I have received profound healing in my relationship with God through the Hearts A Fire retreat's written by Fr. Michael Gaitley. 33 Days to Merciful Love is proving to be a beautiful and wonderful book that I believe is a gift to the Church for these times. We are now in a time where so many of us have been wounded by people and sometimes even by the Church herself.
When the Church is who hurts us, we may be tempted to believe that God is not Good or that we are not good or deserving of anything good. I have met many people deeply and profoundly wounded by the Church. This has created a huge division in our world. I believe this book/retreat is a tool that can begin to heal division and bring all Christian souls together with one uniting purpose; to receive the merciful love of Jesus Christ and then to bring it to hurting souls in our broken world.
In the Catechism of the Catholic Church (397) it says that "Man, tempted by the devil, let his trust in his creator die in his heart..." lets talk about what this means. First of all we are all created in the image and likeness of God. Male or female we are icons of the truth, life and love of God walking around on earth and we are supposed to be making visible the invisible reality of God through the living our of our lives in union with God. However, when the devil comes and whispers his lies, we can in a sense, divorce ourselves from God and accept the proposal of the evil one.
Why do we do that? Because the father of lies wants us to believe that God is not trustworthy and does not want to honor our desires. He begins by planting seeds of doubt. We doubt that God loves us, doubt that He desires to bless us, doubt that he will honor our desires. This doubt leads us to fear. In our fear, we may respond by grasping or taking instead of remaining in a place of trust. Doubt means to be uncertain, to fear, to be afraid. Why do we plan and strive for what we think will bless us rather than wait for God's timing or say on the matter? Because we are afraid and we hide ourselves. We turn away from God.
Now that we understand that the evil one uses doubt to tempt us to believe his lies, we need to identify what our desires are and where we may have doubts so that we can invite the Holy Spirit it shine his flashlight of truth there and help us to come back into union with God.
Dr. Phil says "you can't change what you won't acknowledge." This is so true! We must first see where we are being lied to before we can divorce ourselves from the liar and come into union with God and his truth and will for our lives. If we pretend that we don't need God or that what we are doing is God's will when it isn't we will remain miserable, lost and afraid.
By inviting the Holy Spirit in, we expose where the enemy of our soul (Satan) has put fear into our hearts. Adam and Eve were afraid and so they hid themselves. God desires for us to take off the fig leafs we hide behind. He wants us to not be afraid because He promises us that He will always show up. He wants to honor our desires and he wants to heap a double portion of blessings upon each of us. The question is, do we believe Him and what, if any, lies are obstacles to His truth coming alive in our hearts? One way to discover the answer to these questions is to journal. When we journal we contemplate, we meditate, we hold truth in our hearts and ponder it thus allowing it to be birthed within us. It is in this secret place where the Holy Spirit begins to speak to us. It is as if the Holy Spirit is a flashlight that illuminates things that we cannot see in the darkness. When we journal, our thoughts and emotions as well as our will is engaged and in this sacred place and time the Holy Spirit shines His healing light on the broken places in our hearts, minds and souls. He speaks to us gently there telling us what it is he wants us to know about his love for us.
After reading through "What is Trust" (Week 1 Day 1) I have put together some thoughts and questions to ponder and journal through.
Do we believe God is trustworthy? Are you afraid that God cannot be trusted to honor your heart's desires? Why or Why not?
Where have you felt God has not shown up in your life or where do you feel you are still waiting for him to bless you?
Think of one memory in which God did show up or bless you?
What is it that you desire God to do in your life?
Now quietly pray to the Holy Spirit to come and shine a light on this desire and ask Him to show you what He wants you to know about this desire of your heart.
Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fire of mercy, Help me better to know the great and unsurpassable goodness of God. Amen (From Fr. Michael Gaitley)