A Self Directed Retreat
The Desired Grace: I pray for the following grace: A deep felt awareness and appreciation of how God has been present in my life.
At the beginning each prayer period, offering yourself to the Lord. Prayer of “Teach me to see you”
"Teach me to seek you,
And reveal yourself to me as I seek;
For unless you instruct me, I cannot seek you,
And unless I you reveal yourself to me, I cannot find you.
Let me seek you in desiring you; let me desire you in seeking you
let me find you in loving you; Let me love you in finding you."
A Prayer of St. Anselm of Canterbury
A. Remembering and Writing my Past Experiences:
I begin by remembering all the significant persons, events and experiences and my interior reactions to them, that have been a part of my life history from my birth to the present time. Make a list of 10-12 formative experiences in your life (positive and negative).
B. Reflecting on and Writing my Interior Reactions. Interior reactions to memories may include:
negative feelings, positive feelings, hurts, sinned against, experienced God's presence - experienced God's absence, sinful experience etc.
Spend some time remembering each event again and this time place a descriptive symbol next to the event or experience, e.g.
__ experienced as negative + experienced as positive
- experienced hurt, damage or were sinned against
~ experienced God's presence
? experienced God's absence
X experienced as sinful
T experienced as a turning point
0 no reaction experienced
C. Praying with our Memories: Read slowly Psalm 139 and pray attentively using all of your faculties - faith and feelings - your interior senses, imagination, recall – as you pray with each Ask God to show you where He was in those formative experiences.
How was Jesus present or absent to you during this event?
What were your feelings then about this?
i. If this event was a happy experience for you simply express these feelings to God or to Jesus.
Tell Jesus how this event made you feel.
Dialogue with Jesus.
End with an appropriate response.
ii. If this event was an unhappy one where you need healing, imagine Jesus entering the event.
Walk back with Jesus into this recollection.
Imaginatively reconstruct what would happen if Jesus were perceived as present then.
Dialogue with Jesus about your reactions; thank him for his healing love as you walk out of the recollection with him.
D. Review Your Blessed History: Spend some time reflecting with God upon each of the significant events and experiences. Try to see that God was present and to understand how God was present. Gradually try to see that God has been constantly present with you, not only in isolated, separate moments of time but continuous as companion, as friend, as lover, as guide; not as observer but as participant.
Note: This exercise is repeated for each formative moment completing it over several prayer periods Repetition maybe helpful, as well as jotting down notes to review later.
(Adapted From Orientations, John A. Veltri, S.J.)
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