As you guys know, I spent this past weekend at a retreat with the Catholic Students Union at my school. So on the second night, we had a very special vigil where the blessed sacrament was left exposed overnight and we all took shifts to go sit and keep watch. In a really tiring twist of fate, I ended up being allotted the 3am shift and that gave me some times to think about the retreat (and how much I missed you guys, haha) so I decided to write a blogpost sharing, on some flyers that I found sitting around. Haha. So this was exactly what I wrote:
“I went into retreat not really knowing what to expect.
It didn’t help that this was my first retreat where none of you guys would be there (I mean, there wasn’t any escaping you guys, even at Awaken) And to be honest, it did feel kinda odd. I didn’t really know anyone. And I mean people were friendly, but this is still a different culture. Anywho, so at first, everything started off pretty slowly. We met the community of Craig Lodge, a small group whose ministry is to run this retreat house at a place called Dalmally in the Scottish Lowlands. I was immediately touched by their hospitality and the joy with which they served us lunch, dinner and even in prayer.
Yes, prayer. We did D.O. like THREE times a day + Rosary. It was intense. But good. They were just motions – nothing too in depth. I don’t really think I felt ready to address how distant I’d become from God.
You see, just before retreat I began taking an interest in the more intellectual side of our faith. I was pretty fed up with an extended dry period, which I had intended to do nothing about and over Christmas, I was content to be my cheerful self without having much semblance of a prayer life. I went for sessions… just, to be around you guys really. I was happy that I had good friends and that I could be one too. But that was about it.
So anyway, things went along. Here’s more of a documentation of my hike:
This is Craig Lodge.
This was what the stations mostly looked like.
The beautiful sunset.
The little tile thingies were really really pretty. So well done.
This was the one I read. Haha.
This is the massive Celtic cross at the top. There’s a little pile of stones at its foot representing our intentions. And the cross is lifted every so often on Easter and such.
Obviously, I couldn’t resist a selfie. Haha.
It was pretty heavy (or so it seemed, haha).
They finally got it to stand and we took a picture, heehee.
These were my roomies 🙂
So there were stations specially set up along the way, and it was a pretty easy walk up. The Craig Lodge has a number of traditions for walkers, like how we each had to grab a pebble on the way up to represent an intention we were walking for and then we left it at the foot of the Celtic cross on the top.
But anyway, later on we learnt a bit more about Craig Lodge, when they gave us the evening session (this was the highlight for me). So they were so inspired by pilgrimages to Medjugorje (sp?), they set up this house and a charity called Mary’s meals, which feeds hundreds of thousands of African children. The work is organised in a little office in a small shack next to the retreat house. Pretty amazing huh?
Anyway, what struch me was the founding lady’s (her name was Marian) message on prayer – just what I needed! Idrk what it was that she said exactly, but somehow she convinced me that I had absolutely no excuse not to be praying. She quoted many sources, but what really struck me were a couple which mentioned how people are made for relationships and prayer is the only way that we can form a relationship with God. And also one which said that if you can’t find 10 minutes in your day to pray, then you’re too busy. It was simple stuff.
That coupled with a testimony about how its never too late to run back to God left me struggling to hold back my tears. I don’t really think I’m doing the testimonies justice but they were really really empowering. And this was followed by a really meaningful time of adoration.
So I am possibly the most restless person ever right, especially when it comes to adoration. But somehow this time, I didn’t really want to move. At least until I managed to be convinced by Jesus that it was time to go for confession, which I was really thankful for.
It all doesn’t sound that exciting but I think these were the things I needed. Simple things. It was the right time and I was away from everything I was used to. I guess you could say I could do nothing but hang with Jesus.
Oh yes, something else happened during adoration – just thinking about how I held out ’til now made me so grateful that I have you guys to keep me grounded (cue “Awhhh”s). Amidst my tears, I actually felt a super strong surge of feelings of missing you guys. A LOT. I don’t even know how to explain it. But in that moment, I just wanted to be back in the LOG room with you guys, in our usual circle, just laughing about how dumb Licky Brownie is and throwing blankets around, etc. And then I thought about how lucky I was to have people constantly praying for me and it occurred to be that I could probably have been more active in this respect too. And the first thing I thought of was the retreat coming up and so I prayed for y’all 😉
I really hope you guys have a fruitful experience together too. (Even if you don’t have pretty mountains in the background. Or me to lim teh with.)
So I guess all that’s left to say is, PRAISE GOD!”