February 6, 2022 Essay: “I’d Sincerely Love to Meet Him”
Perhaps you’ve had the experience of connecting with a friend you haven’t seen in a while whereupon you’re regaled with specifics of a ‘new person’ in their life. Gleam in the eye, liquid voice, emphatic hand gestures, outlook on life is positively amplified. Your friend gushes, confides, hopes, celebrates. You say, “I’d sincerely love to meet him.”
In my journey as a practicing Catholic, Mass had long been my prayer epicenter. Pandemic mitigation changed that. I quickly realized I needed to find a way to seek God anew. A former SIL parishioner raved about the streamed Sunday Mass, and homilies arrested my attention, encouraging me to be open to change. Then, the title of an upcoming class caught my eye: Meeting Christ in Prayer (MCIP).
Meetings are often perfunctory, during which a lot is said and not much happens. But meeting others as well as Christ in prayer? That implies true conversation. Not just me reciting my petitions, concerns, and worship AT God. Rather, arriving alert and ready to receive the attention, acceptance, and graces of our Loving Lord, as well as being accompanied by, and accompanying other retreatants. I had long felt the Holy Spirit as a vibrant presence in my life and ease in praying to our Creator Parent. But I fell short in how well I knew Christ. Did I or could I recognize Him, His voice, His call? He was a mystery: privately, silently encountered in the Eucharist. MCIP promised a forum to discover who He was. I yearned for that. So, I registered.
The weekly meetings were time well spent. A chosen New Testament passage served as a springboard for each Zoom call. Because of the genuineness of the stories, reflections, and petitions of the lay people in our group, I experienced Christ as alive in our midst. Participating in MCIP ignited a new way of being and becoming a Catholic Christian. Realizing how unique this opportunity was, I gave my full effort to the retreat and embraced the entire eight weeks.
The structure of the retreat allowed me to address certain topics in set intervals. Some weeks, my proper role was to listen and absorb. While others shared their faith lives, their reflections resonated with me. Christ was an important presence in their lives. Some weeks, I shared verbally—and even too much. My ease in sharing aloud the state of my spiritual life signaled a change. Previously, I relied on recited prayers and felt inept at putting into words what I experience and believe about my relationship with God. With our MCIP group, always so encouraging, and respectful, I could convey who I am when I am with God, and who God is towards me. Bearing witness was important. Our relationship with Christ grew in clarity and depth.
Exploring three specific prayer forms led me to pray more often and led me to approach prayer in fresh ways. Lectio Divina helped me not to rush reading selected passages, but to meditate over the phrase or line that moved me. Because we revisited our readings and entries on the seventh day of the week, I was led to see there were more layers to unravel and more ways in which God spoke to me. Prayer became a dialogue. The Examen catapulted me into truly seeking and thereby seeing Christ during everyday encounters. There was an increasing sense that what and who happened into my day was part of God’s ‘answer.’ I was astounded—like the apostles on the road to Emmaus—to find Christ right here and now, with and in me.
I can honestly say, “I loved meeting Him!”
– Michelle Quinn
Would you like to meet Christ in a deeper way, too? Then please join us for our next eight-week retreat, Meeting Christ in Prayer, starting February 16th. To sign up, please email [email protected] by February 9th.