Retreats hold a very special place in my heart. They are spiritual milestones that mark my own maturation in faith, healing and even revelation. I’ve experienced grace, love, healing from grief, and most recently at the Diocesan Youth Retreat, clarity and relief. None of these things would have happened as easily if I didn’t go on retreat. I hope to share a little of my experience and hopefully encourage you to pursue your own journeys in faith and even to encourage others too.
The theme of this past DYR was “Worthy”. The theme for the first day was Worthy of Understanding. Many of us live busy lives. How often do we wish that we had more time to spend reconnecting with an old friend? How many of us realize, after sharing a once‐in‐a‐while lunch and a real conversation, how much you missed having that person in your life? Compare that now to our own relationship with God. How intentional are we with our own spiritual relationship? When did we last truly set aside time for Him, to immerse ourselves in His love? And what are we doing to treat ourselves with love? God knows you completely. He knows what motivates you, what inspires you, what gets in the way for you and what disappoints you. And yet we are prequalified for His love, we just sometimes forget who we are when we stray and that we just need to come back.
Another theme was Worthy of Peace. This was very appropriate theme for our return from lockdowns and Zoom meetings. Not having to go to church at first may have seemed like a nice reprieve for some people. But like meeting again with a friend after so long, there are some feelings of awkwardness involved. But that’s okay. Because this is God we are talking about after all. He wants us to be at peace and to be in communion with Him. We had a session on wellness that helped us learn how mental and spiritual wellness are linked and I am so grateful for it because it helped me to learn how to take steps to find that peace in my life again.
We actually had a total of 5 themes, one for each day at DYR. and truth be told, I am still discovering the blessings that come from the time I spent there with our young church. And while I am limited to the size of this page, the gifts and love anyone can receive from God are unlimited. I hope you can take some time for yourself and God, away from the constant demands and distractions of the secular world. He offers us so much more. I end with a passage from scripture, one I hope you take time to reflect on. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
Reflection by Anton Pham, Director of Teen Ministry
For local retreats for adults, both in person and virtual visit: www.jrclosaltos.org