At the end of the retreat I staffed yesterday, there was a talk about how to take what you’ve learned from the retreat and carry it with you.
It seems like after a retreat, there are five stages that retreaters go through.
- Adding everyone you met at the retreat onto social media accounts, whether you really bonded with them or not
- Having a spiritual high, feeling totally motivated to go out into the world and spread the good news.
- Getting caught up in everyday life and eventually slipping up
- Feeling guilty about slipping up
- Realizing that God’s mercy is infinite and all the stuff you heard at the retreat was seriously true.
But as the awesome young adults at Blimey Cow pointed out, a spiritual high is just a feeling. And feelings, as I’ve learned recently are not always reliable. However, as I said before, pushing away emotions is just as unhealthy as dwelling on your emotions.
So the question remains: What exactly can you do when the spiritual high is gone?
One suggestion from Fr. Robert Barron is to take prayer with you on your daily commute. Pope Francis suggested something similar, only he used a train ride as a hypothetical situation instead of a car. Think of it as a tiny spiritual energy boost. It saves you from being rude to other drivers and you can forgive said other drivers if and when they are ever rude to you.
But that’s everyday life, you say. What about when we find ourselves at our lowest point?
“Hand it over.” Also known as “Offer it up.” Catholics say either one of these phrases a lot. But what does it mean?
Handing your problems over or offering up your sufferings means sharing in Christ’s suffering, putting meaning to your suffering. Also, be joyful in your suffering. NOTE: THIS IS NOT A FORM OF MASOCHISM! Being joyful in your suffering means acknowledging that whatever bad things are happening in your life are temporary. Even if the entire year seems to suck for you, eventually it will pass over and a new year will begin.
This is definitely easier said than done, I know. But I put that list of songs yesterday for anyone who felt like they were at their lowest point.
After all, according to The Legend of Korra, “When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change.”
Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I will end this post with a prayer attributed to him: