Love without Compromise: The Message of the Letters to the Seven Churches for us Today is the theme for this year’s community cenacoli retreats. The retreat will be based on the first three chapters from the book of Revelation. The Leadership Team attended this retreat a couple of weeks ago. The following are some experiences from members of the team…
The retreat helped me realise that as individuals and as a community we need to be watchful not to forsake our first love for Jesus and each other. We may easily believe that we have learnt the ropes and therefore become self sufficient. The call in Revelations is a very clear warning, that doing the right things is not enough. We need to remain constantly in love and close to our Lord, and reminding and supporting each other to keep our eyes on Him.
As in many other retreats we had in the past, this year I have once again experienced the splendor of God’s Word and its encouraging and healing effect on me.
This retreat helped me have a much needed close look at my spiritual life. I discovered things that were bothering me that I had not previously managed to identify. As a result I ended up feeling refreshed, with a renewed trust in God’s bountiful love for his people and a fresh determination to keep giving as much as possible to evangelise and help others discover God’s love.
‘Love without compromise’ was a reminder to remain vigilant, watchful and ‘awake’ at all times…that the love for Jesus is to remain unwavered, constant and taken to a deeper level so as never to fall into complacency. The verse (1:6) “To Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by His blood, and has made us a kingdom and priests to serve His God and Father” stirred up in me that initial fervour and thirst of when I first came to know the Lord…that love that no matter how much time I spend with Him, it is never enough, and an eagerness to share Him with others at every opportunity.
Since the Book of Revelation is full of symbols and allegories, I thought that it would not appeal to me. However, I was amazed to discover during the retreat that it gave me deep insights into (a) my personal spiritual life (b) my life as a community member.
Very challenging and profound retreat. God spoke deeply in my heart… Definitely a retreat that will stay with me for a very long time.
During the weekend I felt God’s call to never forget my first love for Him and for others. I experienced Jesus’ encouragement and affirmation while at the same moment knew He was prodding me on to persevere and continue serving Him wholeheartedly! I felt in love with Jesus once again.
When studying the 7 churches from the book of Revelation at the LT retreat, what struck me was that the talks cover many topics which are very relevant to today’s life. The retreat was also a challenge to wake up from our comfort zones…to do the things we did at first, and to love even when it is most difficult.
I thank the Lord Jesus for His faithfulness during this retreat, for the wonderful things He did in our hearts. There are no two ways or two measures: you either believe and you place your faith and hope in Him or you do it your own way, what suits you fine. Ultimately only the eternal perspective counts: to one day be in heaven with the Lord.
During this retreat I was able to pray and think about the way Jesus helped me walk this way during the past 28 years. We started this retreat with what Sr Michela said at community “Life is tough but God is Good” and from my part I can say God is Good all the time. The problem is that most of the time we do not see the good that God will be doing in our lives and at this moment in my life Jesus is giving me the grace to see what I was not able to see before. I am realizing that in the area of His providence, especially in the last 7 years of study, Jesus provided twice the amount of money that I needed. When we pray, sometimes we think that Jesus is not working or that he is asleep, like that time on the boat, but the problem will be that we will not be able to see what Jesus is doing in us and around us. So as we hear in the last talk about the church in Philadelphia “Hold fast to what you have: keep watch all the time”, and I say keep watch so you will not fall, but also keep watch so you will be able to see what Jesus is doing in you and around you.
I found the teachings Andrew prepared, so very interesting. Revelations 1,2 and 3 became alive and so clear. But not only that; the experience of the weekend as whole, renewed within me a new sense of Peace and encouraged me to renew my prayer commitment.
A verse which struck me was Rev 1:17– 18 “When I saw him, I fell down at his feet like a dead man. He placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid! I am the first and the last. I am the living one! I was dead, but now I am alive forever and ever. I have authority over death and the world of the dead”.
When John saw Jesus he fell to ground at his feet in Awe and deep Adoration – An action which I must follow each time I am before the Blessed Sacrament. And my prayer to the Lord is to lay his Holy Hands upon me too. Amen.
Thank you Andrew, for the Spiritual good this retreat has done to me. Thank you Jesus. Amen.
Revelations has really spoken to me in a deep way. Particularly it was the passage that said “You have lost the love you had at first. See how far you have fallen. Repent and do the things you did at first” Rev 2:4-5. It was a big eye opener at a time when the good things of life have been crowding out the Lord. It was maybe the first time I took instant practical decisions to execute the Lord’s instruction. We are back on outreach mode with SEVEN. I am already receiving more than I have given. Lord I stand in awe of your love for us!!!
It was a retreat of apparent paradoxes. One in which there was no longer room for lukewarmness, rejection for being neither hot nor cold. Our Lord asked for the strongest point and the weakest point. His challenging invitation was not merely for a little more effort but to go back to my first love. A reckless love. To love Him with an undivided heart.
Yet, even though such strong words, the Lord did not come with force. He ‘allured’ my heart, ‘spoke to me tenderly’ and gave me a ‘door of hope’. ‘Knocked at my door’ and invited me to re-enter once again into a loving relationship with Him. What a HUMBLE yet GREAT King invites me to DO the things I did at first!
In this year’s retreat I was struck by how relevant God’s word remains 2,000 years later…even though so many things change in society, deep down we still remain weak and vulnerable beings who so easily turn away from God. Yet God, in His love and patience keeps calling us and disciplining us as His sons and daughters.
This year’s retreat proved to be very challenging for me, more than I expected and I tend to expect a lot! I went there feeling I really need this retreat but the Lord had His own plans and spoke to me in a completely different way to what I thought I needed. He spoke, He nudged, He taught, He made things clear, He challenged and once again poured His love onto us. The teachings are simple yet deep, challenging and filled me with eagerness to continue serving Him and making His presence felt in this world. I promise you all my prayers as you live your cenacolo retreats this year that we may all continue to let God really be God in our lives, open to His word, love and calling.
The retreat was an intimate weekend with the Lord. I could not stop reflecting and acknowledging the infinite love Jesus has for me. The personal way the letters were written to the 7 churches struck me in the way how Jesus really knows His people. He goes into detail and really cares about us. It was also a time of thanking the Lord that I am part of our community. The retreat was an eye opener that as a community we cannot take things for granted. Each and everyone of us in community must persevere and we must travel this journey together as one body.