Friends In Christ:
No human words can explain the experience I just had during my eight day silent retreat. I wish there was some way with all of the technology capabilities to capture and express how on fire my heart is for the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Please permit me at least a feeble attempt to capture for you the essence of my experience on this retreat. Picture this, in the house where I stayed for 8 days there was one bedroom downstairs and four upstairs. My room was upstairs and at the backside of the house. Immediately adjacent to my room was a chapel. In the chapel was a tabernacle and in the tabernacle was a consecrated host, for me as a Catholic, the physical Body of Christ. For my non Catholic readers, imagine as an old testament Jew being granted by God, permission to stay in the Holy of Holies with the Arc of the Covenant and the Bread of the Presence present for eight days. John 6: 48-51 For my Catholic readers picture the fact that the tabernacle was less than 5 feet from where my pillow was on my bed, just on the other side of the wall separating my room from the chapel. Essentially I had the blessing of spending 192 hours of perpetual adoration. Being in the presence of Christ in His physical presence for a Catholic, is like being at the Transfiguration, foot of the cross, at the open tomb of the Risen Savior and present at Christ Ascention into Heaven, to be with the Father all at the same time.
I slept, read, knelt, and sat, prayed and cried for hours with our God. I felt like I spent eight days at the gates of heaven.
For those of you who prayed for me during this time, I thank you. For everyone reading this please know I spent hours in prayer and in those prayers I remembered you before the Lord. To the best of my ability I actually prayed your names as I knelt before the physical presence of the Lord in the chapel. I prayed that He would hear and answer those prayers that are on your heart.
I truly realize how blessed I am for having had an opportunity to spend eight full days away from the world in a stunningly beautiful location in full silence. Life is such, that for many of you, it may never be possible to get away from the "ordinary" of every day life for eight days of solitude with God. Recognizing the unique blessing that I was given I prayed intently for each of you who may never have this experience. I prayed that my time here in silence would be your time as well.
Imagine, eight full days of silence. Well the silence was only one-way silence. God was not silent! He revealed Himself to me and He spoke volumes. I could not possibly capture in writing all He had to say. He had waited patiently for 54 years for me to be quiet long enough for Him to tell me all He had to say.
Remember your first night on your Cursillo weekend or one of the other 3 day experiences when you spent the night in silence. Remember how powerful that was when you had that personal encounter with Christ and with yourself. Well during those eight days I attended mass everyday, I prayed the rosary and Divine Chaplet and the Stations of the Cross as frequently as I could. But more than anything, I was silent. I spent eight days with five other men sharing a retreat house and yet no words were spoken. I spent countless hours before the presence of the Lord, both sitting and kneeling quietly and allowing him to speak. I spent early morning hours at 3:30am and 1:00am in solitude with the Creator of all that is and He spoke with me. Again I only regret that I cannot in human words convey to you the depth of their experience nor the degree to which my heart is on fire.
There is so much wisdom in Cursillo and the other movements. We have been given the tool of weekly Friendship Group Reunion. This tool allows us to share with others our progress in our own personal continuous conversations as well as to share our attempts of bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to others.
How good is the Good News? In order to fully know the depth of the Good News we are called to a life of prayer and study. I would rather say we are called to spend our life communicating with God and to communicate it requires allowing God to speak too. Then we are called to study which translates into getting to know Him better. I truly came to know the Lord better during my silence.
I implore each of you that in addition to spending time reading God's word everyday in the Bible, you also set a time of silence so that you can actually hear God speak to you rather than just reading His words. He has so much to say!
Then as we come to really know him in piety and study, we can't help but share what we have. I am overflowing and on fire from coming to know Him better. I pray that as each of you come to know Jesus through prayer, study and silence you will be on fire too. The world is hungry for Jesus and His saving grace!
In Cursillo we say "Make a friend, be a friend, bring a friend to Christ." Le me finish by quoting how Paul says it. In the NAB the translation uses the word Reconcile but in the Today's English Version the translation says Friends.
"All this is done by God, who through Christ changed us from enemies into his friends and gave us the task of making others his friends also. Our message is that God was making all human beings his friends trough Christ." 2 Cor. 5: 16-21
In silence God can reveal who we really are now so that He can then in silence reveal who He really calls us to be. Then as we know Him better, we can embrace His calling in our lives, we can be His friend and bring new friends to Him as well.
- Do you allow God adequate time to speak to you?
- Could you designate time, even if just 10 minutes each day to sit or kneel quietly and invite God to speak with you?
- He longs to be your friend, can you invite Him over for a conversation today?