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Zakon Braci Mniejszych Franciszkanów w Kadynach - Voice


In here you will hear the voice of God.

1. God speaks in silence

Internal silence and external silence are a necessary condition for prayer and spiritual life in general. Prayer is a conversation in which we are first invited to hear what God tells us. Prayer is not primarily a human talk. Prayer is first opening up to the Word of God. God speaks in silence. In the scripture He says that you will not hear his voice on the street. And just because God speaks in silence, it is necessary to find the inner and outer silence. God speaks in silence because he does not violate human freedom. Scream is an expression of violence. The louder and louder the scream, the greater the violence.

In our interpersonal relationships, there is often a lot of violence involved in putting pressure on each other by raising one’s voice and shouting. We try to exert mental pressure using a noisy and chaotic speech to our neighbors. God does not use shouting

We can enter fully into outer silence and inner silence only in freedom. If we want silence, silence has a positive effect on us, we must accept them voluntarily. It is impossible to command somebody else his inner silence. If we would have been forced into outer silence, it would be silent because it would be marked by some form of violence. The use of violence штвгсуы rebellion easily. Freedom in outer silence and inner silence is a special condition of prayer. Our prayer can only develop in great freedom. Freedom in prayer is certain - as far as we can say - space in the human heart into which God enters. If a man would not confide his freedom, his will to God, prayer would be impossible.

2. Noise of modern civilization.

Let us note that modern civilization is characterized by very strong influence on us by strong external stimuli. These stimuli are especially visible in the media. They are not only strong but sometimes even brutal. In many programs, there is more than just a lot of screaming and noise, but also physical violence: suffering, killing, brutal sexual scenes.

Why do social media refer to force, violence, sometimes even perversion? Because man became insensitive to daily, normal stimuli. A calm, subtle story about human life, about human love can no longer be admired. Such stimuli seem to be too weak. Such programs can no longer work. Hence the reference to violence and perversion. John Paul II in the Letter to Families says that certain elements of our civilization are sick. Certainly what is especially sick in our civilization is showing of violence, brutality, rape, scream in the means of social communication. When we are exposed to such powerful images for a long time, we lose our sensitivity. We are no longer able to hear ourselves or another human being. We just cannot listen.

The disease of our time is the inability to listen. We do not know each other because we carry a great deal of anxiety that makes us insensitive to ourselves and to our neighbors. Entering inner silence and outer silence in this situation can be very difficult; It may even be a painful experience. If we are accustomed to constant screams and noise, then it becomes a fixed lifestyle. And although this style seems tasteful to us, we do not know how to tear ourselves away. This is then a form of drug that we use every day. Alcoholics are sometimes afflicted with alcohol abuse, but cannot live without it. When he tries to break up with the addiction, he experiences a great hunger for alcohol. For many of us inner silence and external silence can be difficult. We are often addicted to the noisy sounds and images of our audiovisual civilization.

Only in both outer silence and inner silence, we reveal who we really are. The whole internal choking, confusion, grief and injustice, great guilt, anger or aggression against others, inferiority complexes, or our ill-ambition are revealed. When we go into deeper inner silence and outer silence, these and similar feelings often come to us like vultures. The silence reveals everything that we manage to squeeze and choke through the screams, the noise, the violent and violent experiences of artificial sounds and images.

I used to watch a Polish film about a single mother, very lost and nervous a woman. I remember one particular scene. In sincerity, she said to her friend: Yes, I would like to go out for two weeks, to rest somewhere in silence. Her friend, who knew her well, answered her: You in silence, two weeks? After all, you can not stay alone for five minutes..

We often complain about overwork, fatigue, lack of time. However, this is only some kind of complaining. Saying paradoxically, our overwork and fatigue is sometimes very beneficial for us. On the one hand we complain about fatigue and overwork, and on the other hand, when we have a long time, we do not know what to do with it. The development of free time, which suddenly falls from our sky, is a serious problem for us. We often do not know how to rest, we cannot reflect on ourselves, we do not know how to meet others with God. We run into strong audiovisual programs, cheap readings, and consumption. So often we get tired of talking with God, with people, we have a deeper reflection on our lives. For many of us, finding ourselves an occupation is a very good alibi in order not to get in and not know what exactly we are, and what our actual illness is.

Entering the silence, you also give up this alibi. Get in the silence then stop cheating. And that is why for many people, silence can be difficult and even painful. The chance of silence is, on the one hand, the discovery of the truth about our human life, the truth about the sources of our dissatisfaction, the other, the truth about the sources of our confusion; On the other hand, silence is a special occasion for seeking salvation and for leaving our confused living situation.

God speaks in silence. Hear the prophet Hosea Yahweh declares: Therefore, behold, I will allure her (the bride), and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. (Oz 2:14). At the very beginning of the retreat, let us pray to God for a deep desire to enter into the loneliness of the heart that prayer is called for. Let us allow God to lead us into the desert, so that we may hear His voice.

If retreats are celebrated in a larger community then the atmosphere of concentration and silence will depend on everyone; It will be a mutual gift of all for all. The walls of the house can not give us silence. In the community we can offer each other the focus and the silence. The gift of quietening the exterior is gentle, because it demands unanimity of all members of the community. The external silence during the community retreat is an expression of mutual respect, expression of fraternal love and testimony of faith.

3. The right place for meditation

St. Ignatius encourages us to move away from friends and acquaintances and stay in another house for retreat. If this is not possible, it is proposed that at least for the time of recollection retreat, change the living room.

In order to enter the extended meditation prayer you must find the right place; A place full of silence in which the multiplicity of external stimuli would not be an obstacle to concentration and concentration. Surely you can pray in the street noise. You can even do a street meditation. However, this experience can be rare and unique.

Go where you could be alone, advises K. Tilmann, where you would not be disturbed, in a place that would radiate peace from all that surrounds you. Perhaps it will be your apartment, the church. When you find a place that radiates peace, stop in it.

The right place for meditation is found on the one hand by an inner intuition, and on the other hand by experience. Sometimes you have to try to pray in different places, so that by comparison and practice you can choose the one that most easily enters us into the atmosphere of silence, focus and peace. Our place for prolonged prayer often requires patience for long periods of time.

4. The need for spiritual leadership

An individual element of the Ignatian retreat is the individual conversation with the spiritual director. The purpose of these conversations is certainly not any form of control, mental pressure, or paternalistically understood spiritual care. Ignatius Loyola's experience emphasizes the great need for freedom, generosity and commitment in spiritual life. If the Ignatian method turns out to be so effective for many people, it is only because it refers to their human freedom, to their nobility and to great spiritual desires. They are the source of a devoted commitment to the ordering of one's life and the search for and the will of God.

The main goal of the spiritual leadership in the retreat is the objectivity of the inner experience. In individual conversations we look at ourselves in the mirror, we recognize the authenticity of our listening to the Word of God and our opening to it. In man, spiritual leaders can hear different voices: not only the voice of God, the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but also the inspiration of one's own passions and the inspiration of the evil spirit. Because during the retreat we will work more spiritually, so the intensity of these voices will increase. This is the greater intensity of voices and inspirations He demands from us a particularly careful spiritual discernment.

Talking to a spiritual director is primarily for us. The spiritual director serves only as a servant. He should only help in the development of the relationship between the person who practices the Spiritual Exercises and God. It is not the essential reference point for the retreatologist. The main point of reference for the retreatant is God himself.

It is not uncommon that during the first week of the Spiritual Exercises, the retreatant spontaneously returns to his, often very painful past, returning to many of his injuries and life's dangers. In these difficult moments of retreat, however, he should not remain alone. To speak of the painful experiences of life before the spiritual director is a preparation to speak also with confidence and with great inner freedom before God himself. The ideal of spiritual direction presupposes that the friendly reception and acceptance of the head becomes a sign of unconditional acceptance and love of God Himself. When we begin to express, describe our inner experience, we begin to understand them better. Already the proclamation of our inner experiences before another person makes them crystallize, define and take on a different shape.

What exactly should we talk about at the meetings with the spiritual director during the Ignatian retreat? Just what we are currently experiencing in prayer. About emerging feelings, thoughts, inspirations. In the first conversations we can briefly introduce ourselves and take up our most difficult problems, which we would like to put into action by the Word of God and the discernment of spiritual direction. We can start with what is most difficult for us, what is the hardest thing to say to us; You can start with what humbles us the most, i.e. shame in our own consciousness. We could thus overcome our fear of ourselves and the sense of danger. But like recollective silence, so too does spiritual leadership demand our full inner freedom and deep conviction for its righteousness for our spiritual life.

However, we should not start very honest conversations as if against our own freedom. If we open ourselves up to strength, then we might feel internally humiliated and ashamed. All that we do in spiritual life has value only when it is exercised under the influence of liberty and inner generosity. If in the spiritual leadership we are afraid to talk very much about ourselves, then one should pray for the openness, sincerity and spirit of faith that will enable us to see the Christ in full openness in the action of spiritual director. It is He who first of all proposes us to help within the fellowship of the Church.

From this openness, sincerity and faith in prayer sincerity and openness in the spiritual leadership will also be born spontaneously. Practice shows that a person who sincerely prays for the overcoming of fears and for opening up in the practice of the clergy receives this grace relatively quickly. The great recitation prayer associated with the Spiritual Exercises is not just our personal work. It is also a great work of God in us. After all, not only do we care to overcome our problems and fears. It is also up to the God who constantly watches over us and leads us. He also wants us to open ourselves to him. Our openness to the representative of the Church is a symbol of opening ourselves to God. We can therefore pray in words: Lord Jesus, I am not only dependent on your love, but also You are on my love. Give me the grace of sincerity and openness to your Word. The inner conviction that God is working within us can be a source of great courage in the whole retreat experience, also in individual conversations.

If during a retreat there are some special feelings towards the spiritual director who bother us, then in great inner freedom we can speak them out to discern their source. This kind of verbal affection is needed especially when they do not give us peace, constantly interfering with prayer.

5. Leave all worries behind

Ignatius is aware that the fruitfulness of prayer depends not only on external silence, from talking with the manager, from good places, but above all from the attitude of the human heart. The important condition that Father Ignatius places on the man who wishes to celebrate the Spiritual Exercises is the concern for inner liberation from the influence of the external environment. The retreatant, Ignatius says, will do more in these exercises, the more he will separate himself from all his friends and from all temporal care. K. Tilmann advises: Get free, leave all your worries, responsibilities, effort, haste and activity. And get even freer from anxiety, internal discussions, thoughts, projects, all plans of action. The more you get rid of all this, the more You will be free from yourself and immerse yourself in meditation. Releaseing from daily worries allows the retreatant to make greater sacrifices and generosity to sacrifice all his will and freedom to God so that his divine Majesty, as his person and all his possessions, will use his most holy will. By speaking in another language, inner peace, and freedom from what our consciousness is dealing with, it is necessary to be able to hear the Word of God.

By committing ourselves to ordering our lives and finding and finding God's will in our spiritual exercises, we can not, however, begin with the self-analysis of our anxieties and our problems. Nor can we first refer to our human methods and methods. Starting a prayer from ourselves and our problems, we risk finding our own solutions. P. van Breemen, a well-known retreatologist in Western Europe and in the United States, at the beginning of his retreat, encourages retreatees to hide the problem they have come to the cupboard. The contemplated Word of God will show us in what day of the retreat and how to get it out.

Our problems that we want to face in the light of the Word of God usually look different. Often, the solution, in the light of the Word, becomes obvious and simple. Another time the problem disappears. However, there are times when the retreater experiences that his problem is much more serious than he thought and guessed. The problem he brought with him turns out to be merely a substitute for a deeper problem he had not known or could not see. We are not able to discover the essence of our problems without lighting the Word of God. Through the Word of God, we also discover that our problems are no longer ours, but that they are also problems of God. We solve them with Him and thanks to Him.

The fruitfulness of the Spiritual Exercises is therefore strictly dependent on our inner freedom and on openness and generosity towards God. Joining a retreat in a closed attitude, spiritual avarice, without deep commitment and sacrifice, could make it impossible to achieve the desired fruit.


- JÓZEF AUGUSTYN SJ: Recollection Considerations