Inner Peace in Darkness and Light
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined (Is 9:2).
Be strong and of good courage, & act (Chr 28).
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly (Isaiah 58:7-9).
There are many forms of inner darkness—the pervasive gray of disorder in daily life, the unrelenting black of living with evil, the results of sin, the bleak nights of chronic illness or suffering, the dark pit of unfreedom where attachments imprison. Yet there is divine Light too – paradoxically, Light in the centre of it all and Light to find the way out of darkness.
The mercy of God, healing, and true freedom are great mysteries. To Ignatius they were part of the mystery of divine love, so he placed surrender to God’s tender love at the heart of this retreat.
As you track through the darker side of your humanity in this retreat, you will be given a surer route to wholeness. In powerlessness and vulnerability, you are very close to God. Both are powerful places for love to burn bright. After mercy, healing is sought and greater freedom from attachments. Your companion in this retreat is a man called Light. Throughout it, God will give light to your eyes and reveal how the great dark is broken forever.
How to make a retreat
To make a FSE retreat first print the exercises to be made, one week at a time is the most useful. Alternatively, this site is designed to work well on a tablet and mobile phone. If you have an internet connection you will always have access to each exercise.
Each week of exercises usually includes Monday to Thursday exercises and a weekend exercise. Some retreats have a Friday and a Saturday exercise. The exercises are written with a dynamic that means you need to make them in order, one after the other. You will receive the most fruit this way.
These retreats are ‘retreats in daily life’. That is to say they are for busy committed people who cannot afford to take time off work and pay for increasingly expensive retreats in spirituality centres. The FSE retreat is made over four weeks, normally one after another, but could be stretched out a little further to make way for unavoidable life events or commitments.
Choose a good time in a prayer day for your exercise, where you will not be interrupted. Turn your mobile off. Follow the steps outlined in each exercise with the suggested timing provided.
Use your Listening Book
Enter your experience after receiving an exercise in your Listening Book, an Ignatian prayer journal that will be a very powerful voice to your desires and everyday life choices. The craft of using a Listening Book is taught here.
As well as your own private Listening Book you are encouraged to use a Cloud Listening Book for each week of your retreat. It is found under the menu item Listening Books. There are guidelines for how to use a Cloud Listening Book here.
Through a Cloud Listening Book your graces will help many people around the world and they may help you to break open to greater depth the graces you have received.
A word to the wise
Please do not read the Inner Peace in Darkness and Light retreat at depth if you are in the middle of receiving a different retreat. The reason is simple, you have chosen to receive one retreat at this time and God has responded. This means that a sudden interest in the other retreats is a very real distraction that will take you out of your retreat and so out of the special relationship you are forming with God through it.
Sometimes this can be simple curiosity, sometimes it can be the bad spirit, who realising that you are receiving great help from God, wishes to draw you away from that source.
How to make a retreat with others
The first way is to find a companion or a local group of people to make a FSE retreat with others. You could approach local communities or organisations that you already belong to and invite a small group to receive a retreat together. Ask them to join the FSE Cloud community and print the retreat exercises.
Each person in your group prays by themselves through the week and fills out their Listening Book after each exercise. Then you meet weekly for spiritual conversation to share the experience of your exercises the week just past. There are special guides created for you and your group on the use of the Listening Book and practice of spiritual conversation. You will find them in the Art and Craft Studio under the School of How menu.
Look at the three main phases of spiritual conversation, sacred listening, conversation and mini-discernment, one at a time each week you meet, learning as you go by experience. There is also a very good threading together of these three phases in The Golden Rules for conversation in our FSE Cloud community under the same menu name in the secondary menu.
Organise weekly meetings – Let the Light flow through you
In each weekly meeting, the first half is spent in spiritual conversation on the previous week and the second half in learning the first exercise of the coming week. The method will be new but the same throughout the week. Of course, celebration, food and drink, and social conversation are always good for a group of on a retreat in daily life..
The second way to make a retreat with others is to share your experience of the exercises in the Cloud Listening Books for that retreat each week. This is in addition to your personal Listening Book and local sharing. There are careful guidelines for sharing in the Cloud Listening Books in the introduction to each retreat.
Your graces, gifts and insights will help others and they may help you. Indeed, this way the Spirit will shine through you to give light to many people over the earth.
Please Note. The retreat exercises will be available, one retreat only each month, rotating through the four retreats.
If you are interested in a retreat, unavailable in a particular month, purchase the full set of exercises of all retreats here.