Sharing the Retreat
Weeks 26-27


Week 26

Follow Me. Leave your old life behind. I understand why people literally leave. It is hard, but then it becomes easier. To stay with those you love and follow is difficult. Even if they mean well, even if they are on the same path, it is difficult. The pull of conforming to the old ways is great. I believe that we remain because God needs us to be the example of constant striving for our peers. They need to see us try, fail, try again, fail, and try again. All the while remaining in God's Holy Love. The Stations of the Cross. He said it. Pick up your cross and follow me. You will stumble. You will fall. Others will jeer. Others will cry. Some will help willingly. Some will be forced to help. The journey will be brutal. The destination even more so. At the end, with perseverance, with surrender, all will be transformed. -Week 26

At an intellectual level I can relate to the tension of support and opposition that Jesus experiences. This week I relate opposition I feel at work to how Jesus must have felt. But in a lot of ways I see this as merely at an intellectual level. The more opposition I feel the more I descend into self absorption. Sometimes I am legitimately tired. But Jesus and His disciples were also. So I also can relate to how the disciples react to Jesus' instructions on the road He must travel. I need to grace to being able to redirect my focus more completely towards Jesus. Lord, help me take the little steps that will help me get there. -Week 26

Week 26: As I do week 26 of the retreat and read the sharing of other folks, it becomes clearer to me that without God through his son Jesus, there is no meaning to life. With God and his son, there is all the meaning and the joy and the comfort we need. This is why I need to be open to understand what it is God wishes for me to do, both in the small things and in the large things.  


Week 26:  Jesus Heals His Disciples’ Blindness
Guide: “I Want to See”

I want to see how blind I am of your presence.  You're beside me.  ahead of me,  behind're all over me but I fail to see.  When I experience injustice,  loneliness,  pain, worries,  panic attacks.....I sin.  I sin because I forget that You are here with me.  I would want to control have complete control over all the events of my life and my loved ones.  In so doing,  I fail to trust You,  to depend on You,  and to surrender everything to You.

Tonight let me be reminded of the cross.  Let me be reminded of the love God has for me,  He sent his only Son to save me.  Wasn't that more than enough?  How else would He have shown that unselfish love for me?  With palms open in surrender to you,  I trust in You..  

Week 26:  Yesterday I was praying and meditating in my favorite spot in my home.  I live on 5 acres in the country.  My home is under some construction.  The room I was in is, at the present, an upstairs unfinished room with 7 widows facing North, East, and West looking over fields.  I was looking West out over the field next to my home which I have planted with trees and flowers.  The thought popped into my head that Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane when he had the Agony in the Garden.  I thought of the irony of the situation.  My garden is tranquil and serene.  It helps me meditate.  Jesus is in the same setting but his meditation is not peaceful.  It is so upsetting He begins to sweat blood.  What if Jesus was here in my garden.  What does He want me to know? 

Sometimes I wish I knew what the future held, so I could make better decisions today.  But when I reflect on Jesus, He knew the future and wished it could be taken from Him.  He was in agony because He saw what would be.  Isn't it amazing that God so loves us that He buffers our reality and protects us from knowing the future?

This is the other thing my meditation taught me.  I love reading the sharings from everyone.  In many of the sharings I read that people are afraid of what will be asked of them. Fear can paralyze a person into inaction.  I also wonder at times where I am heading and what will be asked of me.  But, and it is a very big but, we all have Jesus as a guide and He was scared, too.  He was scared but did what God asked of Him anyway.  And He asks us to follow Him.

My prayers are for all on this retreat, and all who make this retreat possible.  Thanks so very much.  And please pray for me.


My Reflections on Week 26
Jesus heals his disciples’ blindness
Mark 8: 22-37
V. 22-26: Usually Jesus healed people completely and he could have healed the blind man instantly. The only point in healing him in stages must have been to use it as a teaching lesson for his disciples. We can’t see Jesus and the truth all at once, but God opens our eyes gradually and bit by bit we can see more with our inner eyes.
V. 27-30: Why did Jesus not want his disciples to tell others about him? Maybe they weren’t ready for it yet, they wouldn’t have believed. The disciples had already walked a journey with Jesus, had been with him, listened to his teaching and observed his lifestyle. By now they were convinced that he’s the Christ. Jesus gives people time to discover for themselves who he is, he doesn’t just tell them. Give me wisdom, Lord, to know how to gradually walk with people on the journey and let them discover for themselves who you are.
V. 31-38: It’s so human to want to avoid suffering. Jesus knew his mission why the Father had sent him to this earth. He was willing to suffer and even die as being obedient to his Father was the most important thing for him. Lord, naturally I’d also want to avoid suffering like the disciples did, but help me to remember the mission you’ve sent me to do and be obedient to your calling, whatever the costs.
Mark 9: 30-37
It’s contradictory that just after Jesus had told his disciples the second time about his upcoming suffering, they argued among themselves who was the greatest among them. Human nature wants to be honored by others! The fact that they were quiet when Jesus asked them about it shows that they knew it wasn’t right. I like it when others acknowledge and affirm what I’m doing rather than being unnoticed, but what is most important is to be content with God’s affirmation of my life. I like small children as they’re so real, authentic and just themselves. They don’t hide their thoughts and feelings. Jesus wants us to be like children. Jesus said that welcoming a child in Jesus’ name is like welcoming Jesus in God’s name.
Mark 10: 32-52
V. 32-45: Even though Jesus had told his disciples three times that he’d need to suffer and die, they just didn’t get it and when it really happened they didn’t understand. Their inner eyes were spiritually blind and their sight blurred like the sight of the blind man that Jesus healed in stages. It seems ridiculous that again after Jesus had announced his suffering, the disciples’ desire to be great came out. This time James and John talked about sitting beside Jesus in heaven. They just didn’t get Jesus’ previous message! Again Jesus told them that it’s not about being served, but about serving. Jesus, the servant leader! Lord, give me a heart that serves you happily and willingly, whatever the costs!

V. 46-52: I like this story best of all the readings this week. I like blind Bartimaeus, he’s so real and just himself, like a child. He’s not bothered about what other people around him tell him, but just follows his instinct. I can sense his excitement when he heard that Jesus passed. His heart was beating faster. Jesus - he had heard lots of stories about him. He had healed many people before, including the blind. Since Bartimaeus had heard about Jesus the first time, he knew in his heart that Jesus could also heal him and he was waiting until Jesus would pass him. And now he was there! He wouldn’t let this opportunity pass, no way. Maybe this was his only chance, who knows whether or when Jesus would pass this way again. Let other people try to hold him back, but he shouted as loud as he could to get Jesus’ attention. “Jesus, Jesus, have mercy on me!” He ignored the people who tried to quiet him. There, now Jesus stopped and called him. Now the people who had tried to keep him away from Jesus cheered him on: “Go, he’s calling you!” He threw his coat away, jumped up energetically and ran towards Jesus. Jesus knew that Bartimaeus was blind and wanted to see, but he didn’t heal him automatically without asking. Jesus doesn’t force his healing on people, but wants them to express their wish themselves. He wanted to hear it himself from Bartimaeus’ mouth. It was sufficient for Bartimaeus to express his desire for healing, so Jesus healed him instantly. He saw the man’s faith which was the basis for the healing. Without faith Jesus would probably not have healed him, faith liberated Jesus to act. Then Bartimaeus followed him. Lord, help me to come to you with a child-like faith as Bartimaeus did and just believe that you’ll change and heal me and that you’ll also work in the lives of others. Give me that expectancy and faith when I pray for others, too

Week 26
       God calls for us all.The reflections this week really touch me.  I have felt so strongly this past week, especially the last couple of days, how I so easily and repeatedly destroy my life and relationships with those around me.  I have tried to make up for some of the disregard of the house this weekend and see in that example how seriously "things" pile up and how hard it is to try to straighten up after a period of long neglect.  The "in these or similar words" put words to the pain and offer a hope.  I so often yearn and daydream for a kingdom position or bypass.  It is less obvious perhaps because I see it as looking for a "way to serve that fits my abilities," but it is longing for a path that doesn't make me face feelings of inadequacy.  I can relate to the feeling in the pit of the stomach.  I have often taken that as a sign that I need to find a different path.  I don't want to serve a god of perfection and control. 
I want to see when suffering is to be accepted to be who I am called to be and to serve those I am called to serve versus when suffering caused by abiding in perfection and control instead of abiding in love.  I want to see and respond joyfully.

Week 26:

Looking, do i see?
Journeying, do I trust Him?
                  Jerusalem calls.

Ellen E. H.  

Week 26:

As the retreat continues, I have come to know Jesus through the scriptures on a personal level.  Sometimes, I imagine that he sits next to me as I drive or lounges with me on the couch, or helps me as I work in the hospital at which I am employed.  Ignatius differentiated between imagination and fantasy, and as an adult, my imagination of what Jesus would say if he were with me has provided much fruit.  When I was a child, I would fantasize that Jesus and I would adventure around the holy land with his magic basket which, instead of producing a seemingly indefinite amount of bread and fish, would provide all the pizza and tacos we could want.  As an adult, the Jesus I know does not encourage frolicking about, but rather holds me up to high demands.  When I am with patients, he urges me to go the extra mile to provide compassionate care; when I am driving, he reminds me to be courteous; etc.  This week, I am really feeling how difficult it is to be a true Christian--a Christian who does not just proclaim the kingdom and hope for a good spot, but one who serves the needy and will shoulder any cross that the Lord asks them to bear.

Week 26: This week led to more “listening” than any other. I have been aware of several areas I must improve to help remove the obstacles that keep me from getting closer to Jesus. The grace this week has been to accept who I am and ask Jesus to help me with a particular struggle as soon as I notice what I am doing or what I did. Aware, Ask, Respond. Thankful.I feel thankful and very aware of the prayers that I need to help along. I believe that Jesus can and will heal me. Please remember me in your prayers. -Joe
Week 26 Jesus has told me he loves me. But have I loved him back? I don’t think so. I saw “The Thorn” recently. Wonderful play. I found myself being totally distraught when Jesus died and was gone. I wanted him back so badly. I was so surprised at my reaction. I don’t think I have ever felt that deep of a connection before. Not in any really personal way where I longed for his presence, his return. I was sad – so sad – and lonely. I am coming to know him as a real person who, like my husband, my soulmate, has gone before me. I know they wait for me. I know they are with me every day. I’m also coming to know that Jesus lived with a lot of confusion and trepidation as I do. Thank you for this retreat experience. I have enjoyed reading the sharing from “Nell on the Tweed” so much. It has been a gift from God. I love the images she envisioned and especially the insights about living a simple life and bearing witness to others from what she has learned. Thank you from my heart. --Lori
Week 26: Lent this year has been so meaningful for me, and I give much credit to this Retreat. It has been so powerful in a quiet, sneaks-up-on-you sort of way. One of the ways I am able to notice a change in me was, as I prepared my annual classes this month, teaching Scripture and Stations of the Cross for our RCIA and Adult Confirmation groups. I have done this for 15 years and this year I had so many new "inspirations" to revise the manner in which I wanted to teach it. Not only about the information but how my faith has grown. (I am so grateful that I found this Retreat & want to share it so much, that I wrote out the Web site on slips of paper and put them on the table for anyone who wanted to look this up. All the slips were gone at the end of the classes!) Thank you for all the many sites, the sharings and prayers, I suspect this is also going to be a powerful Holy Week this year. God's blessings to all.
This is my fifth year to make this online retreat and each year is totally different. I am reflecting on Week 26 and want to share how my life continues to change when it comes to being aware of other people's needs. I have a much greater awareness of God's presence in all of His creation, and have learned not to hesitate to help people when the opportunity arises. This week God made it possible for me to be a servant for a friend who had spine surgery three weeks ago. She is divorced and has a fourteen year old autistic child and a ten year old learning disabled child. These two children have tried to run the household after school while their mother is almost immobilized while recuperating from her surgery. Needless to say, they needed help. I am so grateful for being able to grocery shop for her and do mounds of laundry while cleaning the kitchen. I worked hard for two days. I came home both days feeling exhausted from all of the work, but good that I was given the opportunity to be a servant to a family who needed help. As I was leaving the first day, my friend looked at me and said, "Jesus has been here today." I thought about that on the way home and knew that Jesus' love was present in that home, and not merely because I was there to help. He was most present in my friend's suffering and in her two children who were trying to run a household on their own. All I did was take one little step by offering my help, and then followed through by giving my time and energy to make a difference in this family's life for one brief moment in time.
Hi! I am in Week 26 of the Online Retreat. I have been doing this retreat since Week 1 back in September. This is the first time I've shared. This week a particular reflection really struck me. The reflection talks about implications to Jesus getting into our hearts and lives as these implications also affected those whom Jesus first called. The closer we allow Him to come, the more we might wonder where the by-pass off this road is for us. There was a question which ended this particular reflection: "Is there still a call out there and in there?" My answer is still "Yes," but the fear and the desire for a by-pass on this road is still very much there.
Week 26: This week I definitely relate to the problem the disciples have in arguing about greatness and not seeing Jesus' resolute journey to Jerusalem and what it means. In my moments of unguided reflection I still strive for some degree of self-focused greatness. I also relate very much to the blind man who is healed and can only see vaguely ("the people are like trees"). I'm quite restless this week (even though I am off work ... doing what I enjoy , fishing in the name of renewal). But I'm back where I lived for over 10 years and I guess I would consider home. When friends will ask me how I am liking my new situation I am inclined to answer rather negatively ... To complain ... About roadblocks to getting things done (roadblocks to my greatness). I realise again that I miss this place so much so I'm resentful. But I know that I am where I am because I after a period of discernment I answered God's call. So I am thankful that my eyes have been opened but I need to trust that Jesus can again touch me and I can see whole.Then during the Easter Vigil I found one part of the Gospel compelling and relevant: in Matthew's Gospel the women who come to the tomb are told to tell the disciples to go on to Galilee where they will meet Jesus. Jesus, himself, appears and repeats this message. I think of the disciples as they are then. They have not understood completely Jesus' mission to Jerusalem. Then in panic all except John have fled. Peter has even denied being his follower. But it is to these people that Jesus will reappear ... Not to a new set. Jesus accepts their misunderstanding ... He accepts their panic. As Peter preaches thereafter, "He commissions them to preach to the people and to testify ....". So I ask that scattered though my thinking and commitment may be I will follow His call to travel to our Galilee of today and accept His commission.
I am in Week 26 at this time. There have been many recesses for me since I began this retreat, but right now things have been especially difficult and extremely trying and I have resumed again. It seems that I never make any headway in my spiritual life, and I guess that's the way it is with most people as I read the sharings posted by others. One thing someone said is what I feel about myself right now - I am just abiding with Jesus, not trying to reach any certain goal today or tomorrow, trying to keep my mind and heart open to whatever the Holy Spirit might send my way. I have no one to share with, live alone & have been a widow with many serious health issues for the last 25 years. I state this not for sympathy, but just to say how things are with me. I try to think more of what Jesus did and is doing for us, instead of focusing on myself & my problems, and at times do get so discouraged. But then, what can we expect of our weak, human selves? I will remember everyone involved in this retreat in prayer, and hope you will remember me.
-- Nita

I am in the 26th week of the retreat but I'm still finding patterns. I don't seem to find them---they just suddenly pop into my mind. I realized just five minutes ago that when I was a child I couldn't distinguish between a standard rule and a temporary one. When my mother said, "Don't ask questions" I thought she meant I was never to ask anybody a question unless he or she was a school teacher!!! Once when we were getting ready to go shopping she said, Don't you ask for anything or I'll slap your face" I thought it was bad to ask for things. All of my life I have waited to be told that I need this or that. I can't bring myself to say I need this or that. I just "make do" until I absolutely have to have something---even a pair of shoes. My son and my husband tell me I'm tight, but it isn't tightness of money ---it's the tightness that's been in my head! And one reason I'm ill at ease with most people is that I don't know what
their taboos are. I never know whether I am "safe" in assuming that their taboos are the same as those I carry. This is a "cross" I should not be carrying! It isn't a Cross at all---it's like a piece of a telephone pole full of splinters. If God has shown me this, then I trust He will take it away from me. I am grateful,very grateful for this retreat. Thank you for making it so easily available. Thank you for all your holy prayers.

Week 26: There were a couple of incidents along my journey of everyday life that hit me this week. First, I was thinking about a new role that I am moving to in a few weeks time. This move really started with deep reflection through this retreat process last year. I started to have some strong visions particularly about a direction we could take. I enjoy this creative process but then I suddenly realize that this vision has me at the center ... and in my imagination I receive a lot of adulation. I see very clearly the trap that the disciples fell into. It's inspiring thinking about the kingdom and what can be achieved ... yes here on earth ... but it is easy to fall into the trap where it is not Jesus' journey but our journey ... a journey that only takes on the self centered.
The second incident was more mundane. I needed to rearrange my computer and give the one I had in previous role back. I'm worried that I will lose some things that I have come to depend on. I become frustrated. Then I see that this is another seduction along the journey ... the seduction where everything has to be perfect ... or at least how we imagine our perfect world should be.
But that is not Jesus' journey. Then I start to think more about the miracle of healing the man on the Sabbath at the pool. Why is it that the man's relatives always just leave him there and in fact have done for over 20 years. I interview them before the actual healing event and discover that when they started to bring him the crippled man demanded that they leave him there. He wanted to get to the pool himself and over time that is the routine that they had struck. They knew it was impossible and he was filled with even more self-loathing because not only was he crippled and that was something that he felt he must be responsible for but also he couldn't even manage to take himself ahead of anyone else into that pool where he could be healed. He had almost given up. But Jesus enters his life. It isn't so much that he's heard about Jesus' miracles. It's more that he feels a strong attraction to this man who seems to engage wide groups of people and not just the very proper religious people who long ago ceased even looking in his direction. Then Jesus reaches out to him. He realizes that this means he has to depend on Jesus. He does ... he is healed ... and he is joyful ... even if the proper religious folks are disapproving because it was done on a Sunday. Lord Jesus, help me to follow your way ... even though I know that way is not the way of adulation and perfection as we would want it ... it's messy ... but I know if I depend on you ... you will help me leap where I never thought I could even enter.

Everything is gift and all gifts come from God. During these weeks of the on-line retreat (I am now beginning Week 26) I have come to know why I was led to this retreat and to the Ignatian format. Just before Christmas I was diagnosed with cancer, cancer of the prostate. Now as cancers go this type by no means is the worst and now after all kinds of testing I know it has been contained in the prostate.
However this has been a great awarness for me as it has brought me to that place now not only of my spiritual, moral, and at time psycological brokeness but now to my physical. It has brought me to the space that God has prepared for me to accept my human condition. This acceptance is not one of resignation, but a peaceful acceptance of "brother cancer" as a a guide for this next part of my journey. Like Peter, I can say: "Lord help me I am drwoning"! I now know this is not a negative statement but a statement by one who cam to know his brokenness.
The gift of this retreat really prepared me to receive the news of my cancer and somehow to neither fight it or flight from it. It has prepared me to accept brother cancer in my true Franciscan heart and soul. Oh the first few days were tough. I have a wife who has MS is dependent on me for some care and of course I moved into what will happen if????
Our children all live out west and we are in New England. However the more I made the readings my lecito for the day the more aware I was of the Christ walking with me. The Christ who felt and feals the pain I have been feeling, not phyiscal pain but emotional pain.
I am having a difficult time expressing what this gift of the retreat has been, but it has been better than any, medication, treatment, or surgery. I am not fighting the cancer as you hear so many say, I don't have to fight, for Jesus of the water, Jesus of the light, is with me: "of what should I be afraid?"

Week 26: I look on the cross and am challenged to place myself there, walking with Jesus and others on the journey. No matter if I want it or find it a problem, I do need the cross. Without the cross I can't grow. Without the cross I can't understand the love of Jesus for us. I can't just stare at it, I need to take it up too.
hello to all of you from nell on tweed. i dont know what to write this week. im trying to do this as if i do not know what lies ahead on jesus journey because i know there are ways of seeing which i havent yet been blessed with.but this week - i havent felt graced as i usually am. and at the end of the week i am sad. i have lost my voice today and mebbe thats for the best. i can only continue the following - without a voice for now. love to you all.
-- Nell
This past week, I have been struck by how much Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, with its healings of blind men and instruction of the apostles, is itself a sort of parable about awareness and presence. Jesus is already suffering. He knows that his enemies lie in wait for him and that they will kill him, but he goes to Jerusalem, not only to follow the Law for the Passover, but to follow the will of God for him as an individual.Meanwhile, the apostles are almost comical, childish: I can almost imagine them SKIPPING down the road as they talk about who will be greatest, who will get to sit next to Jesus’ throne, imagining the GLORY that awaits them all. They seem so unaware of Jesus’ suffering or the reality of what awaits them that their behavior is kind of like dancing through a rough neighborhood after dark singing, “I’m in the money!”Although the apostles are not altogether wrong about future glory—don’t we all hope for heaven?—they are not being present for Christ RIGHT NOW, when and where he needs them. Like them, I hope—and worry—about the future. I forget that Christ is with me RIGHT NOW, that I need to be present for him and present for others in whose hearts he resides. I must frequently turn to him with my own “Lord, I want to see!” so that I might know God’s will for me in THIS moment, be aware of it, be present, be healed. Being aware and present and healed, I live in Christ. This is what it means to take up my cross and follow him.
-- Tom, Pennsylvania - Week 26
Blessed Sunday to all those participating in this Retreat - Starting Week 26 - and I'm trying to incorporate all pieces of God's life into my own. It is a struggle. My real-world analogy is a report I've been trying to finish for two weeks: it is in pieces - one section section there....the connecting lines and themes seem very clear and then they disappear when competing <selfish> activities win over "doing the right thing." At week 26, I am still afraid of failure and I worry....paralyzing my growth; afraid to take "the leap" because the unknown is on the other side. Please know that your sharings are important to people taking this retreat - like me. I find inspiration in your stories, I share in your joys, and say a prayer when events/life are not at their best. May God continue to lovingly provide the graces you need - not only for this retreat, but for all you do.
Week 26. When I began this retreat I was not sure how far I go with it; 26 weeks later, I really look forward to each week. Today's teachings were especially beneficial for me, for I was having a really pity party over being misjudged by some of my own family members. Today I was reminded that as a follower of Jesus, criticisms, false accusations, and misjudgments are to be expected, but in surrendering it all to God and continuing to follow in the ways of Jesus, he is the one who will exalt us. Like Peter, we need to recognize who Jesus really is, but unlike Peter we must never try to hinder his work in our lives. Following Jesus is often a painful journey but the rewards are worth it.
At the end of Week 26 I left for Florida for a few months, my computer in hand expecting to continue with Week 27 in warmth and sunshine. Not so. At St. Cecilia's Church in Fort Myers there was an invitation to join fellow parishioners in a seminar on Salesian Spirituality. It just so happened that during Week 4 of my retreat, (A Picture on Harmony) in response to the question, who are the people who show us the way to getting it right for ourselves, I had chosen among others, Saint Francis de Sales. I liked him very much. My husband and I signed up for the seminar. (Hence the interruption in my retreat} We read and discussed "Heart to Heart", a story of Salesian spirituality. This prompted us to read St. Francis' own words in his book, "On the Devout Life." It seemed to us that this book was St. Francis' thoughts on implementing day to day in our lives in a simple way, the challenges offered to us in the Spiritual Exercises. St. Francis himself had made the Exercises way back in the 16th century. (small world) I wanted to share my experience with my fellow retreatents. I have enthusiastically resumed Week 27 of my retreat.
Week 26: Suddenly, this week is emerging as a turning point week. For the past month or more, I have felt scattered, unfocused, undisciplined and unproductive, especially at work. I have asked Jesus for redirection away from self absorption and material focus. But my prayers for redirection have been half-hearted, because I'm fearful of giving up material and career success. I have been unwilling to move beyond these risks, to place full confidence in the Lord. I aspire to this, and admire the courage and selflessness of those who have made the leap, but I am not there, at least not yet.

This week, I began to realize that this time of self-doubt and confusion has actually been God at work -- He's loosen the moorings. I'm still stuck at port, but with grace and humility and courage, the letting go will come.

Ted Loder's prayer, "Gather Me to Be With You" says it well:

"O Lord, release me
from the fears and guilts
which grip me so tightly,
from the expectations and opinions
which I so tightly grip,
that I may be open
to receiving what you give,
to risking something genuinely new,
to learning something refreshingly different."
During the 26th week of the retreat, placing my life in GOD's hand is very hard for me. My God permitted me to possess All I has had, such as prosperity, talent , my family and even my life. In my thought I agreed with it, but actually it is not easy to accept it in my everyday life. When My husband lost lots of money because of investing on stocks,  I couldn't bear getting angry with my husband's being stupid. Throughout this week, " you are thinking like everyone and not as GOD" , the word Peter was told by Jesus impressed me deeply. So far I realized I was not  thinking and acting needless of faith. I always wanted to follow the spirit of poverty that Assis's Franscisco said and acted in his lifelong and to become ' the little one'.  In fact, however, I never embraced the little ones, except the money in everyday life. How graceful !!! How thankful !!!
This week 26 has been full of moments to reflect on the journey to Jerusalem in my life and others lives. So much pain, in situations that require a surrendering  to God's will. These week I have seen my fears arise when total trust is needed. Jesus asks what do you want me to do for you?

In situations that require facing terminal illness, stressful family situations, and everyday tensions in home and workplace, I need to remember to imitate Jesus. He kept faithful , he kept going, and he kept loving.

I ask for the grace to keep going , keep faithful, and keep loving in my way to my own Jerusalem. I pray for all those people who have asked me to pray for them as they face crosses. Alzheimer's disease, terminal cancer, broken relationships, discernment issues of where to follow and say yes.

I do find great comfort looking at the crucified Jesus on the cross , knowing that He will not forsake us. Jesus is triumphant and will lead us on to our victory over selfishness if we just ask Him . Lord help me.
Beginning this week 26, and reflecting on my growing desire to be with Jesus, to become more like Jesus, and to answer the call to take up my cross. I am aware of great tensions in this desire and some resistance. I am being tested on different levels: physical , mental , an spiritual and at times become absorbed in the difficulties instead of seeing this as a sharing and growing intimacy with Jesus. It is easy to see suffering and pain and darkness in the world,  in others ,and in  myself., yet it is difficult to see these things without getting self -absorbed. I have experienced first hand the feeling of redemptive suffering in others, and have witnessed great faith, strength , and love in people in my family who have suffered physically,or experienced great loss. I have seen the face of Jesus in the suffering. It is in situations of injustice, or when relationships are broken and unhealthy that I have a hard time seeing those situations as clearly redemptive . So I ask for the grace of clearer vision, in situations in my life, and in the lives of others, and in the world that do require God's eyes.

I ask for the grace to keep giving ,and healing others and myself in the midst of trials. I ask also for the grace to handle a family situation without feeling resentment that others are not doing their part, that I should rely on God to take this situation, and surrender my fears and frustrations to Him.  Praying for all . May we all take up the cross, and let God carry us home.

Week Twenty-six of this Retreat was one where I needed to once again confront my own hesitation and fear of completely following.  The questions about how I will look to others, what will others think etc. are still part of my life.  I know that I need firmer resolve to go and do as Jesus went and did what he was called to do.  I thought about what it must have been like for Jesus to know that he was going into his torture and death with his trip to Jerusalem.  I know that there have been a few things in my life that I have dreaded doing and the anticipation is horrible and if I found a way out, I sometimes took it.  It would have been so easy for Jesus to find a way out because he is God.  He did not have to do any of what he did because he had the power to always do as He wills.  How amazing and reassuring it is to know that Jesus did not back down for me and went through the anticipation and ultimately the horror of what it would take to free me. 

Perhaps what happens as I go through these past 6 weeks is this experience of being pulled-...drawn into Christ, pulled into himself, drawn into his cross.  The focus is simply being with Jesus and Jesus with me. It is a silence, a revelation of Jesus, that has me dwelling on his mystery--- and my mystery---- and a kind of preparation for something else that will cause my life to change. I anticipate this, but I don't know what it is. For weeks now, I am not moved to write or share, but just to dwell. I think this dwelling praises God, is not self -centered, but self- gracing and God -centered and meant to strenghten my heart for what will be forthcoming. Way back in September, I had no real belief that I would be disciplined enough to make it to week 26. Now I wonder what I will do when the exercises are completed. May this day give praise to God!

Like last week, the retreat is in lent, but the liturgical calendar is advent. So while the liturgical calendar is full of hope the 26th week of the retreat concerns the harsh reality of Jesus coming to his death.  The conflict in these two spiritual concepts has made me want to mentally reject one over the other. Of course, I would rather hear the story of hope, so I have not spent much time of the concepts suggested for the retreat. Yet  as I pray over the journey to Jerusalem, it does have something in common with the hope of Advent. In the retreat Jesus enters the final stages of his in persona earthly ministry. In this week of advent, the readings concern God’s prepares for the in persona entry into a broken world as savior and at the end of time. All three represent a critical change for mankind. All three are decisions by God severely change the world knowing such change will cause physical and emotional upheaval.
While Christ makes his way to Jerusalem to meet his death, he does not become pre-occupied.  He continues to heal and guide. God uses the birth of Christ as a healing of John the Baptist family, Mary, Joseph, the shepherd, the Magi, and the world. And the last coming will be the final, ultimate healing from the pains of death and sin. But all three events have elements of loss, sacrifice, and suffering. Of these three transitions, the one I can best understand is the trip of Jesus to Jerusalem. Isn’t it ironic that I tried to avoid that topic during the week?  I guess I don’t like to be reminded that Jesus calls me to walk toward self-sacrifice.

Lord, please aid me that I may face my fears and my obligations. During times when I am called upon to give a small piece of myself in imitation of your large giving, allow me to see beyond myself.

This week I started Week 26 of my retreat, after a lapse of a year.  I started this retreat in March 2001.  As Fr. Gillick stated in the Guideposts for this week, I think I took one of those 'Jerusalem  by-passes.'  Now after a year I am ready to continue my journey with the Lord on this retreat. 

I am in week 26 of the retreat and the call from Jesus to follow him more closely is intensifying.  I am having to confront my fears; the feeling of powerlessness in surrendering completely to Him.  I want His Peace, I want to be in His will, but at times I'm so afraid of what it will cost for me to enter into this following Him.  I want to cling to that absurd notion that I have control over my life rather than embracing the life that He wants to give me.  I fear suffering yet I create suffering in my life my resisting Him; not allowing Him to gather me into His arms  As I continue this retreat coupled with my 12-Step work, I pray that just for today, I can turn over the control of my life to Jesus, my Higher Power, and can be open to His gifts for me and to to live as He would have me live in all the circumstances of my day.  I pray for you, my fellow retreatants and asks that you pray for me that we can all have the courage and faith to go where Jesus is leading each one of us today. 

Week 27

Week 27: Jesus, my Lord, I understand that to follow you I must take up my cross. I must leave my old person behind, accept the purification that goes with.
In this retreat, I also understood that people around may discourage me to fulfill my mission, try to push me to bypass my mission as Peter tried when you announced them what will happen to you in Jerusalem. Please help me identify those moments and rebuke the devil when this happens as you did with Peter.
Your love is so great. You broke your body for us to eat. I see that as someone who is giving his body for others to walk on. You washed my feet. How embarrassing it might feel when my feet are dirty, smelly...These are my weaknesses: you washed them and even showed me your gentle love by kissing my feet. Through this act you show me that I should also accept others with their weaknesses, give them love and help them grow in you.
Jesus open my eyes to truly see you. Help me bear suffering so others will see you in me for your Glory. Amen!

Week 27

I write this on Easter Saturday of week 27 after a very powerful week. Being there with our Lord, through His final day, seeing Him give His body and blood to the two men, one, the betrayer, the other the denier, knowing that they are both part of the unfolding of God’s will but loving them to the end. I was so touched by the depth of Jesus love.
I was also given the Grace of being able to understand how my own sinfulness ties in to My Lords death, how the hatred and scorn, the torture and the weakness, the mockery lies which led to His death, all of this present in me ... but I am forgiven!
 Yesterday’s service of the Passion of Our Lord touched me deeply, and my Veneration of the Cross was a personal one and filled with a deep gratitude for what has been done for me.
So I wait today for the Light to return, looking forward to next weeks journey on our retreat, with the Risen Lord with us!
Happy Easter to you all.

Week 27 has been a challenging time for me, when I read the introduction on Sunday I thought I would be focusing on the Eucharist.. but this wasn’t the Spirits plan. I have been caught up with Judas betrayal of Our Lord.
I work supporting disabled people to have the services in their home and community so that they are able to live as independently as possible. During this week as Judas travelled with me I saw how I am tempted to betray Jesus in the person of my clients by trying to be a follower of the laws of my employer to gain recognition and praise rather than seeing the true needs of the person before me and taking up their cause.
I have made some changes to my practice and pray that God's love will continue to help me grow in Faith and courage to be Jesus’s hands and feet here on earth.
Thank you so much for this place to learn of God’s love and Grace in my life. Jane NZ

Week 27

As I contemplate the Last Supper this week, I feel as if a terrible thorn pierce my heart. Wanting to convert to the Catholic Church, after some years of thinking, praying and having catechesis , the Eucharist itself forms the last obstacle. E.g., it is my state of being remarried to a woman, who herself is remarried too, - it is this, which makes my conversion so extremely difficult. Having both our first marriages nullified would be very hard for some people, and, besides, my wife does not think she has a good reason for having her first marriage nullified. I can do little or nothing about all this. I just pray Jesus to have mercy upon me in my situation. I am a Catholic in my heart, but I now have the choice of either converting to not being able to receive the Eucharist or being in my Lutheran Church, with my heart elsewhere. It is not as simple as some think, to get marriages nullified. It has some human costs for people involved.

Please pray for me.

Greetings from Norway.

Even as I believe, I doubt. As I am convinced, I waiver. Help me to not wander off after the next shiny object. You are the only way, O Lord. Let me cling to you. -Week 27

My reflections this week prompted very profound feelings. I feel intensely how Jesus shares his mission with me, his follower along with the other disciples. I feel the strength of his blessing. This is not any ordinary blessing but is a heartfelt desire for us all to be joined with him. I want to respond in a deep way and I hear his re-assurance that I also need to rest with him and those parts of me that most need cleaned -- the tired, worn parts -- receive his touch.
But I also feel deeply the need to respond. I examine the ways I have already allowed Jesus to shape me … decisions I have made that have led me to interesting places and even redirections and as well as affirmations. I feel also that there are other areas I have not fully embraced. What more can or should I do to embrace those who are most marginalized in our societies?
The feelings I have while reflecting this week are so profound that the contrast of my life outside of these reflections is stark. How often I act in ways which are not in concert with the blessing and cleansing of Jesus. How often I am just mindless about him … and that mindlessness pulls me away from the areas that Jesus would often have me pay attention to. I discuss these with Jesus. I hear him give re-assurance and asks me to partition out the real concerns of everyday life from those that are mindless and often self-indulgent ways to want to control everything. He reminds me I can come back to him and reminds me of the walk to the Garden of Gethsamine. I do walk in faithfulness even though I know like the other disciples it is just as easy to be scattered. -Week 27

I wrote this during week 27. I also watched the movie of Gods and Men while my CLC group was (is) experiencing week 27, Jesus Gives us His Body and Blood. The combination of these two experiences has been powerfully moving. We now plan to watch this movie together as a group.

Reborn Again
Jesus always beckons me
into new life,
reborn; yet still myself;
reborn again, and yet again;
many new lives in one lifetime,
allowing God to bring into the world
a Child of God, myself.

Together, we,
children all once more,
are called to carry in our bodies
our Brother’s love
- alive still, and again –
And to give this love away over and over,
to anyone and everyone.
And, just like children everywhere,
we trust our father
to keep us safe and hold us close.
--Sharon S.

Week 27:  Jesus Gives Us His Body and Blood
Guide: His Example, Broken and Given

When my kids were hospitalized one after the other,  I was in a mess.   My daughter was whining all throughout when we were in the emergency room and if I hadn't controlled myself I would have cried with her too.  But since I had to put up a brave front,  I couldn't cry.  All throughout this ordeal,  my husband had been calling from overseas,  himself distraught that he couldn't be here with us.  I wanted to cry too over the phone but since he was  in a more desperate situation being so many miles away from us,  I couldn't cry also.  After we were released from the hospital,  I went to the adoration chapel hoping this time I could cry out my heart to Him.  But when I was there already,  I felt such a fool.  I thought He was laughing at me for being such a cry baby and asking me:  "  Is that all you want to cry for?  Wasn't I crucified for you?"  I felt so much at peace after that.  Once again I forgot that He has been with me through the doctors/nurses who took care of my kids.  I forgot that He has been with me through the calls that my husband put through to assure me that everything will be ok.  I didn't realize that He has been with me through the Hellos and How are you's of my bestfriend every morning.  I am really a fool!  And He didn't laugh at me.   

So Jesus,  when you washed the apostle's feet and kissed them,  You are also reaching out for my feet to wash them.  To wash me of my little faith, to wash me of my weaknesses,  to touch me with your compassion.  When my kid started shaking I didn't know what to do except to hold her hands.  How it brought so much calmness for both of us.  In my prayers I was  imagining that You were also embracing us like a father would to calm his fearful/shaking kids.

When you washed my feet you were also sending me  on my mission.  To visit the sick and the elderly priests.  To visit You.    To be a servant to others. 

I am finishing up in Week 27.  To be "blessed, broken and shared".  I'm all for the blessing part.  "Broken" sounds painful.  Then I thought I have just spent 26 weeks trying to change and become more like Christ, my model.  Has my mold been cracked open so I can be poured out and shared with others?  I'm not entirely sure, but I hope I'm moving in the right direction.  To me every single encounter with another person is a meeting with Christ.  Am I speaking, acting, talking, and joking as if in the presence of Christ?  I know there is lots of room for more improvement here.

Please pray for me as I pray for all on this retreat as we all move forward another week.  And thanks again to all who make this a living retreat-ever changing and updated.  It has really changed my thinking.

Marie in Illinois

Week 27

What once felt safe turned into a place of desolation. My states of confidence, joy, love, and peace became ones of sorrow, anxiety, exhaustion, and fear. Being truly honest with myself, I acknowledge that this has been my lived experience for weeks, if not months now. A dulling shift of some sort, tiredness that drew me to the couch as the hours slipped by, watching one show after another while simultaneously running down the list of things I could be doing, should be doing, yet don’t want to be doing. In an effort to break free from this stagnant place, I somehow found enough motivation within myself to complete some of the dreaded tasks on the list (i.e., clean my apartment, do laundry, make progress on my dissertation, and cook homemade meals again). Taking this one day at a time, I could finally rest in my apartment with more room to walk around. I could tell people I had submitted an updated draft of my research. I could sit at my dining room table with comfort food. Yet, I still felt tired. Unfulfilled. Lost. The unbearable weight on my shoulders remained. Accompanying this reality was a sense of loss, a frustration, a sadness for the lack of vibrancy I once lived life through.

Faced with a sense of relief that was quickly fleeting, I realized I had been chasing things on a to-do list with the hope that they would propel me forward into joy again. As if the organizing of my apartment, my school work, and my job were going to give me a sense of rich fulfillment. Failing to do just that, I was provided with evidence of the harsh reality that I was, in fact, homeless. I had lost touch of who I was and how I felt. My body became one of vacancy, with few remaining artifacts of the interests, passions, and hopes that once dwelled there. A beautiful garden turned desert land.

Oddly awakened by this awareness, I have recently embarked on a new journey, one of reconnection. To find a home within myself, first and foremost. The way in which I have been doing so has been truly life giving. To sit and pray. To light a candle at night while I listen to the music that speaks to my soul. To dance in the darkness, allowing my body to move with freedom. To let my tears flow as I feel that once distant joy arise again, even if for just a second. To be still. To be. I have witnessed true beauty in these moments, and it is a longing for more of this beauty that now propels me forward. Not a chasing after things, but a rekindled love for sitting with myself. This journey, while it has been difficult, reminds me of my favorite scripture verse:

“He will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord.” Isaiah 51:3 AMP

The fact that this verse speaks so intimately to my soul, giving voice to what I need most in my life right now, reminds me that I am not alone in this journey. I am reminded that the creator of all things beautiful is longing to provide me with freedom from so that I can find freedom for.--Carly

Washing example;
Who/What in the world calls me?

Week 27: Trying to ponder being with Jesus during the last supper showed me how absorbed I am in myself and how his disciples were distracted by the bravado of the Psalms they sung during the Passover. It is so easy for me to interpret the Psalms as always meaning physical protection and domination rather than spiritual. My physical body wants to avoid being broken and having its blood poured out and my less dominant spiritual body (soul) wants everlasting life. Jesus has given me the grace to see and feel this struggle within me. This retreat gives my less dominant spiritual body a little say so. Today, September 1, 2009, the readings were so precise and helpful. 1 Timothy 1:15:17 and Luke 6:43-49 (especially verse 46) highlighted Jesus’ mercy and call while the Psalms 113 1:7 provide the background song in my head. I believe that Jesus will continue to have patience with me as I get my priorities messed up and I talk with him about my fears and what I want. He knows, as I know, that I will continue to argue and offer excuses, and want it my way. For just a little bit this past week, I was able to offer myself to others with love. As our morning prayer keeps asking, Jesus will you help me to clarify and purify my intentions? Please remember me in your prayers. -Joe
Dear Jesus, In week 27 our friend "can't see God." Please give him/her comfort in knowing that the light to see fluxuates from bright to dim for most of us. Joining the SJ's "ad majorem Dei gloriam" with the Prince of Wales' "ich dien": I serve to the greater glory of God; may help this friend see the Readers Digest version of this 34 weeks as a bite sized intro to finishing the journey.
Week 27: Jesus gives us his body and blood as food and as example.
Jesus takes his LIFE in his hands and GIVES it to us. Awesome! Unsurpassable love brings one who is GOD to do this. Two thousand years later we continue to do this in memory of him. Two thousand years later God's love is unconditional, personal, present. My return of thanksgiving can only be that of the prophet, to strive to see Jesus more clearly, to love him more deeply, to be one with him more completely. I know I am loved beyond belief. His blood is poured out in forgiveness of my sins. In his love I am whole.
Week 27: I had a powerful image this week reflecting on how Peter learned from the Lord in the washing of his feet. In the Acts of the Apostles we see him healing the crippled man at the gate of the temple. I see him resolutely look at the man and recall the strong image of service that Jesus had passed onto him at the Last Supper. Then I think of how many times Jesus has looked at me as I "recelebrate" His last supper ... How many times I have been touched and washed clean. I pray that I can model Peter's resoluteness to service ... Difficult as this is for me
Week 27 I am deeply moved by Christ “removing his outer garment”. This powerful action of His speaks of His desire to come close to me, to become transparent in His love for me; it is an invitation to me of communion. Christ is inviting me to be vulnerable and to not fear his tender touch. I am like Peter – fearing vulnerability and tenderness, and avoiding the issue by changing the subject…”why not wash all of me”…wanting to control the parameters of encounter. Tenderness is heartbreaking and is somehow mixed with sorrow and forgiveness…
-- Anita

Week 27: I realized this week that I often get caught up on the events at the Last Supper as social events. They certainly are a challenge on how to conduct leadership and beyond that to our views of political power. But I found it helped me to reflect beyond the humanity of Jesus. Where does this fit in his divinity? Then I see that this is our God … he reaches out to us …desires to touch us. I ask myself then so "What does that do for me?" I feel that it forces me out of the self-serving … diversionary aspects of life … to want to confront … be there at the deeper aspects of our lives … the places I would rather ignore. I see the strong contrast to my own self-serving ways ... of how I become expert at rearranging my life for what I personally want. But Jesus reaches out to gently rearrange these self-serving ways so that I must serve others ... for Him ... not for my own cause. "Lord Jesus, let me step out of the room with you and stay awake long enough so that I can walk with You".

I'm in Week 27 of the retreat, and I don't feel like I am making any progress. It's hard for me to stay focused and to reflect during the day, because I get so wrapped up in day to day events. I hope the effort I am making is pleasing to God. Many weeks I struggle with setbacks and depression, yet I keep pushing forward, hoping to find some fruit in all this mess. The days are getting warmer now, and I hope my heart is also warming up to God. I pray for true freedom.
Dear Jesus: Thank you for giving yourself, letting yourself be broken for me. Give me the courage and determination to follow you in your mission. Help me to understand the true meaning of your words. Only you can wash me and make me truly clean. Forgive me for all the times I have betrayed you, left you to follow my own path and desires. I want to return to you and be with you always. Help me to know how you want me to serve.

Week 27, a time to just be with Jesus. I am really pleased that was the theme this week because I was getting tired. I still want to continue and be involved, but it sometimes is difficult, and I find myself starting over and over each week. So I sit with Jesus and let him minister to me. Tonight I had the pleasure of being at a Christian meditation service. This was special because it was a concrete image. No great effort on my part, just Jesus ministering through song and image, the cross. I couldn't actively participate because I couldn't read the sheets. There I was and there He was. But if I go back to the readings this week, about the last supper, Jesus wanted someone there for Him, and it didn't happen. He ended up alone. His friends deserted Him, physically and emotionally, while He waited for the cross. How many times do I desert Him. So many times I think of only myself, and my needs. I know Jesus was tired. He even had the horrible knowledge of exactly what was going to happen to Him, and He was going through it all because of us. How could we ever equate our tiredness to His? I really don't have much to give, but if it helps, Jesus, I can offer all my being here with You.

greetings to you all from Nell on Tweed. this is the end of week 27 for me. i am becoming more and more quiet as the retreat progresses and very conscious of the presence of jesus in my life. this week i could feel my head drop with easing of tension as he smiled and sat at my feet . and even knowing that things were now becoming very serious i could feel the companionship that will take me through anything that i am led into. it was a week of deep inbreathing sighing for me. Another thing that happened was that when i ate or drank this week i found myself REMEMBERING. i eat and drink alone most of the time and live a vsry solitary life and this week it were as if i were with someone i had shared much of my life with and we sat and remembered. all the doings and happenings which have brought us together to this point. i also have very little physical contact with people and the sense of a beloved companion resting with me before the next great adventure was very physical. a good few tears this week and physical sickness again amongst a deep peace and a lot of laughs and smiles for othertimes. i know i dont understand the cathoilic education that might direct this more clearly but it means a great deal to me . my love to you all
-- Nell from Tweed.

“Judas took the piece of bread and went out.” What does it mean for me that Jesus did not refuse to give Judas a share in the First Eucharist? Sure it is a sign of great hope.What does it mean for me that Judas “took the piece of bread and went out”? Did he consume the Bread of Life? John only tells us what he saw, and it is a troubling detail. I think it is a reminder to me that one of the most important ways that I can witness to my belief in Christ is in that simple act of consuming the Body and Blood of Christ in the consecrated host. It is a public act because the bread that is now his body is not just for me, but for the life of the world. Indeed, it has long been one of my favorite moments at mass to watch all of the communicants receive and then walk by, returning to their seats with Christ living within them. I am mystically united to every one of them at that moment in the body of Christ. It is a source of great and quiet joy to see them and remember this. Christ extends this opportunity for unity even to Judas.
May we all be one!
-- Tom, Pennsylvania

This week's retreat I felt very powerful. Over the last few weeks I have been asking myself if what I am doing in my work is really useful and what might be alternatives. This week I somehow feel energized ... not because I get a direct answer to my questions about whether what I do is useful but because I hear Jesus' call to "usefulness" by giving up selfishness and moving onto selflessness.

I feel myself there and feel Jesus' anxiety. We know that leaders' anxieties "infect" their followers. So I am disturbed. I promise that I won't betray Him ... but that is more to provide comfort ... have I really thought through that it is not only the big betrayals that I am avoiding but also the little everyday betrayals as well. So with the disciples I try to comfort Him ... hope it will be different and then know that in the washing of feet ... in His gentle instruction on serving others ... in the breaking of bread and sanctifying wine ... Jesus' resolution is firm ... and I must follow.

Thank you for providing this Retreat.

I am reflecting this week on the passion of our lord and saviour Jesus Christ who died for me. He gave up everthing so that I might have everything. At the same time I think about my life. When I started this retreat I was battling depression but with the grace of God he saw me through it. No sooner than that happened I lost my Father. It seems that I am been bombared with no reprieve. Then I loom to the cross and realize that the Lord had no reprieve either. He just says pick up your cross and follow me. I guess I wanted a magic cure or I quick fix. But that is not what it is about. It is about me picking up my cross and following him who promised me eternal life.He calls me to pray each day and when I have moments of dispair or anguish I give it to the Lord and pick up His yoke for it is light.Jesus thank you for suffering and dieing for me. Help to embrace the crosses and sufferings that come my just as you did.
Jesus I love You Amen

Pat, Toronto

I was struck today when reading the practical help page for this week by the image of Christ as a servant: a washer of dirty feet, a shoeshiner. I am disabled and work (quarter time) at a kitchen in a residence hall for the disabled. I never thought that preparing and serving food could be so rewarding. I have been told that the meals are very important to the clients who live there. They look forward to eating. So its very gratifying to my work associate and to myself when they enjoy what we've prepared.

Yesterday, I was payed a visit by one of the case manager's who handles our employment. She meant business and was going to find out why the office staff had been complaining about us. I was able to convince the case manager that my work associate and I were doing our best and that we had a good attitude about the work. After she left, I was bothered by the fact that the office staff's opinion of our work seemed so different from the feedback that we received from the clients. But I have concluded that this is "part of the deal." To be a servant like Christ does not mean that you receive compliments from everyone. As simple as the task might be, we carry it out in a complex reality where there are plenty of toes to step on. I believe, by the Grace of God, that this job is helping me to work out my emotional problems.

I found this week difficult. I can relate clearly to the disciples this week. After all they have just found what they believed was "the answer". Their lives are renewed … they are learning … growing … seeing possibilities that they never thought possible. Political transformation is possible but so is personal transformation. Then the thinking … "how far can I go?" … all the way? Then there is the reality of Jerusalem … Jesus' real destination … isn't this avoidable?This struggle emerges in the midst of my travels, which is a business trip to Europe. We spend the weekend in Mallorca where a close friend stays. I like returning to the island. I start to imagine a life here … get a couple of board jobs … fly off to London when I want … go back to US to my other house when we want … sounds possible. But is it really what Jesus wants?Then I participate in a conference on "leadership and peak performance". I find some of the speeches quite motivational … a female climber describing her journey to the summit of Everest (twice!). Lots of imagery about overcoming struggle … testing yourself … being the best you can be. Then a championship driver describes how he prepared himself, his teams and his organization to win … over and over again. I can relate to this. I want this. But is this what Jesus wants?I struggle continually with the "god of success" and the "god of perfection". I realize I always want to be in control … and I want to be on top. So where is the Cross in this?In trying to be in control but at the same time move beyond the disciples' misunderstanding I find myself getting frustrated with some parts of my work. Why do I really have to pay attention to some of these things? At this point, I find it helpful to see myself as "servant". Seeing myself as a "helper" is a motif I have worked with as a leader. I return to that again. So when I take time to clarify an issue, which I initially thought was quite simple and an annoyance to go over again, I am serving my team. When I'm taking time to talk to a disgruntled employee, I'm serving their needs.I can hear Jesus' call to follow him. Could I give this up … these yearnings … strivings? The pattern is deeply ingrained. Sometimes I feel that I am closer to the blind man whom Jesus heals and sees the world again but only as shapes. Am I seeing the poor only as shapes? I pray for Jesus' healing touch again … so that I can give up my yearnings and strivings to him …let him be in control. Let the world take new shape again.

There have been countless opportunities for prayer as well as praise. As I companion an elderly gentleman towards baptism at Easter, I reflect on how meeting and falling in love with Jesus has penetrated deeply into my heart and life. What joy I receive each time I open the Bible with the baptized and not-yet baptized persons who grace my life.

This week a bit ahead of Holy Week, meditating on Jesus washing the disciples feet will be most helpful in getting me through what I know is going to be a very busy week.

I keep you all in prayer and look forward to hearing from you.
-- Maureen
WEEK 27: I preside at the Eucharist in our parish community regularly... I say the words of Christ in the Eucharistic prayer. But is my life like that of the prayer that I pray? Am I taken, blessed and broken for others? Is my life really in memory of him who gave everything for us? Often not.
Week 27 of retreat made me renew  my faith.
Almost every day I go to mass and take holy communion.
But so far I found out that  I never realized the real meaning of the bread and the wine.
When I discoverd that I habitually went to mass, I was very sorry for JESUS. And it probably is  why my everyday life was not much changed , although I went to mass hard.
Now I came to know that I must have in mind the image of JESUS as the foot washer , servant. From now on I am sure to remember that Jesus is calling us to be taken, blessed, broken and given, that our lives might be poured out in service of others during mass.
Week 27: It has been a rough couple of weeks. Various difficulties have caused me to lose ground with the retreat and prayer. I need to pray more, not less during times when I am feeling like I am going backwards instead of forward.

I did try to place myself at the last supper tonight. It was difficult because right now I feel like all the work I have done to become a disciple is now being tested. I know that old ways of responding have been rearing its ugly head. How I need to have Jesus wash my feet, yet I pull away in fear that He will see the ugly calluses( my sin, my lack of trust, my inability to erase scars that I have caused, and scars that I have). Do I hide, or do I go to Him and lay my head on His shoulder as John did?

Jesus ate and drank with sinners, He knew all of the human failings of His apostles and yet He still gave thanks, and shared Himself with this lowly group. I  am very low right now, feeling unclean and unworthy to be with Jesus. I beg for the grace to go to Jesus and place my Head on His shoulder in the sacraments, and ask for forgiveness and strength for the journey.  I feel weary and not able to do this without Him. He is asking me to accompany Him to Calvary. Why is this so hard ? Especially in the most intimate relationships, where deep emotions exist. Why do I not respond in love or at least in trust that Jesus will make all things new?  My self , my wounds scars and ego cause me to fail. I need to REMEMBER HIM. He asked us to do this in remembrance of me.

I ask for the grace to REMEMBER HIM, especially in those times when I am being tested. I feel that I am being tested in a great way right now. I have failed, by lack of love, in fact I have resorted to hate. Just like Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane, I too often want to cut off people when they taunt out of their own woundedness and sin.

I pray for the grace to act in union with Jesus this coming week to reach out with love, when my base instinct is to lash out. I pray for patience and clarity in doing what I should do , follow the commandment  of love whatever that means in this situation. God bless all  who are making this retreat.

Thank you Jesus for loving me so much that you will wash me clean, so that I can serve and love you.
Week Twenty-seven of this Retreat calls us to contemplate the Foot Washing.  A line of "In These or Similar Words" really stood out to me that read "I realize that the places where I can let you love me the most deeply are the places where I am embarrassed, the parts I want to hide from others, my weaknesses."  This is a powerful statement that helped me to realize that Jesus already knows those places and wants to help me there and that instead of trying to hide them from Him or pretend that they do not exist before Him I must acknowledge them and allow His love and presence to transform my perception of them.  Only then, can I fully accept the love and guidance of Jesus in my life.
To be at the Last Supper with Him. To be the one to betray him. To be the one who would not allow him to wash my feet, yet I would soon deny him. To be the one “whom he loved,” but who did not stay awake with him or stand by him. To be one of those who sat through a turning point in history yet remained unaware of its significance until a Pentecost. I am reminded of the portrayal in Jesus Christ, Superstar of the Apostles at the Last Super acting like drunk, oblivious fools. What a life of foolishness and sin I have been born into. Had it not been for you Lord, I would never have overcome the worthless aspects of myself to see the value within me. I am so valuable you fed me with your body and blood. I am eternally humbled and grateful. Week 27
This week we reflect on the Last Supper, from the foot-washing to the ‘bread and wine become body and blood’ to the identification of the betrayer. The broken record in me (about God’s timing) played again. I had been thinking about how far I have come when something I had done months ago came back to remind me how far I have yet to go. Then today’s readings included Jesus’s warning to those who seek to remove splinters from a neighbor’s eye while ignoring the plank in their own. I know I have been on both ends of that kind of blindness. My prayers this week have been for an opening of my eyes to my ‘blind spots,’ for the graces of a good foot washing, and for the courage to offer myself in service as Christ did. Such a long way to go – Lord, help me.Week 27
I am in the 27 week of this retreat. WHAT MARVELOUS GRACE I GOT! I got possibility to love and to embrace the people. Please, imagine me like person who was in the beggining of this retreat full of anxiety and despeartions. I couldnt accept people around, they were irritated me and made me nervous. NOW, I can really feel WHAT LOVE IS and I decided to spent my life in service others. It makes me happy, full of joy!

I’m nearing the conclusion of my 66th year on earth and the 27th week of the retreat.    Even with ups and downs my life has been blessed with good parents, a loving wife and children, and certainly I’m not forgetting good health and a successfully completed career. The realities of every day life, the good and the bad, present a challenge and question as to where my religious faith really plays a significant role.  Yet,  I continue to seek the grace to identify my mission for whatever time remains.  In the retreat meditation of Cardinal Newman maybe I’ll never know in this life.  The retreat has thus far led me to pray for trust that I am now or will soon be doing what I should.
week  27  of  the  retreat,  about  Jesus  being  recognised  by  the  breaking  of  bread,  a  flood  of  gratitude  hit  me   when  this  sharing  action  of the  child  took  place.  In  fact  some  glucose  was  desperately  needed  making  the  point  even  more relevant.  As  I  accepted  her  offer  and  thanked  her  the  little  girl  gave  me  a  gorgeous  smile  and  Christ was  seen  in  her  for a  brief  moment.  The  whole  incident  made  the  rest   of  the  work  so  much  easier  and   lightened  the  burden  of  the  day.If  only  we  could  be  like  this   child  in  her  generosity,  simplicity,  willingness  to  share  and  trustfulness  perhaps  we  would  recognise  Christ  more  easily  and  life  would  be   more   meaningful  for  everyone.

This is week 27 for me.   I've been here longer than 27 weeks, though, since some weeks were much longer than  others.   Today my father-in-law passed away. He was getting out of bed, and died lying sideways on the bed with his feet still on the floor, his glasses on, and the walker situated for him to stand up where he had sat on the edge of the bed.  He lived alone, and though none of us, his family or friends, were with him when he died, I am comforted to know he was not alone.  His name is Josef, and he told me yesterday (Tuesday), on the phone that the day before was his patron saint, Saint Joseph's Feast Day, and that he had asked Saint Joseph to look after him.
My father-in-law was 86 years old, and he died of congestive heart failure. He had shared with me several weeks earlier that he was afraid of falling and not being found or of losing his faculties.  He was found shortly after he died by the visiting nurse who had come to check his blood pressure.  He had not fallen; he showed no signs of pain or struggle.  He had been of sound mind.  Surely, St. Joseph accompanied him.  Surely St. Joseph was at his side, in God's presence; and he died ­not in fear, but in faith ­ with God's love abiding.
The On-Line Retreat,  Daily Reflections,  Lenten guides, and another site - Sacred Space - have been a source of self examination, of love and of guidance for me -- for me it has been an all encompassing journey.  It has given me more depth of knowing and comprehending the first prayer my mother ever taught me -- "Ich bin klein.  Mein Herz ist rhine.  Kann niemand darin wohnen, als Jesus alein."  She translated it for me -- "I am small, my heart is pure. No one lives there except Jesus."  I am not a Roman Catholic (a Missouri Synod Lutheran/Episcopalian).  My father-in-law, a very learned man -- a scientist -- was Roman Catholic. We talked from time to time about God and prayer -- faith and our spiritual selves.
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