Always More: A Men's Retreat Sharing
I experienced the Men’s Retreat as a beautiful invitation to be open to “the more” that God has for me. The Lord does not force Himself on us, but rather, He gently invites us to know “the more” of His Fatherly love and the life He wants for us. Yes, there are “mountains” of pride and resistance in me that need to be “made low” but also “valleys” of the yearnings of my heart need to “filled” (Luke 3:5) by Him so that a highway of His love and life go beyond where I am.
Since the retreat, I find there is a renewed openness to seek “the more.” I find this moving me further from distractions and towards a greater appreciation and awareness of the multitude of ways the Lord is striving to reveal His love to me. It seems to start at the beginning of my day with an eagerness to discover what my Father has in store in the next few hours of waking time He has given me. I am grateful for His presence that I experience in prayer, the sacraments, the bonds of marital and family love, Christian music, the beauty of nature, the innocence of children, in community relationships, and in the poor. Beyond this awareness, I find that the receiving of the Father’s (agape) love is not an end in and of itself, but that it grows when it is given away to others. What’s obvious is that I’m not the only one yearning to experience “the more” of God’s love and life; every child of God is wired to want to receive it too. Said another way, I feel that I’m growing in the conviction that I need to be more consistently in a position to receive God’s love so that He can use me to reveal His personal, unconditional love to others He puts in my path. One practical means of expressing this love towards others is through genuine, Spirit-led, “in the moment”, expressions of love, encouragement and affirmation. Jesus was a master at this. In the Gospels, He seemed to be on the lookout for evidence of what the Kingdom of God looks like and where the glory of God was being revealed. And when He saw it, He pointed it out right then and there; He didn’t wait for someone’s baptismal day to arrive.
A few examples that come to mind are when Jesus marveled at the faith of the Centurion (Lk 7:1-10) and the Canaanite woman (Mt 15:21-28); He praised the extravagant love of the repentant woman who washed His feet with her tears (Lk 7:36-50); and He rejoiced in the Holy Spirit upon hearing of the glory of God revealed during His disciples first “training” mission, exclaiming “I praise you Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for what you have hidden from the learned and clever you have revealed to the merest of children” (Lk 10:21-22).
Perhaps with a little more Spirit-led awareness and boldness, I can be a better channel of God’s love to others so that they too can get a glimpse of the Father’s love and encouragement that they are yearning for.
- Jim, Anchor Member
Freedom in Christ: A Women's Retreat Sharing
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Victoria. I am a member of Compass and attended the Women’s Retreat in September. This was my first women’s retreat with the larger community and I am thankful that I was able to attend!
The title/theme of the retreat was Freedom in Christ. The first talk affirmed that there is freedom in Christ! The big question was: What do I need freedom from? The second was Entering into Freedom. Thus, by doing so we don’t place our hope in life circumstances but we place our hope in the Lord! The last talk was Freedom for what Purpose. It reminded us that we are free so we can share our freedom/God’s word with others. Thank you Sue for the retreat!
This retreat allowed me to rest in the Lord after a busy week and a stressful day trying to get everything done so I could attend the retreat (it was well worth it). It offered me time to pray, learn, sit in the Lord’s presence, and be present without having to think about where I am going next or what I am doing next. It also reminded me about the importance of decisiveness. Part of being free is making decisions. Sometimes we are so afraid of making the wrong decision that we don’t make a decision. There was a decision I had to make and had been praying about it for weeks but I was unsure of what the outcome would be so I didn’t make a decision. The retreat helped encourage me to make a decision and trust that the Lord is with me. So far everything has turned out okay!
- Victoria, Compass Member