Retreat Excercise

My Personal Creed

July 18, 2015

Saturday Evening excercise

Retreat “Priest, Prophet, King”

Loyola Retreat House on the Potomac

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Transcendent Reality

Dear Unknowable;

I have come to know you as The Father, The Almighty.  I have come to know your son, Jesus Christ, through tradition, and Mary the Mother of Jesus, saints and martyrs, priest and religious people through the church, through life, and hopefully by your grace.  Still, despite two thousand years of history since the last prophet, the son of God, has walked the earth, you are unknowable as an infinite being to my finite flesh.  You have given me quite a treasury of role models, mediators, and false prophets from which to test what is truly your way or your desires.  The tool chest is vast, but the master mechanics are few.  I am afraid I will spend much time breaking what is not broken and little time reflecting on what needs repair.  I know this from my human experience with worldly things; imagine my bewilderment with approaching your direction, your will?  I must throw myself at your mercy and pray for divine providence and grace.

In the meantime, you have given me my bodily form with which to by trial and error, attempt to live a holy and virtuous life.  It has been a disaster from the start, and only more so as I have matured.  I have not achieved greatness in Satan’s den of thieves but nor have I achieved much more than perhaps an honorable mention, or perhaps only an asterisk for good attempt at a holy life.  I have, surely not by my will and individual merit, had great blessings with the sacrament of marriage, three beautiful children, fourteen years of serving the homeless, ten years serving the mentally ill, and the gift of other helping acts over time.  I have interrupted these blessings with periods of excess alcohol consumption, bouts of worry and anxiety, and general self-destruction tendencies.  I had crosses mind you, but mine were light and airy, like say carrying the cross as Simon of Cyrene did, knowing only physical exercise was required, and that at the end of the journey, the hard work would be done by your son.  You would not know it though if you listened to my tale of woes, because I had only my internal experiences, my misery, and my grief from which to judge.  I judged you a lousy referee on many occasions of the game of life.

The reality is all I can do is pray daily to “overcome myself and to order my life” in so far as I can shy of your divine providence, your grace, and my tendency for human folly.  May my decisions be self-aware, aligned with your desire, and be demonstrated by my action.

Lucifer may have something to say here as he is “seated on a throne of fire and smoke, in aspect horrible and terrifying.”  He is reading the playbook, the scouting report of my weaknesses to his minions and yes, he is also reading to me when he is not seated on the throne of fire, he whispers so low, that I think it is me thinking aloud.

It isn’t really complicated.  All he has are the tools of things not God, things contrarian to God, worldly things!  The things you gave me God, to through trial and error, seek your divine will.

Here are some places where I request your help:

Suffering:

When suffering is at hand, may my integrity, my authentic self, and my character be supported by your grace to respond virtuously and willingly to my cross, however small or large is the crisis.  May I say and believe:  “Jesus, I trust in You.”

Pride:

Let not my pride surge or my soul dive into “morose self-pity” when confronted with successes or failures.  They are two sides of the same coin, egotism on a rollercoaster of human design.  These are driven by all our human passions:  belonging, love, friendship, money, food, leisure, power, and other worldly goods.  In and of themselves, these “things” are not evil; they become evil when they supersede you. They enslave my soul. Shame is perhaps the most crippling of all.  Is shame not a representation of lack of trust in the forgiving and healing power that you provide!  Help my faith be strong so I may be open to your healing.

Desolation and Consolation of the spirit:

Oh how lowly I am, I am most in need of your love? Or, I need your presence, I need your grace, I need to speak tongues, I need a sign?  My mood, driven by my earthly desires, can ricochet into depression, anxiety, listlessness.  My distorted thinking can elevate my circumstances, with help from Lucifer, into a spiritual crisis, or at the very least, a damaging moral crisis.  (Note to self: this is not addressing medical anxiety and depression that many people suffer without distorted thinking).  The prayer I need to recite is what do you desire for me?  Am I answering your divine will if I am too busy seeking your constant consolation?  If I cannot shoulder brief moments of desolation, how can I help others who have sustained grief?  Please help me find prayer in times of desolation.

Piety:

Knowledge of you is wonderful. “The World is Charged with the Grandeur of God” when we are open to your ways.  However, experiencing you, in everything, and finding you in our own image can be overpowering whenever we are blessed with a glimmer of the divine nature that is your way.  Did not the apostles struggle with who is the greatest?  I am no preacher.  My calling has been family man, social worker, and court jester.  The latter ensures I am never too pious. My human nature, though, is competitive.  Guide me to use that competitiveness in your service.

Reconciliation:

The nation of Israel wanted a king.  They knew not what they wanted.  Your nation is nation less.  Your kingdom calls for us all to be priest, prophet, and king.  The laws of our nations are failing miserably as well as the houses of worship (at times).  We are in disarray God.  Seven times seventy is not enough.

Judged on my accord, I am fearful of my frailties and under achievement.  Judged on our collective actions, without the saving grace of your son, we are doomed.  Please help me to seek confession often for myself, for my church, for the society of believers with Jesus Christ and the aid of any intercessor or mediators that are beyond my comprehension.  Help me to use the “examen” exercise often and meaningfully.

Eucharist and the Church:

Help me to receive the Eucharist at every opportunity and join the Holy Spirit and fellow believers in your home.

Mercy:

May I receive your mercy and forgiveness at every turn and hence forth the same compassion to others who have committed offenses against me, my family, or you.

Prayer:

Please guide my prayer life and let my prayer life infuse my ability to see the image of God in my fellow people.

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