Sharing the Retreat
weeks 30-31


Week 30

Week 30: After all my present sharing yesterday, being 'bowled over' by an encounter concerning some untruths of the way I handled a situation in the past, concerning a dear one, resulted in a strong emotional reaction.

As I ran from the situation in desperation. I was arrested as I ran, literally stopped 'in my tracks' as it were. The risen Lord became present to me. I returned, was calm, faced the accusations and later apologies were made and reconciliation, coupled with sound discussion ensued.

This was positive intervention by Him, affirming my trust in the Lord who is present in all things. Reminder too 'leave everything to Me'.

Running away was a denial,  a sort of unbelief, until, like the disciples on the road to Emmaus, they recognised Him in the breaking of bread. Our Eucharist is not always physical, it remains with us as a spiritual unseen encounter with the Risen Lord. Noli me tangere, I have not yet ascended to my Father in heaven.


Week 30: Havng been through Lent, the Passion and Holy Week,  the joy of the Resurrection Is fulfilling all the past weeks' reflections on our retreat. The culmination of all our trials, borne by the love we have for Christ, not truly  realised,  bear the rich fruits of the NOW.

Realisation, the joy Our Lady, the theotikos, the God bearer, must have felt at her risen son, fulfilled all she had accepted and pondered in her heart in her unquestionable 'yes'to the Will of God.  Bearng all her trials for the love of Him, reminds me of how it has been with my own son, as he recovers from long term addiction, due I say to answered prayer, but he says is also scientific, due  finally, to the right treatment, providing the necessary medicine!

Be that as it may, further, long ago when suffering from my mother's curse upon me, my spiritual director, friend and counsellor, gave me Romans 8 as a guide - nothing, not one, can ever separate us from the love of God!

The joy of the Risen Lord is complete and His appearances are a reminder that the Lord is ever with us, delivering us from every evil, past, present and to come! Give us Peace in our time dear Lord and mercifully hear us when we call upon Thee.

We are showered with roses!

Week 30
Thank you for the blessing of this retreat, today I stood with Jesus in the garden of resurrection and saw a mass of butterflies swirling around His head. His arms raised rejoicing in the freedom of these beautiful creatures,he called me to join Him, and the feeling of joy I had was overwhelming.
I struggle to feel emotion and this Grace was such a gift. Thank you Jesus for your healing and love for me.
Happy Easter to all.. Christ has RISEN! Alleluia!

Jane NZ

In focusing on the themes for this week I felt a constant tension between the joy of discovery about the Risen Christ and the everyday challenges facing me in my job. So as the disciples discover, Jesus risen changes them personally but doesn't necessarily change the environment in which we reside.

But I have a lot to be thankful for and I also meditate that so often I bring my recollections back to myself. Yes it is natural to reside with myself at the centre of my world. But I feel a real need for change here. How would I be if I kept up a constant focus on giving back? I resolve to ask for this grace. -Week 30

Week 30: When Jesus rose from the tomb He left us the grace that we will also rise from our tomb.  Our tomb of pride,  our tomb of hurt relationships,  our tomb of inadequacies.  There in that tomb we left all of them to rise again as a new Christian.  Ready to follow His will.  Ready to serve Him.

Today's readings from the prophet Micah told us that Jesus will save us from the evil.  That serpent might have won for the meantime but hey,  his is not the last word.  Schemers, those devils might have robbed us of our inheritance ( literally)  but I believe that God is not sleeping in His chambers.  HE will fight for justice for us. 

So Lord  bury in that tomb all the hurt that those schemers have inflicted in our family.  As Mother Mary stepped on the head of the serpent the devil to signify that in the end God's word will prevail, justice will come thru His grace,  in His time.

Week 30:  This has been a lighter week.  I kept saying to myself, "Jesus is alive and with me."  all week.  Then it really sank in.  He's been with me my whole life.  He has never left my side.  Two things struck me this week.  One of the readings said, "I will not give my peace away."  I learned a long time ago not to hand over my peace.  Some hand it over like a salt shaker.  They are ready to defend their point of view no matter what.  I "wear" my peace like a cloak.  I keep it near.  Nothing is so dear to me as my peace and I also will not just hand it to someone who wants it.  They have to find their own peace.

The second thing that struck me was Jesus as a gardener.  I am a gardener, but I am getting older and things take so much longer to do.  Two days ago I asked my husband to help me by tilling up a space for me to plant my dahlias.  They are a bit touchy.  I have to dig them in the fall and keep them at 40 degrees all winter and then plant them in the spring.  My husband said he would help, but then remembered he had told our son he would help him out before my request was made known.  I almost lost my peace.  Them I decided Jesus was with me and would strengthen me for the job.  So I took it to Him in prayer, and began early this morning while it was cool.  I hand spaded a large area for 3 hours, then I planted my dahlias and some painted daisies.  It took 5 hours total, but with Jesus with me, I got the job done.  This is how the apostles were able to do so much.  I am still amazed as I write this at what God and I did today.  I put in the work and told God the flowers were up to Him!  :-)

Marie in Illinois

Week 30

Coming through the storm,
at sunrise, birds singing, Joy!
A new day given.

Ellen E. H.

Week 30: This week I was quite taken by the images of the three gardens from the reflections…until a poem by Kabir came my way unexpectedly, revealing what was really gong on. An excerpt: Inside your body there are flowers. One flower has a thousand petals
Centered there you will have a glimpse of Splendor
Inside the body and without:
Before and after gardens.
A space deep within has come to light. Not a harsh, powerful light. Moonlight, a gentle nurturing light, a reflection from the son/sun.
-- Anita
I'm in the 30th week of the retreat. At first I didn't understand what was meant by "graces" but I think I know now.
Yesterday when I was pondering the earthly life of Jesus --His miracles, where He went, what He said, it struck me that we seem always to focus on these but rarely speak of His current activities.
We don't "see" the angel sitting on the rolled-away rock.Instead, we keep trying to strengthen our faith by repeating over and over again the old familiar stories of "when Jesus was here among men." Jesus IS alive!!! His Holy Spirit is in us, and WE are a part of His cosmic drama. We are so small, so close to the earthy surface that we can't see the far horizon. Compared with God's view ---God knows ALL--compared with His view ours is as limited as an ant's. I guess this sort of realization is what you mean by a "grace". Is that right?

Week 30: I found the retreat meditations very energizing this week. Imagining Jesus realizing his own resurrection ... his care for his mother ... his followers ... for me.
In some ways, it was appropriate to my own lifecycle ... meeting Jesus anew ... alive for me ... and for other. I started a new role in a new city in what is essentially for me a new occupation. This came about after discerning movements of the Spirit in my life.
I like the image of Jesus as the gardener meeting me in the garden of my life and gently cultivating the places he loves and helping to weed where necessary. Last weekend my wife and I on a beautiful Sunday visited the botanical gardens in our new city. They are beautiful. There is also a beautiful house on the corner of my new street with an impressive garden. But it's hard to see since it is protected by high wall and security devices. I hope the garden that Jesus is tending in my life is one which will be open to all and not walled in for the sake of my inner security.

Week 30 - This week I made a sacrifice in my personal life - I turned down a job which offered a bigger salary, a more senior position, and a preferred technology for me. I turned in down because my current job is near a chapel where I can attend mass any lunchtime I want, also it provides better work - life balance for my family. Last week I felt a bit low after turning down the job. But I was given inspiration from week 30 of the retreat. I realised a message from the resurrection that I had never realised before.... realising, after Jesus' humiliating death he rose from the dead to a place of honour with God, that after death there is life, after dieing a little for the sake of God we can rise to a more honourable position.
God Bless.
-- Alan, Belfast

Week 30 has started. It is a bit of a shock. I didn't realize how the background of this retreat has affected me. Last week and still now I was intensely aware of the cross, and Jesus' descision to be there for us. I wanted to be there with Him. Like in those inspirational stories and songs where someone has cancer, and loses all their hair. They portray the love of others by people shaving their hair off to be one with the one who suffers. Like that, I wanted to be on the cross with Jesus. Now He comes to me and says He is risen. Another almost opposite emotion floods me. Jesus is no longer a man of sorrows, but filled with Joy. Both are Love. How do I reconcile these? 'I send you out' He says. Be love.

greetings to you all. its a lovely spring morning here with the sun rising over the ocean in the distance. i hadnt identified my sadness with the retreat during the last two weeks till i read about the low grade discouragement of studying the crucifixion stories . during this week some joy has begun to return. my own favourite image is of mary in the garden and the voice which says her name . and her quiet response of Rabboni. so i have walked through this week with the familiar and beloved companion Again. After all the years of separation before i got clean and sober in 1987 - it has been a desolate place to experience living without Him beside me.
so i have been able to stop and listen this week for the voice which says Nell. and to stop and respond. Heart delighted as always.
i have also looked in the garden of my life this week to see which stones have been rolled from which tombs. and also to locate a tomb at the very centre of it - in which the most beloved of my life has been crucified and entombed.
and there seems to me to be a young woman rising . a sparkling unwounded woman. a girl. i know that life has tortured and killed parts of me and they have lain dead a goodly while. with stones blocking the caves. for years now - life has been restoring and this week was delightful. the stones which i cannot move are being rolled away. and my step is lighter and a smile on occasion surprises me.
my love to you all.
-- Nell from Tweed, Week 30

In some ways it has been "easier" for me to stay in Holy Week and witness suffering and death than to move unto to Easter Joy. In the past year, both my parent's passed away and I am still struggling with the grief, even to the point of worrying that I may not know the correct way to grieve so that I may move on. I was thinking about death and resurrection and grief and joy, when the thought came to me that I cannot possibly know how to grieve. Grief is not something that I can control. I need to trust in God and let him guide me from my grief to His joy. I need to pray and trust.
I don't need to understand. I can't understand God's ways anymore than I can understand a crow cawing, but He will send me what I need. I believe.

Easter is more difficult than lent. Lent has all its pious practices: its fasting and almsgiving and prayer. It is a time of intense activity, when we feel like we are contributing something to our salvation and the salvation of others. Then comes Easter and all of that ends. What are we to DO now? Are we not “an Easter people”, living always in the light of the resurrection? How are we to live our lives now? Some reverent people I know cling to their fasts and alms and prayers all the year, as if we were not “an Easter people” but “a Lenten people”. Your retreat speaks often of joy—the joy of the apostles and of Mary, who now know their Savior is risen from the dead. But I cannot just DO joy. Joy is always a surprise that comes unbidden. Pursued, it flees. In all of this, Easter speaks more to us of surrender to God’s will even than the Cross does. Even if we follow Christ willingly to the Cross, we cannot will ourselves to rise from death. Only perfect surrender can make us one with Life Undying. For me, the sweet surprise of John’s gospel is that Mary Magdalene saw the risen Christ and “she thought he was the gardener.” Why did she think so? Isn’t it almost comical? It is one of those tiny details that makes John’s gospel so believable. It speaks not of joy, but of the confusion of grief. But it also instructs. It is no mistake, I think, that she thought he was the gardener. He IS the gardener, tending a new Eden before her eyes, the Eden of an eternal springtime, of abundant, miraculous life. After all of his parables of mustard seeds and sowing and vineyards, Christ speaks her name, “Mary!” and she grows: “Rabboni!” she replies.Risen Christ, teach me, make me grow. Help me surrender to your will.Tom, Pennsylvania - Week 30
I did start the week restlessly. On Sunday morning I went to mass myself. It was a beautiful day but I was sorry that my boys who have now grown up but were home for Easter and my wife found reasons not to go. I met one of my clients with his family. Frankly, I was a little resentful. But during the week, I reflected on Jesus meeting his mother again. I pictured Mary talking to me and telling me about the encounter and what it meant for her. In fact, how it now put all things she had encountered in her life and particularly the pain of the Cross in a new perspective. Then taking my restlessness to her (which I compounded at work concerned about how I was going to get everything done that I think needs to get done), I hear her talk about perfection. God does not promise perfection rather God promises love and because of that transformation. I know my restlessness is still part of my pattern of sin … I want it all … more … even the perfect family … rather than what God wants from me out of His love. The fact of the resurrection does not obliterate Jesus’ wounds … and therefore the wounds we carry or have not closed. So I wander with the disciples around that Garden of Resurrection still confused by what it all means but hopeful too … because Jesus is present. I thought about what the disciples are really doing after Jesus’ death. I always imagined them in a kind of limbo state … confused. Maybe they were but more likely they are also thinking about getting on with life … “OK this venture is over … seemed a good idea at the time … great ideals … great goals …. Destroyed by powerful forces … we’ll never overcome them”. Jesus’ presence is a direct challenge … it’s not over … the powers of darkness have not overcome … and the challenge is clear … “get back out there and keep the work of transforming love going”.I pray that we may all find our way of doing that.
As I read the teachings for this week, I see many lessons to be learned. The photo of the person entering the empty tomb, the place where Jesus' body was, is now empty. I thought of how many miracles we often miss because we fail to enter into the tomb of emptiness in our lives, we are afraid of entering into the place God has prepared for us.

Then, there was Mary Magdalene, one of the first to see our resurrected Savior because her faith would not allow her to believe that the tomb could hold him captive. How many times we fail to receive the promises of God because we allow circumstances to overwhelm us with doubt and unbelief.

Peter, the rock, the one chosen to succeed Jesus, did not have the courage to enter the tomb first. We don't know exactly why he stopped at the entrance of the tomb, maybe he was afraid of what he would find. Could it be that we sometimes give up just before we about to receive a miracle because we fear God's goodness. The beloved disciple persevered and was the first to see and touch a miracle - the very clothes that had bound the body of Jesus. This is proof of what happens when we are not afraid to enter into His presence.

I offer my special prayers for all of us during this Advent, now only a few days from the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and pray that we will allow nothing to bar the peace and joy of this wonderful season from us.

The thirtieth week made me contemplate the joy of Jesus' resurrection. I have suffered from financial problem caused by my brother-in-law 's bankruptcy. I made a big mistake by letting my brother- in-law use my name and my husband's name in his deal with bank without my permission. As a result, I got to be charge of a part of his debt. I couldn't understand what he had done.

As Mary was looking for Jesus outside the empty tomb, I prayed to escape from my suffering and frustration and was looking for where Jesus was. At first if Jesus is with me, I doubted how the things happened to me . Because I didn't have any matter with my brother-in-law's failure.

One day while I was contemplating in my church, Jesus on the Cross made me accept my hard situation. I realized that Jesus-innocent and good- was accused and punished and killed. At that time I experienced the joy of Jesus being with me. Jesus ia not in the tomb. He was resurrected from His death.

This is week 30, which I have been on for a few weeks.  Jesus is Risen!!! How wonderful, that Jesus not only lived, died ,but also experienced what we will go through when we are resurrected and brought into eternal life with Him.  He is always before us, and leading us, giving us the sense of joy and security that we will be united to Him forever.

I imagined the scene of Jesus appearing first to His mother,  how much sense that He would appear to her first.  The scene was too intimate, to even be portrayed in scripture.

I imagined Mary in a room,  keeping busy, she was doing some kind of sewing or other kind of handwork in a room that was lit only by candlelight. Her back was turned away from the door, when suddenly she felt His presence and turned to see Him.  Jesus and Mary embraced with such joy and tenderness, a scene too emotional to find words to describe. Mary, His mother would have been the first , she of all,  would understand that He would be with us forever.

Even after that moment , Mary then went and ministered to the apostles in her loving way.

The indescribable joy of seeing someone who you think is dead, come back. What joy.  I have to remember that He is alive !  He is present to me , here and now, and for all eternity.  He will never abandon me, not even in the darkest of days. He is life. While I am waiting for the day when I return "home"  I have to try to keep that joy, that promise alive in my heart.  That where He is I will be. Jesus sent Mary Magdalene, he sent the apostles, and He is sending me to reach out and spread the news, and live a life of love.

The basis of our faith is the believe in His life, death , and resurrection. Eternal life and redemption are his promise to us. The challenge is to keep that in mind, to feel His presence in all things, and to remain faithful even when life, and our weakness make it difficult.  He will be with us always.

To experience joy in the midst of trials is what will be a lifelong journey, but a journey with Him all the way.
The Thirtieth Week of the Retreat had so many powerful and touching pieces.  I will briefly comment on three such pieces.  In "Getting Started this Week," the phrase "I will not give my peace away" awakened in me a deeper realization that what happens in the outside world I do not always have the power to change but the way that I handle it inside myself I do have control over.  I can refuse to let tense and frustrating situations and people take away the peace that I can claim within.  How powerful to realize and attempt to implement. 
Another phrase that has meant a lot to me over the years is contained in the words of Jesus found in Matthew 28:20 which was in the one of the Readings for this week.  "I will be with you always even until the end of the world."  This has been among my favorite Biblical passages for years.  How reassuring, comforting, and strengthening it is to know that no matter what Jesus is here with us always even until the end of time.
In this week of so many powerful passages, the Exultet was also included in the Prayers for this week.  At the Easter Vigil when I let myself enter into the words of this prayer that are so beautifully sung, tears can enter my eyes.  To just ponder the powerful message that is proclaimed in such a  beautiful poetic yet profound proclamation.  Even reading it is powerful as I contemplate what it expresses.
This week when I thought of the resurrection, my mind kept turning to the peace it brings to my life to know that Christ did not leave.  That he is not gone and will never be gone. My prayer did not seem to get beyond that thought. Lord, thank you for revealing the mystery of your unfolding presence in our history and in our lives. Week 30
For  week 30 my Rosary had six mysteries: The appearance to His Mother, His appearance to Mary and the women, His leaving only wrappings for Peter and John, the Road to Emmaus, His appearance in the Upper Room, and His showing His wounds to Thomas. I wondered why He appeared to the women first. I don’t know the answer to that question, but I believe it has to do with the natural tendencies of men and women. That is, the women had been with Him even as He carried His cross. They had wept bitterly and openly as they watched Him suffer and die. The men (except for young John, of course) had run. They ran out of fear not only of punishment for being ‘with’ Him, but also for fear of their own ‘lowly’ position in the hierarchy of Judaism. Who would believe a fisherman before a priest or a scribe? Men put so much emphasis on ‘who they are’ as opposed to what they do. Women, it seems to me, focus more on the ‘what’ than on the ‘who.’ Furthermore, the men didn’t believe when the women told them what they had seen. Like most men, they needed positive ‘proof’ before they would believe.
This week, for instance, there are two concepts that I have focused on. These are not necessarily new but in seems that I am seeing them in a new light. The first point is the extent to which Jesus went to his death willingly.  We say in our prayers "a death that He willingly accepted."  But His participation is much greater than "nonresistance."  His Apostles told Him not to go to Jerusalem, because death awaited Him there.  He told them that this was His Mission.  The one that He was given by His Father.  He told Peter to "Get back Satan...etc..."

The other point that I am contemplating is that my mission is to "Walk with Jesus."  His mission should be my mission.  This knowledge may be the answer to my prayer to know my "calling."

But how do I make Jesus' mission, my mission.  St. Francis may have shown me the way.  When St. Francis took the young Friar with him on his day of preaching the Gospel.  At the end of the day, the young friar complained that he had been prepared to preach but they had spoken to no one.  St. Francis'' way of preaching was to speak only when necessary.  I need to live the "Good News" that my sins may be forgiven.

From these points I expect to learn to be a better follower of Jesus.  I must forget about myself.  If I try to save my life, I will destroy it.  But if I give it up; I will save it.  In other words, if I follow my natural tendencies and am obsessive about maintaining my existence on this earth, I will surely not earn the "resurrection" that we have been promised.
I am in week 30 and have just reviewed some other thoughts being shared by others on the retreat. I have always felt restrained when expressing my feelings to others so I have not participated in this part of the retreat before. However as it says throughout "Some one else may benefit from what you have to say." Week 29 to 30 was such an enormous transition for me . I have been through this retreat before but must have missed this. Going from death to life. How much more could we ask for. In the section of "IN THESE WORDS..." seeing Jesus alive I could almost feel the embrace and the giddyness of seeing someone that you thought was gone forever but is back. How often have we felt that in real life with people we actually meet - Gone but the they come back into our lives. The same with Christ, how many times have we 'lost' Him (or ran away from him) only to embrace Him fully when He is back. To wipe away the tears of gladness and just enjoy the moment of reconciliation with a lost friend. It doesn't get much better than this. Thank you Creighton for this wonderful retreat and these fabulous feelings.

Week 31

Week 31
As we approach the end of this gift which is the retreat, I see myself on this road to  Emmaus.
This week began with a really deep joy when I stopped and allowed Jesus to break the bread for others when I was dealing with difficult situations at work. But then I caught a cold, and my arthritic condition flared up and I sunk into self pitying and absorption. I turned away from the bread broken and offered choosing to stay within my tomb.
But Jesus in His gentle and loving way found me, reminding me of His love and invited me out into the sunshine again.
I continue to struggle with my health, but with the bread given to me in the love of family, the wisdom of my Spiritual leaders and teachers, through God’s word in Scripture and the fabric of His Kingdom in Creation, I know I am never alone.
I can’t thank those who have organised this retreat enough. It has truly been a life changing experience for me.
I pray for all on the retreat, and that many more will accept the invitation.

God bless you all.

This week was a very hard week in which to engage in the Emmaus scenes. Early in the week I heard that a close colleague where I used to work had died in a motorcycle accident. Of course, the questions came pouring out: Why? He was accomplished. He had such promise. God, how could you do that to his wife and 6 month daughter? I replayed in the rational part of my brain all I've meditated on about suffering: that God is not a causal agent ... That there on that Cross God is present in the suffering. I came into the house with the disciples at Emmaus several times. I replayed the breaking of the bread. Then this terrific feeling of love imagining very concretely that God takes Michael in and embraces him. God assures him that His hands and feet are present still for his loved ones in his friends and family ... In me.

I also had many challenges at work. Again,I came back to the breaking of bread. I was influenced towards the end of the week by summary prayer in the Easter prayer on the website asking for the desire that "May I remember that all I do today is prayer". Somehow, this caught me. I can try this. No I can't measure up to this but I can try.
But then I have this other revelation while going back over the week. I am focused that I will be the best prayer there is for God. Of course, I can't measure up but I have the same realization that the loving embrace that I saw Michael in is in fact the same loving embrace that God offers me. I know He loves me but I so often just flee from Him even when I think I am trying to be his servant. I want to do it on my power and sometimes my terms. But in the breaking of the bread I I feel it His love. Now I see it. I would like to be like the disciples and go back the way I came and bring this love to others. -Week 31

Week 31

Hi, I'm Anne and I have been blessed to find this retreat and have benefited from everyone's sharing.  I would like to share with you all a meditation on this weeks theme that can be found in the book THE OTHER SIDE OF SILENCE by Morton Kelsey entitled "The Road to Emmaus".  It is a beautifully written meditation that complements the material presented.  I hope you can all get a chance to read it.

Week 31:  This week we are supposed to see Jesus in the breaking of the bread.  This morning I asked a question of someone and this person could not understand why the question was asked and that I should know the answer.  My feelings got hurt.  I am an educator and for me there is no bad, wrong or stupid question.  The only silly question is to have a question and not to ask it for fear of looking stupid.  A few minutes later I left for my morning walk and as I was returning I had to smile.  I realized that Jesus had been standing next to me as I was broken, holding my hand.  I think this is the essence of what this week's lesson is.

Thanks so much to all who have made this retreat possible, it has forever changed my way of thinking about Jesus.  I pray for all on this retreat , please remember me in your prayers.


Week 31

Daily patterns change, transform.
Silence leads to Joy!

Ellen E. H.

Week 31: Lord,
The exercise to recall you taking, blessing, breaking and giving bread was much used by me this week. I found myself becoming more annoyed and discouraged at my work. I also become very aware that I can go for long periods just taking your presence for granted and for other periods annoyed that you are not the magician who makes everything perfect in my life. My discouragement causes me to selfishly take other directions and you need to find me and lead me back on the road. Oh that I could be like the disciples at Emmaus when they recognised you and rushed back to Jerusalem to continue with the other disciples. Yet I find that your gentle prodding is real and that you come to me ... in the form sometimes of my spouse who encourages me , co-workers who help out ... and then I hear your gentle call that calls me to embody your presence ... and I remember it is your encouragement to be an agent of transformation that made my heart burn ... so yes Lord I recognise your presence ... help me to remember and transmit it in all areas ... even the most frustrating areas of my life. Amen

Week 31: Lord,
The exercise to recall you taking, blessing, breaking and giving bread was much used by me this week. I found myself becoming more annoyed and discouraged at my work. I also become very aware that I can go for long periods just taking your presence for granted and for other periods annoyed that you are not the magician who makes everything perfect in my life. My discouragement causes me to selfishly take other directions and you need to find me and lead me back on the road. Oh that I could be like the disciples at Emmaus when they recognised you and rushed back to Jerusalem to continue with the other disciples. Yet I find that your gentle prodding is real and that you come to me ... in the form sometimes of my spouse who encourages me , co-workers who help out ... and then I hear your gentle call that calls me to embody your presence ... and I remember it is your encouragement to be an agent of transformation that made my heart burn ... so yes Lord I recognise your presence ... help me to remember and transmit it in all areas ... even the most frustrating areas of my life. Amen

Week 31: 'ALLELUIA!  ALLELUIA!,'  the praises we sing to God during the Easter season.  Rejoice for He has risen from the dead.  We will no longer offer goats to sacrifice for our sins as in the Old Testament days because God has sent His only Son to ransom us from our sin.  HE has shed His body and blood for our salvation.

HE is now with us.  Really now?  Do I see Him in my annoying neighbor?  The mere mention of his name curdles my blood.  In my helper who is perpetually in need of money to send to her family,  do I see Him beg for mercy?  The moment she calls my name I see red flags waving at me telling me to ignore her pleas.

Lord to see you in my neighbor's eyes is a test of faith. So,   if I really want to see you more clearly,  to love you more dearly and to follow you more nearly,  there is no other way but Your way.  No compromise.   So help me to really live the resurrected life which is Your gift to me. 


Week 31:Jesus is with us in subtle ways. Especially when it appears He is not with us, if you look hard enough, and ask what He would do, you find Him. For this Week 31, I picked up the retreat again after many months. It was a detour due mostly to travel and my absence from my trusted daily routine, and then some resistance to ”coming back”. Although there were some spiritual positives during my wandering absence, I missed the steady working through the materials provided by the retreat structure that had really changed me last year when this all began. So I am back. As before, I am trying to find the week’s lesson and internalize it before moving on. The Emmaus story is a wonderful revelation of the process of recognizing Christ around us. My work burden had my head spinning this week and somehow Christ emerged, even there in the middle of the struggle.

Using this week’s approach to discovery of Christ’s hidden presence through dialogue, I was able to overcome a potential miscommunication with one of our donors. Donors are critical in my work in an NGO (non-government organization) since we rely exclusively on external funding. What they say goes, even if it hurts. A mood of paranoia and under-appreciation had set in. I was feeling sorry for myself and desolate, and very self absorbed, and worried. Much of this was due, in my mind, to this donor representative’s intransigence during a long contract negotiation and his seeming disregard for my contributions to our project. So this time, inspired by the commitment to turn a negative into a spiritual positive, I asked for the grace to take steps to understand this person and clarify his requirements, meeting him on “his journey” and simply talking with him from a place of respect. It was the hope of emulating Jesus with the travelers on the road to Emmaus, and to reach out and patiently cultivate the “recognition of Christ” in others that changed the tone, and hopefully the outcome of this negotiation. My work life is further complicated because my contract is ending in a few months and I have no secure job down the road.

Years ago, I would be so worried and on edge. But for some reason, probably due to the graces of this retreat and how they have mellowed my approach to work and life, I am joyful in spite of the looming uncertainties of no work, and daily struggles of work. I feel secure that Jesus is there, somehow in the middle of my angst, and it becomes calm.

At supper with my wife, we break bread and I see myself caught up in moment of recognition that Christ is with us too, blessing us, encouraging us, and at the same time asking us to find him in others, when He is often not apparent. I think the disappearance of Christ in this story is very meaningful. Sometimes we are consoled by his presence but other times we are desolate, or he just disappears. Once we have received the gift of recognizing him, we seek and find him in our sharing with others. We partake of the “supper that revives.”.

Instead of searching anxiously for a Christ that is not there, I ask for the grace to apply what I have learned from the Teacher so that moment of recognition somehow reveals itself in my relationship with others. Jesus is among us, but I learned we do have to dialogue and invite him, to “stay longer.”
--David in China

I imagined what the two disciples were talking about on the road to Emmaus. I imagine them talking about the "authorities" and how once again those with power and privilege had stripped them of their promise. Then Jesus is present with them. Without realizing it is Him they feel their promise returned. Then as He breaks bread they see Him. Jesus, be especially present when I feel powerless. Jesus remind me that You came for the powerless ... help me to restore your promise to those who feel broken and powerless.
from Nell on tweed on a cool and lovely spring morning in Australia. i experienced a good deal of discouragement this week which was unexpected. the expression - THEY HAD DIFFERENT HOPES - touched me. i had different hopes as so many of us do and just this week couldn't convert them easily into accepting gods wishes for me. As a recovering addict/ alcoholic - the phrase about self chosen tombs and hiding places also touched my soul. as i had spent many years burying myself and trying to roll the stone across my own tomb. two small hurts this week had me scampering down the Emmaus road aiming for one of those tombs . theyre less easy to climb into without drink drugs or gambling to help me play dead. but the Collector was there beside me as he was in 1987 when he fetched me out of the dark world. and i was able to slow down. accept the broken bread and turn back into life albeit without my usual excitement and enthusiasm. but nevertheless , accompanied and beloved. i seem to be useless in the world - but this is the work i have been given for now and i can wait within it . i can turn back to my people in meetings and my family and wait till i am shown what to do next. i do not walk alone. love to you all
-- Nell, Week 31
I found it relatively easy this week to be discouraged. I did do the exercise bringing Jesus’ blessing, breaking and offering bread at many points of frustration. There were quite a few since I had a series of difficult meetings … organizational politics were rife … and I got to play my part too … which I don’t necessarily feel proud about. Overall though on a spiritual level I felt discouraged. Then I reflected more on the disciples on their way to Emmaus. They are getting back to life … to what must be done … to make a living. Jesus who had seemed so relevant is no longer a reality. Except that they meet a stranger and without even realizing it what they felt when they were with Jesus comes back again. They see His life in its larger context. Then in the breaking of the bread He is really present … just as He becomes present to the other disciples … confused by the messages of resurrection. Resurrection is a physical act. If we are resurrected it is not just some ghostly figment of our imagination or some special movement of our souls. Rather, with Jesus present we really have changed … just as the disciples on their way back to Emmaus have changed and they didn’t realize it until they met “the stranger”. And Jesus resurrected, is the Jesus who still has wounds. Resurrection obliterates the Cross but not the woundsSo I ask Jesus to continue to forgive me when I’m rushing back to Emmaus … self absorbed … ignoring others around me who are as much the presence of Jesus and to whom I can be present in different ways … and to return with Jesus to that state I feel called to in his Eucharistic prayer.
I want to encourage everyone who is struggling in exercises TO CONTINUE with them! You will be awarded with numerous gifts and light if you will reach to the end! God bless you all and thanks to st.Ignatio Loyola for helping me through this journey!
ivana, 31 week
Starting (second time) week 31.  I was so diligent through most of the retreat, then my children came home from college for the summer.  Before I knew it, almost two months had gone by before I found myself "needing" to get back to the retreat.  I read the sharing from those of you just starting, and I remember my own intense enthusiasm almost a year ago when I was starting.  My sharing now is to let you know that while I slipped from the retreat for a while, I have a sense that God is incredibly patient with me (with us), and is now gently reminding me to finish what we started together.  I am anxious now to continue, and want to let you know that when you come this far, you truly are a changed person.  I have been more patient with my family and others, I know what my personal challenges are, and what weaknesses I am prone to, and how now to respond to those times of weakness. I have a deeper sense of God's presense with me ( when I take time to reflect). This retreat has opened me to these teachings.  And, if you find yourself slipping a bit, don't worry about it -- God will bring you back through when you are ready --- you won't forget the lessons and messages you have learned along the way!  God bless you all --- I feel a bond with each of you making this retreat, and remember you all in my prayers.
Week 31:  I found myself tonight at my computer, and I was going over the readings from the road to Emmaus, when Jesus walked along two of his disciples who were so discouraged , brokenhearted and bewildered at what had happened in Jerusalem. They had such hopes that Jesus would return, they did not recognize him as he walked along. Jesus talked and told them about things, about how the Messiah had to suffer before he was given his glory. He walked and talked with them.

They reached their destination and asked Jesus to stay with them as it was getting night.  After sitting down, Jesus took, blessed, broke, and gave bread to them.  It was in the breaking of the bread that they knew who he was.

They then returned back to Jerusalem to find the eleven apostles,where they learned that Jesus was alive and had appeared to Peter. Then the disciples from Emmaus told what had happened on the road and how they knew it was the Lord when he broke the bread.

I thought about how I am sometimes like the disciples on the road who " had different hopes".  Jesus companioned them on the road , he gently talked and walked with them even though they did not recognize him, he fed them .Companion literally means "with bread". He gave them the greatest hope in the midst of their deepest fears and hopelessness. He overcame death, he overcame evil, and he joyfully wants them and me to know that all will be well. I am deeply comforted to know that  Jesus finds us where we are in our brokenness. He comes disguised as a dear friend, our kids, and annoying neighbor. In each one of them, He is there only sometimes harder to see. Sometimes when I get absorbed in problems , discouragement , or worries, that I forget to see that He is with us. He is  there and comes to us to heal, love, and to bring us to eternal love and life. There are times in my life when I have had "different hopes" and things did not turn out the way I had hoped, but  Jesus was there with me on the road.  He was companioning me and I did not see it .

Jesus is in me and in others , we are His hands and feet.  He is present to us, and He is present through us when we reach out to our brothers and sisters. The ultimate gift , in the breaking of the bread is so awesome, it is hard to comprehend, but the gift is there at every Eucharist, and at every moment.

When I get overwhelmed with problems and challenges it is then that I must remember that He is with me, always, Jesus will not abandon me or you. Jesus is with us and alive. Praying for all on this retreat, please pray for me too.
There were a few instances during this Thirty-first Week of the Retreat where I was getting self absorbed and the exercise of imagining Jesus taking, blessing, and breaking bread and then giving it to me really did add a sense that the Lord was present and I was doing what He called me to do.  It brought Jesus more actively into the picture which in turn made me realize in those moments that I did not need to be in the center of the picture nor did I need to be picture perfect.  This enabled me to go about my activity with a renewed sense of meaning and took my focus off of myself and put it on others and on the call of Jesus.
Not to downplay the sanctity of the Eucharist, but I do not have access to daily mass. I do read the scriptures everyday. Everyday, I look for the presence of the Lord in my reading of the Word. For me the “breaking of bread” on the road to Emmaus does draw out the heart Catholicism, but in reading the story on the road to Emmaus I find myself returning again and again to the talk on the road itself when  “Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets.” I keep wondering how they did not see him when he revealed himself in the Word. I thank God that the Word has so much more power in my life because I have so much more access to it than to the Eucharist.

But without regard to this side issue, this week focused me on the great gift I have in the repeated revelation of the risen Lord in my life. This is God’s greatest gift to me, for without it, I would have given up on life long, long ago. Because I am a sinner, I cannot say that I always live for Christ, but I can say that I would not live but for Christ. I stumble through this haphazard adventure like a sinner and a fool on the road to Emmaus and then it happens: he is revealed and I become part of the greater purpose. Interestingly, he was most clearly present to me during Sunday mass. Week 31
As I enter week 31, I find myself in a position of wanting to believe yet being fearful. Things are hard at work right now. People are leaving, the work load is down, and finances are tight. I am worried. I know the Lord has a plan for me, but I want to SEE it! Help me Lord, to see you in everyone I meet this week. If I am able to do so, I know that I will be following Your plan, whatever it is. I need You!

As a mother of 6 young people who have been disenchanted with the Catholic church and no longer attend on a regular basis I found great consolation in this week's Emmaus reflections. The realisation that Jesus walks so closely and so patiently with the "disillusioned"disciples who have turned their backs on the "community" in Jesusalem makes me realise that Jesus is and always has been accompanying my children in their "walking away" and will one day let them recognise him in a way only each one of them will understand and like our Emmaus brothers they will turn in their tracks with their hearts on fire and want to return to the Christian community to find the Risen Lord. It also gives me a greater thankfulness to Jesus that he has already got me "hooked"! Thank you for such a wonderful retreat. 

It’s like being stretched and stretched, and not knowing if you will break or not. It just feels better to go back to the way you were. I’m in week 31 on the road to Emmaus. Jesus comes after me and I must respond, but I feel like I’m being torn apart.

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