I attended a women’s retreat this past weekend in Princeton, BC at Rockridge Canyon Conference and Retreat Centre. This retreat was put on by Life Restoration and they have a men’s retreat coming in September at the same location. For more information on this retreat and other resources visit https://www.liferestoration.ca. What an amazing retreat it was. I have never been on a retreat like this one!! One that had just women and 300 of us. I left my home on Friday at 5:45 in the morning with my mom and another lady from our parish, Linda, and we arrived at the retreat center at 4:30 pm (It was a long day). For us the retreat started on the trip down as we prayed, listened to praise and worship music, and talked about spiritual things. Rockridge Canyon was beautifully situated by lakes and mountains. The buildings were beautiful, new, and large. The food was plentiful and yummy. I would recommend this location to anyone. Click on this link to check it out http://rockridgecanyon.com. The men’s retreat is also going to be at this location.
When the retreat actually started on Friday night I was not in a very good space. Satan was really trying hard to keep me from all the good things that God had in store for me. I sat in the large auditorium surrounded by 300 women and I was overwhelmed. For the past few months I have been seeking solitude and silence and relishing in it. This solitude and silence was what I needed. It was what I craved and the the Lord was working deeply and powerfully in my life. And now here I was stimulated beyond my comfort level with all the noise and movement of 300 women. So I sat there with a bit of an attitude I would say. I told Linda that this was not me as I do not like large crowds or lots of noise. I would prefer a silent retreat I told myself and others. I was really in my head all night so after the first talk I had to get away from everyone so I went outside and prayed.
This is the prayer I wrote: “What I ask of You this weekend Lord is that I become Truth. It is not enough that I know Truth I need to become Truth! I need to breathe it. I need to see it in all things. I need it to be the very marrow of my bones, the very synapses of my brain. I need it to be the essence of my soul. I need it to penetrate every fiber of my being”. And the Lord answered. “It is a process Rebecca. Be patient and trust that I will get you to this goal. Do not forget who I AM. Do not forget who you are. I am your Spouse and you are my bride. Take pride in this Truth”. Then the Lord asked me. “Do you need to worry about anything on this retreat? Do you fear that you might not get fed or may not have a bed to sleep in? NO! You trust that those putting on this retreat have taken care of every detail so that you can focus on Me. Do you not think that I am more capable than them to take care of all the details in your life? I AM and I do take care of every detail. There is absolutely nothing that you have to worry about”. I then wrote down Proverbs 31:25 “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future”.
After this prayer time I went and sat in the chapel where the Blessed Sacrament was, to be even closer to Jesus. It was a peaceful hour. I looked around the room at all the beautiful women there and wondered what their relationships with God were like and I got excited. My heart was moved towards my royal sisters and I wanted in that moment to know each of their stories. I longed to hear about their relationship with God. During this time the Lord kept telling me over and over again “You are my bride and I love you”. I jokingly told Jesus “Oh you say that to all the girls”. And yes Jesus does and that is the beauty of it. Isn’t it? That Jesus can be with each and every one of us and that we are ALL called to be His brides. Each one of us is unique and Jesus knows each of us fully and intimately. I get overwhelmed by the beauty of it!! At 10:30 pm the remaining 5 women left in the chapel were asked to leave as the building was being locked up. I jokingly said that I would need to be dragged out as I really did not want to leave my Lord, my Spouse. I did leave though although I really didn’t want to. I guess a part of me was not joking after all.
The next morning at breakfast I was able to let go and began really listening and engaging in what others were saying. I asked questions and shared. Within 15 minutes all the ladies at the table were on fire with excitement. The Holy Spirit was there in power and we all knew it and we all felt connected. Connected not only by the Holy Spirit and our love for Jesus but we also had the same Father, our King, and we were/are royal sisters. I felt this connection and love for my sisters throughout the rest of the retreat. Every single one of the talks at the retreat was amazing. The topics of the talks were Invitation, Identity, Intimacy, and Inheritance. To listen to one of the talks by Sister Miriam click on this link https://www.facebook.com/michelle.benzinger/videos/2174955159187755/?t=5 Sister Miriam also has a book that I am in the process of reading. If you are interested in reading this book, which so far is awesome, click on this link to purchase Loved as I Am: An Invitation to Conversion, Healing, and Freedom through Jesus.
Rather than reiterating what each talk was about I am going to share what gift the Lord gave to me. And shockingly it is not what you would expect considering the talks were about being a daughter of the Father and the Spouse of Jesus and our identity in Them. (Although I did have a vision Saturday morning during praise and worship of God the Father walking me down the aisle to give me away to his Son, Jesus. Jesus and I were married and I will forever be His spouse and He mine). As if this one vision and the reality of it was not enough!! But I have learned to never put limits on God because He had more for me.
At 1:30 on Saturday my mom and I went to a breakout session on prayer where among other things we practiced Lectio Devina. Lectio Divina is a traditional Benedictine practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer intended to promote communion with God and to increase the knowledge of God’s Word. I recommend this kind of prayer as it is very powerful and the Lord speaks through it all the time. A good book that teaches Lectio Devina is Meeting God in Scripture: A Hands-On Guide to Lectio Divina. Nothing too significant happened during the talk but afterwards I went into the chapel and that is when the Lord have me His gift. I sat down in the back of the chapel and began to look at the beautiful scenery outside. The lake, the mountains, the trees. I was very present in the moment and was overtaken and in awe at the beauty of nature I have a present for you!! I felt amazing as the Peace of Christ filled every part of my being. After looking at the outside view I began to scan the chapel. I looked at the pictures, the tabernacle, the statues, the people and then I realized I was doing Lectio Devina but with the Word of God in nature rather than in scripture. So I started to look at everything again to see what stood out to me. Almost right away the statue of Mary jumped out to me and penetrated my soul. I fixated my eyes on Mary and saw that my desire to share the heart of my sisters in Christ was just a shadow of my desire to share the heart of my Mother Mary. The Lord has been drawing me to His mother lately. At the time of this retreat I was at the beginning stages of doing a consecration to Mary for the third time and it was not going well. I was stuck!! There was darkness in my mind about Mary’s role. I was either not wanting to fully accept Mary’s role or maybe I was just aware of it on a cognitive level. The truths about Mary had not penetrated my heart or my soul. But that Saturday afternoon in the chapel, the truths went from my head to my heart and penetrated my soul. Right them and there I made an honest and heartfelt consecration to Mary. I wept as I asked for her and God’s forgiveness for all the ways I ignored her, for not believing fully the truths about her, for praying the rosary without love and devotion, and for neglecting my relationship with her. I wept so hard others in the chapel looked back at me but I didn’t care.
I looked at Mary’s statue which shows her Immaculate heart, which looks very similar to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Lord showed me that Mary’s heart is so perfectly united to His that they share one heart. Jesus’ agony was Mary’s agony. God grants Mary everything she asks for because Mary’s will is God’s will. They are one and the same. Although Mary is infinitely less than God it was God’s will that Mary partake in salvation. So all the grace that comes from the Father goes through Jesus and then through Mary. This is how God willed it to happen and who am I to argue with God. I talked to Mary for a while. I asked her to reveal herself to me. I told her I didn’t really know her and so I wanted to get to know heart. Mary told me that I did know her because I knew Jesus. Mary is perfectly united with Jesus so if I know Jesus then I also know her. Instantly, my soul was opened and I received Mary. I know her and I love her. I told Mary that I believed every truth about her and acknowledged that all grace that comes to me from the Father goes through her. She is the Mediatrix. I thanked Mary for her “YES” and for all the things that she is; caring, loving, humble, obedient, gentle, wise, and the list could go on forever. I asked for the graces to become her motherly and feminine heart. If I become like Mary then I become like Jesus. Mary is the feminine heart of God and she is the gift I received during this retreat. I am so thankful for Mary and the gift that she is in my life.
I’ve never had to seek out Mary in my life as much as the Father because I have a good earthly mother who I have a wonderful spiritual connection with. I sought out God as Father because the heart of my earthly Father was inconsistent and cold. I’ve always had the heart of my earthly mother so have not felt the human desire for Mary but I do need her spiritually. It is absolutely necessary for my salvation. I see Mary in a new light. In the light of Truth and it has set my soul on fire and I have found freedom in this Truth. The consecration I made to Mary at this retreat was for real and it is unbreakable. I will always receive grace through Mary. I will still pray to God the Father, to Jesus and the Holy Spirit but I will now pray to Mary with Truth in my heart and that is powerful. I will always honor and speak Truth about Mary and will love her with the heart of a true daughter. One that goes to her with my sorrows, one who asks her for help and wisdom, one who leans on her for strength. This is the relationship I have with my earthly mother can I not expect more from my heavenly mother? My relationship with Mary should and will surpass the relationship I have with my earthly mother. I need to put my birth mom in her proper place and Mary my Mother in hers. My relationship with my mom is just a shadow of my relationship with Mary and it has prepared me to have an amazing daughter mother relationship with Mary. For that I am grateful.
Thank you Father for Your Goodness. For loving me before I loved You. Thank you Holy Spirit for giving me wisdom and knowledge. For revealing Truths to me so that I may continue to be transformed. Thank you Jesus for loving me just as I am, broken and imperfect. For coming to me when I am in pain and suffering and healing me and comforting me. Finally, thank you Mary for your “YES”. For being the most perfect example of all the virtues. Thank you for hearing my prayers and for being my advocate. Thank you for your Mother’s heart. For being someone I can look up to and learn from, being the perfect wife and mother that you are. Amen.
What is your relationship with Mary like? Have you ever completed a consecration to her? Do you see her as a gift from God? Do you accept her as your Mother?
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