OK, so I have finally gotten around to posting this. Lets overview!
After my last post, I put on my makeup and drank a cup of tea. Then, we had to leave. So we drove and met Bill our lifeteen leader and the rest of the group, who were driving in several cars. I rode with Bill and a few girls,only one of which I knew. They did a bunch of really crude quizzes in the back, so I listened to Christian music an talked with Bill in the front. We drove about two hours, stopped for Pizza, drove more, and made it to Purisima Retreat center around 7:30. We put all of our stuff in our rooms, which had bunk beds (I took top bunk!) Then we went to the food fall and played ninja for about 40 minutes while the adults set up the main hall. I made a few acquaintances, like Seamus, Matt, Zach, Alec, Mel, and Ashley. Then the adults called us and we went into the main hall rather awkwardly. We played a game involving a ball which had bizarre personal questions written on it (what song describes your life, stage a conversation with the president, etc.)Then we sang a bit, and heard our Retreat song (which I got to help make up the dance to) and then we settled down to hear the rules and all.
We were divided into a guys group (about 7 people) and a girls group (about 13.) The guys went off to talk in the dining hall, and us girls stayed in the main hall for our session. We talked about Justice. Justice is what is owed to every human being- life, love, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We talked about two hours, discussed, and then just randomly chatted about life to each other. Then the guys came back, we sang some more, played another game (this one was so bizarre and yet hilarious that I cannot begin to describe it) and then it was about midnight, so we went to bed. Our little dorm (McKenzie, Katherine, Alyssa, Ashley, Sara, and myself) said a rosary before bed, which was really great.
Saturday started at 6:30 with Nickelback waking me (and everyone else, apparently) on my alarm. Ashley and I chatted while we got dressed, and then we went and played catch with the guys who were up. At 8:00, we went to breakfast, which was banana pancakes and sausage and apple juice. After that, we went to another session on Justice, this time talking about what a just woman looks like. After that, it was time for mass! Mass was AMAZING, just being there with all those people and everyone just loving God and the miracle of the Eucharist. More on this later!
After mass, the guys left and we talked about fortitude. Fortitude is courage, especially the courage to practice justice. We talked a bit more afterwards and played some games with the guys. Then we had lunch, which was chicken nuggets, mac-n-cheese, veggies, and more apple juice. The food was amazing, all the good homemade stuff that people are supposed to eat. Bill ate at our (Ashley’s, Sara’s, Matt’s, Alyssa’s, Seamus’, and mine) table, so poor Matt couldn’t tell any of his very ribald jokes. Those people came to be my best friends on retreat. Awesome, awesome folks.
Then we had confession, which was in the same room as the Tabernacle, so I wasn’t just confessing to the priest In Persona Cristi, I was actually confessing to Jesus himself! It was beautiful. Confession for everyone took an hour and a half, and then we had another session, this time on Temperance, AKA self-control. How did they teach this? By pouring tons of candy on a table and telling us to dig in. So, we sucked on our ring pops and bubblegum and gnawed on snickers as they explained what temperance is all about. After that was done, some people left to play frisbee with the guys, and the rest of us stayed and talked abut adoration and all the various experiences we had had. (I’ll explain that later too!)
Then we had dinner with Deacon Uncle Mr Scott (he’s a deacon, a friends Uncle, and a Mister, so he is officially called that,) which was tacos and yet again apple juice. It was kind of a thing. After dinner, we had another session on sin. For this one, each girl was given a perfect rose. As one of the leaders read out a letter to God, telling him about our sins, we each plucked off a petal of the rose for each sin that was read out that we were guilty of. By then end, our laps were full of petals and our roses looked,well… pitiful. We took the ravaged roses and placed them in front of the statue of Mary, saying a decade of the rosary. The petals we placed in a bag for later.
The boys came back in, and everyone brought out pillows and sleeping bags to the main room. We set up our area, and prepared for Adoration. Deacon Uncle Mr Scott wrapped his hands in a cloth (human hands being unworthy to touch the monstrance) and carried the monstrance to the altar. We all sang to Jesus as we kneeled or lay down, and then, it went quiet.
One by one, each of us girls carried the petals we had plucked from our roses, carried our sins, and we strew them around the monstrance. We gave our sins to Christ.
Apparently, all you could hear after this point was the “thuds” of people hitting the ground as, one by one, we each Rested in the Spirit. After that, memories get fuzzy. I remember crying, and I remember Annie holding me and me holding her as we cried together. I remember the Deacon carrying the monstrance around, touching it to the heads of each one of us, and Annie begging to be allowed to run after Him so that she too, could be touched. THAT was a beautiful moment, her sobbing as the deacon rested the cloth against her forehead. She Rested in the Spirit not long after. Katherine Rested and fell on my head. The deacon came to me last, and the last thing I clearly remember is leaning my head against the cloth, only wanting to be near Jesus for a little while. Matthew, from across the room, said that after He left, I started shaking and swaying before falling face first onto a (convenient) pillow. I Rested in the Spirit for about 20 minutes. Out of the 20 kids there, about 17 Rested in the Spirit that evening. Several also had visons and tears.
The band started playing “Stand” by Hillsong, and one by one, we all got up, except for Sara and Ashley, who were completely out of it. They awoke little later. The Deacon put Jesus back into the tabernacle, and we all went to the dining room for cocoa and to share our experiences. By the time we finished, it was midnight, so we all went to our rooms, except for the girls, who sang a rosary together before we went to our dorms (I got a vid, it should be up soon.)
I woke up early to take a shower. Then Sara, Ashley, and I went outside to talk with the guys about bad sequels (it was a toss up for worst between Pocahontas 2 and Cinderella 3) Then we went to say a rosary in the main room. Everyone was so caught up in the rosary, nobody noticed that while we were praying, the CORE members had placed a vase full of new, perfect roses in the center of the room. Each of girls took a new rose, and we started crying, and the guys were staring at us because they had no idea what was going on… it was lovely. We had breakfast of cereal and muffins, and then we went back to our room for a talk on Prudence, which is knowing right from wrong. After that was Lunch, which was leftovers, and then we went to pray one last time and get our retreat shirts and CDs. We packed up, cleaned up, and left. I was again in the car with Bill, Sara, Ash, and Alyssa, and we listened to Christian music on the three hour drive back to St. Marks. Since we left in so many cars, we had a race back. Our car came in second, but at least we beat Bill’s wife. Then, a few people left, and we had mass, and my friend Jesse (who didn’t come, dang him) revealed to me that he got a new girlfriend (just last month he swore he was in love with another girl. This is why teen relationships are doomed to fail.)
After mass, Zoe picked me up, I left my pillow in Bill’s car, I came home, and I wrote a blog post and crashed.
That’s it! Love you all! (And od loves you too!)