gift of consecrating their lives to the Lord); although I have been with them for less than a year, it is through the grace of their vision along with the grace of this retreat that I finally realize that here is where the Lord has placed me and it is here that I am to do His work and be with Him.  I am also coming to realize that being with God means not only being with Him in this place or that but with Him in the time of history in which He places us.  I am a returning Catholic, gone after thirty years, and I have many issues with the Church and its many changes.  I do not understand so much.  I grew up pre Vatican II and left the church because I felt lost in the chaos of the post Vatican II church.  I am now realizing that I am being called to update my Catholicism and to embrace the Church where it is now.

It embarrasses me to say that I know well my response to the ‘invitation’ presented in Week 10: Would I go on a mission to the Dominican Republic (or any mission) if my spouse asked me to join her? The answer is that I would go in a heartbeat. That embarrasses me it makes me feel like I’m bragging or saying how good I am. The opposite is in fact true. I would go not because I’m good, but because I need the example of the faith people living in poverty have to strengthen my own. My faith is so weak, and I am so weak. Were I ‘good,’ I would be taking the initiative and asking my wife to go with me. Instead, I sit at home, waiting for ‘the right moment.’ I hear the Lord’s call, and feel like the man at the plough who looks back instead of following without hesitation. I pray for the Lord’s wisdom and for the courage to respond as He wants me to. 

This is the first time since I have begun the retreat that I felt I wanted to share my thinking.  When I first read the readings from this week (week 10), I could feel alot of resistance to responding in gratitude to God's invitation.  I feel like I already know at least some of what God's invitation is for me.  I have a 9 year old son with autism and I feel that God's invitation to me is to give more of my time to spend with my son in teaching him all the things he needs to learn.  This is hard for me because I sometimes feel like I am being swallowed up by his autism and all the things I see that I could be spending time teaching him.  In addition, I have a husband and daughter and I feel quite torn most of the time about where I should be spending my time, and feeling that I am not spending enough time with any of them.  Anyway, I journaled about it some yesterday and got great value out of the time I spent doing this.  I have found that journaling has really helped me during this retreat when I find an idea difficult or I feel that I need to explore my thinking or to deepen my thinking about an idea that has been offered to us.  Yesterday I was able to sort out for myself that I need other people to help me in the teaching of my son.  I always have had other people who have helped, and I see that at this time I might need to find one or two other people who could spend some time with him and help me to teach him the things he needs to learn.  I also have to trust that God is with me in this and that He will help to provide what is needed and that He will guide me on this journey.  I want to do God's will for me in a spirit of gratefulness, not from obligation.  I see what it would cost me if I go through life coming from obligation.  I pray for God to transform my thinking about this so that I might be more at peace and experience more joy in doing God's will.

As I travel through Week 10 of the retreat, I hear God's call to be with Him. The thought, however, scares me a bit like Peter. I might as well have said it: " Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man." And because it means leaving my fishing ( safety ) net, too...and  I have to let go and let God control my life. The world teaches me to rely on earthly power ( domination over others ), obey my thirst for earthly drinks, promote my self-image to succeed, and have money to be counted as having reached the top of the mountain. The Lord, on the other hand, selects isolated places to show His glory and it can be very lonely places externally and internally ( in my heart ) - so different from the glamour of Hollywood parties. He invites me to be with the ostracized and, in the process, being ostracized also. He asks me to forego the riches of this world, which means I can never have a Lincoln Navigator nor a BMW. It is so counter-cultural and a way to failure in the eyes of my relatives and friends ( never mind the world ). But the Lord invites me to look at my life in perspective. He has sent strangers to minister to me materially and spiritually : e.g., an acquaintance giving ( not lending ) me food money when my pocket was empty, new friends sprouting out of nowhere to replace those who have abandoned me ( because I am a failure in their eyes ), and a new career in social work beckoning me to be with Him in " distressing disguises. " Still, the world seems a harsh place with high tuition fees and low salary rates for those who serve His people..because they/we have no paid lobbyists nor trumpeteers in the news media...Somehow, though, I will make it with Him. I just don't know how. I cannot see beyond the bend, although I see sparrows and seagulls thrive through winter without hands nor theories to equip them. The Heavenly Father is more than enough for them. I trust Him to be the same with and for me. So I drop my nets ( including my earthly wisdom ) and follow Him, dying to my fears and being born into His Kingdom which human eyes hath not seen nor ears hath heard... Because, Yahweh, I know you are near ( Psalm 139 ).

As I read the words and prayers, I thought how relevant. As at this very time I feel or maybe even want a change in how I serve Jesus. However, I never thought of being afraid until tonight. It seems that deep down it is the fear of losing the comfort and comfortable in my life; that is what I am afraid of  --- not knowing what I would have to do to really answer the Call. (10) I pray for direction each and every day, but Lord do I really want it? Do I really want the change required of me? Lord help in my fear, help me my unbelief.

Wow -- Just starting week 10, and see that it's time to start asking the "serious" questions of God.  Not that my prayers to this point haven't been serious, but I sense a much different relationship with God already, developing over the past 10 weeks, and I know that often in the past I have held something back.   Like, I want to know what God wants of me, but I'm afraid to REALLY know, because I've been afraid I will fail and disapppoint.  I have a better understanding now (greater faith) that God is with me, and won't be disappointed as long as I try.  I feel my prayers will be alot more intimate than they've been, because I can put all before God.  For those of you who are just starting, keep it up!  This is a great experience!  Thank you again to those who have created this retreat.  It has done so much for many of us.

I was at a dead standstill about 6wk ago , which is what I shared. I asked for your prayers.   Now I'm on wk 10 . I just had I little insight I wanted to share.  I had tremendous resistance to going forward when something might and in all probability WOULD be asked of ME. With all my baggage of fear, control, criticism, and judgment I thought I would never move forward. Then I thought of a yard sale or flea market! All you can do is lay the item out , no matter what the condition, and hope to sell it "as is". If no one buys it you can always give it away. Well, I'm laying myself out for the Lord to take, any or all of me, as He sees fit. I can't sell myself, so I'll just "give myself away" to He who collects all the "junk" of His earth. Wishing all of you a great day in God's "flea market" ! 

I'm on week 10 now. God has brought me through many painful 'dyings' in my life, but these ten weeks have brought as many as in the rest of my life put together. Each week has had its share. He is lovingly reshaping me, in his subtle little ways, into I know not what. I only know it will be much better than anything that's gone before. I started the retreat soon after I met the first person in my life who seemed to understand everything I said, and had been many of the same places in her soul as I had been in mine. For about a month we shared very deeply, enjoyed each other's company nearly every day and were pretty much in love. I can see now how foolish that was, but who sees such things at the time? Then I said things of which I was very ashamed, and since then it has been a struggle to maintain contact and build on what was good in our friendship. This has been the biggest 'dying' of all for me, and is still going on. It revealed how much anger there was under the surface, and that God wants to deal with that before I can go any further. It has probably been the cause of my recurrent depression, which has often paralysed me in my close relationships. Please pray for me as I work through this with my loving heavenly Father. He is showing me how much he loves me in all this, although it doesn't always feel like that! Again, I want to express my thanks for the opportunity for this spiritual 'workout'. I've never embarked on anything like this before, and I was a liitle wary of starting, but it's turned out to be the biggest adventure of my life. I feel if I can see this through I'll be able to cope with all the frustrations and contradictions of life so much better, and be of so much more help to those around me. It's happening already!

I am in my 10th week of the retreat and I am feeling a great deal of terror. I'm not quite sure why. I am totally sure that I want to follow Christ , that where He wants me to go is safe and the best thing for me. But I am very scared to abandon myself totally to Him. I feel that where He wants me to go with Him is not where I want to be, as though He somehow wants to make me do something I don't want.  I have feelings which stem from my childhood, projections of my earthly parents that are so strong that impede my total abbandonment. I could never trust a soul at home and now I find I'm finding it hard to trust God with my heart although with my head I do somehow. It's the trust of the heart, though that transforms every cell of our body into that which God lovingly desires. For that trust I pray, for that too is a gift, a gift I so ardently desire. I pray for all those in the retreat, that the Lord may gift us with total trust in Him in this journey of transformation. God bless.

You have made the Exercises so real for me-maybe its just that the penny has finally dropped.  In beginning the tenth week I am finding God is touching me in ways I could not image.  Your energies in developing this website have greatly blessed me.

I am thrilled I found your web site and will let as many as I can know about it. My first contact with Jesuits was at Fordham 47 to 51. During the years was busy becoming a doctor, starting family and enjoying life then the Viet Nam war started. Wow! Things changed and Dan and Phil Berrigan came upon the scene. I began to agree with them but wondered if this was becoming too radical. I bought a book on peace by Thomas Merton to see his ideas. The book was dedicated to the Berrigans and Was started on the road to pacifism. Since Sept. 11 being a pacifist is not as easy, for the first time America has suffered a tragedy and people are rightfully angry and demand justice. I agree with stopping the guilty and bringing them to justice but striking out in anger and violence only repeats what the terrorists did. Last Sunday my wife and I joined a small group of people against the war, concerned that this could lead to a much wider war. It was not very well accepted. I'm now in the 10th week of the retreat and the theme of following Jesus will give me the strength to carry on. Once again Thank God for your on line ministry and other Jesuits like Fathers Dan Berrigan and John Dear SJ 

I got bogged down in week 10, so many other things to do this Lent. A major lesson to prepare for Bible Study, an all day diocesan workshop, a fundraiser to attend, daily Mass and Lenten devotions...all important also, but after a week of only cursory attention to the retreat,  today I could feel the Lord calling me back. I re-read all the prayers and guides for week 10.  I cannot say how my awareness of the Lord's love for me has become so real since I started this retreat in Advent.  I am so grateful to Him and to all who put this together. The greatest part of all is that now I AM able to reach out to others in true love instead of some sense of duty. I have longed to see the good in others the way that God does and now I can.  I have heard the psychology of first having to accept yourself before you can accept others for years. But that was not possible for me without the deepest realization of God's love and acceptance for me first.  It was in my head, but not in my heart or deepest core of my being. For the first time in my life, I have seen Jesus in the eyes of those I help. Thank you Father God, thank you Jesus my savior and Thank you Holy Spirit, for your steadfast love.

I returned after a 2 week absence to the suggetion that I "give" a week with my mate in the service of the Lord. I have felt this call for some time but I felt I was too old (69) and would only be a burden. Now my wife is on oxygen (emphysema) and there is little possibility of answering a call if, in fact, that is what it is. I will continue on with the exercises (11 is next) with hope for the future.  God is love. 

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