On June 5, a group of 20 Bridges prayer companions met virtually to discuss their ministry of accompaniment and share their years of wisdom. Event organizer Joan Kletzker was listening carefully and compiled this listing of “overheard wisdom…”
We are companions. We co-journey with another. We encounter Jesus together and wonder when that will happen. We are serving God. We are a soul friend. We listen with love. We are co-creators. We are in a sacred place. We are invited by Jesus to be in a loving experience. We introduce the retreatant to Jesus, and we step back and facilitate. We are humbled as the retreatants entrust to us their stories. We trust the Holy Spirit. We bring a feminine spirit. We accept who God gives us to companion
We stay open and vulnerable to the dynamics and fluidity of the Spiritual Exercises. We are adventurers and connectors. We bring our natural abilities, and we celebrate as our natural abilities and those of the retreatant meet and connect. We are attentive, patient, trusting and open.
There are three chairs present – one for us, one for the retreatant, and one for Jesus. We trust the Holy Spirit has already set the goals. Another word for goals is graces. We see our retreatants falling in love with Jesus. We bring the retreatant back to the Principle and Foundation and the colloquy. We talk about the Examen frequently.
We have courage to speak or not. We listen. We pray that all we do and say is of God. We learn Jesus is compassionate and forgiving – always. We realize with love, there is more – more freedom, more intimacy with God and self, more love. We know sin is not what we thought was.
We ask our retreatant what she/he hopes for. We tell him/her to name the graces they want to receive. We pray spontaneously and openly. We pray for freedom from any personal attachment, even if we don’t know it is there. We reflect on our sessions with our person.
We also ask for what we want. We pray with and for them – being given a view to our own journey. We bring our personalities to the retreat and their feedback is always interesting. The entire time we are with our retreatant is a prayer.
When we have a retreatant who doesn’t or can’t pray or “feel anything,” we pray with and for them, and give all of it to the Holy Spirit. We wait in patient trust as we wait for something beautiful to happen to our retreatant. We see the person on retreat have revelations. There are very poignant moments and surprises no one could see coming.
We pray God sends us someone difficult, so we can grow and learn more about God and ourselves. We humans always “other.” Sometimes we are the “other.” God does not and cannot “other.” We choose what we think is good.
We have frustrations, too. Some people talk too much. Some people can’t name their emotions. But we have mentors and guides from whom to seek advice. We have faced our Zoom challenges. We wonder if we could have, should have done things differently or said something else, or not said. We let the process of the Spiritual Exercises work; we don’t force anything. We see joy as the retreatant progresses through the year. We try to see as God sees and to love as God loves.
Creating Father, Merciful Son and Guiding Holy Spirit, pray for us. St. Ignatius pray for us.
Thanks to the planning committee (Joan Kletzker, Laurie Hannigan, Linda Leib and Kathy Gibler) for putting a spirit-filled event together.