As I reflect back on the graces of this year’s Pentecost Retreat, I keep coming back to Luke 6:38 – “give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap.” It even fits with this year’s theme of Outpouring! As we began our planning, we were very conscious that we were setting out on a very ambitious project – a retreat experience leading up to Pentecost that would be at the same time live-in and online, charismatic and contemplative, planned, and yet led by the Spirit, opening others to gifts and knowledge that we are still growing in ourselves! But we also came with expectant hearts, having prayed and received many words confirming God’s desire to pour out the Holy Spirit on us in a new and fresh way.
So, like the boy who gave Jesus the five loaves and two fish, we simply gave the Lord all that we had: willing hearts and hands and voices. And the result was a similar experience of abundance! Eighty-four participants shared life with us for five days and can witness to God’s generosity in pouring out His Spirit, touching us individually and corporately. For me, perhaps the most special part was the joy of being a sisterhood on mission together nationally – there were sisters catering, discerning, preaching, praying, leading small groups, teaching, administering, Zooming, playing music… a Spirit-filled experience of all of our gifts working together for a common goal!
Growing in listening to God
Listening is not easy. Whether you listen to God in prayer, or to another person, it requires attention, a kind of a discernment and a response.
This year we have been forming ourselves to be more attentive to the words of knowledge. It is a way of growing in the gift of listening to the Holy Spirit in the promptings he gives us.
I have had many circumstances where I received a nudge to speak to certain people, including my family. I found it challenging because I did not have a close enough relationship to check on these people. I was rationalising as to why I should not ring. I was thinking of how people might feel that I am interfering with their lives and how it could come across negatively. However, I noticed that the times I responded people were often appreciative. There were incredible graces of healing flowing into these lives. The most common response had been, “God really cares…there’s no way that you could know this.” The joy of listening to the Spirit is inexpressible. I have witnessed many moments of my obedience becoming a doorway of healing and grace in this way.