I have been thinking about what to blog about in regards to the silent retreat and honestly, I don’t think words can convey what God began to do in my soul and really, what He continues to do. In part because I am still in the midst of understanding what He revealed and in part because sometimes words just aren’t enough. I think that He is leading me into a deeper love for Him, a love where I can freely be His beloved and live into that identity. What I think I am learning is that being His beloved does not necessarily mean that I will be blessed with spiritual consolations all the time. In fact I think that living into the truth of being His beloved might entail being ok with not having emotional graces, moving beyond what I can feel and being rooted in the truth that is deeply engrained in the depths of my soul. I am currently reading Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross – it’s amazing! It’s really bringing to light a lot of what God has done and is doing; I highly recommend it.
Anyways, I figured a good way to share about the 8 day was to share some of the notes I took throughout the retreat. So here they go:
GOD IS HERE
- Our God may appear as a matter of choice but He is not.
- Jesus is Lord, whether I chose him or not. We cannot undue God’s choice of us, we can be faithful or unfaithful to that choice – but that does not change His choice.
- It’s not our trying, it’s God’s choice that makes us acceptable to Him.
- Romans 5:6-8 -> God loves us first in our sin so He can love us out of our sin because He wants us to be joyful, to live a blessed and flourishing life – be fruitful
- Regard your preferences only in the light of what will lead you closer to God
GOD’S PROPOSAL IS MORE RELENTLESS THAN OUR REFUSAL
- His love is relentless
GOD’S WORD UNMASKS DECEPTION
- When we are deceived we don’t know we are being deceived, the problem is the lie we don’t perceive.
- Romans 7 – St. Paul wanting to do good but not doing it -> settling for lesser goods
- 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 -> Even though God is here and within us we are still commanded to test the spirits
- Spiritual consolation/desolation are not a factual measurement of how close you are to God – you can profit from both
- Spiritual Consolation: Experience of the presence and love of God, gift of tears of contrition or joy that move one toward God, attraction to virtue and sanctity, interior joy, increase in faith and hope and love, peace and quiet in the Lord
- Spiritual Desolation: Experience of darkness of soul, turmoil of spirit, attraction to the low and earthly, experiences of restlessness and trial and temptation, want of faith and want of hope and want of love, feelings of tepid sadness, tiredness, feeling separated from God
- In desolation do not change your former resolutions
- Spiritual desolation is a dangerous time, you need community, and spiritual direction
- Holy hour is not about you, it’s all for His greater glory, you may get something out of it, you may not
- God is honored by the quality of our prayer not our quantity
- Do not make a change in resolutions
- Be generous and intensify your prayer
- Resist the enemy
- Persevere in patience
3 reasons for desolation:
-Are you in a state of grace? Examine your faithfulness of your commitments – negligence?
-God wants to examine your will and let you grow without His gifts of consolations
-To teach our intellect -> to be aware that all the consolation/goodness is a gift from God, He will not let us attribute vainglory to ourselves
-Receive and prepare for the coming desolation
-Thank you God it is all You, it is all You!
THE ENEMY’S TACTICS
- The enemy acts like a spoiled child, you do not want to indulge the spoiled child because it makes it worse -> do the opposite of what the enemy says, “agere contra” act BOLDLY against!
- The enemy is like a false lover, flirts out of the sight of a virtuous woman’s husband or father (husband/father being the protector). If the woman keeps this flirtation secret, that secret begins to build up, the false lover gains ground. If the woman brings it to light the false lover will not succeed. The enemy may have one corner of your life he wants to keep between you and him, the solution is disclosure – confession and/or spiritual conversation (i.e. with spiritual conversation)
- The enemy is like a shrewd army commander. He wants to attack your strengths, he comes at your weakness and when you’re most tired/vulnerable. The antidote? Regular confession and examination of conscience. Keep watch! Know what your weaknesses are so you can focus on defensive prayer in that area.
GOD HUMBLES US BEFORE HE EXALTS US
- Moses, Esther, David, Joseph, Saul/St Paul, Hannah, Tobit, Judith, Jeremiah, Daniel } all humbled FIRST and later exalted
- God humbles Himself before He is exalted -> Philippians 2:5-11 -> not the way of man, it has to be revealed to man that God’s greatness, His way, is one of being humbled before being exalted
- He descends unto the most brutal criminal’s death, voluntarily
- Matthew 23:11-12 -> Jesus is saying something he is living
- St. Francis of Assisi -> Downward mobility -> Depend on God -> you will not know the exaltation of God until you empty yourself in humility
- Radical receptivity – embrace the downward mobility of humility
To KNOW Jesus more intimately
To LOVE Jesus more ardently
To FOLLOW Jesus more closely
God’s proposal, Jesus Himself, greater than our refusal.
DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALED?
- Jesus only heals when He is asked -> come, speak, ask
- He wants your healing more than you do
JESUS DIES AND SO MUST YOU
- Jesus faced death courageously by living confidently in zeal for His Father and in love for His brothers and sisters.
- “I hope I can pray with Christ psalm 22, ‘My God why has thou forsaken me…’ and end with praise” -Br. John
- It is His (Jesus) defeat of death that mitigates all its fearsomeness
- We are pursued relentlessly by no greater love than His life and death
- We are created to praise, reverence and serve God
Remain in Him:
W ord of God – living and effective
E xamination of conscience – dwell in His graces and aware of what takes you away from Him
- Be confident -> 1 John 3:19-20 } God is here and He is greater than our hearts