Online Retreat Guide - Week 5
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The Disorder of Sin — Appalling Rebellion

Guide: What Sin Is

We have spent several weeks enjoying what it is to live in har­mony with our purpose and to be inspired by people who seem to get it right. We now turn to look at another picture. Fr. Doll’s photo of a bombed Bosnian village can symbolize for us both the revolting evil that results from the rejection of God and God’s desire for us and for humanity.

Why do we go here this week? We want to see, to taste, what sin is — an appalling rebellion against God. This is not to look at some vague sense of social evil, without any responsible villains. Our intention is to spend this week more consciously aware of the sheer arrogance and outrageous opposition to God’s grace that exists in our world. Why? We do this because we rarely look evil in the face, and we do this that we might more deeply come to know the loving mercy of our God, in the death and resurrection of Jesus for the sin of the world.

So, there are really two images this week:

1. The ones that will come to us this week that represent the sin of the world.
2. The image of Jesus on the Cross, liberating us from sin and death’s threat of victory over us.

The enemy of our relationship with God does not want to be unveiled by our staring at, our becoming wiser to, just what sin is. This is not primarily about our personal sin, though we are all sinners. Our desire this week is to grow in what our culture seems to have lost — a sense of sin.

From time to time this week, we look back though his­tory and let our imagination picture all of the violence, the inhumanity, the injustice, the abuse, the greed, and the lust for power — humanity in rebellion from God’s desire that we praise, reverence, and serve God and use everything else in creation for that end.

How much denial of God’s right to praise, reverence, and service can we experience this week? How much worship­ping of other gods? How much violence against the dignity of human life? How much deception or injustice or scandal or depravity? We want to experience the magnitude of the sin of the world, so we don’t hesitate to explore its scope.

Our goal is not to become judgmental and to grow in anger at sinners. Our desire is to experience the ingratitude and prideful independence from God that sin represents. It is disorder, and we are feeling how wrong it is.

Each day this week, our consciousness of evil would be too great for us to bear without the second image: God’s loving, merciful response. The price for it all is paid for in the body and blood of Jesus, there on the cross.

We end each day with growing gratitude for the magnitude of God’s Mercy.

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

Click on photo to see larger image
and Photo Gallery.
Photos by Don Doll, S.J.

selected to support 

our prayer each week.

Getting Started this Week
Some practical helps 

for this week's prayer.

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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