Spiritual Exercises for girls in Valencia (Spain) directed by Father Rafael Alonso, from November 1-4, 2013.
“I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart. ” (Hos. 2:14).
During the weekend of of the Solemnity of All Saints, we held spiritual exercises for the HMY girls and some others who had joined with us, searching to find the Lord in the silence. In all there were 26 girls who entered into the silence to live the exercises with great enthusiasm and generosity with their Creator and Lord, as St. Ignatius has showed us. We immediately went to the chapel for Mass, and from this moment the complete silence began.
The director of the exercises was Fr. Rafael, founder of the Home of the Mother. Each day he celebrated Mass for us and gave two meditations and several talks, during which he explained the ugliness of sin, the worst evil for our souls, reminding us that the Lord told us to not be afraid of who could kill our bodies, but rather to hate sin, which can drag the body and soul into hell. He warned us about the dangers of not taking good advantage of the graces the Lord desires to give to us during this retreat and during the rest of our lives, which is like being under the shower (a spiritual shower, in which we can soak ourselves of the grace of God and thus remain free from all stain of sin) but one inside, opening the umbrella so as to not get wet. With this attitude, one gets out of the shower just as dirty as when he entered.
Every night, Father explained the rules for the discernment of spirits according to St. Ignatius Loyola, to know how to live the ups and downs that are normal in the spiritual life, and encouraged us to take our Christian life seriously, which means living in intimate union with He who loved us and gave Himself up for us. He spoke of Jesus Christ and of how he must be the center of our lives, identifying our will with His. In short, a synthesis of the Christian life that we must put into practice.
For the spiritual reading during the meals, we read the book: "For You the Glory, for Me the Confusion", with testimonies of the conversion stories of several Servant Brothers of the Home of the Mother. It did us good to see with what strength the grace of God acts in a soul that humbles himself before Him, opening himself to His will, and decides to leave everything to serve his Lord. The important thing is to be docile to the inspirations that God gives to the soul.
The exercises finished after Mass on Sunday morning, with a meditation on the encounter of the two disciples with the Resurrected Lord on their way to Emmaus. We went outside to have a final meeting, each one telling her experience of the exercises and how the Lord had spoken to her, sometimes shouting, in the silence of prayer. It is hard to be silent in the interior of the soul when we live in a world that is so busy and so full of noise, and it undoubtedly implies work to overcome the thousands of distractions that the enemy puts before us during prayer, but all the girls have come out of the exercises happy for having made the effort and for having spent their vacations in this way. And without doubt, the Lord, the only one who fills us with true happiness, is also happy with them, and will continue to pour out His grace in their souls, as long as He sees them ready to receive them. As it is often said, the exercises begin when they finish.
Servant Sisters of Valencia, Spain.