God Bless the World
Mighty God, Father of all,
Compassionate God, Mother of All,
bless every person I have met,
every face I have seen,
every voice I have heard,
especially those most dear;
bless every city, town, and
street that I have known,
bless every sight I have seen,
every sound I have heard,
every object I have touched.
In some mysterious way these
have all fashioned my life,
all that I am,
I have received.
Great God, bless the world.
~ John J. Morris, SJ
I am back from a thirty-day retreat in Manresa. This blessing fits rather well with the way I feel. It goes with the fourth week of the Exercises when, after the Passion, the retreatant shares in the joy of the Risen One.
Hearts of Fire has been my companion during the whole retreat, along with Jose Antonio Pagola, Jesus, An Historical Approximation, which I read in Spanish. I also enjoyed Victor Codina, SJ, Las Dos Banderas, (The Two Standards) only found in Spanish.
It will take me a while to process the retreat. Within minutes of our return home, I found myself swallowed up by daily life and reacting with old automatisms. My affections are still ‘disordered.’ Agh!
Last night, as I was beginning to look through the papers we were given, I realized that I could not just file them away, papers, notes, prayers and diary, before I have integrated more of what I have discovered. For the first time in forty-eight hours, since our return, my heart felt joyful and at peace.
A connection was established between Godde and me. Of course, it existed before I started the retreat. Godde has been in my life for a long time. But I have discovered a Godde who loves me with a tenderness that I had never experienced before. Jesus, and Ignatius, helped me discover a Godde I had not imagined.
When I came back last year from the Ignatian Immersion, also in Manresa, I started writing an evening examen, and I have not missed a day. Soon afterwards, I made dates with Godde every morning for twenty minutes. I call them my ‘quiet time with Godde’. Now, the texture of these encounters has changed…
Much has happened during these four weeks and I might go over some of it in the coming months. This time is known for being an encounter with Godde, and with oneself. I have seen myself in a very raw light, with less self-deception than usually. The extraordinary thing is that Godde loves me anyway. Warts and all.
For years now, I have sensed that Godde was with me when life was hard, when I was hurting, even though Godde seemed to be absent. What I have found out now is that Godde was also with me when I did not behave well. With the psalmist, I can say, “Against you, you alone have I sinned” (Ps 51.8)…
I left for this retreat hoping that I would get to know Jesus better, follow him closer, and love him infinitely more. I have a lot to do when it comes to following him more closely… In the process of getting to know him better, I have also grown closer to the women, the apostles, … and Mary. Hm.
Anyway, as a first taste of this retreat, I thought you might like John Morris’ blessing.
Advent blessing on you as well.
Photo: Barcelona, Old Town, photo Xavier Roy