Sharing the Retreat
Week 13


Week 13

I may have it wrong, but in following the readings today, in conjunction with my on line retreat with Creighton, and recalling too, our Jewish ancestry, I am reminded of these in the account of david overcoming the giant of the philistines.

Goliath was massive and well armed and laughed at the young shepherd david, staff in hand, daring to confront his magnificence. But the Lord was with david and only He, strengthening Davids arm, sling in hand, enabling the stone he threw to overcome and kill the giant, thus, by taking goliaths sword from its sheath,  david beheaded the tyrant.

What is this to me? A reminder I am not in control, yes, a sinner loved by the Lord, to whom I am praying every day to enable me to put all my trust in him and to pray that his will not mine be done. Leave it all to him he says. Just as david did and in all the supposed impossibility of overcoming Goliath, it was made possible. So must I proceed.

Thank you Lord for the grace of your Word to remove my darkness and shed your light on all that would overcome me in regard to coping with our sons addiction.

Thanks to all as always

Week 13:

Here is some of my reflection from week 13 this week has certainly been a week of Grace for me Waiting for the King, The hope of the nations. A “quick” fix! Where all of the struggles, pain, sorrow and suffering will end.

Were you supposed to come on a golden chariot Lord, waving a magic wand? Making everything new and taking your people to a magical place like the city of Oz?

And what if you had? What if the coming of the Saviour of Man had been a quick transformation, and hey presto; everything was made right!

I think it wouldn’t have been long before we went back to the old ways and patterns of sinfulness, and the pure and sacred would have been spoiled just as the Garden of Eden was by Adams turning away from You.

Lord thank you for coming to us as a Child, as a little baby. Taking your place in a long line of your ancestors who had been faithful to the call of God. By growing up in a community, by the people around you as you grew, understanding that you were different, set apart. They could accept you as you spread the message of the Kingdom of God as a man. Thus the disciples dropped their nets, left their boats and followed you.

You were a person; you still are that person, so when you died and rose again people knew you and the wonder touched them. Touch your world today Lord as we wait for you .

Jane NZ

God prepares the way. Even now, Lord, I feel your holy peace directing my life. You have shown me that You are always there. Even now. -Week 13

Week 13: Waiting and being patient - these are areas I have not mastered at the best of times and in this season where it seems work speeds up to be completed for the holidays I find it particularly difficult.  But I do find the process in this retreat helpful. I sit with Jesus trying to figure out what these people that form his genealogy mean.   I see in them examples of tremendous trust and faith but also sometimes character flaws or worse that bend the way they travelled. Then I see in my own life that God has been there in the flaws and the cracks on the way (not causing these but present with me and despite the flaws). I think particularly what does it mean for Jesus to fulfill the promise of restoring King David's lineage.  David is certainly a great leader but he does have some flaws and cracks along the way!  For Jesus to fulfill the promise to be on the throne of David is a clear metaphor that Jesus wants to be involved in the day-to-day affairs of our (my) lives.  He is involved in the midst of the clamor and the tensions of today.  He reminds us that in the turns on our journey and on the cracks on that road that we travel He is there.  I resolve to walk with Him, to be more aware of Him but also to be His agent in this world.

Week 13:
I don't think that when I said God, here I am send me all those many years ago, that I would end up being the gift that someone else needed or earned.   Yet I know that the time I got to spend with my father before his death was a gift for him.  And in being that gift, I received so much more in return. 

I know that I have been a gift to others and as painful as it is now, I know I will receive a gift from God in return if only to do his will and receive his grace. 

As the prayer says, I would be silent now and expectant that I may receive the gift I need, so I may become the gifts others need.  Amen.

I just finished Week 13 and I want to thank Creighton for this wonderful retreat experience.  It's truly amazing how my journey has progressed.  There have been several  weeks when I had to remain focused on the topic for more than seven days and I still find myself right on schedule as one week builds on the other.

I attended my first Bar Mitzvah two weeks ago so I actually had a real experience with the Jewish faith and an important Jewish tradition that helped me to understand Jesus' heritage even more than I could have based on my experience with the  old testament stories alone.  It was quite a celebration!

I look forward to the exercises in Week 14 to help me develop a deeper personal relationship with Jesus.  Slowly, I'm understanding the great love he has for me personally and what it means that God's Word is alive.  I feel a peace that surpasses all understanding even though I still have a great deal of hesitation and fear when I ponder the cost of complete surrender.   I'll have to leave that to His power and grace in the weeks ahead. - Thank you.

Week 13: This has been a week of reflection and "aha" moments for me. I have to agree with other writers-the prayer "how silently" really touched me this week.  I work with mentally ill clients and this prayer completely expresses my daily desire to allow God to use me to inspire hope and healing in my clients each day.

The other thing that struck me as I have been waiting this week is that I have been so focused and impatient with arriving at my destination which is of course a new and improved perfect relationship with God that I have overlooked the amazing changes that have been taking place in my life since I started this journey.  This week, everywhere I have turned, I have been confronted by the same thing in different terms whether it's at church  where the theme is only God is perfect-God doesn't want/expect us to be perfect, only holy or Facebook where I keep running into sayings about if we wait for the perfect moment to do things, much of life will pass us by.  "Jump and I will catch you" has been my personal message from God since the first week of this retreat and I have been using this to strive for holiness rather than perfection and in looking back over my journey on this path, I am amazed at the positive changes this has made in my life.

Thank again to the creators of this online retreat and to my companions on this journey for their word of wisdom in the sharing and their continued prayers.  Love and prayers, Diane

Week 13: Week 13 took a couple of weeks as I have just begun a new appointment after spending the last 4 years in Haiti as a long term volunteer.  The week and the photo were familiar and holy ground. I share a morning reflection from the that week...

Yesterday I sat with the sunrise. The orb rising red orange to transform dark rain clouds and the curtain of showers...they grew purple as they moved slowly with silent lightning to the east to eventually obliterate the sun. Creation was being and enhancing my first cup of coffee with peace and promise. It seemed to be "all for me". I so like thinking compassion, peace and justice with joy as envisioned through the cosmic Christ as the will and destination for all people of all shades with blended desire.  
--Pastor Shirley, Haiti

Week 13 - The Promise

     One of the readings was instructing Abraham to leave his country,  family,  practically all his loved ones to go to a place prepared by God for him.  It got me into tears because I read it at a time where we were informed that our petition for migration has been approved.  10 yrs ago I would have readily said YES but 10 yrs later I met the news with mixed emotions actually more of sadness than joy.  God must have been so confused at my reaction because that was what I have been praying for a long,  long time.  I even asked Him " How long,  O Lord?".  What a shame! 

     Silently........expectantly.....  God was answering my prayers.  He has been preparing me spiritually. He has been praying for me too to his Father that I and my family will be alright when we decide to 'leave everything and everybody behind'  not with closed eyes but with eyes focused on Him who planned everything.  I don't have plans because He plans for me.

"Lord,  give me hope that I may be your heart today."

Week 13

I’m undergoing this retreat under the spiritual direction of Fr. John Lipscomb, who is the chaplain at the Bethany Retreat Center in Lutz.
While I have a list of “spiritual email buddies” I share often with, this is my first sharing with the on-line group like this.
In week 13 - it is suggested we use imagination to put ourself into a circumstance in the bible.


John 21: 1 After this, Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way.2Together were Simon Peter, Thomas called Didymus, Nathanael from Cana in Galilee, Zebedee’s sons, and two others of his disciples.... “
I am Thomas, we've been fishing all night and are tired. I am now watching as we see a man on the shore and help as he tells us to throw our nets again and we can barely pull them in. We realize it is Him, the Lord. Peter jumps in the water, ever the fool! John just smiles broadly. We are all happy. But, we have some work to do with this fish. Jesus prepares a meal for us showing us again how we are to serve one another and just do and give. He now talks to Peter:
"Do you love me?" .. "Yes Lord"
"Feed my Lambs"
"Do you Love me" "Yes Lord"
"Tend my Sheep"
"Do you love me?" "Lord you know I love you."
"Feed my sheep"
Peter is sobbing, but this time i was out of joy. The Lord put his hand on his shoulder and Peter looked at Him and I could see a resolve in his face I've never seen before. Everything became more clear to us from that moment on and we accepted Peter as our leader, and he did lead. And we all followed the Lord and resolved to do so no matter the cost.
Then I asked God what his will was for me that day and listened, then wrote this down:
Be present to your family today. Serve them, feed them, tend to them. They are my lambs and sheep and you are to be Peter to them.
May God bless you all today and every day.

I've now reached week 13 and am finding the retreat really helpful.  It has been great as a UK nonconformist to be able to share in such a rich tradition and to have some of my inherited preconceptions exploded!

I'm slightly bemused by the frequent use of the word "graces'" and I 'm not sure what I have received in this regard.  I have been heartened by finding affirmation of some of my learnings in recent years about my relationship with God.  Better still, though, I have learnt a little more about how far I have yet to go, and it is a very long way!

Hardest for me is to let go and be less defensive in my feelings area.  I think I learnt at a very young age to protect my feelings and it is hard to unlearn it, even sometimes with those closest to me.  And I think that when at age 15 I promised my life to God I only did it with my head and not with my heart.  Now at nearly 70 I am trying to get round to finishing the job.

With regard to Week 12 there is a poem by the Welsh poet R S Thomas that I love - The Coming

And God held in his hand 
A small globe.  Look, he said.
The son looked.  Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour.  The light burned
There:  crusted buildings
Cast their shadows;  a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.
                     On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky.  Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed 
Boughs.  The son watched
Them.  Let me go there, he said
Colin, Bristol, UK

Week 12 & 13: Weeks 12 and 13 seem to go together for me. I am so happy that I did not stop at week 12 - or try to work on it more. I was so distracted during week 12 - occasions of sin. Slapping my Saviour in His face. Despair - why continue? Intentionally saying "I'll do it my way." "I want this now." Thankfully a friend said, "It just means that you are getting close. It's too bad for you. Keep working."  That helped open my ears to a homily and I decided to move on to week 13.I have been thankful to reflect on Jesus's culture, His stories. I started about wondering why there is no mention of his sexual life. If married men would use a prostitute, did single men? The law said NO, what was the accepted practice? In Genesis, Joseph's father had sex with a person he thought was a prostitute and was ready to kill until he learned who she is. Law versus self-gratification. Sexual tension and sin are in the stories of the Old and New Testaments. I have moved on to so much more to see the promise of the Kingdom of God woven throughout Jesus's story. The unimaginable forgiveness over and over again. The tensions, the me first attitude, praise the law in public and break the law when no one sees -- but God sees it all and Jesus's stories are full of forgiveness over and over again. I am so happy that I moved on to week 13. The grace to express my wonders and my doubts help me feel my weak faith, and my almost extinguished hope. In Jesus I will find life.-- Joe
Lord, As I view your photo album I am struck by the incredible faithfulness of people who shaped our faith … Abraham, Moses, Elijah …to name a few. Then I see like my own album that there are scenes that God did not plan but become unique sources of grace and renewal … Joseph in Egypt …. Then also like my own album there are scenes where it is clear that God has been forgotten … selfishness … poverty, exploitation are as much embedded in these scenes. Yet the prophetic promise still cries out … God wants to reach us. How is God reaching me today? It is easy to see that call as a constant theme and so to ignore… know that we can come back … promise to come back. But what happens if I see that call for the first and last time … what if I really respond to the call of Jesus as urgent and immediate? That seems more demanding … it is more comfortable to see it as a journey. Part of it is I know I am not worthy … haven't completed all of the "Holy self-improvement programme". But what if that call is that this doesn't really matter? God calls me as I am now? So I resolve to say yes … but I do that with little understanding … then I see Jesus turn back to the pictures I started with … Abraham, Moses and Elijah … to name a few … and I realise that I am not the first to feel this. Lord, grant me the grace and courage to get in the picture with them. Amen
Week 13: Praying Psalm 81 was recommended this week. Two lines jumped from the page as I prayed this psalm. Before I knew it, they had penetrated to some place deep within where I answered “yes”. Completely by surprise, they seemed a confirmation of the decision at this time in my life to leave involvement with a non-profit group to have more time/solitude available for prayer and writing. The lines: “I relieve your shoulder of the burden; your spirit is free to create.” (line 6, trans. by Nan Merrill) Also, this week, at a desolate time in prayer, out of nowhere the words; “he squandered his inheritance”, from the reading of the Prodigal Son, came to mind. My children – all in their 30s – have seemingly squandered their Christian inheritance. I must be like the “Father”, and wait for their return home.
-- Anita

Week 13: As I looked at "Jesus' picture album" I saw more and more the connected theme of "promise". God's promise ... yes starting with Abraham ... continually renewed ... played out especially in God's love for the poor and dispossessed. I found relating this reflection of Jesus' picutre album to the family in the retreat picture quite powerful. As I looked at the family the picture turned from one of despair to one of love. Despite the gross deficiencies in how wealth is allocated ... in people with no real home because they are refugees and tossed around official systems ... in self-centered violence that results in this father being maimed because he stepped on a mine ... God's promise of love is there. I realize that I am called to embody that promise. So I resolve to remember this picture of love ... to become as attached to this family and all families like them as much as I am to my own family. I resolve with God's grace to find ways to play out this promise in my day-to-day life.
Week 13 - This has been a wonderful week, and although I haven't intentionally stayed with it this long (two, possibly three weeks) my experience has been that God does (is) preparing the way. Awesome God! I say this because He's been so active in my life these weeks, showing me so many wonderful things, over and over again. Several things have been happening which I attribute or incorporate as being a part of this 13th week.
I love this Retreat! This is my second time . . . praying, working, living it. For me, it has contributed to significant growth in my spirituality. For one thing, I have continued to begin each new day with the morning offering which I learned the first time. As I wake in the morning, getting out of bed I make the sign of the cross, praying "All that I am, all that I do, and say, I offer to You God today, in union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus!" That gets me going in the
'right direction', with the right Connection.
I've studied Holy Scripture for roughly thirty years . . . was commission to teach Bible studies, following completion of a program in our diocese, early 1980's.
However, I've never looked at the entire Bible as the "Photo Album" of our dear Lord Jesus. Beautiful concept! Thank you. And now, in this current week, I'm seeing Him preparing the way even more . . . molding me, softening my heart in areas which need softening; trusting and loving Him more. And, yes, there is a sense of preparation, and Advent!
One more thing. To all of our fellow travelers on this journey: "I love you!"
Thank you for your sharings. We do this together, in the name of Jesus.

How much more do I understand who he is? How is my love growing? These are very timely questions for Week 13. The last few weeks have been difficult - there was a certain optimism during the first few weeks and a sense that things were going to be OK...but that sense of 'relief'has faded over the last few weeks...why?... well I don't know...maybe I'm not as focused and there is a certain 'relapse' into old patterns...but... There is also an increased awareness of a fundamental disconnect in my life...I'm going one way, others close to me remain very much where they are, and are still driving the same agenda which is causing me a lot of problems, not least distracting me from this journey...What do I do? How do I square that circle? Can I bring them with me? Do I even want to?
God knows.
Then there is the big question I seem to be falling down on. Sure, I'm up for all this but what speficically am I to to? What talents do I really have to offer etc. I can never figure that one out.
i found myself very sombre this week and wishing i had access to spiritual feedback. i read in one of the sharings that they recieved emails from creighton and wish that were in place for those of us who are alone with this process. nonetheless it felt rich for me this week. and i didnt get too busy once i came home from travelling to my children and grandchildren. that enabled me to embrace the ancient longing as well as the present longing for the love and presence of my family. several of the readings touched my heart and spirit. i was feeling older than sarah and very lonely to come back to my little rented cottage . ths beginning of this century has seen many seeming losses for me. and driving dark country roads late at night to come to my place where i live alone was pretty tough.
then i downloaded the weeks retreat and despite the sombre nature of it - i enjoyed it. can this happiness be mine ? am i too old ? is the way before me still being prepared ? the questions dominoed through me all week - but i felt as if i were in the presence of the beloved and although the answers havent yet come - i did feel that i had someone to ask them of . and now i wait.
-- nell from tweed
The retreat was with me a lot this week, especially as I helped my son make an ornament for the “Jesse tree” in the classroom at his Catholic school. He happened to draw, as his assignment, King David. I enjoyed showing my son how to make the six pointed star and wondered how Jesus must have felt to be Son of David. I imagined Jesus knowing all his ancestors with divine intimacy and tenderness. Those who gave him the form of his flesh were not mysterious to him. How marvelous his body must have been to him! As Son of David, he knew his heritage and his father’s will. Christ gives me a new understanding of how little I know of my own heritage, how little I know of God’s will for me. All the more, I must trust his knowledge, his will.I am grateful for the Jewish people and their faithfulness to their covenant with the living God. As the psalmist says, “your heritage is my delight!”Tom, Pennsylvania
I enjoyed this week and felt more focused although as is typical for this time of year it was a disjointed and busy week. I entered more fully into reflecting on this week’s screen saver picture along with the direction to understand “Jesus’ family album”. This was an interesting exercise to do when the WTO talks are happening in Hong Kong. If ever there was concrete evidence of how nationalistic self-interest can thwart reaching out to the poorest of the poor this was it. But looking at the Old Testament stories I can see how it is so easy to look at these familiar stories and see them as history … maybe even our history or to see them as the basis for nationalistic or tribal dogmas. However, seeing them through Jesus’ eyes I felt a strong sense of the endurance of God as a strongly loving God. Then I look at the family in the screensaver. Initially I want to avoid looking at the suffering … the father has obviously been hurt … and the poverty. But looking at it with a strong sense of the God of Love from “Jesus’s family album” I understand that God wants more from me. He wants not just intellectual arguments or clever dogma. He wants active love. I reread the daily readings as if I’m reading them with our family in the picture. The words of scriptures from Isaiah “to me you are very dear and I love you” demands that in my everyday life I move beyond intellectual argument to reach out to our screensaver family and others in need.
I have just finished week 13 of the on-line retreat and it is really touching my heart. I want everybody to know how much God loves each person and how His generosity, love, mercy, and forgiveness cannot be outdone. God does not want to remain a mystery to us. He wants us to know Him because He is our creator. He made us from nothing and loves us as his only child. Many of the pictures that go with each week personally touch my heart. i was at the Red Cloud Indian Mission school two summers ago and stood in the same room where the picture was taken. In April I went to Bosnia-Hercegovnia and saw the destruction from the war. I visited a refugee camp for the first time in my life and saw first-hand the injustice of war on the lives of so many people. I am no longer apathetic about the evils that go on around me, but have taken an active stance by becoming a volunteer counselor for women in crisis pregnancies at Right To Life. I am also leading two adult Catholic Faith Formation classes in my parish and am a Religious Education teacher for 4th and 5th graders. Thank you for making this retreat possible.
-- Sandy
It was slow getting into week 13, but God is so good, as we all know! I was, what I thought of as, behind, letting my weeks go longer than 7 days…but then, just what I needed happened! Advent came upon me with the beautiful readings of Isaiah and David’s Psalms…all that Jesus heard in His own life! Reminders of how I (and, we) am so connected with Him! Stories of His (and, our) ancestors that He (and, we) had heard over and over, again. Their sufferings and joys, their sinfulness and sorrow for theirs sins, their doubts, fears, hopes, dreams and faith that carried them through all the rest. This morning, as I began week 14 and how to reflect on God’s Words by putting myself in the stories, I thought this may be difficult, since I have never reflected on Scripture this way. However, I want to share how Jesus came to me through this exercise. The reading from Luke 1: 5-25, 57-66…Zechariah in the temple when the Angel Gabriel gives him the unbelievable news about John. First, I imagined myself and how I would be if an angel appeared to me. I, too, would be scared to death!! Then to give me news of the most unlikely thing that could ever happen!! I, too, would have questioned this. In fact, I am afraid and I question many things that go on in my life. My tears came freely and I told Jesus I was so sorry for these fears and doubts, telling Him I don’t understand why I have them when I say my faith and trust are in Him alone. The words that He said on the cross to His Father came into my thoughts so powerfully at that moment…”My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” By putting this in my thoughts, He reminded me that He, Himself, in His humanness, was afraid and questioned, too. In this way, in a way I have never experienced, He told me, so lovingly, how much He understands me. What a wonderful God we have!!!
-- June
This is my thirteenth week and my first sharing. I just read the prayer How Silently and it is perfect for Advent. The whole week is perfect for Advent when we are awaiting the celebration of Jesus' birth.

I want to say yes to God as Mary did and as Jesus did. Sometimes it is so hard to know what to do. We feel we need to accomplish tasks that are necessary for a traditional Christmas, yet none of these traditions mean anything if we do not accept "the gift we need so that we can be the gift others need", which is not always a material gift. Like children we keep unwrapping packages until we find the gift that satisfies. Jesus working through me is that gift.
This is week 13 for me, and it speaks so much to how I have lived for almost 70 years. I have had a come hither-go away with my spiritual yearnings for as long as I can remember. I have had some times of incredible "highs" when I thought constantly of God, and saw Jesus in all I met and was led to do. Then there have been those time, too many I am afraid, when I turned deliberately or through simple neglect from the path of my "highs". This week is helping me deal with that! Even in this week I have found myself slipping into that pattern; however, I have asked for the grace to be drawn back into a Jesus consciousness often and for longer periods. I have so far to go, but the path does become clearer and clearer whether I walk on it or over to the side. As Christmas approaches I visit with Jesus about the joy of the season and the nearness of His coming as a child in poverty and into a cold world that even denied Him a home as a newborn. I ask him to give us all the grace to somehow continue to hang on to the spirit of this season. I ask for this every year; perhaps this is the one that will be my year of remembering. Perhaps as I continue this retreat it will become the prodding that I need to keep me close to the enduring spirit of the newborn Jesus.
I just finished week 13 of the on-line retreat: “God prepares the way” and have most certainly experienced, through these exercises, that God has prepared the way for me to move away from fear and cowardice to lovingly and fearless proclaiming of His good news.  I did not realize that was what He was doing at first…but why should I:  I am creature; He is Creator.  I have been struggling for a long, long time with trying to overcome my fear of speaking the truth regarding my beliefs on moral issues, particularly abortion and same-sex marriages.  I used as my excuse the fact that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and that it was not safe to voice such scorned minority opinion; nonetheless, this lack of bearing true witness did not sit well with me.  I love my God and I believe in the sanctity of life and marriage:  why could I not bear witness to this.

I thought that if I looked over my life, I could find the core of the fear and weed it out…like magic I would be free of my fear.  I found most quickly that this attempt at an easy fix did not work.  I still feared to speak the truth.  Then I started week 13.  It seemed rather mundane to me…to look at the Old Testament and Jesus’ Jewish heritage.  Little did I know the graces that I would receive.  It has taken me about 3 to 4 weeks to move through the lessons and challenges found within the context and content of the lesson.  I think that it started with the question of “what do I long for from God” and the directive to learn “to ache with the world and its ancient longing for return and unity with its loving Creator.”  I realized that I long for freedom from all that keeps me from the love of my God and from my returning that love, i.e., freedom from my ego, my fears, my self.   I saw my fears and lack of true witness as hindering me in my love relationship with Love....

...And so I am so grateful for the many graces that I have received from week 13 on the on-line retreat and pray that I continue to bear true witness to the loving kindness and magnificent goodness of my God and the truth of His Word
I am beginning week 13 of the Online Retreat. I was so blessed to find this site in January, and the journey continues to bless. For me, the tremendous amounts of "grace reminders" have been so helpful. I am constantly and lovingly reminded that this is a journey. While I look at sins and failures, I'm also encouraged to turn everything over to God and let Him work even through them! What a profound gift.
I believe that the biggest grace for week thirteen happened right at the beginning of the week.  It just hit me that Jesus coming into the world was known and planned by God from the beginning of time.  It just always seemed to me that Jesus came in to the world because the people were not listening and paying attention to the God who had created them and sent them signs and messengers etc.  Then, with the information for this week it helped me to realize that while Jesus was sent into the world to save the world that His coming was planned from all time.
These past few weeks, the centering is on God and God's revealing self throughout time, like looking at God's personal scrapbook. After reflecting on today's readings, I am beginning to think that God loves being the "ultimate mystery".  I chuckled at the thought, as it rolled across my inward spiritual screen today, that God indeed loves being the  "Mystery". Jesus spoke in parables and puzzled the proud and ignorant and I agree, how could Elijah come again as John the Baptist. I think Jesus love his ability to be sharp. It's almost like a game. But what kind of game? Why are we always needing an explaination?

In child psychology there is the test of object permanence that little children play. (peek a  boo). We adults are kind of like this with God. It is only when we uncover our eyes and open them widely that we see God, yet God is always there, yet as mystery, until we seek to see more deeply. Only those who are sparked to seek and find are open to knowing God. You keep directing me towards the Trinity and I am learning that Trinity is God's self-portrait.

It is different with children, God is not found in the object permanence. Little children reveal God. They are so spiritually connected with God that they cannot be hidden from their master teacher who guides them and carries continual  conversation with their very souls.

So as I write and read what I just wrote here, I remember those things Jesus said about the children. I always attributed Jesus' words to mean "faith/belief". I never once thought that Jesus meant that we must reflect God as master teacher from within our souls as children and not play the game of object permenance with God as adults tend to do.

I see how desiring God is for us to long in our souls for this Emmanual. It appears as though the  Mystery is almost unknowable and unreachable and that our reaching out is only filling us piece by piece, like the bread at the table, not ever realizing the whole of God and yet there is given us- Emmanual. I wonder why. Week 13
God does not make clones.  Each of us is unique, precious, no two of us alike.  Yet it is such a pleasure to share, to see that we are alike - in some ways.  We are loved.  We love.  We wish to learn more about each other, about our beloveds.  We wish to be known, understood, loved.  Only God understands us perfectly.  We will never understand God - perfectly.  What a blessing it is to have the Old Testament, a kind of picture book.  It is such a good help in learning more about Our Most Beloved. We learn things to help us understand Jesus just a little better, a little more.

After 50 years of marriage, we are still learning things about each other.  Yesterday I learned something about my wife's childhood.  Something happened 80 years ago.  Now I understand her - just a little better.

All we have to do is listen, pray and listen and - pray.

The prayer Silently... was very powerful for me. It reminds me that all is for Purpose. He has a plan.
Then, of course, that fit with all the rest, the history from the Bible stories which directly relate to the life cycles of growing up. The search for Meaning, then having found direction the need for "Judges" to help deal with differences in our concept of Good, then our need for leadership and when the leaders get self absorbed the need for prophets to challenge them. And all this to establish a place of peace and harmony, a union with God, heaven. The model applies whether it is applied to governments, churches, schools, families, or individuals. Along the Way we are called on to fill these different roles in different ways
Patience to know, to listen for which roles I am to fulfill today, Silently...expectantly. Week 13.
The directions for this week are in contrast to the first few weeks of the retreat. Then, we were to review our life through reviewing old photo albums (figuratively or literally). This week we are to look at God’s photo album as it moves through salvation history. In reading a few of the suggested scriptures, and also reading the liturgical readings for the last couple of days, I recall Dorothy Day’s comments that God is not bound by time. She was saying something that had never occurred to me before: We can pray for things that happened in the past because with God there are not limits in time. He is Lord over the past and our prayers for things in past can bear fruit.

The Scriptures are also without time restraints in many ways. Reading the Genesis readings for the retreat and the Letters of Paul from the liturgical calendar, the concept of time explained by Dorothy Day came to mind because I was strongly struck with the fact that both readings were written today. It strikes me that God’s photo album (as seen in the scriptures) can be viewed as a series of digital pictures just taken of subjects still alive and in front of me. But his photo album can also a viewed as a series of old black and white photos reflecting images and subjects I will never actually see, but that reflect my very roots. God’s photos are new like the first cool breeze of fall and old like the depth of hard, dark wood.

The other thing I noticed about God’s photo album is that He puts a lot of unpleasant photos in his album of bad experiences. It’s not just a bunch of birthday parties. Week 13
Your suggestions about "waiting" in last week's general direction was a great help to me.  I am not a patient person...I hate standing in line for anything...and long traffic lights do me in!  I followed your direction last week and everything was so much better.  I almost looked forward to the "waiting" times so that I could be in touch with the spirit of Advent.  Thank you.  Looking at the album of Jesus and questioning him about some of his relatives was very rewarding and this week I am already walking with Mary the hills of Judea to the home of Elizabeth.  Thank for all the wonderful material and thoughts for this time of year.

I am starting week 13.  I did week 12 twice because I judged myself to be unfocused.  The second of these weeks was just as unfocused.  Until now, my retreat experience has been mostly one of insight and new-found love and intimacy. Now, I am challenged with a desert-like experience where I thirst and feel distant from the one I love.  My heart longs for a sense of the intimate. Before this retreat my awareness stopped at this point and I felt abandoned and alone.  Now, I know that my heart's longing is itself my current expression of love and intimacy and that my Lord want the same thing I do. I will read and listen to his word.  I will look for Him and pray for an increased sense of His presence.  I return to what I have learned in this retreat and I remember that He speaks to me in many ways. His love reaches me in many ways.  I reach for Him, too, in many ways.  Thank you Lord for changing my heart.  I will keep the change.

I have just started week 13 of the Retreat.  Until now, I haven't really read much of the sharings, then a couple of days ago I accidently hit the wrong computer key and printed out last weeks essays.  I was stunned to read two sharings that a year ago could have been written by me!  This message is to the people who don't believe that they can ever have a heart felt relationship with God. I started searching for God more than 30 years ago.  During that time I came to believe that God had rejected me.  Being Protestant that meant I was bound for Hell and eternal suffering.  I fought against this belief the best I could.  I went to church every Sunday, read the Bible daily, prayed and did all the things Christians should do.  I also went through periods where I just got tired of trying and did none of those things.  Then there were the years of anger toward God.  After all, I was trying to do everything I was supposed to do so where was He? Finally a year ago I decided to start over with the simple but complex question..Who is God?  I contacted churches and synagogues and asked to speak to people about this.  The almost universal answer was ..God is Love! One of the churches I contacted was a campus Catholic center.  The priest there took me under his wing and little by little I have gained a degree of real faith that I never had before. I did nothing different except that I listened to what I was being taught and allowed myself to accept it.  I stopped trying to take the Gift and instead allowed it to be given to me! For the first time in my life I can honestly say that God is real to me!  I can't thank Him enought for this Gift. Don't give up, no matter how long it may seem to take.  It's definitely worth it!  -- Susan

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