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Category Archives: Retreat Experience

Faith

Yesterday evening I went to an evening retreat to kick off the Year of Faith with Regnum Christi.  I was invited by someone who saw me going to mass everyday and happened to walk out of mass at the same time as me.  There was a speaker, Lucy Honner, who I found very interesting as she spoke about faith and what the Holy Father says about it.  I even got some notes from it!  She took the word ‘faith’ and broke it to five different sections on what faith must be.  I will share with you what I came back with.  The notes were chicken scratch…perhaps they will make sense to you!

F – Firm Foundation

Faith the rock of my life.

Faith my guiding principle.

Don’t just know and believe in Jesus, believe in His message.

Read Hebrews 11.

Actions of faith must be done with more intent.

Be and sustain.

Faith must become firmer and stronger.

A – Alive and Active

Faith is not passive and for ourselves only.

Gift from God, share and proclaim.

Faith evolves and grows, we must maintain it.

Keep the faith real.

Must leave an impression to others of my witness of faith.

I – Informed

Need exact knowledge of the faith.

Don’t be satisfied with limited information.

Pay attention to the content of our faith.

Remain up to date with realities of faith.

It is hard work, it costs, but opens outr minds.

receive and integrate.

T – Tested and Trialed

Faith is a gift to us, but we will be tested.

Can’t just make faith happen with good intent and good deeds.

Acceptance of ordinary things.

Embracing persecutions.

Read James 1.

Letting go, open to grace.

H – Heroic

Must be a hero of the faith.

World needs witnesses.

Be unafraid to stand up and stand out.

Risk and sacrifice own life knowing God’s presence and that He has a plan.

Faith is assurance of things hoped for.

Often times can be uncomfortable.

Be heroic in the way we pray.

Be heroic in ordinary ways.

Be heroic in relationships with others.

Be heroic in humility.

Be heroic in forgiveness.

Be heroic in the way we are called to serve.

Our creed is a summons and a charge to us.  It is like a national anthem

I hope you can find something that strikes your being in these notes.  I know they are not the best, but it is more than I usually get.  For reading on the Year of Faith, check out the Pope’s Apostolic Letter on the Year of Faith.  It will be good reading I am sure!

So, is your faith as strong and informed as it could be?  What will you do in this year of faith to strengthen yourself in our Lord?

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2012 in Inner Reflection, Retreat Experience

 

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O Come Emmanuel…A Video to Make you Think…

Part two of videos used on the (mostly) 5th grade retreat.

One of the girls, after having played it a couple of times in a row, asked if me if I could play a different one while they reflected because it was making her cry.  It touched my heart.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Retreat Experience, Videos

 

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Advent Conspirancy

Part one of videos used on the (mostly) 5th grade retreat.

Check out this webpage if you liked the video.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2011 in Retreat Experience, Videos

 

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Blessings of the Day

Today I was blessed with some wonderful moments between a mini-congress and a fiesta.  Here are the tidbits, then I shall be back to my new posting style! 😛

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The first session I went to was about the Trinity.  There were so many amazing insights.  Many of the things I have heard and learned before.  The thing was, I was intrigued for a full hour and a half.

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The second session I went to was Moving in God’s Grace.  It was about movement ministry.  We talked about all aspects of it and learned some movement to the Lord’s Prayer as well as “God Is” by Danielle Rose. 

The beauty of moving to “God Is” is that they only taught us the refrain and first verse.  The six of us attending were split in two groups.  My group got the second verse and the other group got the last.  Once we were done, we danced the entire song.  When is was the part that we did not do, we watched with are arms open.  At the end of the dance, I was shaking.  When my group did ours, one of the presenters was crying.  For those that know me, maybe I will do the dance for you sometime.

It is such a prayer, the movement ministry.  It is not dancers dancing in a show or trying to do something beyond their capabilities.  It is using the talent you have to add to a prayer moment.  If you are a more skilled dancer, there will be more involved.  If not, simplicity is just as well. 

During the session and when it was over, I was beaming.  Dancing is such a part of me that I cannot go with out.  It moves me, as does music.  I love it and pray I will always have it.

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The third session was one that was media based.  There was more that could have been done with the use of media and talked about in that realm.  Despite that, we did a couple of scripture skits that reminded me of the retreats I have done in the past.  They we fun and funny. I enjoyed them.

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At the fiesta, dancers from a studio performed.  None of the classes were beyond middle school age.  It was wonderful to see them, but sad because I miss dancing so much.  They did real well.

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There was a first grader that I see every day at lunch, as I am with them when they eat, and her parents near where I was at one point during the festival.  The girl and I ended up dancing together.  It was so much fun and she was enjoying herself very much!  I must say I was enjoying it as well.  It was a good end to my night before coming back to the house.

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These were many blessings that I was lucky to get today in a time when I think I really needed to have them.  Thank you Lord.  If you keep yourself open, you never know what can happen!

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2011 in Dance, Inner Reflection, Retreat Experience

 

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Praise God for Joyful Noise!

Praise God for the wonderful day Saturday!  I spent my whole day surrounded by God, not that I don’t usually, but in a different not as common way.  Starting the day with mass as always, it was a great beginning to my day.  I have been a little shaken the couple of days prior.  This time while at mass, I was able to be more at peace.  My routine for daily mass involves praying the prayers as we normally do in the morning with the sisters. From there, I went home and got ready leave the house.  Where did I go next?  To spend all day at the Joyful Noise Family Fest with my parents and little sisters!

How did this come about, well let me tell you.  Angie (youth minister at my parish) had pointed it out to me when I went to go visit her.  She said she was thinking about going and knew I liked some of the bands that were going to be there.  I asked if I could go with her, so all we had to do then is make sure we could both go.  When I brought it up at first to my parents, they were not sure for whatever reason.  It might have been price.  Mom, on one of her websites the gives discounts to lots of things, came across by chance a 50% off price to the tickets to go.  I call and let Angie know.  Dad later says that we can all go; my brother opts to stay home.  The day following that, I went to see Angie after mass to tell her.  I find out that she is not going.  It is now me and most my family.  I find it weird how that worked out, since I would have not even thought of it if not for her.

So, when I got back from mass on Saturday, I got changed and ready to go.  We left the house around 10:00am and arrived around 10:30am.  There were tons of kids stuff going on; it was all the blow-up bouncing things you could care to ever play in, including a rock wall and a bungy thing.  The girls (just out of 2nd and 5th grade) were in heaven.  Music started when the gates opened at 10:00am.  I did the bungy thing, it was a blast (even though at first I did not want to for some odd reason).  Throughout the morning and afternoon we would go back to our “base camp” that we set up on the field where we would sit for all the artists and bands playing all day (we got a decent spot) to sit for a bit and eat something or just rest.  They girls definitely had a blast with all the stuff they had set up there.

On the flip side, the concert.  That was the part I wanted to be there for the most.  All the artists were really good and led beautiful praise and worship in their unique ways.  Go Fish was there; they are more of kids band.  The girls seemed to like them, though it was pulling teeth to get them to dance.  We ended up getting three of their CDs for them.  I hope they will listen to them often.  When it came time for the last three artists/bands, they did participate a bit more in dancing with the music.  It was amazing and beautiful.  I stood through much of those last three, definitely standing through all of Casting Crowns (closers).  It that, I dance with both of the girls.  I even stood with one in front of me, my arms around her, swaying during one of the slower songs.  There is also a picture with dad and the girls raising their arms in praise as the artist who was up there told everyone to do.  One of the girls told me on the way out that she liked Casting Crowns.  That made me smile big since they are my favorite!

Now at home, looking back on that day.  It was something I never would have expected for some reason.  Between the games and the music, especially the music, the day was great.  Being able to enjoy the music I love while dancing and swaying and fooling around with my little sisters was a blessing that came from nowhere.  Then again, it must have come from God.  I thank Him for that time there.  It also happened to come at a time when I really needed to be energized by a large group of people praising and worshiping with some of the best leaders of it around.  It inspired me again and brought me some new life.  Praise God!

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Random Things, Retreat Experience

 

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Silence for a Day!?

Contrary to what some may say, it is possible.  I did catch a couple whispering throughout and there were a couple of moments I found it completely necessary to speak.  That being said, Good Friday was a day were I went though so may different emotions.  As I look back at my journal, it is filled with an abundance of writings…and I don’t exaggerate on the word abundance.  From my journaling, I recall the day.

We did not have to be anywhere until nine in the morning.  It was a wonderful thing indeed!  After prayers and grabbing something to eat, one of the sisters and I headed up the hill to the cemetery.  You see, we are not allowed to go up there alone because of an apparent bear issue (that we have yet to hear about since the mention).  Our animator was kind in letting me go if someone came with.  Yay!

When we met to go up, this sister asked me if I would like to pray the rosary.  We made it through the second decade when we hit the cemetery.  Standing in the cemetery praying the third decade, we both glanced over all the names of the sisters resting in peace there.  It has been a little tradition of mine I started on my first visit there.  This time, I stopped and took a special look at Sr. Rose McShane’s stone on the wall.  This in honor of a special friend of mine who would visit her often.  Finishing the third decade, we turned to head back down to the house. 

The walk up there was wonderful and what I really needed at that moment.  There is complete peace up there and it leaves this beautiful feeling in me.  Walking along with the sister, I felt at home.  Admist that, my mind was all over pondering my vocation.  The walk to the cemetery was awesome.

During the silent retreat part of the day, I wrote in my journal and read.  That was about it with the exception of a nap.  My lunch was a wonderful roll and an apple.  It was very delicious. 

 For awhile now, I have been praying that Jesus would transform me (maybe two months or so) to how He wishes me to be.  When I went down the hill for the Good Friday Service, this was all I could pray as I reflected on my life, most especially since entering.  The service, as was the prior one, was good.  Again, I missed involvement with music.  At my parish as well, the choir I was involved with did the Good Friday mass.  Despite that, it was good to again be surrounded by the sisters.

We had the stations of the cross up the hill in our chapel with our community.  My prayer in that was simply to have Jesus bring me on His journey.  To have Him reach my heart and fill my soul with His love was what I had wanted.

That evening, we had a chance to go to a Tenebrae.  I am not sure I had gone to one before, though I have gone to something similar at Christmas.  One sister and a companion of mine were the only ones to go.  It was a good chance to reflect on the scriptures and through music. At the beginning we were all to take a nail.  When we went up to venerate the cross, we dropped the nail into a basket at the foot of the cross.  It was a powerful symbol to me.  So many things came across my mind in staring at that one nail. 

At the end of the day, I thanked Jesus over and over for all the opportunities I had to be with Him in special ways throughout the day.  Who ever knew a silent retreat could be so loudly fruitful?

 

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Church Hopping

I know that I am traveling a little ways back, but life has finally granted me a moment to catch up with everything I wanted to blog about, at least some of it.  So, here is some of that I wanted to share.  Some of it is taken directly from my journal, some is written now reflecting back.  I do apologize for the longer than normal post, please still read it!

To start off Holy Thursday festivities, the school had a prayer service before the half day dismissal.  As a part of it, there was a dance at the end to “Footprints in the Sand,” by Leona Lewis.  We danced to the first two and a half minutes or so.  It was really good to dance again, and it was not just easy stuff.  I was with two sophomores, one of which choreographed the dance.  Dancing for God was wonderful.  While I was not even close to perfect, I did the best I could.  Here is the song.  Remember, we only went to about two and a half minutes in the dance, but the rest of the song is good too!

That evening we went down the hill to the Provincial House for the Holy Thursday services.  It was odd not being a part of the music in some way or the other.  I blame anyone.  I know there was a better chance of a [former] companion of mine was there.  Let me say though, I say with all that I had with her voice in the back of my head.  I did enjoy being surrounded by the sisters, it was a wonderful family to be with then. 

I have some quotes from the priest who presided over the mass.  They stuck out to me as her was giving the homily.  I wish I would have caught more of it on paper.

We were called not because we were ready, but because we are willing.

We know we are not perfect, but we are willing.

You know what devil, get lost.

After the service, a handful of us climbed into the seven passenger van around eight pm to start the church hopping adventure.  For those of you who don’t know the tradition (and I just learned, so my explanation is a little meh), this is what I am able to explain.  In order to stay awake with Jesus, unlike the disciples who fell asleep and did not keep watch, you travel from church to church visiting Jesus in all the chapels before He is reposed to a special place until the Easter Vigil.  We went to a total of eight stops between leaving at eight and arriving at the last just before midnight.  It was just after midnight when we got back home.  The following in italics is from my journal, written that night.

Stop 1: Oh Jesus, bring me to my knees in adoration of you.  I love you.  Here I wish to pray for Jen and all her intentions.  She is very precious to me.  Be with her.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 2: Oh Jesus, give me humility in adoration of you.  I love you.  This stop is for my parents.  Watch over them, keep them close.  Be with them.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 3: Oh Jesus, give me prudence in adoration of you.  I love you.  I pray for Renate wherever she may be.  Bring her back to you and keep her safe.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 4:  Oh Jesus, give me wisdom in adoration of you.  I love you.  Watch over Matthew, Molly, and Abby.  Help them to never stray from you and to have a stong relationship with you.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 5: Oh Jesus, grant me courage in adoration of you.  I love you.  I pray for my Marianist Family, that they are always faithful to their charism.  Keep them in my heart.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 6: Oh Jesus, bring my to understanding in adoration of you.  I love you.  Shower your love on Priyanka as she grows up.  Show her your love and care that she may follow you.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 7: Oh Jesus, help me to love fully in adoration of you.  I love you.  Protect all my close friends.  Keep them close to you.  Let them know all the good they have done, especially for me.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

Stop 8: Oh Jesus, give me patience in adoration of you.  I love you.  I pray for me grandparents.  Let them know how much they are blessings in this world.  Grant them everlasting peace.  Oh Jesus, transform me.

“silently, peacefully, we will rest in you, Lord.”

Home/Bed: Thank you Lord, for the time spent with you.  I pray that these words of mine make it up to you.  All this I do and ask for the sake of my vocation.  It is in you and your Father that I must put all my trust.  What else could there even possibly be?  Jesus allow me to sit at your table so that I continue to learn from you in the way you are with your disciples.  Keep in my heart the experience tonight.  Thank you for everything you have done in my life.

It was amazing to see Jesus in all the different churches in the area.  I am blessed to be here and I cannot wait to share this experience.  Peace.

 

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Mass to Cemetary to Adoration

Today was a day of a few good things.  For me, this was great since the last week has been a little harder.  Mass this morning was a success.  We had the little aspirant band plus a sister.  My musical fellow companion has really got me to enjoy playing at mass again.  We work real well together.  I always wonder if she knows how much I look up to her; also how much I want to make sure she is alright and like to take care of her if she needs anything.  Needless to say, mass was wonderful and she is amazing.

We had a half day silent retreat today.  What that means for us is going about the afternoon how we choose, but in silence.  I started my bit, after we all prayed the visit together, with a walk.  I wandered my way up to the cemetery, where I love to go to just be, think, ponder, reflect, and such things.  I sat on the ground at the foot of the cross part of the graves in the wall.  Leaning against the wall, it was an interesting feeling to know that the bodies of many sisters lay behind me in there, as well as in the ground in front of me on either side of the little path.  As I was journaling, this is the poem that came to me.

Past Sisters at my Side

Among past sisters I sit

Praying the best I have

For much wisdom lays here

In this holy ground forgotten

Maybe they will hear my cry

The tears shed in this place

In comfort myself let loose

To those who will to me listen

So I come here and pray

That they are with my Lord

Enjoying paradise in heaven

Laughing, talking with Jesus

I ask always for intercession

To guard and protect this soul

Throughout each and every day

For they too, have their stories

Perhaps just like my very own

That they may understand

Sitting with them here, now

I pray they see who I am

That they may help me to see

To become that special person

In their comfort I do give

All of myself to God’s will

As I leave their resting place

I pray they are at my side

It was very good to be up there in the cemetery.  When I got back down, I curled up in another aspirant’s really comfy and warm blanket until adoration.

At adoration tonight, I got to do the exposition and reposition, as I had written about yesterday when I learned how to do it.  There was something different I felt in me, even though most of me felt the same.  It was what I needed at this time and I could not have asked for better timing to be asked to do it tonight.  Thank you Jesus for giving me the chance to share you with this community.

 

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NYC – full of walking and life!

Oh what a glorious couple of days that I have had!  In addition to the wonderfulness that I spoke about having on Friday, yesterday (Saturday) was just as wonderful.  After mass and prayers in the morning we had breakfast and chores as per normal.  All morning I did some cleaning and some homework and some reading.  It was beautiful.  Following lunch, around 1:45pm, most of us aspirants headed out to NYC.  We parked near the church we were ending the day at then hike our way to the Great Lawn of Central Park.  There I was able to meet up with my friend Wessa (as we called her in college, being that ther were lots of people with her name).  The others seemed to enjoy her company, so that was great.  Dinner consisted of meeting up withteh other aspirants, and sisters, for chinese food.  From there, I bid farewell to my friend. 

When we were done eating, we head to Catholic Undeground.  Let me tell you, it was amazing!  The night consisted of music, adoration, night prayer, and fellowship.  We did not stay the entire time, but rather we left early.  That part was sad, but then we got to have ice cream.

So, while in prayers and adoration, I came up with three sets of lyrics.  I am going to post them in three seperate posts so that they are more open to comments.  There was something that I realized when I was in the church praying.  Outside there is a lot of hustle and bustle.  People are going, cars are speeding by, life is moving at warps speeds.  Then, you take a step into the church and everything stops, focusing on the one things that is truely important in our lives, Jesus present amoung us.  A retreat that is so powerful.  That is simply amazing.

 
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Posted by on October 3, 2010 in Retreat Experience

 

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Light the Fire of Love Flowing Within our Blood

Today was a day of many lessons, or more so the same couple of lessons, tossed my way.  With the situation of the sprained ankle, I have had to step back quite a bit to take care of it, against my own will of wanting to be a part of everything in the usual way that I am. 

Side note: I just got back from being outside for the second time because of fire alarms with no fire.  I must say…it is annoying and gives one a headache.  I had a profound thought to give you all, and it is gone. End side note.

During the afternoon, it was our once a month half day retreat.  Being as I was restricted to what I should do with a bum ankle, I spent it all in the community room with it elevated, icing on and off.

The first thing I did was sort through saint cards in this box (for those of you from RB TEC, the ones you put on the TECite tables for them to sift through).  They were all out of order, so I put them in the right order so it would be easier to find the ones you would want to look at.  As I was doing this little task, it dawned on me once again how that there are so many people that we as Catholics have to look up too and who are interceding for us.  I said a simple prayer that all the saints may intercede for me these days, one special intention for the healing of my ankle, as well as one for my vocation.

After some readjusting and changing of ice packs, I settled down to some paper, crayons, and a pencil.  This is what happened with that.  I will explain the picture after I show it.  Please make you own interpretations of it before reading on.  Because I took a photo of the picture, you may not see all aspects.  Following is the poem I wrote after having drawn the picture.

This is what I was thinking of this as I was drawing it, take is for what it is worth given the artist who has done it (that would be me).

The above images are the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Below are the different people of the world, different represented by the different colors.  The red of the cross is shown in every other image.  You can not see it so much in the people being as they are so small in the image.  There is indeed the red color, blood, in each of the symbols there. 

Blood is the Color of Love

Blood is the color of love

It dwells withing us each

Beating in the dark depths

It shows itself the same

For we are all love as one

Agape, source of being

Gift of love in our hearts

Flowing blood visibly seen

Freely given from ultimate love

That happy gloomy day

Upon the cross did love die

So that we might always live

Rush of blood to keep alive

Sacrifice of life to love

For in the Trinity blest

Blood is the color of love

With this as my closing, I hope that you have taken something from me that can lead you into prayer and reflection in your own way on what love truly is.  Sometimes we do not see it when it is even right in front of us clear as day.  Peace and prayers to you all.

 

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