Every church has it’s own DNA; it’s own strengths; it’s own unique culture. A major focus of my church is spiritual formation. As a community we want to learn how to live life with God in a way that can truly transform us. My boss recently went on a private retreat to Manresa Jesuit Retreat Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan to explore the spiritual life in a setting free from the distractions of everyday life. He shared about his journey to Manresa in his blog and I was inspired to take a journey of my own. For the next several posts, I will share entries from the journal I kept during my stay at Manresa where I explored Christian Meditation. I hope that sharing my story can communicate something about my experience and maybe encourage others to consider what their next step in the spiritual life might be.

by Photos par Voiland

Friday Evening

I’ve just arrived at my first weekend retreat at Manresa Jesuit Retreat House in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. I’m attending a directed retreat with Father Bernie Owens called “Discovering Our Depths: Living from Our Center, Experiencing the Freedom Only God Can Give.” What a title!

Getting here was a bit of a journey. Lisa and I have had a rough week due to Claire’s sleeping issues. She has been up until 11:00p.m. each night this week.  We have not had much time for the two of us. She was frustrated by her lack of sleep and me leaving her with a fussy baby for three days. We nipped at each other a bit but came out on the other side. My stomach has been a mess all day today. Maybe it’s from nerves about steeping out of my comfort zone.

I have been looking forward to this weekend for a couple of month but I’m experiencing a little guilt for leaving Lisa at home with Claire. I’m also having a hard not picturing myself as some sort of spiritual giant, like a Brennan Manning or Henri Nouwen type. It’s exciting to be a part of such a rich tradition but I want to truly learn and experience God this weekend and not just have a story to tell about how “spiritual” I am for attending a spiritual retreat.

Here’s my prayer: God, help me to know you this weekend. Help me push aside my desire to be a certain kind of person who wants to appear a certain way. I want to be with you. I want to walk away having met with you in such a way that I am a better husband, daddy, pastor, and friend. Make clear paths in me. Let your spirit do a great work in me.


  1. And we’re off! Your blog looks really great. I love the picture you chose for this post, and the post is good and makes me look forward to reading the rest.

  2. Thanks for reading and commenting, Dave. Not to mention the encouragement to get out to Manresa. There’s more to come!

    • Chuck
    • April 7th, 2010

    I just now found these, Jason, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading today’s post. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of them, but have decided to read one each day. I want to be open to the possibility of doing this same sort of thing, and am praying for that openness.

    • Thanks for reading and writing in. I am glad to hear that you will be taking your time with these. While I’m sure my experience will be different than whatever route you choose to get away with God I know it will be worthwhile. I know that hearing about Dave’s expereince took the edge off my nerves about going to Manresa. God Bless and thanks again.

  3. It’s cool that you’re considering a trip of your own, Dad. Like Jason said, everyone will come away with something different, but I have really enjoyed hearing Sherry’s stories, and Cindy Bills’ stories, and Steve Nickles’ stories, and now Jason’s stories. I’d love to hear some Chuck stories sometime! Our goal in publishing these experiences was really that other people would be able to read about this stuff and maybe consider making their own retreats sometime, so good for you.

  1. January 5th, 2011

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