Chapter 9: Sent Forth
“Prayer is about action - not just God’s action, but yours and mine” (pg 104).
This last weekend I went to Cloisters on the Platte retreat center in Gretna, NE. Thursday evening we began, and we were sent forth on Sunday afternoon. (If you haven’t heard about Cloisters, check it out, and then sign up for your retreat today!)
As with most retreats, you arrive and are handed a schedule, yet God often has other plans for us within the retreat!
Saturday afternoon I watched as the snow removal vehicles were driving around in circles trying to keep up with the falling snow. Due to the blizzard conditions, and the fact they were no longer able to stay ahead of the snow, we had to cancel the evening events, enjoy an early dinner and return to our lodges to hunker down for the storm. Once I was back in my lodge I sat and watched the snow. There were moments that it was coming down so beautifully and moments when the 50+ mph winds were fiercely blowing it everywhere. Before the storm began the snow was ankle deep on the deck, by morning the arm rest of the chairs were partially buried under the blanket of snow!
While watching this Jesus and I talked about the events of my life over the last year, the beauty and the storm. I contemplated the gift of consolation - the increase and growth in my life of faith - even in the face of the powerful storm that could have blown me down and buried me under some powerful negative emotions! I have not only survived the storm, but I have grown stronger because of it! The prayer the author speaks of is one I pray more and more regularly!
“Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
My memory, my understanding,
And my entire will.
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
That is enough for me” (pg 105)
ALL that I have is yours! What a powerful thought - everything is God’s and I offer it back to Him! God gives me what I need to get through anything.
I have been working with a group of women on discerning their Spiritual gifts. A charism, or spiritual gift, is something given to us by God that is not meant for self, but is meant for the community. What a thought, the only way to use this gift is not to keep it, but to give it away! As we find our gifts and share them with others we find the more, the next right step, the greater yes!
As we were sent forth from retreat on Sunday, and as I sit in a hotel room in Omaha on Monday afternoon (yep, that’s as far as we could make it due to the road conditions!) I ponder... where is God calling me to action. This year I’ve been working on knowing my spiritual gifts and how I live them out in my life. When I am making choices that go along with my gifts there is great peace and consolation - even when it’s not easy. My greatest desire is to bring others closer to God, so I hope and pray that my actions are in line with that desire. Strangely, in the last few months I’m sensing a new desire being placed within my heart, a desire to share myself and my story in writing to encourage others who are going through storms! This is something I continue to discern!
Where is God calling you to action? Take time to discern. The steps of discernment as she lays them out are perfect! Practice them often to find where God is calling you!
Patty Mayer, Director of Adult Faith Formation
My reflections based on the book: “Busy Lives & Restless Souls: How Prayer Can Help You Find the Missing Peace in Your Life” by Becky Eldredge given out to OLIH parishioners at Christmas 2018