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A New Heaven and a New Earth

Ballyferriter Retreat 2019 - a graced week

My name is Denise and I am both a friend of the IJS and a close relative of one of the sisters. I was extremely lucky to be invited to join the community and some other lay companions for a second time on their annual retreat in Ballyferriter Co Kerry in July.

The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers: Little we see in Nature that is ours. (Wordsworth).

I live in a busy road in Dublin, so the slow journey down to Kerry by bus, train and then another bus, and at last seeing Dingle bay in all its beauty, is like slowly moving from one world to another. It is gradual and soothing and I love the time it gives me to adjust. Then on to Ballyferriter with gorgeous views of the Atlantic, to which we head for a swim – calming and refreshing . We are greeted by old friends and new, and Ita and Frances have our tea (one of many gourmet meals) ready for us. 

Georgina met us and gave us the subject for the retreat “The Kenotic Love of God” – the plan He has for us individually and for “the New Heaven and New Earth “ – the whole Cosmos since the foundation of the world. This plan will be completed “in the fullness of time.” The meaning of Kenotic love was explained to us. Kenotic love is self-emptying, self-giving, self-effacing love and reflects the eternal relationship between the Persons of the Trinity.

God created the Cosmos out of love and made human beings in his own likeness. However, he gave us freedom to choose good or evil. This gives us the opportunity to progress and learn by our mistakes – to develop our potential but we must do this by dwelling within our interior selves, praying and  surrendering to God who will bring us into union with Himself.

Over our week we had a lot of input, discussion and sharing. We had time to pray, walk, swim, commune with nature -  a graced week for which I can only say thank you once again for being invited to take part with the community.

Our last talk was on a New Heaven and a New Earth – the understanding of renovation and restoration and gradual transformation – everything under the rule of Christ. I think we can see at the moment a gradual change of attitude in many people. We have been getting and spending at a ferocious rate and the implication of this is hitting home. We cannot continue living like this, our planet is being polluted, our children’s futures put in jeopardy, our minds debased by consumerism. Hopefully the tide is turning and we will each start to take personal responsibility even in a small way. The Holy Spirit is busy at work!

The retreat brought back to me the kind of person I would like to be, captured by this prayer because it is my understanding of self- emptying love.

Teach me, good Lord, to serve you as you deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and not to ask for any reward, save that of knowing that I do your will.         

St Ignatius of Loyola

Denise Sheey


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