How would you define Heaven? What feelings abound there?  What would you expect there? The following are my perceptions, of what I experienced over this past weekend, of what joys I was able to take home with me. I hope that these reminiscences will help you feel what I felt, will help you see why I feel that, for a brief time, Heaven allowed me a small glimpse of what awaits each of us.

 In this post, I will try to relive one of the most humbling, and beautiful experiences of my life. This last weekend, I attended a retreat at the Malvern Retreat House, in Pennsylvania. Words are made up of vowels and consonants and attempt to convey thoughts. How does one convey an experience, a feeling? This is not an advertisement. It is just my attempt to help you feel the joy and beauty that embraced everyone in attendance, this past weekend, at the retreat.

 On entering the grounds of this magnificent site, I had little idea of what was tucked away in its 125 acres. The car was packed and I was ready … or so I thought.  But, as I was to find out, I wasn’t there because of a close friend’s invitation. A close friend did invite me, but it had been Christ, all along, doing the inviting.

 Where do you find 250 men, of varying ages, in complete agreement? Where are hymns sung and prayers, prayed, by these men, with the exhuberance and vitality of the young? Even though, for most, their youthful years have been over for some time? Where might you be, where each person present, shares the single goal of understanding themselves better, of growing in awareness of their God, of advancing in love for their God? The solitude is only interrupted by the joyful singing of the birds. The quiet is ever present, otherwise. Computers and cell phones are no longer important. They are relics of another time, another place. They are merely obstacles to the singleness of purpose, shared by all.

 In this atmosphere of profound quiet, of this joyful silence, Christ speaks to each of us. The silence is necessary for us, so that we can hear the whispers of Our Lord. Over this weekend, we hear Christ tell us how much He loves us. He reminds us again, that we have long since been forgiven. In this quiet of quiets, we kneel before Him, in adoration of His presence in the Holy Eucharist. We speak to Him from our hearts. We feel His embrace and rejoice. Alone with Him, we can be ourselves. We can pour out our hearts, in a single moment. And in that same moment we can feel the joy of unity with Him.

 In this wondrous embrace, He tells us, that there is something He wants us to do. It is something He has tried to awaken in us, ever since our Baptism. He whispers to us, “Be yourself.  Always be the person you were, when you knelt before Me in adoration.  When you felt free enough to be yourself, that is the person I want you to be when you are with others. Let them see My Goodness in you. Let them see Me in you.”  In that whisper, in those wondrous words, we finally, understand that Christ does not expect extravagant works, or extreme sacrifices from us. He just wants us to show others His love. He wants us to tell others about His life.

 Lord, I am home now. I know this feeling of closeness and unity with You will slowly begin to fade. The entrapments of the world will try to gain a foothold again in my life, to make me forget You. When these times come perilously close to me, Lord, give me the grace to re-enter the tiny room, where I knelt before you. Where I knew it was safe to be myself. Give me the courage to be in Your presence always. Jesus, I trust in Thee.

 I would be guilty of teasing you, if I dangled something beautiful in front of you, and did not tell you how you, too, might experience this beauty, this joy.  I have no affiliation with the retreat house, other than being a retreatant. So all I can do is tell you to visit their website at:  http://www.malvernretreat.com/  They can inform you better than I, about the details. I just wanted you to know my experiences, and what you might have. God bless you. Know that He loves you.

One final thing. I ask a favor of you. One of the retreatants asked us to pray for a two year old cancer patient. When you say your prayers, when life gets difficult, when you feel tempted to lose your temper, just do what you know you should do, what Christ wants you to do, and simply say, “For Charlie”.

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