I received the following email from my aunt, Sr. Betty Igo, regarding a talk she was going to do while visiting me in San Diego.
In the 70’s, when I was in NY, I went to a 40 day Directed Retreat by Father Mountain, SJ. When we arrived at the retreat house, Father asked us to pray, and chose a single Scripture passage that impressed us, as perhaps the Lord would like to teach us more about it. I prayed and received the Scripture verse John 8:32. Father then taught us how to bring that Scripture from our head to our heart by having us promise him that we would chew that single Scripture passage over and over for eight hours a day during that 40-day silent retreat.
I felt the anointing for me was on the John 8:32 verse, “When you make my word your home, you shall learn the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” I would read it again, and think about it. I reminded myself of Deuteronomy 11:19 which is a teaching about the importance of the repetition of the Word of God:
“Teach them to your children, speaking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
There definitely is the right use of repetition of the Sacred Word. Then, I would envision what it meant to live out of the Word of God, as I knew our unconscious needs the use of our imagination in order to really get convicted of something. Concepts alone will not reach it. It needs the assistance of images and/or drama. When inner resistance is felt, we need to talk to the Lord about it, as it needs to be owned and yielded. Look how often the great teacher Jesus used symbols such as images and drama in his Parables. He spoke of inner resistance. ” They are blind and see not… “As we read, we need to pray that we truly be open to see what He wants of us and not just let the words fly by to cover the pages we promised our study group. This IS work!
When I would remember certain belief systems that did not witness to the Truths that were in God’s word I would imagine my leaving them. Playfully imagining myself taking everything that did witness to God’s word and moving out of those old so-called belief systems that were less faithful to what God was asking. I kept giving the visual and conceptual messages to my subconscious that I wanted to separate from any so-called truth that did not witness to the teachings of Jesus Christ. In other words, I was telling myself to dwell or make my home in the truth which is contained in John 8:32 and separate from that which did not resonate with the teachings of Jesus.
We retreatants would also meet in a private spiritual direction session with Father Mountain several times a week and report on what we were doing and learning. Around the last week of that retreat, I remember doing the crawl in the swimming pool, and I noticed how hard I was hitting the water as I quickly swim back and forth in my lane and then suddenly as though pushed powerfully from within I shouted out amid the profound silence of that 40-day retreat “That’s it! Everything else is straw. It has no eternal meriting” The few Sisters exercising with me looked puzzled at me, and embarrassed I said, “Excuse me for thinking out loud.” They laughed and put their heads back in the water as one does when doing the crawl. I realized that a strong conviction was occurring within me. At the end of that Retreat, the transfusion of wisdom from that scripture (John 8:32) had changed my life, and that scripture has had a profound influence on my life ever since.
Your coming visitor,