London is a crazy, fun, busy and at times exhausting city. I love it, but sometimes I feel the need to get away to a quieter place, even if just for a few hours and recharge. This may be from disconnecting from technology and sitting in my garden drinking a cup of coffee, or going for a walk in one of London’s many beautiful parks. I’ve had a really busy start to the year so, when I saw a one day retreat I knew I had to go to it. And I was not disappointed. It was an excellent retreat that left me with lots to think about.
I don’t often talk about my faith, as I never want someone to feel like I am preaching at them, but this year I am challenging myself to be a little braver, and so allow me to share this with you…
My faith is what gives me my strength, it gets me through all the tough moments, from grief when I lose someone I love, to the smaller everyday challenges, and it is my compass that keeps me focussed on what really matters. This is why I like to go on retreats to recharge, and in these silent moments I am able to take time out to reflect on where I am at, and strengthen my faith.
Most day retreats that I have been on have involved a mixture of prayer and someone speaking about a particular topic. In this case, it was about Divine Mercy . The Priest running the retreat had anticipated 30 people would attend, but in fact there was about 100 people there.
His talks were challenging, yet inspiring. He explained the image of Divine Mercy, its origins in Poland and what it means. There was so many things that inspired me as I listened to this talk, but these are key points that I have taken away from it:
The Priest, Fr. Andrew, challenged us to never be afraid of asking God for mercy, no matter the situation, and as we receive that mercy, be prepared to show mercy to others too. To give mercy to others, even if all your friends and family tell you that you are an idiot in doing so! Be that giving mercy to a boss who has made your life hell, through forgiving them, or forgiving someone who has hurt you. Quite a challenge when the easy thing to do in these situations would be to hold a grudge, and so the challenge here is to have the courage and strength to forgive and show compassion.
Fr Andrew also spoke of something equally important, and perhaps even harder, and that is forgiving yourself. To allow God’s mercy to meet you in your darkest, loneliest moments be those in your past, present or future. The image of Divine Mercy shows Jesus surrounded by darkness, because He is the light in your darkest moments, and will meet you where you are at. He will make good of every situation, if you invite Him to it. And the best part, to receive this mercy all you have to do is ask for it, by saying “Jesus, I trust in You”.