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Week 3: Welcome


Last week, we invited you to spend time praying about the obstacles that get in the way of seeking to live more fully in God’s freeing love as the Principle and Foundation calls us to. This week, we invite you to pray for the grace of reconciliation and healing; within yourself, with others, and with God. 

The guided prayer for this week is Romans 8:31-35,37-39, "What then shall we say to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?"

Isaiah 54 "My love shall never fall away"

Psalm 6 "Turn back, Lord, rescue my soul..."

Psalm 13 "How long must I carry sorrow..."

Mark 1:40-42 "' can make me clean."

Mark 2:17 "I did not come to call the righteous but sinners."

Mark 5:25-34 "She said, 'If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.'"

Mark 10:46-52 "'What do you want me to do for you?'"

Luke 4:16-21 "'He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives...'"

Luke 15:1-7 & 11-32 The Parables of the Lost Sheep and the Prodigal Son

John 8:2-11 "'Neither do I condemn you. Go [and] from now on do not sin any more.'"

Here you can find additional resources to help you pray through Week Three. You can also go back to the resources from the first two weeks of the retreat on the Prayer Resources page.
Week 3: Admissions

Practical Guide

Last week, we invited you to spend time praying about the obstacles that get in the way of seeking to live more fully in God’s freeing love as the Principle and Foundation calls us to. This week, we invite you to pray for the grace of reconciliation and healing; within yourself, with others, and with God. 

Our faith tells us that in the face of obstacles to our call to live in love we can hope and trust in the healing power of God. Scripture is filled with messages of hope, ultimately culminating in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, and victory of love. But when we are faced with our own experience of suffering, the call to hope and faith takes on a whole new immediacy and challenge. Now it is real, for us. In our woundedness we might ask, is this hope for healing and reconciliation really true? 

God does not want us to simply trust what we read or hear about the healing and reconciliation we see exemplified in Jesus’ life. God wants us to personally encounter this grace - God’s love in the midst of our imperfection. We are meant to experience in our own lives liberation from wounds and reconciliation in our relationships. 

This encounter can only happen as a gift, rather than as something we figure out or create for ourselves. It is something real, from another, that is given to us. And not just given by any other person, but by God. God answers. God responds, with grace far greater than what we could ever hope for or imagine.

This can be hard, because it places us in a place of waiting on God, without the ability to control everything. However, just as Jesus trusted in the Father all the way through his passion, we are invited to place our trust in God. 

So this week, we encourage you to pray for this gift of encountering God’s love wherever you are in the midst of your imperfection, suffering, brokenness, agitation, etc. Take time to listen for God, to seek God with an open ear attentively. Be honest with God with how you are, how you feel about God. Be patient with the hope that God is faithful and will come to you, or rather, is already with you, calling you to open your heart.

How do we do this? How do we open our hearts to encounter God’s love more deeply? Here are few suggestions:

  1. Praying with Scripture: take time with a passage of Scripture that speaks to you of God’s healing grace. Perhaps contemplate one of the healing stories from the Gospels. Place yourself in the scene. Imagine Jesus coming to you as you are, with your own struggles and obstacles, and listen to what he says to you. Is he as harsh with you as you may be with yourself? What is his attitude toward you? How does he express his love for you with human gestures, words, or even just a look? See his unimaginable mercy expressed particularly to you. Let yourself really hear it. If you are seeking something from him, ask. If you need to be angry, be angry. Don’t be afraid, all God wants is for you to bring your authentic self to prayer, and to do your best to be open to God’s loving response. 

  2. Imaginative prayer with a loved one: This meditation is a unique way to encounter an image of God. Take some time in quiet prayer, setting a scene in your imagination where you are speaking with someone in your life who you know loves you deeply. Perhaps you imaginatively see them and the surroundings. Perhaps you merely imagine what their presence feels like. Let yourself pour your heart out to them. What do they want to say to you? Again, are they as hard on you as you are with yourself? See how deeply they desire your freedom and healing. See their willingness to forgive you. This meditation can be a unique way to open yourself to how God loves you in a similar, but with even greater mercy and love than any human being could.

  3. Return to methods of prayer from the retreat that have been fruitful for you. Go where God leads you, and stay with the grace when you find it. 

There are many other ways to open ourselves to receive God’s healing and reconciling grace. What’s important is that you offer yourself, and with as much courage as you can, place your vulnerability before God with hope. Even if it's not perfect, even if you doubt, even if you can only take small steps don’t worry. Remember again that this retreat does not depend on you figuring it out, or the advice we have given. God will be there and do the work. 

Furthermore, as we have said before, in all of these suggestions, use what is helpful and draws you to God. Toss aside what is distracting or unhelpful. The rule is you and God’s personal encounter, not anything we say. And where you find the grace, remain with it. Quality over quantity!

Give yourself the gift of listening to God loving you, without qualifying things or needing to be all fixed up first. Invite God into the mess, wherever you are. You can let go and fall into God’s arms. That’s all God wants. Then comes generosity. Then comes service. Then comes deeper life.

Week 3: Text


We highlight these resources for the week. You can find these, and resources from last week on the Prayer Resources page.

Ignatian contemplation focuses on using our imagination to place ourselves in biblical scenes or other spiritual contexts, while paying attention to our affective feelings.

Here is an introduction to Ignatius' thought on distinct inner spiritual movements and their effects we experience in prayer, which Ignatius characterizes as "consolation" or "desolation".

Here is a quick guide for how to take a moment of reflection to review a time of prayer you previously engaged in. Ignatius encouraged people to do this.

Here you will find a more detailed look at the Examen prayer, along with videos that can help deepen your understanding of this key Ignatian prayer.

Did you find the concept of "indifference" in the Principle and Foundation difficult to understand? If so, here is a closer look at what Ignatian Indifference is.

Latin for "Divine Reading", Lectio Divina is a method of praying with scripture that has been utilized by Christians for centuries.

Week 3: List
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