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ENCOUNTERING GOD WHO IS LOVE LOVING: Retreat # 1 in the Everyday

Updated: Oct 5, 2023


Encountering the unconditional, creative, active, inviting love of God.


In the opening of one’s prayer time St. Ignatius taught that we as enter into a prayer period we begin with a prayer request for grace to have all our intentions and desires directed towards what will bring praise and glory to God, for our service in Christ.


TWO GRACES


The Preparatory Prayer St. Ignatius recommends each time to ask for this grace. The Preparatory Prayer he recommended each time is: “I ask God our Lord for grace that all my intentions, actions, and ways may be directed purely to the praise and service of God.”


You can write your own version from this example.______________________________


He also recommended we are to ask for specific graces depending upon our circumstances or based upon the scriptures such as the theme of this mini retreat – God is Love loving.


For example

The grace to experience the reality of God’s ongoing, active, unconditional love for me.

or

My desire is for God’s graces to flow into my soul for me to know beyond doubt how God’s Spirit lives within me; to experience of how I am love now and at every moment of my life ; and to trust in God’s personal care and love for me.


Write your own based upon what you desire – what do you truly desire - what do you want or need from God about how God is Love loving you now and at every moment, always without fail.



My desire is: ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


St. Ignatius recommends even if we do not have a desire or afraid to ask we then ask for help to find and speak our desires.



RETREAT

God’s gift to me is God's own very Self, all of creation that includes myself.


He created me ( and everyone) out of love and desires nothing more than a return of love. He continues to desire my love and friendship even when I move away from Him. God accepts me completely with the strengths He has given me, and in all my imperfections and failings.


Letting God love us can bring areas of darkness to the surface… such is God way of healing those hurts. Nothing can keep God from embracing and loving you.

God is Love loving

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MEDITATION A meditation prayer method is what we find ourselves entering into using our intellect and reason with a respond from our heart. We read to understand what is written, we then reflect upon what resonated within us, that is God’s directly touching us personally. In our response to the insights received from the Holy Spirit, we share what has been illumined by His grace on where we are being lead to take action in Christ.

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MEDITATIONS


GOD SPEAKS TO US THROUGH THE PROPHETS

Take notice of your responses, thoughts, feelings, desires as you are reading God's words to you.

I KNEW YOU (Jer 1:5a & 31:3b-4a)

Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you…With age-old love I have loved you; so I have kept my mercy toward you.Again I will build you, and you shall stay built...


I CALLED YOU BY NAME (Selections from Isa 43:1-7)

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, and formed you,

Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine. When you pass through waters, I will be with you; through rivers, you shall not be swept away. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor will flames consume you. For I, the Lord, am your God,your savior. Because you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you, Fear not, for I am with you; All who are called by my name I created for my glory; I formed them, made them.

I AM WITH YOU (Isa 41:10)

Do not fear, for I am with you; for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’


Reflection

Take notice of your thoughts, feelings, desires, images, insights while praying

  • Select a section, a word or phrase that stands out for you.

  • What came up for you during this prayer time.

Select one of these passages above to re-read, as if God is speaking directly to you.

  • What image do you have of God as He speaks to you?

  • What does God’s presence feel like?

  • How does God see you now?

  • What feelings came up for you as you reread these words?



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RESPONSE OF DAVID


THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD(PS 23)

The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I lack. In green pastures he makes me lie down; to still waters he leads me; he restores my soul. He guides me along right paths for the sake of his name. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me.


Reflection

  • What words or images from David’s response to God, speak for me?

  • Read this passage again: What am I feeling as I read the passage again?

  • What am I sensing God is saying to me now in reading this again?

PSALM OF DAVID - YOU HAVE PROBED ME (139:1-18)

Lord, you have probed me, you know me: 2 you know when I sit and stand you understand my thoughts from afar. 3 You sift through my travels and my rest; with all my ways you are familiar. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, Lord, you know it all. 5 Behind and before you encircle me and rest your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, far too lofty for me to reach.

7 Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee? 8 If I ascend to the heavens, you are there; if I lie down in Sheol, there you are. 9 If I take the wings of dawn[c] and dwell beyond the sea, 10 Even there your hand guides me, your right hand holds me fast. 11 If I say, “Surely darkness shall hide me, and night shall be my light” 12 Darkness is not dark for you, and night shines as the day. Darkness and light are but one.

13 You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! My very self you know. 15 My bones are not hidden from you, When I was being made in secret, fashioned in the depths of the earth 16 Your eyes saw me unformed; in your book all are written down; my days were shaped, before one came to be.

17 How precious to me are your designs, O God; how vast the sum of them! 18 Were I to count them, they would outnumber the sands; when I complete them, still you are with me.

Reflection

Take notice of your thoughts, feelings, desires, images, insights while praying

  • · How does David’s experience God’s gaze on him?

  • · What is your reaction in reading how David shares with God?

  • · What words of David speaks for you?

  • · How do you feel about God being so close?

  • · What do you desire to share with God now?

  • · How do you feel about receiving this level of intimacy?

  • · What do you desire to share with God now?

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FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”(John 3:16)


Reflection

  • Imagine how God felt when He gave Himself to us?

  • Spend some time reflecting upon this gift of God’s self for us.

  • Talk with God, share your thoughts and feelings.

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IMAGINATIVE CONTEMPLATION An Ignatian contemplation prayer method is entered into naturally when we are using our God given gift of imagination when there is activity. We come to image what is going on in scripture passage, who is there, what the environment looks and sounds like’ we engage as a participant to experience being there. This brings the past present allowing us to be transformed by the reality of Christ’s loving action.


Composition of Place & Application of the Senses

Here Jesus is teaching his disciples.


Imagine:

  • What does the landscape look like?

  • Time and weather of the day?

  • What does the crowd look like?

  • Where are you in the crowd?


  • Imagine Jesus speaking those words directly to you.

  • Hear His words and see Him speaking them to you.

  • What does His words sound like?


GOD SPEAKS IN THE PERSON OF JESUS CHRIST


If God so clothed the grasses (Luke 12: 22-28a)

Jesus said to [his] disciples,

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear. For life is more than food and the body more than clothing. Notice the ravens: they do not sow or reap; they have neither storehouse nor barn, yet God feeds them. How much more important are you than birds! Can any of you by worrying add a moment to your life-span? If even the smallest things are beyond your control, why are you anxious about the rest? Notice how the flowers grow. They do not toil or spin. But I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass in the field that grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you…

Reflection

Hear His words

Imagine Jesus speaking those words directly to you. Where are you both?


  • What has God provided for you today?

  • What worries or fears do you want to let go of, as you move through this retreat?

  • Tell him your worries, and wait for His response.




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MEDITATIONS


THE DISCIPLES' RESPONSES


My grace is sufficient (2 Cor 12:9)

“Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me.”


Nothing will separate us from the love of God (Rom 8:38-39)

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord”.


God the Creative Giver of infinite gifts (Phil 4:19)

“My God will fully supply whatever you need, in accord with his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”


God the Healer in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:24)

“By his wounds you have been healed.”


Reflection

  • What has changed in you in reflecting upon the disciple’s statements of their experiences of being with Christ?


SPIRITUAL EXERCISE

God’s gift to me is all of creation and myself.


He created me out of love and desires nothing more that a return of love. He continues to desire my love and friendship even when I move away from Him.

God accepts me completely with the strengths and limitations He has given me, and in all my own imperfections. Letting God love us can bring areas of darkness to the surface… such is God ways of healing those hurts. Nothing can keep God from embracing and loving you.

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Reflection

  • What graces have you received from God from praying with these passages?

  • In accepting God’s unconditional love for you, reflect on what words you would share with others about your experience of receiving His gifts?


God’s gift to me is myself, others, and all of creation.

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