This past extended weekend of December 3-8, which included the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a group of us girls from the school “Colegio María Inmaculada” in Belmonte, Cuenca (a school in Spain run by the Servant Sisters of the Home of the Mother) went to do Spiritual Exercises in the new house of the Sisters in Valencia. It is a beautiful location, with tons of space. The weather was great and we took some beautiful walks!
Fr. Rafael led the exercises. The majority of us were young people, but there were also a few adults. It was a great experience for all of us. We learned a lot, even though it was a little hard to get used to the silence, as it was our first time doing Exercises.
Here are our experiences:
CLAUDIA, age 14: Even though I was really distracted at first and everything made me laugh, I learned to distinguish what is superficial from what is really important. This was one of the things I most realized and it helped me make some very firm decisions.
It’s true that if you open your heart just a little to the Lord, He can give you a ton of spiritual graces. We have to thank the Lord each day for what He shows us!
SONIA, age 17: At first, I didn’t want to go because I didn’t think it would help me, but once I was there, I realized that I had been mistaken and that I had to admit that they had helped me a lot. I started to understand a ton of things that I never knew before. I should thank Father for his willingness to help us and because, thanks to his homilies, I was able to recognize the many virtues and gifts that I had never discovered before. Now, the hardest part will be putting them into practice. But, I have to try at least!
SARA, age 18: It helped me a lot to discover a ton of things in myself that I didn’t even realize I had before, or at least I didn’t realize to what extent I had them...This frightened me a bit (hahaha), but it was a very good experience. We have so much to be thankful for!
MARI PAZ, age 16: The experience helped me a lot. I received many graces and I realized how much I have inside. But, above all, what I now have clear is that I have to be holy, even though it is hard, even though I get discouraged and fall, I have to keep going. I also realized that being with Jesus is what makes us happiest in the world, at least that is where I am most happy.
BLANCA, age 15: My experience was really beautiful because I realized how to appreciate silence and that everyone needs exterior and interior silence, above all so we can hear Jesus’ voice speaking to us. I also learned to be quiet, suffer, and obey.
After these Exercises, I now want to change so that Jesus can be happier with me.
ANUN, age 14: The experience helped me a lot, too, especially the homilies and the talks that Father gave. I am usually a big talker and I thought that for sure I would never survive 5 days in silence, but I did survive. The hardest part was not being able to laugh because something funny always happened, but I resisted. I have taken so much with me from all I’ve learned and now I hope I can put it into practice.
This is the experience we all had. Here’s a sentence that we all learned and that has helped us a lot:
“MAKE MY LIFE A FIRE THAT IGNITES OTHER FIRES.”
We encourage you to go to Jesus, as well, so you can learn to love Him, especially considering how much He loves us and that He has given His life for us.