Spiritual exercises with the RMI: a journey towards spiritual growth 

On 26th May 2017, RMI community organised a weekend of Spiritual Exercises (Ignatian) for the girls in the hostel and other collaborators of the Institute.

As a committed lay member of the RMI community, I have always believed that these Spiritual Exercises are an opportunity to encounter God in a deepest level of knowledge and love.

My experience started back in 2009, and since then, every year, I do the Spiritual Exercises. It is a must for me, as this experience have built my character as a believer and as a person, creating a positive impact in all my doings, my daily routine and in my relationships.

The Spiritual Exercises organised by the RMI community are structured in a gentle but effective approach. I felt guided and free at the same time to discover where I am right now; To evaluate my actions and to regain strength to carry on with my life in the grace of God. I believe deeply that we should all have this experience.

It is important to clarify that the experience is not a spiritual retreat, as in a spiritual retreat you have conversations and share your thoughts with other fellow companions. The Spiritual Exercises are done in silence, yes complete silence, no TV, no internet, nor phone or conversations with anyone.

This sounds a bit too much, but it is in the silence when we are ready to have a deep encounter with God and with ourselves; when we are able to shut down from the everyday distractions, and when we are really able to look at ourselves effectively, without excuses, and in complete honesty.

Having honesty and willingness to look at ourselves facilitates a real encounter with God, the Lord strips you off from all your ego and leaves you with nothing left just you and him in the solitude. This is the real deal, not able to fix or protect yourself, but be willing to surrender all your anxieties, and emotional/ material attachments to him.

The most beautiful part of my experience was the realisation of my vulnerability before God, that vulnerability I'm not able to show to anyone else as I'm fearful of being used or hurt, as I was open and vulnerable to Him I felt loved and understood, I felt that I was not being judged but accepted.

This was a breakthrough for me, as now I'm able to have candid conversations with God without fearing to be punished and judged, I felt He treated me like the prodigal son, no matter how many times I have fallen, He made me feel welcome, and received me with a banquet full of love.

I did not expect from our Lord the King of kings, he is incredibly humble and simple in spirit moving every fibre of my being, changing my views about myself, Him and others.

I also learnt to listen more and talk less, to really be present and to park aside my worries, to be grateful with what I have, because God's time is perfect and his actions in my life are perfect, and I was able to make important decisions about my life without the outside noise; and most of all to trust Him more.

My faith has been renewed and I feel ready to be out in the world and being able to share this beautiful experience, as I believe deeply, once in while is good to stop our routine and take a deep look at ourselves and our relationship with God.

Finally, I just want to thank the Sisters for the love and understanding shown to all of us during this time, we all had deep experiences and although we are aware God makes this happen, your love and generosity made this an unforgettable moment.

Liliana Vargas (Molavim)