How to Give Inner Peace in Friendship with Jesus

Purpose

 

The purpose of this retreat is to bring your receiver into a working relationship with Jesus and so deepen his or her friendship with him. During it, your receiver will experience how Jesus befriends others in the truest ways, through acceptance, sharing, listening, forgiving, loving and so on. Then, he or she brings someone they know in need of friendship, and is a friend to that person in the same way as Jesus. So the purpose of this retreat is to experience a friendship with Jesus born of two people having the same desires and working together.

Friendship between the Trinity and your receiver is a profound part of creation, incarnation, love, resurrection and eternal life. It underpins the big story of the universe. So the purpose of the first and last week is to help your receiver to enter the big story of creation and discover her or his connections to it. The middle weeks are more intimate, your receiver enters into the close friendship of Jesus as a coworker, the purpose being to deepen that friendship.

The use of a symbol in each exercise gives your receiver a way to hold and touch the heart of each prayer. The symbol suffuses the life of your receiver with the desired aspect of friendship. Some time in this retreat, Jesus will breathe the Spirit into your receiver, to banish fear and break through obstacles, so that he or she may have a vital, peaceful, working friendship with him.

I call you friend – work with me

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This is my commandment,
that you love one another
as I have loved you.
No one has greater love than this,
to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

I have called you friends,
because I have made known to you
everything that I have heard from my Father.

You did not choose me but I chose you.
And I appointed you to go and bear fruit,
fruit that will last,
so that the Father will give you
whatever you ask him in my name.

—John 15:12–16

Please Note

Please do not read this guide if you have not yet received the Inner Peace in Friendship with Jesus retreat or are in the middle of receiving it. The reason is simple, you are unique as is your relationship with God. The graces you will receive will be yours, personal to your desires and God’s personal relationship with you. So reading this guide, or comparing your graces with others, runs the danger of creating unhelpful expectations. This guide is for Givers of the retreat not Receivers. Thank you for your understanding.

Retreat Map

 

Week One     Jesus, a friend for creation

Monday         The Spirit hovers over creation.

Tuesday         The Father raises life in the universe.

Wednesday   The Son is born Homo sapiens.

Thursday       I am born in the image of God.

Saturday        Awareness Examen

Sunday          I desire divine relationship.

 

Week Three  Jesus, a friend for every time

Monday         Jesus shows me how friends listen.

Tuesday         Jesus shows me how friends forgive.

Wednesday   Jesus shows me how friends work.

Thursday       Jesus shows me how friends love.

Saturday        Reconciliation Examen

Sunday          I desire divine intimacy.

Retreat Map

 

Week Two     Jesus, a friend for every day

Monday         Jesus shows me how friends accept.

Tuesday         Jesus shows me how friends receive.

Wednesday   Jesus shows me how friends share.

Thursday       Jesus shows me how friends heal.

Saturday        Healing Examen

Sunday          I desire divine life.

 

Week Four    Jesus, a friend for life

Monday         The Father raises my friend to life.

Tuesday         The Spirit hovers over the friends of God.

Wednesday   The Son calls his friends home.

Thursday       Program for Life

Saturday        Particular Examen

Sunday          I desire divine friendship.

The Prayer Methods To Guide in this Retreat

New Prayer Method 1

Ex 45 – The Spirit hovers over creation

 

Preparation
First I take a small hand bowl, fill it with water and put it to hand.

At my prayer place, I consider how the Spirit hovers over me in her work of continuing creation. I make a gesture of reverence and humility.
I read the prayer texts to anchor myself in the power of divine creativity.

Opening Prayer
With simple words, I offer my whole self to the Spirit.

Desire
I desire to know the creative God.

Prayer
With my imagination, I contemplate the creation of the universe.

First, the vision—I imagine the creation of the universe, 13.7 billion years ago. I see the Big Bang and the creation of particles and antiparticles, the fundamental forces of gravity, electromagnetism, strong and weak nuclear forces, and the prodigious expansion of everything.

I see, in my own way, protons and neutrons binding in the cooling universe to form hydrogen and helium nuclei, until, at 300,000 years, the first atoms form, and photons of light are released in a sea of radiation. I see the Spirit above and in everything, even in direction itself. I hear, “Let there be light!”

Then, over eons, I see all the elements being progressively created in stars, evermore complex in the burning hearts and explosive deaths.

Second, the relationship—I consider my profound relationship to the beginning of creation. I drink some water from the bowl of water. Now I am drinking the hydrogen created in the first moment of creation—for all hydrogen around and within me was created then and none since. I can say, in a very real way, that part of me was there in the beginning.

Every other element in my body was created in generations of stars. Physically, I carry the story of creation within me.
What difference does this make to the way I relate to universe?

Conversation of the Senses
In reverence, I take my bowl of water, symbol of the waters of creation.

I bless it.

I gently blow over the face of the water, asking myself how I might join in the Spirit’s work of loving creation.

I put my finger in the water and taste the water, the hydrogen created 13.7 billion years ago.

I conclude in conversation, as with a friend, by sharing my thoughts and feelings with the Holy Spirit.

Our Father.

How to Give This Exercise

 

1. The vision.
The first step is a prayer of imaginative contemplation. Before beginning, tell your receiver that scientific knowledge is unnecessary. The big bang, etc. can be imagined as she or he wills. Guide your receiver slowly to realize the scene, then give five minutes to ponder the vision.

2. The relationship.
The second step is prayer of consideration. You guide your receiver through the consideration of the relationship, leaving time for actions where necessary. Leave time for the question at the end.

3. Conversation of the Senses.
The third step is a prayer of the senses. Have your receiver keep her of his eyes closed for this exercise until the colloquy of the senses. Then invite her or him to open eyes and take up the symbol. Time and reverence are needed here for your receiver to hold, bless and experience the symbol. Give time for the last question and the final conversation.

 

Suggested Prayer Time: 35 Minutes
Preparation: 10 minutes. Opening Prayer: 1 minute. Desire: 1 minute. Prayer: 20 minutes. Conversation: 3 minutes. Listening Book: 10 minutes.

New Prayer Method 2

Ex 50 – Jesus shows me how friends accept.

 

Preparation  
Immediately on waking, I recall people I know who need acceptance and imagine bringing them to Jesus. I get dressed with thoughts like these.

At my prayer place, I make a gesture of reverence and humility.

Opening Prayer      
I ask the grace to direct my whole self to the Jesus who accepts the burdened.

Desire
I desire to accept with Jesus.

Prayer    
I read the prayer texts to see how Jesus accepts. Then, in three steps I pray.

1. Jesus accepts me. I choose ONE of the accepting relationships in the prayer texts. I use my imagination to enter the scene as the one in need. I fill in the details of people and conversation. I come to Jesus and let the scene unfold.

2. As a friend of Jesus, I accept others. I use my imagination to bring before me a person I know who yearns to be accepted. I imagine a place and what we might say. I let the scene unfold as I befriend and accept like Jesus.

3. I see my part in the great unfolding story of divine friendship, creation, salvation and eternal life. Standing back, I imagine, in detail, the effects of my acceptance of the other radiating forward into the long future. I see more and more people, communities, and even earth and its creatures becoming utterly welcomed, accepted and called into the living realm of God.

Conversation of the Senses
In reverence, I take a jar of ointment as a symbol of acceptance.

I bless it.

Removing my shoes, I anoint and massage my feet with ointment.

Then Jesus and I share how we feel about our friendship. We consider how to bring acceptance to those I have remembered in this prayer.

Our Father.

How to Give This Exercise

 

Each exercise begins with a morning rise awareness prayer. The three parts of the Prayer need about seven minutes each. The prayer method is the same for this week and the next.

1. Jesus accepts me.
The first step is an imaginative contemplation. Instruct your receiver to chose only ONE of the prayer texts to enter. Guide her or him slowly into the scene and leave them in silence.

2. As a friend of Jesus, I accept others.
Again using imaginative contemplation, guide your receiver through this step.

3. I see my part in the great unfolding story of divine friendship.
In this step your receiver imagines the effects of their action in step two unfold and ripple into the future. Your receiver will need a little time to see it all happen and ponder.

Conversation of the Senses.
This step is basically the same as the first week exercises of this retreat. What is new is the conversation between your receiver and Jesus about their friendship, and how they might both help the person in need.

 

Suggested Prayer Time: 35 Minutes
Preparation: 10 minutes. Opening Prayer: 1 minute. Desire: 1 minute. Prayer: 20 minutes. Conversation: 3 minutes. Listening Book: 10 minutes.

New Prayer Method 3

Ex 60 – The Father raises my friend to life.

 

Preparation       
At my prayer place, I consider how the Father raises the dead to life. I make a gesture of reverence and humility.

I read the prayer texts to understand the outcome of divine friendship.

Opening Prayer     
With simple words, I offer my whole self to the Father.

Desire    
I desire living hope from the Father.

Prayer
With my imagination, I see the consequences of friendship with Jesus.

First, a promise fulfilled. I use my imagination to stand in the small tomb of Jesus. It is pitch dark, yet as dawn breaks, beams of dusty, golden light slip past the round stone at my back. Gradually I make out the dead body of Jesus, his wounds are clear, his binding cloths folded at his feet. Suddenly, his whole back arches, ribs stretched, head thrown back, arms pressed to the stone. He takes the first great, shuddering breath of new life. His eyes snap open. He exhales slowly settling down, deeply weighted in the here and now—alive.

He becomes aware of me, turns his head and speaks my name.

I allow the rest of his resurrection to unfold around me.

Second, new friends. Next, I use my imagination to create a place of serenity to abide in—a place of peaceful habitation, a secure dwelling, a quiet resting place (Is 32:18). It may be in a forest, garden, mountain, beach or home. Here I sit with the risen Jesus and his Father. Jesus personally asks the Father to be my friend. The Father, welcomes me with indescribable joy, and fills my heart with laughter. Then, as it is with closest friends, we sit in companionable quiet together, enjoying each other’s presence.

Conversation of the Senses.
In reverence, I take an article of new clothing, symbol of resurrection.

I bless it and put it on.

Then, clothed in Christ, Jesus and I share how we feel about our friendship.

I ask myself how I might join in his work of bringing new life from death.

Our Father.

How to Give This Exercise

 

1. A promise fulfilled.
The exercise sets the scene. Your receiver is then invited to complete it. Guide your receiver to this point, then give him or her about ten minutes to allow the event to unfold in their imagination.

2. New friends.
Your receiver imagines a place of serenity where she or he is introduced to the Trinity. Give your receiver time to set the scene each day, receive new friends and sit in companionable silence.

3. Conversation of the Senses.
Consider the combination of symbols. This happens naturally, but if helpful to your receiver, you might suggest it. What if, for example, your receiver washed her or his feet with the water of creation, dried them with the towel of receiving and anointed each foot with the ointment of acceptance?

 

Suggested Prayer Time: 35 Minutes
Preparation: 10 minutes. Opening Prayer: 1 minute. Desire: 1 minute. Prayer: 20 minutes. Conversation: 3 minutes. Listening Book: 10 minutes.

15 Symbols of Divine Friendship

Week One

Water of Creation
How might I join in the Spirit’s work of creation?

Earth of Life
How might I join in God’s work of nurturing life?

Family Object      
How might I join God’s work of evolving humanity?

Mirror of God    
How might I better reflect who I am?

Week Three

Seeds of Listening
How to listen to those remembered in prayer?

Ring of Joyous Forgiveness      
How to forgive those remembered in prayer?

Fruit of Work      
How to work for those remembered in prayer?

Cross of Love        
How to love those remembered in prayer?

Week Two

Ointment of Acceptance
How to accept those remembered in prayer?

Foot Towel of Receiving   
How to receive from those remembered in prayer?

Bread of Giving 
How to share with those remembered in prayer?

Oil of Healing
How to heal those remembered in prayer?

Week Four

Clothing of Resurrection 
How might I join in Jesus’ work of giving life ?

Fire of the Spirit
How I might serve with the gifts of the Spirit?

House keys of Heaven
How I might live, knowing my final destination?

Please note.  For greater depth in the content and dynamic of this retreat see the Manual  here.