Kathe and I decided to write this post together to best describe our experience this weekend for you. This weekend was truly amazing. We had the honor to be on the retreat planning team for St. Monica-St. George this year. It was called Metanoia, meaning a turn of heart or transformation. The theme of Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved led us through the weekend with a process of life including being taken (or chosen), blessed, broken, and given. We heard several talks during the retreat and reflected on our own lives from their examples.
“If we live our life as people who are taken, blessed, and broken, then we can give ourselves. We are taken, blessed, and broken to be given.”
Taken: You are chosen by God. He has a purpose for you whether it is clear or He reveals it to you in time. Not just your purpose as in a career, but also your spiritual and faith life. It’s getting to know yourself at the deepest level, not just the facts about relationship titles or skills you have, but what you stand for and what you truly believe in. By getting to know yourself at this deep level, you will eventually discover exactly who He meant you to be. We were all given freewill and we can make decisions over the course of our lives, but we can live His way and eventually come to the ending point that was always there. You can choose any way, but God will always lead you to be the person He created you to be. You will become a perfect child of God.
Blessed: God blesses every person. He gives you family, friends, a home, a job, an education, but there are many people who do not have these things. God blesses them too; He blesses us all with His love. He blesses us with people who shape us in to who we are supposed to be. He teaches us life lessons through them. Our relationship changes with Him over time; we don’t always realize how blessed we are. We grow with Him during our lives and we can learn to recognize and accept His love for us. He will always love us unconditionally. God blesses in so many ways throughout our lives, whether we realize it at the time or in hindsight, sometimes we just need to take the time to realize it.
Broken: We are faced with challenges all the time. Some of them are small, minute things like a tight schedule, traffic on the way home, can’t find something you need, or caught a cold at school. Some of these difficulties can be horrendous times in our lives. People experience accidents, abuse, mental or physical suffering, and other traumas every day. We are broken in our lives, but it is what we choose to do with our brokenness that really counts. It is after we are broken that really counts. We have to choose to fight through and remember God at these times. Everything happens for a reason. We learn something from everything that happens to us. Sometimes we need suffering to see the good. Keep hope and faith during these times and remember that God loves you.
Given: We have to take our brokenness and turn it into giving. We can use the challenges we have faced to teach others lessons to help them. Having faith through the tough times is inspiring to others. You can do so much for other people by being hopeful and faithful. You don’t have to have suffered greatly to show God to others; staying strong of faith through any difficulty is moving. Even just accepting God’s love and blessings is life changing to other people. You can give Christ to the world just by being the person He made you. Be your best self every day and let God’s love work through you all the time and for all people. You can be Christ for others and others can be Christ for you. You just have to work to realize that Christ is within all people, including yourself.
We definitely had some ‘turn of heart’ moments. I know I truly had moments of belief in God and people that I have not always felt during my life. Kathe had moments realizing that God and people in her life love her and have great reason to. We think that if you read and reflect on the theme of the beloved that you might find some ‘turn of heart’ moments for yourself. Maybe you’ll even read Henri Nouwen’s book to understand even more about living the life of the beloved. We are all beloved children of God. We just need to accept it and live it every day.
“We may be little, insignificant servants in the eyes of a world motivated by efficiency, control and success. But when we realize that God has chosen us from all eternity, sent us into the world as the blessed ones, handed us over to suffering, can't we, then, also trust that our little lives will multiply themselves and be able to fulfill the needs of countless people?”
“The word of the Lord came to me: Before I formed you in the womb I knew you.”
“Now eagerly desire the greater gifts . . . And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
-Corinthians 12:31 and 13:13 (for the entire section, read 12:31 through 13:13)
Go and live out the life of the beloved, as God has always meant you to do,
Kathe and Katie