An experience of the Inner Healing Retreat:
"Come to Me, and I Will Give You Rest" by Juan
"Should I come to this retreat?" might have come across your mind at some point and is definitely one of the most frequently asked questions. The answer is yes, regardless of who you are. This healing camp, as the name suggested, does not only deal with wounded soul caused by sin, but also with emotional wound, which unfortunately is something a lot of people are not aware of having.
The 2015 Inner Healing Retreat is organized by the Holy Trinity Community, Seattle Area and took place at Camp Berachah in Auburn for three days and two nights on April 10-12, during the Octave of Easter. Father Francis, together with guest speakers Sister Jacinta, Sister Theofila, and Sister Salve of Daughters of Carmel helped make this event possible.
With a total of 68 participants of varying age group, including a team of organizers from Holy Trinity Community Seattle Area, the event kicked off with praise and worship then followed by the first session presented by Sister Theofila on Healing Love of God and Jesus the Savior. Among many things, the session explained the importance of opening up as well as believing and relying on His power to heal and the human’s nature to love and to be loved. The first night concluded with Holy Mass and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament conducted by Father Francis.
Saturday marked the climax of the inner healing retreat. The day began with the first part of introduction to Jesus Prayer led by Martin the member of the Holy Trinity Community. What sets Jesus Prayer apart is that by repeating the name of Jesus, the name above all names, we may focus on establishing connection with God thus avoiding the distractions of figuring out what to say and putting words together beautifully.
Afterwards the program continued with the second session on Inner Healing brought by Sister Jacinta and the third session on Faith as the Key to Healing and Forgiveness by Sister Salve The sessions helped the participants to discover emotional wounds that they were not aware of and the wounds that they were too afraid to admit to possessing. The Sisters also pointed out that having emotional wound may inhibit us from growing up spiritually. Like Peter who had been wounded for denying Jesus three times, three times did Jesus ask Peter if he loved Him. By doing so, Peter found peace with himself and became ready and feeling worthy to fulfill his apostolic mission.
Following lunch there were confession and one-on-one counseling with the Carmelite sisters before moving on to Mass. The sacrament of Penance does not only treat the wound due to sin, but also prepares oneself to welcome the Holy Spirit into one's body, its temple. The main event, the inner healing, came after the Mass and was held simultaneously with the washing of the feet as an act of remorse, mainly for having knowingly or unknowingly inflicted emotional wound unto others.
Before the day ended, the schedule went on to outpouring of the Holy Spirit and Taizé Adoration. Although not usually a part of an inner healing retreat, outpouring of the Holy Spirit is requested by many and therefore included. People were touched, felt overwhelmed, and found rest in the Spirit. By the grace of God, the Holy Spirit bore its fruits and gifted them to all participants.
On the last day Father Francis presided over the Sunday Mass. Preceding the last session on Sacraments and Healing by Sister Theofila was the second part to Jesus Prayer introduced by the member of the Holy Trinity Community Christopher Tjong. Paula then gave presentation on Lectio Divina or Divine Reading. Participants were taught to go beyond reading the Holy Bible: to accompany reading the living words of God, his love letter, with prayer and to be immersed in it. Several also shared their personal experience on what they receive from reading a couple of verses.
During Consecrated Life: Special Edition, Sister Jacinta, Sister Theofila, and Sister Salve showed what it means and what it is like to live sacredly in a monastery. The presentation also included testimonies from public figures who left their life behind for priesthood and sisterhood. Before wrapping up, every member received an angel letter from previously assigned guardian as well as thank you notes and love letters.
Last but not least, a number of participants were kind and comfortable enough to tell their experiences throughout the event and the outcome of attending the inner healing retreat, including but not limited to comfort, peace, and mending of relationships. One attestation came from one of the coordinators, who at first thought would not get as much from this retreat due to her obligations and the time she had to allocate as event organizer. Turned out the Holy Spirit really did touch her heart and she truly felt appreciation from God and from others. The flame within her is now burning even brighter and she looks forward to further serve this religious community.
Another was from a participant who had participated in an inner healing retreat before, but only now did she encounter the power and might of the Holy Spirit. The third testimonial also came from someone that attended the inner healing retreat for the second time. While she knew she had a few emotional wounds, through this retreat not only was she healed for the wounds she was aware of, but also for the wounds she did not know she had. The last participant to testify said that even though he was feeling alright at first, he and his family did receive healing and blessing and are now filled abundantly with peace and love.
The 2015 Inner Healing Retreat has beyond doubt been a positive experience to those who were there. Hopefully for those who were not able to join would look forward to the next retreat, for one once was weary but now at rest, was wounded but now healed. Amazing grace.