Businessmen's Retreat - 2001
September 21-23, 2001
Sponsored by Manhattan College

Conducted at the Passionist Spiritual Center
5801 Palisade Avenue, Riverdale, NY, 10471, Phone 718-549-6500

Retreat Links: [ Outline | Msgr Jim | Rev Rob | BillT | Fr Paul | JackK ]

Visual Tour

Conference: "Walking with God in Our Wounded World"

Speaker - Father Paul R. Fagan, C.P.

Fr. Paul is retreat director here at the Passionist Spiritual Center.  He is filling in for Fr. John Duffell who had to cancel due to the World Trade Center tragedy.  For more, click here to see Fr. Paul's talk from last year.


Outline of Talk

  1. God Is With Us
    1. (Began by playing the Bette Midler song, "From a Distance".)  I liked the song from the beginning; but lately I've found a problem with it.  It's poor theology, since it places God, and the goodness of life, at a distance, with God as merely an observer.  In fact, God is with us.
    2. Yet, the World Trade Center tragedy might make us wonder: Is God really that close?
    3. We've seen the face of evil but that is not the stuff of everyday life.  We have other, more personal concerns, such as bereavement or relationships or lack of purpose or the futures of our children or the choices of our futures.
  2. Humility Teaches That We Are Related to Something Bigger Than Ourselves.
    1. My talk's title has to do with the spirituality of living now.  It ties in with your retreat's theme of humility. We tend to see ourselves as autonomous, as needing no one else.  Humility teaches us that we are not alone, that we are related to something much bigger than ourselves.
    2. Fr. Ed Beck, a Passionist, wrote a book, his memoirs.  He had started out to go to Wall Street, looking to become a millionaire, living on Central Park.  But he had to deal with wounds as an adolescent, deaths of friends, his mother's brain tumor, etc.  These things humbled him.  But God was with him.
    3. My own experience: My father was fired and told me we had to move from a good town (with a school I loved) to Philadelphia (with a worse, boys-only school).  My father did not complain about his misfortune; he did not need to disparage others to make himself feel worthwhile.
    4. Some years later, my dad got leukemia and was hospitalized.  I visited him frequently although I was in the seminary.  I tried to do all I could for him.  One day he became angry and had to be restrained.  I asked what I could do; I said  I had done all I could think of.  He said, "You didn't pray with me."  So I prayed the Lord's Prayer, slowly, so he could keep up.  I noticed that, when you say that prayer word by word, it brings different images to mind, images that you miss when you recite it (quickly) by rote.
  3. We Must Let God Be With Us.
    1. Many of us haven't gotten to the point of letting God be there with them.
    2. Look at your own lives, your own struggles, you own wounds.  To make sense of them, consider Christ's invitation to us.  See him in the center of your pain.
    3. (Closed by playing the song, "You are by My Side.")  This song gets the theology right: God is here with us.
  4. Q&A (answers only)
    1. At the time my father was in the hospital, I did not think about praying with him (even though I was in the seminary) because at that age, life was about me.  I didn't want to be in a hospital, much less deal with a very sick father.  As I matured, I began to see that life is not about me, but about my relationships with others and with God.
    2. If we have to do it alone, it won't work.  Humility gives us the opportunity and means to include others in our lives.
    3. Recommendations for Monday as we re-enter the workaday world, which now has changed.  It's difficult, because this retreat is quite different and special.  (You can go to chapel here in your pajamas!)  When you get back to the real world, it's easy to forget the benefits you gained at the retreat.  How to keep the retreat spirit always?
    4. Spirituality is faith lived out.  You can help yourself with continual prayer (relationship with God); with attention to your relationships on a regular basis.
    5. Example: in this order we pray the Passion each Friday at 3:00pm.  We stop our work, think of the Passion, and pray.  Ref.: John: Greater love hath no man than this . . .

(The notes of this outline were taken by David G. Price.  They were wordprocessed by Patrick Lyons.
These notes may not be reproduced without the written permission of the presenter.

This page was last edited on December 30, 2001 by Patrick Lyons.)