Like over the retreat. UCF puts on amazing retreats: they are really blessed in their campus ministry. They're all such wonderful people. The theme of the retreat was "Holiness Today." The patron saint of the retreat was St. Augustine (not pronounced like the city in Florida!!!). It would be incomplete to talk about St. Augustine without talking about St. Monica, his mother who prayed for her son's conversion for 17 years. That's like if I had been praying since I was four years old until now! I was definitely praying for different things when I was a four year old than I am now.
Some of the important points presented, I would like to share:
- God must teach us how to love Him back
- Is it amazing that Jesus lowered Himself to be human? How much more amazing is it then that Jesus lowered Himself to take the appearance of bread, of food?
- Have you been through this cycle? I know I have: isolation->numb pain->self loathing->shame, discouragement->hiding-> back to feelings of isolation. To know you are a whole, complete person (holiness, whole-y, get it?) is to break this evil cycle.
- Jesus is the light. We cannot be holy until we bring to light all that you hide, all that would embarrass you.
- Holiness is analog. Holiness is not something that you "arrive at" and can say "I'm here! Journey over" (this side of death, at least). In fact, everyone baptized, everyone consecrated to God has a "base level" of holiness; are a holy people.
- We each have our own journey to holiness. Everyone has their own individual struggles.
- We can't get "lulled to sleep" by the routine struggles. We can't become lulled to sleep by the world that says "what you felt at retreat wasn't real." For Catholics, what the world considers reality, we consider fantasy. There is no reality without God. You're walking in a dream if you spend any time unaware that God is present, walking next to you. We fall into spiritual slumber without even realizing it.
- The Bible doesn't follow the careers of politicians or the life of businesses: it follows families. And not many families, but one family: the line of Adam, the line of David, which ends with Jesus.
- (technically not from retreat, but I was reminded of it during retreat) Hurt people hurt people and healed people heal people
- retreat should be more than a "spiritual energy drink." It should be a re-calibration to focus of Jesus.
- Jesus has conquered the world. What have we to fear?
- We are supposed to be right where we are-on a journey
- God calls you to be yourself, but "be who you are" is different from "I can do whatever I want"
- A little angel doesn't tap you on the head and say "you've been made holy, go out and play." God gives us opportunities for holiness.
- Who were the kids in Mk 10 13-16? They got hugged by Jesus! Did they know they were being hugged by God?
- I stand in grace. My heart is open. All is gift.
Look over the following descriptions and take a minute or so to pick out which one best describes you.
- You are a good honest person that works hard but you don't really understand how God operates in your life. You show up more because someone else wants you to be there.
- You are someone whose decisions in life are not always the best. You struggle with self-esteem issues and you have felt the scorn of others.
- You are someone who has spent time mocking those who proclaim to be Christian. Your head and knowledge over-rules your heart and you make decisions according to what you can prove.
- You are a person of great compassion, but you're skeptical and cynical. Your heart still wants to believe in miracles, but you find it difficult and draining.
- You are someone whose mind gets the Gospel message, but your actions do not always compliment what you believe. You want to be a leader but you fall short and make mistakes.
- You have lived a blessed life and due to your parents' wealth you have been well taken care of. You struggle when things get uncomfortable and rationalize sin.
- You are a faith-filled person that worries about others and tends to want God to work on your time and not His time.
- You are someone who wants to spend more time with God and the Church but your family would rather you not get too involved.