Eight Days Alone with God

Silent Prayer by Neil GallopAfter a long kiss goodbye, Fred drove off.  I brushed off my nervousness and unpacked my things. It didn’t take long–just clothes, knitting needles and yarn, my Bible, notebook and a copy of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. No computer, no other books, no phone.  For the next week, even though I was with friends at the retreat centre, the only person I would talk to was God and my spiritual director, a young Jesuit named Sylvester.

At our first meeting, Sylvester asked me to tell him a bit about my life. Then he suggested a few passages of scripture to begin praying with. He said, “Spend an hour praying with the passage. Don’t study it; imagine yourself in it. Allow yourself to enter into a conversation the Trinity is having about you.”

十字架 CrossThat evening, I went into the chapel to pray. I could still smell the incense from Vespers. After that service, Sylvester had turned the crucifix and large Bible on the altar to face the Blessed Sacrament. Then he genuflected.

I bowed my head and prayed, as Ignatius directed, asking for the grace that all my “intentions, actions and operations be directed purely to the service and praise of His Divine Majesty.” My heart beat with longing that it be so.

I turned to John 14 and was drawn by Jesus’s statement, “I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” I pictured myself completely immersed in love. It felt spacious, safe and peaceful.

Further on in the passage, Jesus said five times that, after he died, he would come back and show himself to them. Was Jesus promising to show himself to me too?

The next morning, I sat on my bed and prayed, cradling a cup of hot tea. In Isaiah, the Trinity exuberantly invited me to come and satisfy my soul with rich food. God’s word would not return empty; God promised, “I will accomplish what I desire.”

What did the Trinity desire for me?

Sylvester told us that morning in a short lecture, “God is love and love requires a recipient. You can’t just love. You have to love something or someone. God is love because God is Three Persons–Father, Son and Holy Spirit–loving each other. And God created us to share their love.”

I felt a flutter in my chest. God’s great desire–more than anything else–was that I be shown that love for eight days straight.

Redemption by Miwok

As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. — Isaiah 55:10-11

Credits and references:
“Silent Prayer” by Neil Gallop.
“Cross” by Dennis Wong. used with permission.
“Redemption” by Miwok. Used with permission.
The Spiritual Exercises of St.Ignatius of Loyola (1419-1556), annotation 46.
John 14:20; Isaiah 55:2,11
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2015.
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without permission from Esther Hizsa is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim 2013, 2014, 2015.  http://www.estherhizsa.wordpress.com

About Esther Hizsa

Esther is a spiritual director and writer. She lives in Burnaby with her husband, Fred, and they have two grown children and two grandchildren.
This entry was posted in Ignatian Spirituality, Prayer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Eight Days Alone with God

  1. Dave Small says:

    Encouraging and Inspiring. Thanks Esther.


  2. Janet Hill says:


    Liked by 1 person

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