Testing the spirit:
Several weeks ago, my spiritual director challenged me to “test the Spirit” about a little flame that had been flickering in my heart. The little flame, was a retreat. Specifically, a Good Things Radio retreat, which my friend Jennifer and I have dreamed about since our first “Weary Women’s Weekend” getaway in 2012. We didn’t know the “how” or “where” or “when” at the time, but the desire to have a soul-sabattical with other sisters in Christ has remained like a little glowing ember. I have come to learn that when you intend to “test the Spirit…buckle up! Thanks to the blessed wise counsel of this dear priest and the generous support of Walsh University the retreat has come to life! GO Holy Spirit! Jesus, I trust in you!
The last year has brought many hills and valleys and I wasn’t sure I had the stamina to take on something like this but now that it’s happening, I am so energized by stories and souls of those who are being called to attend. Last year when Jennifer and I began the podcast, we floated a little “test balloon” to the listeners to ask the question: are you interested in going on a retreat? Would you come? I thought maybe a few hardy souls might reach out (I hoped!) but what we received was an overwhelming response from women in 22 states who expressed interest. That little light is in the hearts of so many others as well, just waiting to be called to this special place. So it is happening and the prayer going forward now is that those who have been summoned will be there to receive the blessing. My mind is so full of details about the actual gathering that it’s hard to know where to begin. I think the most important aspect is to communicate why these weekends are so important. Retreats can have an immeasurable benefit. In Matthew 14:22-23-Our Lord himself receives profound blessings from “retreating” to the mountains. He is tempted; He preaches, He prays, He is transfigured, He speaks his last words to his disciples. In each instance, Jesus comes and remains close to God by retreating, by praying.That is the purpose of a gathering such as this.
To slow down our breathing.
Relax our souls.
Pull away from the world and graft ourselves onto HIM.
Make new friends.
Learn new things.
Laugh like schoolgirls.
Pray like saints. And enjoy our lives by awakening our souls to the infinite gifts around us.
Here’s the scoop.
The retreat will be held at Loyola Retreat House in Clinton, OH…
Thursday evening, March 10, through Sunday morning, March 14, 2016. (please listen to GTR episode #24 entitled “Retreating” to find out more about why we chose Thurs-Sunday).
Featuring: Fr. Nathan Cromly, Jennifer Willits, Lisa Hendey (founder of Catholicmom.com and author), Sarah Reinhard (author and speaker), Ben Walther (worship leader), Andrea Singarella (craft workshop leader) and most importantly: The Father, the Son and The Holy Spirit. To have an opportunity to “Be Still and know that I Am God.” (Psalms 46:10). To steal away with the Savior in sweet moments of quietude. To enter into the Liturgy of the Hours and draw close enough to His heart to really feel His presence.
As the deer longs for streams of water,
so my soul longs for you, O God.
My soul thirsts for God, the living God.
When can I enter and see the face of God? (-Psalms 42: 2-3)
I love how Fr. Nathan pulls people around him into his prayer life, and that will be the case for this retreat. For those called to join in Holy Mass, and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Reconciliation and more. In working with him to build the itinerary, I was overcome with emotion just thinking about the tender way God cares for us, and anticipating the holy gifts that will be unwrapped during these few days.
The ticket includes lodging, all meals unlimited beverages, one-on-one spiritual direction, workshops, presentations and so much more. Pre-sale tickets go on sale for our Good Things Radio listeners on Thursday, October 22 (and if you aren’t a Good Things Radio friend yet, I encourage you to “Like” our page on Facebook) 🙂 We will share the link on the page soon. After that, tickets will go on sale to the public but space is very limited (only 50), so I am just praying that those who are supposed to be there will come.
I thank my wonderful priest friend for challenging me to “test the Spirit” even when I was afraid. I hope you will consider testing the Spirit as well!