Summary of the Retreat
My Jesus, it is truly easy to become holy; it just takes a little good will! And if He finds this minimum of good will in a soul, He quickly gives Himself to her. And nothing can stop Him, neither our faults nor our falls, absolutely nothing. Jesus hurries to help that soul; and if the soul is faithful to this grace from God, she can in a short time reach the highest level of holiness that a created being can attain here below. God is very generous and does not refuse His grace to anyone. He gives even more than we ask for. The shortest road is faithfulness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
Do we love God enough that we take seriously what He wants of us, to be holy as He is holy? Do we thirst for God enough for us to put aiming for holiness a top priority in our lives? If we do, the next question is what is the best way to attain holiness. St. Faustina told us two things:
- God is very generous and does not refuse His grace to anyone. Jesus hurries to help any soul who expresses just a little good will to become holy!
- The shortest road is faithfulness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
Here, St. Faustina has hinted to us that the shortest pathway is through the Holy Spirit. But most people do not have a relationship with the Spirit, and have at best a vague understanding of who the Spirit is.
Day 2 — Encounter Jesus
That's why we need to find a way to best gain knowledge about and relate to the Spirit. We can turn to Jesus for help as Jesus is always our best mediator. Learning from Jesus' teaching and role model, we know how to build the right kind of relationship with the Holy Spirit. The best way to learn from Jesus is to first encounter Him personally, especially through the Scriptures.
Day 3 — Collaborator to Holiness
The Holy Spirit is sent by the Father and the Son to sanctify us. We cannot change ourselves without the help of the Spirit. We should resist the temptation (pride) to attain holiness by ourselves. We need to do our part but conversions are the Spirit's business. And we are His collaborators.
Day 4 — Holiness vs. Perfectionism
Before we can be a good collaborator of the Spirit in attaining holiness, we need to understand what holiness means. Holiness is not about perfectionism and not an absolute state that everyone has to strive for. Holiness is to be fully present and live well — to fulfill the duty of the moment — at the present moment. In the grand scheme of things, to be holy is to strive to become the person we are called to be, to live out our fullest potential, and to achieve the unique mission we are called to accomplish on earth. Two important concepts:
- Inspirations are the Holy Spirit’s way of coaching us along this path to holiness, and to direct our efforts to areas that God wants us to focus on.
- Divine Empowerment by the Holy Spirit is given to us to provide the necessary grace and strength for us to act on the prompts and inspirations by the Spirit
Day 5 — Faithfulness to the Spirit's Inspirations
God has entrusted to each one of us particular roles and missions that are unique to us, awaiting for our responses and actions. The job of the Holy Spirit is to coach us and lead us to this realization. Then we are required to work closely with the Spirit in fulfilling those roles and missions. As our personal life coach, the Spirit guides us through frequent inspirations in our daily lives.
When we profit from an inspiration that our Lord sends, he then sends another, and thus our Lord continues his graces as long as we continue to profit from them. – St. Francis de Sales
The more we practice our docility to the Spirit, the stronger and more frequent His inspirations, and the more graces will be granted to us who heed His voice. The more we practice aligning ourselves with the inspirations of the Spirit, the easier we can listen to God’s voice. These prompts of the Holy Spirit often begin with small things, or even insignificant matters. These inspirations are to be caught as they might not repeat themselves. And acting on them oftentimes requires responding and taking action right at the moment.
As we respond to the inspirations of the Spirit, we tend to use our own abilities to act on them our way. Our pride prevents us from seeking help from the Spirit. Without divine empowerment (supernatural power), it becomes counterproductive and less fruitful. Instead, as children of God, we should be dependable on Him like a child.
The recognition and eager embrace of our true identity as sons and daughters of our heavenly Father gain us full (complete) access to His Heart, and the super abundant graces ready to us that are beyond our wildest imagination!
Day 7 — The True Spirit of Obedience
We should not look for extraordinary inspirations because oftentimes inspirations come in as ordinary matters, and they tend to skip our attention. Obvious and unmistakable inspirations like teachings from the Bible, or our responsibilities in life make up a sizable portion of all these inspirations. The strengthening of our resolution to not neglect any one wish from God will eventually become the cornerstone upon which we become trustworthy enough to be entrusted with bigger tasks.
Inspirations that appear when we attend to the daily routines in our lives sometimes demand us to submit ourselves to others. And this requires great humility, but this is through such practices that we learn to surrender ourselves to the Spirit.
Day 8 — Detachment from Sins
Divine empowerment is only granted to us at the time we need it, not in advance. If we are faithful to the inspirations of the Spirit by taking steps to act on them, divine empowerment will be “released” to us at the time we need it. However, there is still one real danger that can prevent us from being faithful to the Spirit’s inspirations and from receiving divine empowerment: Attachment to sins makes ourselves “inhabitable” for the Spirit, which prevents us from receiving divine empowerment. There is why we need to detach from sins and go to confessions frequently.
Day 9 — The Dos & Don'ts in following the Spirit
There are some DOs and DON'Ts to watch out for to help us remain sharp and attentive to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit
- We should nurture the spirit of gratefulness, abandonment and community, as well as praying fervently.
- We should avoid being self-centered and judgmental, and be vigilant not to fall prey to all sorts of attachments, distractions and worries.