Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Humility and being changed

Bob and I were blessed this past weekend to be able to attend The Jesus Retreat. We spent most of our time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, or in praise and worship before Him, at Mass, confession -- and quite a bit of eating and a little sleeping. It was like Extreme Exposure to Jesus in a beautiful setting (Black Rock Retreat Center) and our one and only time away together since our now infamous honeymoon at the Bates Motel, er, I mean, the Globe Inn.

This is one of the songs sung during worship.

 This recording is the International House of Worship, (IHOP, I kid you not) in Kansas City, Missouri. They are not Catholic, but they do an awesome job with what they have! The Prayer Room offers prayer, praise and worship around the clock. What a beautiful, dedicated group of young people. There is a desire among the Jesus-retreatants to see a Catholic version of IHOP emerge.

Come and let Your presence fill our praise, fill our praise,
Come and let Your presence fill this place.
We have come to give You highest praise, highest praise,
We have come to love You in this place.
It’s all for You, here we are, here we are
For You are the One we want to meet
Jesus shine through all the praises that we sing

Here is what our group actually looked like:

The worship band at the retreat was every bit as good, and with good Catholic teaching and leadership, not to mention the Blessed Sacrament, you can imagine the power flowing from this place during our time there. I can honestly say that I came away changed.

My husband has not had a whole lot of exposure to Charismatic worship, but he did well, and was also blessed. We had a conversation with another retreat-goer over one of the many delicious and hearty meals (the retreat was held in Quarryville, which is just into Amish country, and the food reflected that :). this man was a convert , as I am, and also like me, familiar with Charismatic praise and worship. He had a spot-on observation; that the foundation of being able to raise your hands in praise or speak in tongues requires humility. Being willing to look foolish, to speak in a language that sounds like baby talk to others. Being willing to open ourselves up to God in the presence of others.

We were taught that worshiping publicly was something God blessed, and indeed , that was our experience. Not just an experience for experience's sake, but one that we knew was an encounter with God, which, once you have, makes an indelible mark. How could it not?

I am intensely grateful to Jesus for making a way for us to get there. I pray we will be able to go again next year, and anyone else who may want/need this, I recommend it.

So what has changed, you may ask?

 I'm going to tell you, even if you weren't going to ask.

1. Peace. It's just there. I am not worried about all the many things I usually worry about. We were prayed over by a few wonderful people, and the words they said to us were like laser-beamingly what we needed to hear. We came away knowing that the Lord cares about the things we are struggling with and the people we worry about. Did we know that before? Yes. Did we benefit from hearing the words tenderly spoken by total strangers right to the core of our hearts? You betcha.

2.  Renewed love and desire to be in the Lord's presence at Mass and Adoration. I wanted it before, but lots of things would tend to interfere. Now, I NEED it and, with His help, little will stop me. I just realize more now, how much I need Him to live, and to have any possibility of doing His will.

3. The lifting of the Perpetual Guilt Voice that ran on loop in my mind, keeping me from saying or doing things that the Lord might have wanted. One of the words spoken over me directly identified this and virtually freed me from this way of thinking. Also in confession I was given beautiful direction about this. It is like having Holy Roto-Rooter done to my spirit. The bricks were removed from my shoulders.

4. Hope. I just have higher expectations about my family, my life and future. Not expecting the Red Carpet from here on out, but just knowing how much Jesus is involved has heightened my trust that our lives are in His hands, and He has plans to prosper us, not to harm us.

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

I am confident that He did more than I could have asked or thought, and that the fruit of this time has yet to be fully realized.

Your presence is all I am longing for
Here in the secret place
Your nearness is all I am waiting for
Here in the quiet place,
Here in the secret place
My soul waits for You alone
Like the watchmen wait for dawn
Here I’ve finally found the place
Where we’ll meet, Lord, face to face

I’ve finally found where I belong,
I’ve finally found where I belong in Your presence
I’ve finally found where I belong,
To be with You, to be with You

I am my Beloved’s and He is mine,
So come into Your garden and take delight in me
Take delight in me

Delight in me, delight in me
Delight in me, delight in me

Here in Your presence, God, I find my rest
Here in Your presence, God


  1. Wonderful music and even more importantly wonderful blog. Like your husband I've never been to anything like that, and I'm not sure I would feel comfortable. Your friend is right, it does require humility. Franciscan friars refer to themselves as Fools for Christ, and that's because St Francis did what might seem to some a lot of foolish things in his praise. I say my greatest sin is pride and here's another example. I'm glad you got so much out of it. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Manny. I am not implying everyone HAS to worship in this way to be close to God or see HIs working in their lives. Certainly not that large a percentage of Catholics do. If I am correct, though, the Charismatic renewal began as a Catholic thing. I will have to look that up! lol
      But I do know it has been approved by the Church as a legitimate practice, and I for one am glad! there are not a whole lot of opportunities for this kind of worship. For now, it will just have to be in my heart. :)