Sr. Frances DeMott

Our February retreat at Marygrove, given by Aggie Neck, fit each one there from the youngest to the oldest. It was a ‘tell and show’ kind of retreat where Aggie would first tell us our goal and then proceed to show us how to attain it. She put before us two choices, either we choose our will or God’s will. However, if we choose our will or move out on our own we are going to experience burnout, discouragement and sometimes serious mistakes. To walk in God’s will means not to move until we hear his voice. In St. John’s gospel Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice.” Aggie went on to tell the different ways we may hear God’s voice: an inner urge, through another person, an audible voice, and through scripture are some of the ways. If we want to remain attached to the vine, to Jesus, we must listen and be attentive to his voice.
To carry out the will of God Christ inaugurated the Kingdom of Heaven on earth. The Kingdom of Heaven is said to be the goal of history that has to be attained. We are preparing the way of the Lord Jesus Christ so that there will be faith on the earth when he comes again. The Father’s will is to raise up men and women and gather them around Jesus Christ. This gathering is the Church on earth.
Our Father’s commandment is that you love one another even as I have loved you. This commandment summarizes all the others and expresses his entire will. Aggie shared with us how she overcame the evil one when he constantly would bring before her the faults of her husband until she was in a state of anger all the time. She said, “Lord, every time I see a fault of his I’m going to say an “Our Father” for him.” It wasn’t long before the enemy stopped drawing up before her eyes the faults of her husband.
In his book, “Jesus of Nazareth” Benedict XVI writes, “The essence of heaven is that it is where God’s will is unswervingly done.” Aggie reminded us of what Jim Murphy told us a few years back. Aim for Heaven, if you miss there is Purgatory, but if you aim for Purgatory and miss there is no safety net. God’s will is that we grow in holiness and to do that we need to follow the Spirit’s lead.
How do we recognize God’s will? Man has knowledge of God’s will in his inner most heart. Deeply within us there is a participation in God’s knowing, which we call ‘conscience’. Sometimes our conscience can be ill formed or smothered with all the prejudices that pile up within us. The best and immediate cleansing for our inner being is reconciliation. The Holy Spirit walks among us to bring about healing and change and will lead us to God. Ask the Holy Spirit to create within us an intimacy with God. If we really believe that God is always with us then we should converse with him often throughout the day.

Jesus, let me decrease so that you may increase.
Come Holy Spirit, from the pierced side of Christ on the cross.
Come, renew our daring.
Come, you who are both motion and rest.
Come from the breath blowing on the lips of the risen Jesus.
Holy Spirit, be our companion so that we will not feel lonely.

When you are lonely, Aggie advised, ask the Lord to let you sleep in the arms of the Holy Spirit. She shared with us that she asks for this when she is weary. She wakes up totally alive, sometimes she wakes up repeating the name of Jesus, other times she is praying in tongues. To sleep in the arms of the Holy Spirit is to be in union with God.
Let our Lord speak to you through the daily reading of his word and through the Holy Eucharist. Jesus said, “Unless you eat my Body and drink my Blood you have no life within you.” We must realize that he said this to a people who were told that the life of every living thing was in the blood and they were not to partake of it. This was shocking to the ears of all who heard and many walked away.
John Paul II tells us in his encyclical on the Eucharist that receiving Holy Communion increases the Holy Spirit dwelling within us. St. Basil tells us that he who eats and drinks the Body and Blood in faith eats fire and spirit.
In the gospel of St. Matthew Jesus said, “Full authority has been given to me both in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to carry out everything I have commanded you, and know that I am with you always until the end of the world.”
Pay close attention to the sign by which we were born into the Body of Christ. Absorb the blessing of the priest at the closing of Mass. Focus on the sign of the cross, in the name of the Father, in the name of the Son, in the name of the Holy Spirit. To bless ourselves with the sign of the cross identifies who we are. We are Christians, we belong to God, it is our sign. When we cross ourselves this way it is a protection for us. It’s an acknowledgement of the Lord Jesus Christ in my life. He is Lord and I am his.
Be comforted with the fact that we are ambassadors for Christ, we are the people of God, we are the Body of Christ, and we are his handiwork, his masterpieces.
Aggie thanked us for our warmness, friendship and kindness as only she could do. What a beautiful instrument of God she is!

From the Diocese of Marquette Michigan, U.P. Catholic Charismatic Newsletter (Spring, 2008) .