by Christina Hayworth, freshman at Florida State University
Almost 200 students filled the great room-turned-chapel on the weekend of February 9, for the Catholic Student Union (CSU) of Florida State University’s 2018 spring retreat. Regardless of the details of how we all arrived at the campground, we were all there for the same reason: God called us, placed us on this retreat.
Over the weekend, we dove into God’s power, His dunamis, and its role in our everyday lives. From both talks and witnesses, I learned about the Holy Spirit and His burning desire to strengthen us to live in the Kingdom of Light. Friday and Saturday night culminated in Adoration and a chance to pray for Baptism in the Holy Spirit, during which I repented from my sins and opened my heart to the Father so that He could fill me with the graces, gifts, and powers of His Spirit to help me live an abundant, joyful life set apart for Him.
The Lord reminded me how much He wants me to trust in Him and give Him my whole heart. Instead of living a self-empowered and independent life, He wants to give me his dunamis – his Holy Spirit – to free me to live a life for Him so that I can more freely love and be loved. He asked me to surrender to Him and trust in His plan for me, reminding me that He holds my life in His hands and would never hold back a joy-filled life back me. While I have to take up my cross to follow Him, He will always provide an abundant life for me.
On the last day of retreat, we learned about being a follower, not just a fan, of Jesus. The Lord gently reminded me of the healthy detachment I must have from the things within my life – my “nets” that hold me back from trusting Him with my whole heart.
I grew in faith, love, trust, and community that weekend. Journeying with my small group, worshipping with other members of CSU, and having deep one-on-one conversations with other students all brought me into a closer relationship with the Lord. Opening my heart to Jesus and enthroning Him as the King of my heart launched me back into my spring semester and continues to encourage me to pursue a deeper relationship with Him.