Updated: Jan 31
The weekend of November 18-20th, around 50 young adults came together for the annual Compass Fall Retreat. As a light snowfall fell as retreat attendees arrived for check-in, they were greeted with a roaring fire in the main space to keep the room warm as the retreat began. The retreat took place at Camp Shiloh in Hewitt, NJ for the second year in a row. Camp Shiloh provided an inviting, warm and peaceful environment - perfect for a retreat weekend away.
The retreat's focus was on the Beatitudes. Over the course of the weekend, the group heard five talks, an opening talk Friday night giving an introduction and overview of the Beatitudes and the four to follow zoomed in on four of the eight beatitudes. The talks were impactful and all posed questions to ponder and pray through. There were also powerful and prayerful times of worship, small groups & personal prayer as well as time for people to socialize and get to know one another. Overall, it was a very blessed weekend and the Lord worked in power.
Read on for two sharings from Compass members who attended the retreat.
Sharing from Steve The Compass retreat this year was a welcome respite. In the months leading up to it I had been experiencing a feeling of apathy towards my faith and the practice of it. I was very involved with SPO and had really pursued my faith in college and now I was home living with my parents working a job that felt like a dead end. I continued to pray but I think that in some way I had grown to believe that the Lord had stopped listening. I found myself unfocused in mass and just waiting for it to be over. I had absolutely no desire to go on this retreat. None whatsoever. I was concerned about the lack of sleep and how useless I was going to be at work on Monday but more than that I didn’t want to go because I was certain nothing was going to happen. Nothing had happened in a long time, why would this one weekend in November be any different. I was dragging my feet about going and was very nearly late to the start of it.
The first talk of the retreat was the one that stood out the most to me. The talk which was given by Joe Buganski and was about mercy. The part that stood out to me most prominently was something along the lines of we can’t give mercy to others if we aren’t merciful with ourselves. I was floored when I heard this. For a year and a half, I had been beating myself up feeling as though I was less because I wasn’t where I thought I should be. I remember sitting and reflecting on that for the remainder of the weekend just wondering how I could change this?
Since the retreat I have felt a deep sense of peace and calm. It was as though my general apathy had been replaced with a serene feeling. In the weeks since this feeling has not diminished significantly and has flowed into other areas of my life. I don’t feel dejected and indifferent anymore, I don’t feel as though I have failed at what it is I should be doing. I suppose the biggest thing that I took away from the retreat was a lasting feeling of peace and cheer.
Sharing from Halie
It’s been a while since I fully entered into a weekend, being able to be both physically and mentally present, yet I was able to achieve this at this year’s Compass Retreat. I managed to sign up and get there which, though seemingly simple, was something I wasn’t able to bring myself to do last year, so that felt like a huge accomplishment to me. The ability to be completely mentally present feels impossible to me- to have no distractions, no brain fog, and no dissociating - yet God made it happen. I cannot begin to explain how freeing that weekend was.
I got to run in the snow with my new friends in complete full-bodied laughter. I praised and worshiped with a vigor I haven’t experienced in so long. The talks have prompted me to take stock of my own heart and assess what it is I cherish. Do I see God in my joys and in my struggles? Am I opening my eyes to his workings around me, in other people, and in my own life? Am I treating myself the way God would- with mercy and with grace? Do I view myself and my life the way God does? Am I striving to live out the beatitudes and attain holiness? Do I really want to get heaven?
There was so much to take away from the weekend, but the part that sticks with me the most was how it felt to be there. To be a part of a people and not feel alone. A lot of the truths that I had been struggling with recently were clearly experienced that weekend. It went beyond simple fellowship; the only word that I can grasp to convey how I felt is “kindred”. It felt like family, which was not how I had viewed Compass before. It’s just occurring to me now, as I sit here writing this, that God may want me to start making that shift. To start viewing the members of Compass as more than just my friends and allow them to be my family.
So, there was a lot to unpack and, clearly, I still am. The taste of true freedom from that weekend is one that I hope to remember and call upon when I need it. Living out the beatitudes isn’t easy nor is it passive. We are called to a life of action, one that requires us to pray and call on God as it is not possible to do alone. He gave us Himself and He gave us our families, those both given and chosen, so that we may always have someone by our side. I pray that we remember this today, and every day, as we strive for a deeper relationship with Him. Amen.