Lourdes Gómez is a young woman from Valencia, Spain, who is studying her fifth year of medicine. She is a Regnum Christi member and has participated, along with three other young women, a consecrated woman, and four young men, in spiritual exercises preached by Fr. Jaime Rodríguez, LC, during Holy Week. She tells us that she has received many lights and that “one of them has been gaining clarity to choose and desire what best directs me to the purpose for which I have been created, which is to give of myself, because I, and each of us, are a gift!”
Lourdes is from the young women’s section of Valencia. She values the importance of silence as one of the fruits of these weeklong spiritual exercises: “This has helped me greatly, but above all, it taught me much. It is so necessary for everything… but truly fundamental for prayer!” Lourdes also speaks to us about disconnecting from the internet and explains to us that “in the hyper-digitalized world in which we live, where everything goes so fast, sometimes we young people are afraid of missing out by not ‘always being connected,’ but if you don’t order your priorities and your time, life leaves you behind!” Ultimately, “these were days when I have been able to be alone with Jesus and put my life at his feet—all my worries, fears, desires, dreams, everything—and let him work in me!”
Have you gone on retreat before? What did these weeklong spiritual exercises bring you as opposed to weekend retreats?
Thanks to my high school (Cumbres School Valencia) and Regnum Christi, I have always had the opportunity to do weekend spiritual exercises every year.
Compared to weekend spiritual exercises, I have realized that this time is necessary to enter into harmony and so to reach a true encounter with Jesus, to immerse yourself in his mysteries, and to let that transform our lives. As St. John Paul II told us: “God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.” And this requires time to order our lives, desires, choices, and the purpose for which each one of us has been created around this encounter.
They have been a “little school”: now it is time to share and put into practice everything we have learned, like the Apostles, who didn’t stay all twelve together forever.
Did you feel like returning to your daily life, or did you prefer to stay on that Tabor?
I had never experienced a retreat this long, but after this week, I can tell you: the heart is so well made that it needs time to make itself available, to disconnect from so many “noises” that lurk in our daily life, to connect and enter into prayer little by little. I have realized that we just have to offer ourselves, and he does the rest!
I arrived very eager because I felt that I needed these days of intimacy with Jesus, and they have been days of many graces: “It is good to be here!” I thought that was the feeling Peter, James, and John had when Jesus brought them up the mountain. But, as Fr Jaime told us well, these days have been “real life,” not when each one returns to their city and home, because these days are when the soul has had the most clarity and the least noise and distractions. These are days in which we have truly been able to live in the light of the Truth and illumine our lives with that light, and that is totally how it has been!
As Father also told us, these days have been a “little school”: now it is time to share and put into practice everything we have learned, like the Apostles, who didn’t stay all twelve together forever; rather, Jesus sent them into the world with the Holy Spirit. Now it’s our turn!
How do you handle silence and living without social media?
The truth is that, in spite of being a little scared of so many days of silence at the beginning, I now seek it in my daily life! Silence has helped me greatly, but above all, it taught me much. It is so necessary for everything… but mainly fundamental for prayer! Sometimes we complain that Jesus doesn’t speak to us, but Jesus ALWAYS speaks. It’s just impossible to listen to him if we don’t seek out that silence. These days revolved around prayer, and now I ask myself every day, “How am I only going to leave the day’s leftover ‘crumbs’ for prayer?” Prayer is an encounter; you can’t improvise it!
Something else they recommended to us was to turn off our phones and social media. I thought, “All or nothing!” The night we arrived, I sent an email to change an internship at the university, and I turned it off for nine whole days. It was amazing! In the hyper-digitalized world in which we live, where everything goes so fast, sometimes we young people are afraid of missing out by not “always being connected,” but if you don’t order your priorities and your time, life loses you!
They recommended us to turn off our phones and social media. I thought, “All or nothing!” It was amazing!
Spiritual exercises are an opportunity to meditate, dialogue with God, consult him, and let him put light, love, forgiveness, and inspiration in your life. How do you live that experience?
These days have been a true gift! These were days when I have been able to be alone with Jesus and put my life at his feet—all my worries, fears, desires, dreams, everything—and let him work in me! Letting him be the one who gives light, clarity in the Truth, and great peace for each one, and asking him, like the Blessed Virgin, that my life be a “let it be done to me” for each of his plans!
Moreover, having lived Holy Week with this recollection has been a true blessing and one more grace. I realized that everything—his Passion, Death, and Resurrection—is for me, for each one of us, to open for us the doors of heaven! My life has no meaning if it is not in light of his cross because I am worth no more than or less than the blood of Christ!
Could you share with us a light that you had during these exercises? Is it going to change your life in some way?
I have received many lights, but one of them has been gaining clarity to choose and desire what best directs me to the purpose for which I have been created, which is to give of myself because I, and each of us, are a gift! So I desire a dedicated life, a life of service. Where? How? I don’t know! But I’m not worried because it is clear to me that my purpose is to arrive in heaven, and every day I ask for this trust and filial abandonment to my Father, who, as the Gospel says, knows what we need before we ask him and has even counted all the hairs of my head. Then what do I have to be worried about? Just living in the truth each day, letting him be the one to keep guiding me.
Original article published in Spanish here.