Welcome to our online summer retreat, Preparing for a Year of Faith! Take a few minutes each day at your convenience to “gather” here on my blog as we seek to add some flavor to our faith lives by deepening our understanding of the truths of our faith as given to us in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Learn more about the Year of Faith. Watch a brief video explaining what this online retreat is all about.
WEEK ONE: The Creed
DAY 1: God’s Revealing Moments (Human Desire, Revelation, and Faith)
Think of a time when someone revealed a deep secret about themselves to you. What a privilege to have someone bare their soul to us. Moments like that can change the relationship and change the people in the relationship.
We can only get to really know people when they choose to reveal themselves to us. Each of us has an innate desire to come to know God better. Luckily, God is not shy about revealing himself to us! Since the creation of the world, God has been freely revealing himself to us so that we can come to know him better. That’s what we mean when we talk about revelation—it is the act of God revealing himself to us so as to enter into a deeper relationship with us. What a privilege for us! We summarize this revelation in our Creed, which is the first pillar of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Take a look at some or all of the following Scripture stories in which God reveals himself to his people. Which of these stories resonates with you most? Why?
- Genesis 12:1–9 (the call of Abram)
- Exodus 3: 1–14 (the call of Moses)
- Isaiah 6:1–10 (the call of Isaiah)
- Jeremiah 1:4–10 (the call of Jeremiah)
- Matthew 4:18–22 (the call of the first disciples)
- Luke 1: 26–38 (the call of Mary)
- Acts of the Apostles 9:1–9 (the call of Paul)
When God reveals himself to us, our lives change. We come to recognize that life is not about us but is rather about what God is doing in our lives. This realization calls us to respond with humility. It calls us to learn how to pray the words, “thy will be done.” Revelation calls us to be aware and responsive to God’s initiative. Since God’s very self has been and is being revealed to us, it means that we are called to pay attention to how and when that is happening so that we become capable of, as St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “finding God in all things.” Be sure to take the time today to pay attention to how God is revealing himself to you – in prayer, through others, through experiences, through the natural world.
Reflection Questions: Choose one of the following questions and share your thoughts with your fellow retreatants by adding your comments in the comments box below this post.
- Which Scripture passage above resonates most with your experience and why?
- How easy or hard is it for you to reveal yourself to others?
- How does it make you feel to know that God eagerly reveals himself to us?
- How has your life changed/is your life changing as a result of God revealing himself and his will to you?
- When was a time that God truly revealed his presence and/or will to you?
- How might God be trying to get your attention right now in your life?
Lord, God, since before I was born, you have been longing to be in relationship with me. Help me to recognize the many ways you are revealing yourself to me and calling my name. Help me to respond to your invitation to love you by loving others. Please give me the grace I need to pray the words that your Son, Jesus, spoke in the Garden of Gethsemane: “your will be done.”
- Consciousness Examen
- God Wants Our Friendship
- Rummaging for God: Praying Backwards through Your Day
- Attention, Reverence, and Devotion
CCC References: 26-100
When God reveals himself to me and the plans he has for me I feel excited, motivated and full of energy. I also have a sense of peace, knowing that I am on the right path. I do have to remind myself often, that I have to stop in my busyness, to just be with God to listen.
Your are so right when you say that all you need to do is listen. Not many people listen to His call, they try to put it of or question why them. I was in this position about 10 years ago, but I stopped to listen because I had this deep desire to know where my life was heading. Being a faithful catholic I didn’t want to ignore my desire to know more, I didn’t want to abandon my faith because if I did I would be rootless. I’m very fulfilled that I followed His voice.
The Scripture passage that resonates most for me is the call of Paul. He did not really know what the Lord was until the Lord spoke to him and revealed himself. I feel more of a connection to the Lord after praying & speaking with the Lord about being a catechist. I feel that I am bringing the Good News to others as well as receiving a deeper understanding of my faith through my teaching faith formation to the youth of our parish. I feel Jesus also reveals himself to me in the faces of the children I teach through their understanding of their relationship with the Lord.
The story of Jeremiah’s call resonates with me. I do feel as if God called me from the womb, dedicated me to serve Him. Since I was very young, I have known and loved God – a great blessing! I started sharing my faith in ministry when I was 14 – just after Confirmation; I was a tutor to a special needs student. Since then I have been involved in parish and diocesan ministry at some level and have been blessed to work full time im parish ministry for the past 10 years.
Most of the time, I hear God calling me to serve through the voices of other people. Most recently, a friend who was on a search committee called me to inform me of the parish catechetical leadership position in his parish. While I wasn’t actively searching for a change, I listened and sent in my resume…just to see what would happen. I was hired for the position. If I hadn’t heeded that request and sent in my resume, I would still be in a good position, but by listening to God’s call, I am opening myself to new challenges and growth.
God reveals himself constantly to me through the people I meet everyday, the challenges I am faced with day to day and through prayer. God talks to me through these experiences and helps me through each of these challenges, and if I keep my faith and trust in him I will be ok.
Faith is different for everyone, each individual must cultivate this faith in order for it to grow. There will be many obstacles in one’s life that will test your faith, but stay steadfast to your knowledge of the Word of God and surrounding yourself with positive role models that keep you moving forward to a life in Christ has helped me strengthen myself spiritually, mentally, and physically. I encounter people of litte or no faith on a daily basis and people with an abundance of faith. To those who don’t have the will power to stay focused on God I try to be there, be strong for them and provide them with support so they know they can come to me to gather their own strength and cutlivate the faith. I try to surround myself to those will an abundance of faith because from them I learn and I grow.
Nancy, I agree with you that we need to “stop in [our] busyness” to listen to God. Oftentimes, at the end of the school day, after the children have been dismissed, I sit quietly at my desk with my eyes closed to reflect upon the day and listen to God. Of course, this is not always easy, especially when announcements are being made or meetings are scheduled; but nonetheless, it is remarkably serene and uplifting when it does happen.
God has been a part of my most inner core since childhood thanks to my loving parents who were my first role models and the nuns who taught me. I have found it much easier to accept God’s will as I grow older than when I was in my twenties.
I decided to leave my job and spend more time with my 89 year old mother and 90 year old aunt. I belive that God got my attention and i responded. I know there is a lot more to come in this new journey and i hope my eyes will be open to accept what God wants me to see.
It’s easy for me to reveal myself to others when it means helping them become closer to God.
Strangely enough, Jeremiah’s story resonates most strongly with my life right now – and I am far from young! I am a Catholic school principal at a time when the face of Catholic education in my Diocese and many others is changing, and we’re taking a big leap. There’s a lot of controversy about the way Catholic education will look, how we will serve ALL of god’s people, and how the Church will address social issues and issues of faith (rather like when I was young).
It’s a time for me to trust that God will let me know the where and the how, even when the day-to-day is scary.
God reveals himself to us so often and many times we don’t even notice. But once I realized God’s actions in my life, it has made me less impulsive in my decision making. When there is a decision to be made, I stop and pray and wait, rather than act hastily. It has helped me to be more confident and trusting in God.
My father needed emergency surgery and I was with my parents in the hospital. We were inundated with doctors and decisions to be made when out of no where a male nurse appeared. He was so kind, gentle, and spiritual and helped us through the entire ordeal. Yet most importantly he asked to pray with us…in a public University hospital. He was truly the presence of God that gently guided us through a most difficult time. My father, through prayer and the grace of God made it through the surgery and a full recovery.
Anna, that is beautiful to find the presence of God and the most difficult time and at an unexpected place. I feel that sometimes we expect to witness the presence of God through lime lights or a complete magical way but it is through the simple real ways that the presence of God touches us the most.
I’ve just returned from a 5 day retreat…(and now I’m signing on for 30 days of this online retreat!…What am I in for??!!?)
I find that sometimes, I get caught up in the busy-ness of life that I begin to take God for granted. I stop talking to and listening to God, except to perhaps complain about my trials and difficulties. I get stale and worn down.
By taking time for a retreat, I re-connect to God. I find myself being led in directions unexpected; appreciating God’s revelation; giving thanks for God’s gifts; feeling connected and accepted and loved; letting go of hurts and resentments, anger and negativity. In sum, by taking time for God, I am re-energized and the same stuff that would have previously set me off on a tirade, no longer bothers me.
I’m hoping these next 30 days, enable me to continue to be attentive to God’s revelation and to hear and respond to the Word God speaks to me.
How do I get access to this online retreat
Hi Ingrid. This is it! You’ve arrived. Just check my blog each day and each daily post will be a reflection for that day’s theme.
I also what to know how to get access to the online retreat
Hi Louis. This is it! You’ve arrived. Just check my blog each day and each daily post will be a reflection for that day’s theme.
I wasn’t struck specifically by one particular verse of scripture. Rather, I was struck by a commonality among the scripture. Each story of God revealing Himself to His people, was actually God calling someone in a significant way. I asked myself what would have happened if one of these servants had not answered God’s call. What would happen if I do not answer God’s call? What if I am so busy with other things that I do not hear it? What must I do to be sure that I turn aside from the path?
Thanks, Beth. When I was teaching religion in a Catholic high school, one of the activities I recall doing was asking the kids to develop skits in which they showed a biblical figure years after they said NO to God’s call instead of YES. They were pretty funny but also very thought provoking as they portrayed the prophets and apostles other great biblical heroes as living very mundane and even pathetic lives. It does make one think!
I relate to the scripture of Luke 1:26-38 that trust in the Lord and everything will be okay. I believe I witnessed God revealing himself to me when I had been scheduled for surgery, not knowing whether the results would be good, my sisters along with aunts and cousins had gathered together to help me with feeding and taking care of my children at home prior to and post surgery. My point would be to trust in the Lord and things will work out. Also, a few days before leaving for the hospital I had been invited to pray the rosary with aunts and cousins and when I left I couldn’t help but feel that God was with me and that everything would be okay.
Jeremiah 1:4-10 The call of Jeremiah..this scripture evokes a sense of being connected to our creator for before our time. Knowing that God has a plan, or specific call to a ministry already set for us is reassuring because as humans thou we tend to stray away from what we are called to do God manages to redirect us again and again until we get it right.
Personally I did not listen to the call straight out it took some serious redirecting to put in to the current path. In all honesty I feel assured that this is where I belong. The sense of energy, vitality and willingness to do for my ministry is blessed with peace in what I do, love for what I do and a constant presence of God by witnessing his work amongst the people.
I feel that Exodus really reveals God’s presence in our life like the Israelites on their journey of faith in the desert through really difficult terrain we too our on a journey and this thing called life has some real difficult terrain and we need to trust in Him even though we cannot always see the outcome. I have learned to rely less on self confidence and more on God confidence! I love to sit in adoration and listen, they say silence is God’s language. anything big or small I ask God what do you think first and then to the Holy Spirit to guide me.
All of this gives me such peace and joy that I get to share with others in Charity.
The scripture passages cited are mainly concerned with getting people to listen to what God is saying and then take action.These interactions with the Divine Word have been dramatic…burning bushes, angel appearances, bursts of light that knock you to the ground. I know God must be speaking to me too…but it is so subtle, so easily missed. But I think the core is in selfless service, or action..in effecting some good in our daily journey.
As I read each Scripture story, I’m a bit envious! I wish my call came direct and straightforward like that. I so long to hear His voice! I feel that I would be so much more willing to respond. I’m still in this state of “is this what you want me to do, God?” 2 years ago my job teaching mathematics in public school was eliminated. It was all I had known for 17 years. I am now the PCL for my parish. This came with much doubt and struggle for me, although my parish priest had the utmost confidence in me. I am blessed to work with the most amazing volunteers in the world and my faith life has blossomed. When I am actively seeking to know God better, I am quite happy and secure. When I am so busy with my mom duties that God takes the back burner, I am not so strong. I guess it’s pretty clear huh?
Lisa, it is very clear that you have heard his call. You have not turned away from Him. Remember it is ok to question and wonder where your going, this is the first step into discovering the paths that are open to you which will allow you to pick and choose what feels right for you. And, if it turns out not to be the right path, then you have many others at your disposal until the one that is right becomes clear. Also, look within those mom duties because He is there speaking to you. These mom duties keep you focused on the fact that your right actions as a mom is the guidance of the Lord.
I’m blessed in having God’s presence in my life since my early years of childhood. A friendship like no other. Last year my husband and I took some time off from religious education to allow physical healing of my husband’s leg. I was feeling disheartened when it seemed his leg would never heal. God revealed his presence to us when, in God’s time, my husband’s leg healed. I felt God saying. Are you ready to return? Yes Lord.
I too wish that I could get such a direct call from God. I am currently feeling very lost and confused as to what I’m supposed to be doing with my life. I love being a catechist but I feel a bit hypocritical because I feel my faith life is very weak at this time.
Virginia, you are here with us on this retreat, so know that your faith is being strengthened in solidarity with each of us on this journey.
God is manifesting in different ways in daily lives in my agony, joy doubts, foolishness, idiotic behavior, intelligent behavior and in my relationships.
God has revealed himself to me through people He has put in my life.I have been fortunate enough to be taking ongoing classes in Faith Formation through someone God has put in my life. I recently moved back to New York and will be teaching again in September. I know that I have been called to do this by God. It brings me such joy to be able with His help continue this ministry
U r a wonderful child of God. May God bless u
As I read the Scripture passages each one spoke to me about different parts of my life. God’s way of revealing through an amazing sight in nature, being left blinded (how many times I have been blinded to a situation not seeing it clearly), when I was younger and first called to the ministry of catechesis and not sure if I was the one who should be doing this…or how am i to share the good news with those who hearts are harden…what great company I am with…Mary, Peter and the other disciples, Abraham, Moses and the prophets. God continually speaks to and reveals His plan to us all the time….I need to take the time to be quiet to hear in the stillness of my heart.
I like ’em all! Nobody says, “Hey I’ll be a prophet; be God’s mom; father a nation; save a nation; chastise a nation; drop everything and start a new life…” And when God calls ’em, they’re all reticent:” I’m too old; I’m too young; I’m not clever; I’m just another sinner; I don’t know anything; I’m not married.”
But God picks them anyway, and gives them what they need.
Kind of like being asked to be a catechist.
Secure in the knowledge that God eagerly reveals himself to me gives me an inner strength and a guiding hand throughout the day.I feel truly blessed to be able to recieve Jesus on a daily basis in the sacrament of Holy Communion. Living in Malta attending mass is so very easy as we have many churches and mass times. So no matter how busy we think we are we should always take a step back from our hectic lives and give a little quiet time to God. Praying in front of and recieving the blessed sacrament is a truely uplifting way to listen to and connect with God and let him reveal himself to us.
With the knowledge of God eagerly reveals himself to me, requires me to be attentive and to listen to what he is telling me. Holy Scripture is the Word of God and Jesus is the Word. Like St. Jerome said, “Ignorant of Scriptures is ignorant of Christ.” Therefore, I feel I need to pick up the Bible and read it prayerfully and in the light of the Church’s Teachings. May the Holy Spirit guides all hearts, minds, and souls as they read through Scriptures.
Hi, starting really late. We are all called differently. One scripture that stood out most would be the conversion of Saul. He went from persecuting Jesus to loving Him. My call was different. I went from teaching children for 4 years to including RCIA for Adults and Special Needs Children this past year. It has been a blessing to accept because i brought 2 relatives back to the faith through working in the rcia program. And in special needs a younger cousin with downs made his first reconciliation. During the service i cried, you can see what good answering God’s calling can do.
The beauty of cyberspace…you’re never late! Welcome, Christine.
The. Scripture that stood out for me was Jeremiah. Having a full appreciation of this scripture and understand that he formed and know each and everyone. The calling was an easy one especially when I realized that I was trained in youth work and development, once reading and listening to my priests homily it drive it all home. So for me God called me early but did not heed the call until years later. But thanks be to God the answer the call.
I read through all the Biblical passages and loved them all. They are different yet the same. It’s like God is calling each one of us in different ways and at various times in our lives, but it all comes down to the same metanoia and become His disciple for good. Ever since my conversion and truly opened my heart to the Lord, I was just infused with His knowledge. I know He is revealing Himself to me. Sometimes I want to write it down and share it with people but afraid that maybe I should just keep it to myself. I asked a priest and he suggested that I should share everything God has revealed to me. Being secretive is the work of the devil. I was so happy after that talk with the priest. It is true that God whispers to us all the time but sometimes He does remain silent. In those moments, we should be thankful for His Presence and just rest in it.