Just a quick few lines to let you know that I’ve already started the Ignatian Retreat I mentioned in my last post. I couldn’t wait until I finished work this Friday. I was looking through the retreat links for Week 1 and couldn’t help myself :D.
So this week is about looking back over our lives in a ‘photo album of my life’ kind of way, using mental images. Rather like doing the daily Examen but of my whole life rather than just at the end of each day.
It’s quite a tricky exercise to do as I have some parts of my life that I’d rather forget or at least not look too closely at, but that’s the same for most people I’d imagine. Parts you’re proud of, parts you’re not so proud of, happy memories and desperately sad memories. I’m assuming it’s all part of the process. We’re also supposed to note if God felt close during any of these moments or whether He appeared to be totally absent. It may be that, with the benefit of hindsight, we realise that God was in a given moment, but at the time we felt very alone.
There are various prayers and readings to accompany this exercise and we’re encouraged to journal as we go, which I have been doing [I love a written journal 🙂 ].
I’ll keep you all posted. . .
Here’s a rather pertinent Psalm to keep you going…
Psalm 139(138) Domine, probasti
1 O Lord, you search me and you know me,
2 you know my resting and my rising,
you discern my purpose from afar.
3 You mark when I walk or lie down,
all my ways lie open to you.
4 Before ever a word is on my tongue
you know it, O Lord, through and through.
5 Behind and before you besiege me,
your hand ever laid upon me.
6 Too wonderful for me this knowledge,
too high, beyond my reach.
7 O where can I go from your spirit,
or where can I flee from your face?
8 If I climb the heavens, you are there.
If I lie in the grave, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the dawn
and dwell at the sea’s furthest end,
10 even there your hand would lead me,
your right hand would hold me fast.
11 If I say: “Let the darkness hide me
and the light around me be night,”
12 even darkness is not dark for you
and the night is as clear as the day.
13 For it was you who created my being,
knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I thank you for the wonder of my being,
for the wonders of all your creation.
Already you knew my soul
15 my body held no secret from you
when I was being fashioned in secret
and molded in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw all my actions,
they were all of them written in your book;
every one of my days was decreed
before one of them came into being.
17 To me, how mysterious your thoughts,
the sum of them not to be numbered!
18 If I count them, they are more than the sand;
to finish, I must be eternal, like you.
19 O God, that you would slay the wicked!
Men of blood, keep far away from me!
20 With deceit they rebel against you
and set your designs at naught.
21 Do I not hate those who hate you,
abhor those who rise against you?
22 I hate them with a perfect hate
and they are foes to me.
23 O search me, God, and know my heart.
O test me and know my thoughts.
24 See that I follow not the wrong path
and lead me in the path of life eternal.