We all know the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are, wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. Did you know that there are four gifts of an MCCW regional retreat? They are:
We gather from many installations to reunite with old friends and to make new ones. Sharing in each other’s lives, to hug, to laugh, maybe to cry, but all of this unites us as battle buddies on the journey that is Catholic, military life. Some of us don’t have any blood-born sisters. Some of us are empty nesters longing to hear about another’s child losing their first tooth. Some of us are the lone woman in their household, happy to be the queen of her domicile, but still hungry for another female point of view from time to time. I can’t tell you the number of times I have left the dinner table because the testosterone driven humor in my home is just too gross for my feminine mind. Fart jokes aren’t funny…ever.
- Quiet Participation
As women, we tend to be the operating manager of our household. On a retreat, everything is planned for us from the time we wake up, to bedtime. It is a nice reprieve to follow along, to participate and enjoy the content for a change. On retreat it easier to put Martha away, and be more like Mary. It’s a treat to have lunch and just enjoy the meal, not having to think about where it came from, how much it cost, and if you can clean it all up quickly enough before your baby wakes up from a too short nap. Certainly, lunch is not an important part of a retreat but if there is joy in these more ordinary parts of the weekend, you can only imagine the joy after experiencing a presentation on consecrating yourself to Jesus through Mary, or a tour of a century old Basilica. I will be so happy to quietly participate on a retreat, I will hear choirs of angels singing Salve Regina!
- Rested Heart and Soul
When the first gifts are received, this gift can be bestowed. We are among understanding, like-minded people we care about. Our personal roads for this short time have converged to receive the deepening of our spirituality, a grace from God. A rested soul is able to listen with their heart and hear the voice of God speaking to it. Only when we can rest our heart and soul are we able to have our cup filled.
- Filled Cup
In life, our cup is poured out to others in giving of our time and talents, inside and outside of your family. How we give to others can be a source of great joy, but to give from our cup- our charitable heart, it needs to be refilled. Here on retreat, our cup is filled. It’s filled for all the reasons and gifts described above and countless others. As each heart is unique, so are the gifts it needs to be a filled cup.
The goal of a retreat is to return to our communities with a filled cup and ready to serve the loves of our life; namely our family and our Church. St. Therese said, “Everything is grace.” Coming home from a retreat, I hope to be able to recognize the truth that is this little mantra I carry around. Yes, everything is grace…even fart jokes.
“The Four Gifts of an MCCW Regional Retreat” contributed by Dollia Lemus.