We held Elisheba House’s Eucharistic Healing Retreat a few weeks ago in Trinity, FL. The weeks leading up to the retreat were busy with tasks, phone calls, and meetings, as anyone who has ever planned an event can probably imagine. I am grateful that my monthly spiritual direction and confession appointment was set amid all the business just a few days before the retreat. I was feeling burdened and tired, yet God had already prepared this time for me to give him my burdens before the retreat.
One of the things still on my “to-do” list was preparing for the talk I was scheduled to present. I do not know if it was because I was juggling many tasks in my brain, but I had only the topic for my talk, not the details or the words. As a planner, this was uncomfortable. I wanted to have at least an outline, yet every time I sat to pray and write, I would end up staring at the same blank page. When I shared this with my spiritual director, he said this was a very good thing. I was empty; I was ready to receive. My task now was to allow myself to be filled with God, so that I would have something to give.
This was the Scripture verse we had chosen for the retreat, so it was not surprising that as part of my preparation, God would speak those exact words to me. All the labor was good, but it was meant to be laid at His feet. If I was going to have anything to give to those attending the retreat, I had to make room first to receive.
We all experience a need to unburden ourselves, yet, what happens when we do it in the wrong places is that we hurt ourselves and each other; we sin. Jesus is waiting to carry our burdens in the confessional. He is the peace we seek. We lay down our burdens when we say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”
Our works are often a mixed bag. Good intentions mixed with bad habits. The Divine working with fallen humans… the wheat growing with the weeds. Our works are good, yet they often need to be purified. In the laying down and surrendering of our work, we make room for God to do His.
We speak our sins to the priest in the person of Christ. We name the sins that have held us captive, the heavy yoke we willingly chose instead of His. We reject the works of the devil and ask Jesus for His yoke, His commands, His rules, in other words, His Love. When we bring our work and give it all to Him, we make room for His Love; He gives us His Peace.
And what is His yoke but the daily transformation of our hearts to become more like Him?
The following quote was shared during our retreat’s Holy Hour, and it really spoke to me:
When we bring our work and surrender it to Jesus, we make room for His Love; He gives us His Peace. Let us then bring the reality of our sins and limitations to Jesus in Confession and ask Him to heal us and transform our wounds into places that will glorify Him. The works of our hands then become our offering for others to receive Him.