During the last week of February, we had the enormous grace to preach the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises for five people, men and women, from different parts of the country. It is always meaningful to consider how God uses us – poor instruments – to accomplish great works in the souls of those partaking in the spiritual exercises. During the retreat, there were two priests available for consultations and to hear confessions.
In one of the free times, one of the men came over to a sister and said, “Sister, I just finished going to confession.” “Very good. Congratulations,” she responded. But the man continued talking, “It was the first time in my life, and it has helped me a great deal”. Then the sister understood what the man was experiencing and could share his immense joy.
When the spiritual exercises ended, the same man left a letter with a few personal reflections about these days and gave us permission to share them with you, that you may be filled with as much joy as we are:
"I never would have thought that in such a short amount of time, I could make such great strides towards God the Father. I am very thankful to the sister who guided me, and prepared me for my confession. My first confession! I am also very grateful to the priest who heard my confession. The effects of confession are very difficult to express in words. Many thanks to the sister for having preached what was the ‘key’ to draw me to the sacrament: the meditation on the parable of the prodigal son. During the exercises, there is a lot of time to pray, and that turned out to be a little difficult at the beginning. To succeed is a grace. It is like passing from ‘Oh, I am in the chapel again’ to ‘When can I go to the chapel again?’ Isn’t that fascinating?"
In the spiritual exercises, there is nothing more important than growing in confidence in God and in the desire to resemble his Divine Son more each day.
Here is another quote from his letter, “I have become more conscious about those things which stand as obstacles in my path and those which lead me to God. I have certainly felt the hand of God. I have been able to allow myself to fall gently into his embrace. The phrase, ‘I live no more, but Christ lives in me’ has turned into something more real. At least we’ve taken a step; we are on the way…”
We give thanks to God for all the benefits received during these spiritual exercises!
SSVM missionaries in Helioo