I have a mixed relationship with the concept of change. I seldom, if ever, rearrange furniture. In my world there is a God-ordained place that furniture belongs, so leave it alone. I have a terrible habit of walking through the house in the dark, because i can. I know it is not safe (so I have given into my senior citizen status and installed motion activated night lights) but when you don’t move the furniture, it isn’t so bad.

I am facilitating a men’s retreat May 31-June 1, on the topic of personal transformation (I like this word much better than change.) As I continue to ponder the topic, I have wondered about why a person would want to change and then I think about what prevents a person from changing? And, how does one know what one wants to change, or, what one needs to change?

I have come to the conviction that deep personal transformation and change comes through contemplative prayer and through what St. Benedict calls, “rumination.” Through praying the Scriptures, God opens a pathway for personal reflection and insight, setting the agenda for change. Through this process God also grants the strength and conviction to change, yet, we always have the ability to resist and even refuse the change put before us.

It is my experience, that even when the agenda is set, it becomes difficult to implement the change that God puts before us. I quit smoking almost 30 years ago, but I remember that struggle as if it were yesterday. It took me a long time to quit, but in prayer, I knew that it would happen in time. I had a strong sense that I needed to struggle, but also be patient. Then there came the day that it was time to quit and it happened. Not saying this is a universal experience, but, I do believe that God guides the process.

So what has been your change experience? What have you found the helps? What have you found that hinders?

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