I was able to spend the last month of being 23 years old, alone with God, letting Him probe my heart and draw me deeper into Himself.
My month-long spiritual exercises started May 27th and ended June 26th, my 24th birthday. They were here in Castel di Guido, Rome, where I am for the summer with 23 other Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, who have been consecrated between 6-9 years, and are preparing for final vows like me and/or deeply integrating and deepening in our vocation.
It’s amazing how much he was able to do in a short amount of time.
Some might argue that a month of silent retreat isn’t a short amount of time. But for all the grace that He poured out into my heart, I think it is.
And I remembering and pondering all the graces I experienced, it’s overwhelmingly humbling to realize how much God loves me- how much He invests in me- whether it’s evident to me or not.
The Psalm “remember me only in light of your love” (Psalm 26:7) summarizes my experience of these spiritual exercises. My month with him was a journey of seeing with His eyes, listening for His voice, and being loved by and learning to love with the love of His Heart.
Immersed in the Present Moment. Literally, I lived one day at a time- each day, each block in the schedule consciously and fully immersed in it, whether it was snack, meditation, or bike ride. Otherwise, I knew I would go crazy or get anxious, so lived as if I only had “today” and what was right in front of me. And that’s where God is: in the present.
Light. We spent 4 hours of meditation a day in front of the Eucharist. The Eucharistic Heart of Jesus, exposed in the monstrance, was an outpouring of grace and mercy. In different moments of dryness or struggle, I would just “park” there and just ask Him to please fill me: to empty me of myself and fill me with Him. Through the inner processes of conversion, healing, and surrender He led me through, His work was always accompanied by light; light is both gentle and strong. Light penetrates and lightens darkness. Light brings joy.
Alabaster Jar. Luke 7:36 became my passage: when a woman comes and breaks her alabaster jar at the feet of Jesus. It was a passage that kept returning throughout the month and became both a filter for my prayer and for past experiences God brought me back to. She poured it ALL out- and demonstrated her love, as little and fragile as it was, to the best of her capacity to Jesus.
Mercy. Confession was an experience of God’s mercy- in bringing to Him my sin, my weakness, my burdens, and my inconsistencies, and letting Him make of me a new creation. His grace goes DEEP in the sacrament of reconciliation- very deep. It was healing and renewing, reassuring me of His abundant richness, and letting me be ok with my littleness.
Intercessory Prayer. We had a prayer campaign going on, as a means of motivation, with names of all the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi from around the world in a basket. Whenever we felt the need or inspiration to draw a name out, we did. We also had a prayer intentions basket, where we could put intentions or names in and draw out others. We are very conscious that our time here is not just for us, but the grace we receive is to GIVE life for others.
I this month as the time of greatest “victory” for God in my life. So much was done in silence and was hidden from what I could see or comprehend. Pray for me these next weeks and months that I continue deepening in the graces He has given me, and continue delving into becoming the woman of God and Spouse of Christ He continues to mold deep within!