Before you begin your retreat, pause for a few moments to set aside all distractions. Take three slow and deep breaths. Remember that you are in the loving presence of God.
Yet even now, says the LORD,return to me with your whole heart,with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;Rend your hearts, not your garments,and return to the LORD, your God.For gracious and merciful is he,slow to anger, rich in kindness,and relenting in punishment.
It's never too late with God. "Even now . . ." he says. Even now, after we've let so much time pass since we've spoken to that ungrateful relative, or after that unresolved argument with a co-worker, or after all the bridges we've burned. Even now we can still return to God expecting to receive kindness and mercy. Our return, or conversion must come from the heart. When we are moved from the depths of our being to return to the Lord, our God, we will instinctively find our way back to one another and experience God's gracious and merciful forgiveness.
Do I really trust in God's gracious and merciful forgiveness?
When have I experienced God as "slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment"?
(Speak to God, using this prayer or a prayer of your own.)
God of kindness and mercy, your constant love for me is beyond my understanding. Help me to grow in a desire to return to you confidently, with all my heart.