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Week of Prayer 1 - God's Unconditional Love for Me

Posted by Thomas David McMurray on October 9, 2020 at 2:50 PM

Week of Prayer 1 - God's Unconditional Love for Me

The material for reflection this week revolves around establishing a relationship of safety and trust between the beginning retreatant and prayer companion. It also touches on the attitudes and dispositions that are to be fostered as one begins this adventure in prayer and growing relationship with God. The materials to read are:

• Orientations, Volume 2, Part A, Chapter 1, John Veltri, S.J.

• "The Presupposition of the Spiritual Exercises," The Ignatian Adventure, O'Brien, p 43

• SpEx 75 - Disposition in Prayer


Respond to any one or two of the following questions. Post your reflections for the other interns to consider and comment on. Comments (that is, replies to a posting, are to be limited to "affirming," "clarifying," or "mirroring" statements. And, as usual, they are to be non-judgmental avoiding any form of debate.

Questions to consider as you review the reading.

1, What were the highlights of the material for me?

2. What touched me or gave me new or nuanced insights?

3. What challenged me in this material?

4. What connects or resonates with my experience of the Spiritual Exercises

5. What was relevant to my formation as a prayer companion or spiritual director?

6. What would you like to take to prayer?


Categories: RIDL Formation Intern Reflections

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Reply Diana Buono
4:39 PM on October 14, 2020 
I identified with each of the reflections by Fr. Tom, Carlene and Cat and found them to be quite reassuring and inspired. I also experienced new insights with a number of the scripturally based reflections within the prayer disposition handout. In particular, "God does not ask anything of you nor does He first ask us to change in order to encounter us." I'm a life long people pleaser who has often lived with the shame of not being enough and have all too frequently measured my sense of self worth by what I accomplish and/or do for others. The previously quoted statement helped me to connect the 18 inches between what I already know in my mind and what God wants me to embrace in my heart as well. In prayerful meditation, I reflect on the scripture from Jeremiah in asking for the grace through this process of formation to allow myself to become malleable as spiritual clay in Our Lord's hands so I may give Him glory in all that He desires for my life.
Reply Cat
11:10 PM on October 12, 2020 
I appreciate both Fr. Tom's focus on the Disposition for Prayer ("letting God reveal how he is gazing upon you with great love and delight") and Carlene's appreciation of the suggestions on how to best connect with our prayer companions. Both are an" invitation to intimate communion." Relationships based on and sustained in love and respect almost always require one to deeply gaze upon the other and to allow the other to influence and shape us as is suggested in Jeremiah 18. To be free to respond to God's loving invitation and to be present to another's spiritual journey is powerfully transformative. Last year my prayer companion nudged me with enthusiasm and gentle care to ponder how God might be gazing at me, responding to me, caring for me. Each time, I was surprised by the suggestion. I found myself naturally inclined to overt my gaze away from God, to stay in the "not knowing." Yet, simply being asked the question set seeds in my heart, cracked open the possibility for a more intimate relationship with God. Seeing anew the myriad ways God provides me with moments of encounter has been breathtaking.
Reply Carlene
9:30 PM on October 12, 2020 
As I read through this week's information, I really appreciated the details about connecting with the retreatant I will be working with during the first few weeks of the retreat. I remember how nervous I felt meeting with my prayer companion during the first few weeks of the retreat. I felt myself being concerned about whether I was "doing it right" (shocking!!) and if I was reflecting in the "right way". I remember how reassuring and calming Linda was for me. She helped me to feel comfortable with sharing by giving me quiet reassurance. I also remember the facial expressions she shared and how that gave me the message that my sharing was just what it needed to be. I hope that I will be mindful of both my verbal and nonverbal messages as I work with my retreatant.
One piece that I will be taking to prayer as I think about the work I will be doing as a prayer companion is the idea of being aware of my own sharing. In Veltri's writing he explains, "The danger in sharing is that you will hear and interpret your directee's comments according to your own experience rather than his." I don't think I will over share, but I worry that I may feel compelled to try to help my retreatant to solve a problem that he or she shares with me. I pray for the wisdom to listen to hear rather than listen to solve the problem.
Reply Tom
3:39 PM on October 9, 2020 
If I were to select just one point to underscore in this weeks readings, it would be the Disposition for prayer - "letting God reveal how he is gazing upon you with great love and delightâ?¦" To grow in this contemplative attitude applies to both the retreatant and the prayer companion. The retreatant wants to enter into each prayer period with a desire and openness to see and let God reveal how God looks upon them as beloved son or daughter. The prayer companion, too, wants the grace to gaze upon their retreatant with love and compassion, asking God to help them see the retreatant before them with the kindness and love that God does. In this way, the prayer companion becomes, over time, an important and reassuring reflection of Godâ??s love and compassion for the retreatant.