Kairos retreats allow us to 'stand before God' in the silence of our hearts
Jun 25, 2019
When we turn on the news, we are often swamped by the gospel of the world. We are all too familiar with this message of violence in word and deed, relishing in scandals, deception, abuse and the list goes on and on.
We, as Catholics, are part of this world and are not untouched by the events that we encounter in our world. Furthermore, many of the same problems the world struggles with, we also struggle with on a very personal basis in our own lives. We are not immune from the influence of the world, and we have all been wounded by the reality of sin.
But this is only half the story, and honestly the much more boring part of the story; sin is old news. The other half of the story is the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel which we are called to unleash in the Archdiocese of Detroit.
The Gospel is the message of an unconditional love so profound for mankind that it almost seems like God could not bear to remain separated from us by sin. To reconcile us to himself, he took upon himself all of our sins and failures, carried them to Calvary and nailed them to the Cross, so that through his wounds we might be healed.
A concrete example of the efficacious nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ being unleashed in the Archdiocese of Detroit, which I have been graced to experience this past year while working at St. Frances Cabrini in Allen Park, has been the implementation of Kairos retreats for our high school juniors and seniors. These are extensive four-day retreats aimed at unleashing the Gospel within the lives of the students. These retreats facilitate an encounter firstly between the retreatant and God, and secondly amongst the retreatants themselves so that they might be able to powerfully experience the reality of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their own lives.
These retreats are very intense spiritual experiences for the students in which they are able to bring to God everything in their lives — the good, the bad, and the ugly — and enter into silence for long enough to hear God speak His truth directly into their hearts.
Time and time again, during these retreats I saw these young students, who often carried very heavy emotional and personal burdens, courageously stand before God precisely as they were and remain silent and still long enough to hear his judgment passed on their lives. Every time the judgment of God was this: “You are my beloved in whom I am well pleased.”
This spiritual dynamic of standing before God and waiting on his judgment in our lives is not only for the youth, nor is it only a singular experience in one’s life. As young children, adults, parents of families, and the elderly, we are perpetually called to enter into our “inner room” in prayer and remain still long enough to hear God’s judgment on our lives.
When we authentically hear the Father’s judgment, in the incommunicable silence and solitude of our own hearts, we possess the surety of our salvation in Jesus Christ from which we are given the ability to authentically become joyful missionary disciples — a joy that is not giddy or always smiling, but the authentic Christian joy that flows from unleashing the Gospel in our own lives and the lives of those around us.
The Gospel is real; let’s continue to unleash it in the Archdiocese of Detroit!
Timothy DuBois is a seminarian at Sacred Heart Major Seminary who is serving a pastoral internship at St. Frances Cabrini Parish in Allen Park.