Thursday, November 22, 2018

God's Voice in Stillness

Written by  Catherine Renneberg

I had the honour to be part of the core team for the Face to Face United conference, hosted here at the Cathedral of the Holy Family this past weekend. It was a ton of fun and I would not hesitate to say that it was huge success! With over 300 participants, amazing talks, adoration, reconciliation, and Mass on Sunday morning, I am humbled to have been part of such a holy event - an event that many will look back on and say that it was a turning point toward God and faith in their lives.

This was a fast paced weekend, with upbeat music and games intertwined with social times and hard hitting challenges from the speakers. It was clear that part of the success of these types of weekends is simply the bringing together of like-minded youth to find support and fellowship. These young people are striving to be Saints, which was an inspiration to me and the adults there. Seeing all those teens growing closer to Christ with perseverance will be one of those memories that encourages me in my work when times feel slow or fruitless.

One of the highlights for me was adoration on Saturday evening. It took place in the main worship space, with lighting only on the altar, directing everyone toward the monstrance where the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus was present in the Eucharist. This was accompanied by some of the most beautiful and sacred music anyone could ask for. Our time of adoration of the blessed sacrament was a poignant moment that truly felt like we were cooperating in the glory of God. It was a breathtaking, heart-pounding encounter with the risen Lord.

Those two days went by in a blur and I feel as though I tumbled out of them tired and yet so so satisfied and nurtured in my faith. As I reflect on this weekend I am forced to confront the paradox of these types of experiences. The times of emotional highs where I feel as though I am wrapped in the Holy Spirit are the exception and I think it must be so. It is true that God spoke to His people in an earthquake (Exodus 19:18) and He used a whirlwind to speak to Job (Job 38:1), but we know that God also speaks in the sheer silence (1 Kings 19:12). While this past weekend it felt like God spoke to me using lightening in my heart, I am confronted yet again with having to find God in the silence. Someone once told me that God will speak as gently as possible but as loud as necessary, and boy am I happy He doesn’t always use earthquakes.

The dust has settled, the retreat high is gone, and life continues. I can think of many ways in the past that God has spoken to me in big ways, either in unexpected circumstances, tragedies, or steel convictions that could only have been the work of the Spirit. As winter moves in and we all settle a little deeper into our slippers, I know that I really want to work on hearing God in His still small voice. When I don’t have access to those great musicians or awe-inspiring talks, I need to look to God intentionally and choose to be amazed by Him: the One who gave up His life as the Lion of Judah slain for us, His people.

 

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