“in thee, O Lord, have i hoped.”
i spent 3 days in sacred silence, in the holy presence of God. and the gifts i’ve received were plenty. my spiritual director led me towards gratitude- what i’m grateful for, for the past one year. with this in mind i spent time reflecting, meditating before the Eucharist, and was able to put into words 3 “things” i’ve been grateful for. (because there were too many, i grouped them into 3 themes. here goes!
1. Encountering God through people
i am grateful for the people in my life, and how God works in them and through them, and how they’ve been Christ-like to me. dynamics with my family have changed, and my parents have been trying to be more understanding and empathic towards me. though they may have slipped away from the Church, and though i pray for them to come home to God, i still see God working in them to help them help me in my recovery. i am also grateful to my friends and everyone in Sinners (my community). the past year has been extremely different, as i struggle in journey towards wellness and/or recovery. they made all the difference when they lent their listening ears, when they shared my burdens, when they lifted me up when i was down, and when they prayed for me unceasingly. for this i’m extremely grateful and edified!!!
2. “Weak made strong”
i am grateful for all that i’ve gone through the past year. not expecting that the year would be “that bad”, i am grateful that through the times i fell, i picked myself up again and again. of course it wasn’t by my own merit, but it was through the grace of God. in the times i’ve been self-destructive, and needing to go for surgery (so many damn times this year!), i came out of it with new insights. therapy has also gotten inexplicably better in the past year, after years of trying to tear the wall down between my therapist and i. he has empowered me with so much knowledge about why i am the way i am. my team of doctors and healthcare professionals have also been most supportive of me. the willing and intentional hearts they have treating me gladdens me so much. especially when i’m pretty much a “gone case”, and they have yet to give up on me! bit by bit i’m getting stronger, and little by little i find strength when i am fallen and weakest. “Weak made strong” was inspired by the bible verse:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
3. Unmerited gifts from God
i’ve grown immensely in my faith, since returning to Church. i have also become more aware of what God blesses me with. love. faith. hope. joy. grace. mercy. forgiveness. acceptance. surrender. in different times of the year, God shows His love for me as is child, by giving me these gifts. at times, He simply strengthens the gifts, so that i may be made more aware. i’ve learnt so much about love. being loved, and loving others. i’ve felt deeply, though fleeting at times, hope that God grants me. hope that things will be better, for myself, for the people around me, for the world. i’ve been able to experience joy, despite the depression and chronic illnesses. i’ve received so much grace and mercy, in good times and bad. i’ve learnt better, to forgive, and to ask for forgiveness. i’ve witnessed acceptance, despite the multitude of rejections i face. i’ve learnt to surrender more and more, everyday, giving offering it all up to God. and in all of these, i experience faith in my Maker. and how He is unfailing and unceasing. relentless in His love for me. all of these, unmerited!!! how great is our God!!!
i didn’t know what i wanted out of the retreat, and what should be expecting. i only knew that in the spiritual drought i faced, i needed to spend alone time with God. with the help of my spiritual director, i have been made aware of my inner desires.
i thirst for God, and His graces. it’s that simple, but at the same time it’s tough to seek God in every moment of my life.
fiat. let it be done! i also long to say yes, just like how Mother Mary said yes to God. doubts may come my way, but i have to always choose to turn to God, and say yes to whatever He wills.
post-retreat is always the toughest. integrating what i’ve received during the retreat into my daily life, seems like an insurmountable task. but i will try. i will ask God to give me the strength and grace, to always thirst for Him, and to always so yes.
i can and i will!!!