Faith Refreshed Online Retreat Week 2: Aligning Ourselves with God

Faith Refreshed - text over photo of water droplets by lemonade glass by Charlotte May on Pexels

Welcome to Week 2 of Faith Refreshed, an online retreat to help us “hit the refresh button” in our spiritual lives so that we might better see things we weren’t previously seeing and return to our lives and ministry with a new outlook. Throughout this retreat, I am drawing from my best-selling book, A Well-Built Faith: A Catholic’s Guide to Knowing and Sharing What We Believe. We revisit the four pillars of our Catholic faith—the Creed, the Sacraments, the Moral Life, and Prayer—and invite the Holy Spirit to refresh our understanding of the basics of our faith and renew us in our efforts to proclaim the Good News to others as catechetical ministers.

Aligning Ourselves with God (Sacraments, Worship, and Liturgy)

Opening Prayer

Open yourself up to God’s presence through the 3-Minute Retreat: Recognize the Sacred.

Pray the Suscipe of St. Ignatius Loyola.

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

Reflection

The secret to winning the game of Pin the Tail on the Donkey is to line yourself up as best you can with the picture on the board. This is not easy to do when you’re blindfolded and have been spun around several times! We tend to miss the mark.

The goal of the spiritual life is to make sure we are aligned with God’s will. This is not easy, especially in a world that can make our heads spin from time to time! Thankfully, we are not blindfolded in this task. God helps us with signs that help us to recognize his presence. He has provided us with everything we need to align ourselves with him and his will. Through the sacraments, we worship God. We align ourselves with God and grow in holiness.

In Hebrew, to worship means to “bow down to.” Notice what we do when we bow: we physically align ourselves—we orient ourselves—with the person or thing to which we are bowing. To bow to someone or something is to say, in essence, “I direct all of my being to you.” This is why the First Commandment directs us not to bow down before any false gods but to direct our entire being to God alone. As Christians, the way we strive to keep ourselves aligned with God is through worship. As Catholics, this worship takes place in the life of the sacraments and, centrally, through the celebration of the liturgy. In fact, the seasons of the liturgical year help us to align all time and all of our activities toward God through the liturgy.

Without worship, we easily veer off path, often unknowingly sliding into patterns of life that take us away from loving God and neighbor and, instead, keep us focused on ourselves. In a sense, we all suffer from a type of “spiritual amnesia.” In other words, it is human nature to forget to pay attention to our spiritual dimension. Worship is our constant reminder that our lives need realignment so as to be directed toward God, who is love. In essence, to worship is to love, for to love is to direct all of our attention—our very being—to the presence of another.

Meditation Song: “Open My Eyes”

Reflection Questions

Choose one of the following questions, and share your thoughts with your fellow retreatants by adding your comments below this post.

  • How does liturgy help to align us with God’s will?
  • What does it mean that we are not blindfolded in the task of seeking to align ourselves with God’s will?
  • What tends to throw off your alignment with God in day-to-day life?
  • What does it mean to say that we all suffer from a type of “spiritual amnesia”?
  • What does society invite us to worship (bow down to, align ourselves with) instead of God?
  • What season of the Church’s liturgical year do you most look forward to and why? How does that season help you to better align yourself with God?

Prayer

Lord, God, I am so often tempted to direct my energies and attention to things other than you. Help me to align myself with your will, so as not to fool myself into thinking that anything other than you can bring me salvation. Help me to worship you; to direct my mind, heart, soul, and strength to you; so that I might not fall victim to spiritual amnesia but will always remember that I was made to know, love, and serve you.

Additional Reading

CCC References: 1066–1134

Photo by Charlotte May on Pexels.

About Joe Paprocki 2770 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

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