Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ignatian Retreat Notes

(I'm getting rid of a lot of paper around here and thought I'd type these up quick and then get rid of the scratch paper.)
This is from a really wonderful Ignatian Retreat with Fr. James Kubicki (director of the Apostleship of Prayer) that I attended last fall...
I was reading Caryll Houselander's Reed of God and Hans Urs Von Balthasar's Does Jesus Know Us? Do We Know Him? (which are both wonderful books!) during the retreat, so a few of the notes may be related to the interconnections... I don't exactly remember!

Talk 1. Love -

"Anyone who loves God in the depths of his heart has already been loved by God. In fact, the measure of a man’s love for God depends upon how deeply aware he is of God’s love for him. - Diadochus of Photice"

Talk 2. Meaning -

Ways of Knowing - Wissen, Kennen

Talk 3. Letting Go/Surrendering/Death

We appreciate the beautiful partly because it is uncommon, e.g. experiencing the love of God in prayer.

"It is the blight man was born for, it is Margaret you mourn for..." Gerard Manley Hopkins

Psalm 90

St. Ignatius - Major decision - imagine yourself at death and consider what you wish you had done. Do you organize your day according to your ultimate purpose? The things of this earth are designed to help us attain our ultimate end - hang on to what helps, let go of what doesn't.

Reflect on... Imagine your eulogy. How do you want to be remembered? How does that mesh with reality? What is our "whole life"? What is most important to you?

Talk 4. Sin

We're created by love and for love.

Freedom - we must be capable of choosing or rejecting love. Why doesn't God stop us from doing bad things?

The laws of God are built into our nature - we suffer natural consequences when we violate these.

"We're not punished for our sins, but by our sins."

We have, deep down, a sense of fairness.

Three Hebrew words for sin - breaking of relationship, being off target, ?

Prepare for Reconciliation -

Luke 19: Zaccheus - lesson: hurt people, hurt people (recycling hurt)

2 Samuel: 11 - David's Sin - Shirking responsibility, objectifying other people. (objectification)

St. Augustine Confessions - "Our hearts are restless until they rest in you." ("idolatry")

Book note: Ignatius of Loyola: Founder of the Jesuits - His Life and Work by Candido de Dalmasus, S.J.

Talk 5. What was Jesus' greatest joy? Answer: Forgiving

Mark 2, Luke 15

Spiritual healing and forgiving sins above physical healing.

Prodigal Son - Listen to pain.

Body of Christ - John 20 + "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

James 5

In things like AA, it's people who are honest that are able to recover. When we are honest with another person, it confirms that we have been honest with ourselves and God.

The closer we get to God, the more aware we become of our faults and how we have responded/not responded to God's graces.

Talk 6. Life of Jesus

(Note: Corresponded beautifully with the Advent Section of Reed of God that I had just finished.)

Romans 7

We can't save ourselves. We cannot change another person, we can only change ourselves, but really it is God who changes us with our cooperation.

"I'm only human" excuse - but we were created for something better, for example, Jesus and Mary. We look to Jesus to see what it means to be human. (c.f. Does Jesus Know Us? Do We Know Him?)

God doesn't impose himself on us - he proposes... doesn't compel, but invites.

Romantic love is dazzling, parental love wins in endurance.

God as suffering parent (with wandering adult child, you cannot force them to change).

Sharing suffering will bring us closer to God.

JPII - Letter to Women - Women see persons with their hearts.

Augustine - "If you can comprehend it, it's not God."

How would you explain color to a blind person?

Assignment... Imagine Annunciation and Birth of Jesus

Note: Bethlehem means "House of Bread"

Talk 7. What is the grace I'm seeking on this retreat?

To know Him, to love Him, to follow Him.

"See thee more clearly, love three more dearly, follow thee more nearly."

Hebrews 4: Word of God is living and effective.

What is forming our attitudes?

"Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ." St. Jerome

Romans 8:28 "God makes everything work for the good of those whom he loves."

At the time of St. Jerome, translating into Latin *was* the vernacular. Jerome studied Hebrew and Greek to distract himself from sexual temptations. What was Jesus like? Hebrews 2 - became like His brothers in every way. Hebrews 4 - Not unable to sympathize with our weaknesses... tested in every way. Hebrews 5:8 - He learned obedience from what he suffered when He was made perfect. He grew physically and emotionally and spiritually. Obedience perfected on the cross and in the garden of Gethsemani - He struggled!

Problem: All or nothing approach to faith and virtues. Reality is we're continually working on all these things. Act as if! Act your way into feeling. Virtues are acts of will - not a feeling! Dry prayer is very efficacious.

Two common problems (filled out from above):

1) All or nothing - thinking we're either brave or fearful, etc. when it's really by degrees.

Kind of Calvinistic, really, if you have faith you've got all the virtues in spades - you're saved!

But life *is* a struggle - We're continually (or should be) striving to attain these virtues.

2) Virtues aren't feelings, but acts of the will. Dry prayer through struggles is particulary efficacious.

Act as if! Act in the right way and the feelings will follow.

Remember Blessed Mother Teresa (I need to read this book!)

She felt only emptiness and darkness with regard to her relationship with God, but eventually came to love her darkness, accepting it as part of the suffering of Christ.

Talk 8. Lectio Divina

Imagine the scene as if we were there. "Talk" to people in the story, really enter into the scene.

The only way the virtues grow and develop is through exercise, and that's hard! Find an exercise you like.

Teresa of Avila - I never prayed without a good spiritual book n ext to me. She would pick it up whenever she needed inspiration, help with distraction, etc.

True humility is honest and gives glory to God. (c.f. our pastor - Remembering that God is the creator and we are the created.)

True humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. Putting the spotlight on God and on other people.

Try to imagine what Jesus thought and felt: joy, affection, impatience, anger, sorrow (all of our emotions, but with divine intensity). Jesus liked some people more than others - e.g. favorite disciples. Different than loving some people more than others. Love is not a feeling, but an act of the will.

e.g. Impatience is not a sin, but a feeling. What we do with it can be a sin.

The appropriate response to injustice is anger. There are things in this world which we're supposed to get angry about. The anger should energize us to right the wrong. Jesus wept. St. Paul cried.

Entering into t he mind and heart of Jesus. Think about getting into the part as an actor in a movie. Not what would Jesus do, what would he think or feel? How do things look to him.

Book Reference: In the Footsteps of Jesus by Bruce Marcciano

Read the Gospel, try to go deeper. Take on the mind and heart, thoughts and feelings of Jesus.

Talk 9. Definitive expression of God's love for us.

Becoming more aware of how much God loves us so we can love Him more.

Deus Caritas Est - True definition of love can be found in the pierced side of Jesus.

Who stood under the cross - John and a group of women.

Sources - A Doctor at Calvary, Video - How Jesus Died, "On the Physical Death of Jesus Christ", from a medical journal.

Garden of Gethsemane - Jesus sweated blood (mentioned in the Gospel of Luke - remember that Luke was a doctor) - caused by great stress, leaves skin *highly* sensitive. Not just anticipating his death - Jesus was tempted in the Garden.

39 limit of scourging hits - he didn't scream, was silent, made soldiers more brutal.

Isaiah 53, Isaiah 52

Ecce Homo

The beam weighed 125 lbs. Was tied to his arms, he walked a disatnce of 650 yards and carried the cross across his shoulders.

Loincloth in deference to Jewish sensibilities.

Nails were through his wrist. No artery severed, but medial nerve hit - incredibly painful.

Crucifixion is a slow process of suffocation, which includes a need to push off of the nail through the feet in order to breathe.

Seven Last Words:

1. Father forgive them... (Luke 23:34)

2. This day you will be with me in paradise (Luke 23:43)

3. Woman, behold your son. Behold your mother.

4. My God, My God, why have you forsaken me. (Matthew and Mark) quoting Psalm 22

5. I thirst. Darkness? (John 19:28)

6. It is finished. (i.e. accomplished)

7. Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. (Luke) quoting Psalm 31

This is a related piece from Does Jesus Know Us? Do We Know Him (Von Balthasar) that I was reading at the time:
But it is quite possible to speak of the Son of God suffering what the sinner deserved, i.e., separation from God, perhaps even complete and final separation...

With every fiber of his being he clings to the God whose presence he no longer feels, because now, in the name of sinners, he is to experience what it means to have lost contact with God...

In the New Covenant we have the experiences of the saints. If genuine, they can only be interpreted as a gift of participation in the Son's forsakenness. John of the Cross, for instance, does not hesitate to describe the dark night of the soul as a kind of experience of hell. God has left the soul and it knows that this must be timeless and hence ultimate. Being truly forsaken by God always has this definitive quality: there can be no forsakenness 'for a time' or involving room for hope. Other mystics in this situation have felt, not only that 'it will always be like this', but 'it has always been like this': they experience a kind of eternity of this 'hell' from which no one can deliver them but God himself. And he has disappeared.

Again, it is unthinkable that people following Christ should have had to go through more terrible experiences than their Lord himself; their experiences can only be a muted echo of the unique and incomparable burden which the God-Man endured.
Physical suffering on the cross - suffocation, blood loss (racing heart, heart failed), shock.

Pierced side - blood and water. We come from the side of Christ! Blood - Eucharist, Water - Baptism
At the end of the parable of the lost sheep Jesus recalled that God's love excludes no one: "So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." He affirms that he came "to give his life as a ransom for many"; this last term is not restrictive, but contrasts the whole of humanity with the unique person of the redeemer who hands himself over to save us. The Church, following the apostles, teaches that Christ died for all men without exception: "There is not, never has been, and never will be a single human being for whom Christ did not suffer." (Catechism of the Catholic Church #605)
Christ suffered for all. We need to accept this love.

Talk 10. Happy Easter!

Every Sunday is a little Easter.

Risen body of Jesus still had the wounds.

"Have you anything here to eat?"

Corinthians 1:15 - How are the dead raised?

John 20 - story of St Thomas (doubting): "My Lord and My God"

Think about Heaven - Hebrews 12 - Cloud of Witnesses - waiting to welcome us (the saints).

Who will welcome you? Who are you eager to meet?

No goodbyes in Heaven - one big reunion.

St. Thomas Aquinas on Heaven:

a. the person is united with God

b. compete satisfaction of desire

c. joyous community of the blessed

Good things on earth are little appetizers of the heavenly banquet.

1 Corinthians 2: What God has prepared for thsoe who love him. God cannot be out done. You cannot outdream God.

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