My Eight-Day Retreat: Part 4
In the first, I relived a wonderful visit with our now 36-year-old son and his wife. In another, I recalled the time I met the homeless fellow outside Tim Hortons. In a third, I returned to that Sunday morning at Twin Creeks when I heard God’s call to leave church ministry to devote my time to writing and spiritual direction. What gave me joy in each of these situations was that I was able to live out of my true self–I was accepting, non-judgmental, generous, free, and happy.
The words I heard at Twin Creeks still brought tears to my eyes. The risen, living Christ… seeks for that which is lost within me. The joy of being myself was lost in me, and Jesus was recovering it.
The next day when I prayed with the story of the prodigal son, I lamented to God that I have run away to the foreign land of my false self, not once, but many times.
“And each time I welcome you back with an embrace and feasting,” God said.
“But I keep leaving your love to do what I think will make me happy (even though it doesn’t).”
“And I will keep bringing you home.”
In the Parable of the Good Samaritan, my fears beat me up and left me for dead. My pride and need for other people’s approval walked right on by. God, disguised as my friend Theresa, saw me, tenderly bandaged my wounds, and took me to a hotel. There Jesus sat by my bed, cooled my brow and walked me to the washroom until I was well again.
The second last night of my retreat, I had a dream in which I could see a parasite under my skin. It poked its head out of a hole in the surface then went back in. Jesus and I were watching it together, and he said, “Just wait. Sit quietly and it will come out.”
The next day in prayer, I returned to being with Jesus at my bedside. I remembered the verse, “Perfect love casts out fear.” Jesus sat patiently and waited for my fears to emerge and leave until only love remained.
Perfect love casts out fear.–1 John 4:18
- What “Joyful Mystery” might you bring to Jesus?
- As you relive this moment, how does Jesus express his love to you?
- What has been lost in you that Jesus is seeking to find?
- What image, word or phrase does Jesus use to deepen the gifts given to you in your Joyful Mystery?
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FAQs about my Eight-Day Retreat
- What did you find hard about the retreat? Any surprises?
Despite the fact that I am an extrovert, I enjoy the silence. So I didn’t mind that too much. It was a bit challenging for Fred and me to be together and not express a thought or feeling, but we got the hang of it. He did, however, give me kisses or hugs, and I found this helped me welcome God’s love even more.
I am often surprised by how the little things I hardly notice–the friendly cyclists, the squawking birds–make their way into my prayers in a meaningful way and how God gratefully receives and redeems all my prayers: the mountaintop moments and the tedious valleys.