WHO AM I (me specifically) ways to learn


I am having trouble finding resources for finding who I am in relation to God. I get the general who the church is. I see a lot of priests and the like talk about being who we are with God… I am wondering more specifically what the entails. When I look at my own reflection I see very clearly I have a separate identity from God-but there’s also the realization I am not a separate entity from God.

That being said how do we find out who we are internally. When we strip away all of the sin, trauma (I had a traumatic childhood that I’m resolving) and even potential virtues gained through Christ.

I had this question because I was just diagnosed with C-PTSD. I spent many years in a depressive dissociated state. Growing up I always knew internally if I am “different” from my older family members there was a high chance I’d be hurt. So I always hid my thoughts emotions feelings etc. finally at the age of 25,I convinced doctors the terrible mental diagnoses I had been given we’re false and more because of trauma, not psychotic illnesses, moved out, did a 180 on my life, was taken off medications, lost 100lbs, and stopped doing some habitual sins that I used to cope with my trauma. I’ve been praying the rosary everyday, but something is still missing… I just don’t have any concept of who I am. Other people describe me as kind, loving compassionate and many positive things-but I don’t think those are my identity either.

Any resources people know of or thoughtful reflections would be helpful. It’s been a long journey and it took the first 24 years of my life to finally figure out what was “wrong” with me and I’ve been two months in a state of fresh beginnings, estranged from my family of origin and original church community, and trying to figure out what kind of person Jesus intended for me to be. Having had a fractured relationship with my biological parents, I’ve tended to view God as someone who “loves” me but doesn’t actually care and would discard me in a heartbeat. Which is what my family did once I portrayed the treatment. I am unlearning that view of God and discovering he is different from anyone on this side of heaven and that has been very healing.
God bless

The best thing I ever did for myself in this regard was go to an Ignatian retreat. Just five days, just you and God. I cannot recommend it highly enough. :pray:

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Thanks, I’ll see if there are any near me approaching. I’m doing better than my post probably indicates-but it has been a long road to get this far. I have heard about Ignation retreats but don’t actually know about them. Something to research.

I didn’t know much going in. Like, I didn’t even know it was supposed to be silent until I got there. :joy:
The good thing about it, is that you’re taught everything you need to know. Just bring yourself and your rosary and the rest should be taken care of. :wink:

I second the suggestion to go on an Ignatian retreat. I have been on three and obtained benefits from each that I was unable to find via other methods.

Not all Ignatian retreats are five days long—I’ve seen everything from two days up to an entire month for the full Exercises. My first Ignatian retreat was eight days, but I wouldn’t necessarily recommend that as a first-time outing (in my case, my spiritual director at the time suggested this length and reassured the retreat center that I was ready for it). The experience can be quite intense and even overwhelming.

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I searched my area and found some that will be within a reasonable distance that I could drive to. Thanks both of you for the suggestion. I will be looking at their 2020 schedule for visitors this week to see

Silence is very difficult for me. Last year I could never have done more than a day of silence… I think now I could do almost a week. It would probably be spiritually “brutal” but I bet I’d be holier by the end of it, ha! It’s good to stretch the spirit constantly :sunglasses::innocent:

What’s an ignatian retreat?

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So, an Ignatian retreat is essentially a spiritual retreat pioneered by St. Ignatius, and it’s a good insight into the spirituality of St. Ignatius himself. It employs a special method for meditating on different mysteries and asking for graces specific to your life.
When St. Ignatius started the retreats they were four weeks of spiritual exercises, each week focusing on a different aspect of your life in connection with God, each week helping you to overcome a certain temptation and maximizing the graces bestowed on you. Today it’s more common to have a shorter retreat (5-8 days seem common), but the retreat is still divided into four “weeks”, each “week” representing a different milestone/ spiritual journey.
The weeks are:
1: Sin, and God’s mercy.
2: Episodes in the Life of Jesus
3: The Passion of Jesus
4: The Resurrection of Jesus, and God’s love.
While going through the exercises (which are themselves prayerful reflections) it is common to be filling your days with prayer. Making a general confession is also an encouraged practice, as is daily Mass (usually without communion until after the general confession).
Many people have profound spiritual experiences at these retreats (myself included) and the chance is there to get real intimacy with God and to get a true look at your life and the direction you’re going or should be going.
I cannot recommend it enough. :+1:

May God bless you as you continue on your journey! If no one has told you in your real life, you are making a great success of growing and overcoming your troublesome past. Keep at it. I also think a retreat will help you.

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That sounds great, although my parents wouldn’t let me go nor be willing to go with me :confused: hopefully if I become a monk my life will be one big spiritual retreat. Just wondering does it cost money, and how much would it usually cost?

Yes! I was blessed. It seemed every time I was at the end of the rope and ready to do something regretful, something or someone would pop up at the right moment. God was with me the whole time and it took a long time to find my way back to him fully but I always had hope I would. I’ve since started to form relationships with new people and have hope for whatever my future will bring. Thanks for the encouragement. Ultimately it was seeking the road of forgiveness that brought things back into alignment with God and the church.
I have so many little stories… strangers buying me coffee, or acquaintances giving me really nice things not realizing I was alone and not doing well financially. when I had no money, someone giving me $50 just out of the blue etc. I work with children full time in three catholic schools and I used them as motivation to stay strong because I felt a sense of duty not to abandon all of the kids I was being a role model to. I’ve noticed a lot of strangers confide things in me and grieving people come to me all of the time for comfort and none of these people know I’ve been a griever myself. Life’s a fun journey. God keeps count of every year we cry and that keeps me content no matter what. God bless!

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I paid €200 for a week last summer. That includes boarding and three meals a day. That was in Germany, though. I’d argue it’s cheap for what you get.

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This is going to vary, I imagine. To illustrate, I paid 500€ for six days in Ireland this past summer, including accommodation, three meals a day, and daily consultation with a spiritual guide. This is more than twice what @TheMortenBay paid in Germany for seven days. I would still argue it’s cheap for what you get.

Anyone who finds the cost prohibitive might want to inquire about financial aid or lower rates for those with limited resources. Some retreat centers will make an effort to insure that price alone doesn’t keep a potential retreatant from participating.

Um, that’s not the way the monastic life works. But I think I understand what you trying to say. :slightly_smiling_face:

Actually, when my programme came for the retreat, it contained a reminder that the price was €200, but that if I couldn’t pay it, please come anyway. That was SO charitable of them, really. I imagine the pressure would really have been taken off if money would have been an issue.

I should note my retreat was also from Sunday night till Saturday morning. So not quite six whole days even. :wink:

I know of a seminary that has a retreat every year for its students. I bet some monasteries do the same. :+1:

Ah, gotcha. The fee was still very reasonable!

The six- and eight-day retreats I mentioned upthread were respectively six and eight full days and don’t include the days of arrival and departure. So in the case of the six-day, I was actually on-site from Sunday mid-afternoon until late morning the following Sunday, or nearly seven full days.

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