Online Retreat Guide - Week 1
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Let’s Begin at the Beginning: Our Life Story

Guide: The Memories That Have Shaped Us

This is the first week of a thirty-four-week journey. We begin at the beginning — our story. Prayer is about our relationship with God. We will begin to grow in this relationship with God, in the midst of our everyday lives this week, by simply reflecting upon our own story. There may be times we will want to take a period of prayer to reflect upon our story this week. What is most important, however, is that we begin by letting this reflection become the background of our week.

Did you ever get a song in your head and realize that it was there for a long time, no matter what you were doing? This is like that. Throughout our day, each day this week, we will have in mind the memories that have shaped us. (Note especially, the "Getting Started" link at the right for how to do this.)

Let this be the image: This week, let’s go through the photo album of our life. Let’s go back to our earliest memories. Let’s let the Lord show us our lives. What pictures are there? With each part of my life, what scenes do I remember? Who is in those scenes? Some photos will be of happy times, some will be quite sad, others will be difficult to recollect at all. They all constitute our story and the journey that has brought us to where we begin this retreat.

Take it easy. Go slowly. Take a little bit each day. Being faithful to this exercise will help tremendously to prepare for the weeks ahead. Write down notes or memories or stories if you’d like.

End each day, before going to bed, with a few interior words of gratitude to the One who has accompanied me through my life, even to this day of presence with me.

The Grace we pray for this week:
I look back on my life and am grateful for God’s loving fidelity to me at every moment.

Consider sharing the graces you have received
this week with others making the retreat.

Listen to each week of the Online Retreat
on a CD or on your mp3 player

Photos by 
Don Doll, S.J.

selected to support 

our prayer each week.

Getting Started
Some practical help for beginning the retreat, and how to go about preparing oneself and using this guide.

For the Journey
Reflections by
Larry Gillick, S.J.
as helps for the

In these or
similar words

St. Ignatius might say: "Speak with Our Lord, as friend to friend, in these or similar words."

Some readings that are chosen to fit this week.

Written prayers by others sometimes helps us find words ourselves.

A Place to Share
At any time this week, if you have anything you'd like to share, that has touched you, you can share it by leaving a note here, even anonymously.

Read the Sharing
Read what others have shared about their prayer or graces.


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