It's been seven months since I went to Notre Dame for ND Vision. Normally, when I've been to retreats I come back on a high from the mountain top experience but quickly settle back down to normal day life. ND Vision was different. It still rocks my world to this day. It's not uncommon for me to have dreams about going to Notre Dame. That's not to say that I haven't resorted back to my sinful nature but the amount of spiritual growth I made in those five days was more than I had grown in years.
For the longest time, I always said that I wanted to be a window that people can see Christ through. I wanted God's love to shine through me and to attract people to Him. The problem is that throughout the years, I've tried to point people to God saying, "there He is. Isn't it wonderful" when instead I should have been saying was, "HERE He is. He is wonderful." I was pointing towards Him without fully experiencing His love for myself. I was cowering down in the shadows, afraid of His light, afraid of His love because I was afraid that it would expose my darkness. I was pushing Him away because I did not feel worthy of His love.
At Notre Dame, God touched me and exposed me to His love like I had never felt before. I believe it was a sample of what purgatory must be like where God slowly exposes Himself to us and purifies us. It was overwhelming. It was torturous. It was painful. And it was the most amazing and wonderful feeling in the world. He tore me down and built me back up and made me realize that, no, I'm not worthy of His love but it doesn't matter---He loves me not matter what I do. No matter the secrets I think I'm hiding from Him and no matter my blemishes.
So now, when I talk about God, I no longer point down the road saying, "He is down there." I am able to point at myself and say that, "He is right here." I truly can let His love shine through me.
The second huge event that occurred that week that I would compare to the moment in John 19:27. Jesus was on the cross and He saw the Virgin Mary and John, the beloved disciple. He said to Mary, "Woman, behold your son!" and then He said to John, "Behold, your Mother!"
I had an experience on the Tuesday afternoon while walking around St. Mary's Lake where I believe that I felt Mary's presence. I believe she was with me and I believe that Jesus used that week encourage me to find a devotion to Mary and remind me that she is my mother too and that I should use her when I need help. And what a better place to this than at Notre Dame, a university dedicated to Our Lady.
I look forward to going back to ND Vision this summer. Right now I don't know how I'm going to get there but I'm going to get there somehow. I don't care if I have to drive myself, fly a plane or walk. I am going to get there. And I'm excited to see what God has in store for me.