This year I was fortunate enough to attend two Fr. Bill retreats by Fr. Anthony. I would never have imagined just how special & precious they were going to be.
The quote from the bible ‘Ask & ye shall receive, seek & Ye shall find, knock & the door shall be opened unto you’ became a reality for me as all trace of doubt as to the existence of God and his love for me was completely obliterated.
I consider myself to be quite a curious, questioning person. I like true information & do not like nonsense of any kind. Now that’s out of the way, I’ll try to explain my story……
Before I went on this retreat, I had a few ‘unusual’ experiences that made me wonder a lot. My dad died in a car accident when I was 10 years old. Many years later when I was attending my college lecture – with my mind fully on my lesson – out of the blue I suddenly became overwhelmed with an immensely strong sense of love. This was definitely not ‘self-generated.’ It was somehow ‘external’, as though my Dad or someone like that-was sitting right next to me-to my left hand side to be exact. Still at the time I dismissed it afterwards, not being one to place too much importance on my feelings-I’d much rather read a book instead. Now I know this to have been one of the many examples of God´s grace & goodness to me.
Before coming to my first retreat last April, I was accustomed to feeling inconsolable. I experienced a lot of problems; too many to mention- to the point where I felt pre-maturely aged since I was quite young. Life felt relentlessly severe in many different ways even though I was always trying very hard to do things right. I was ‘running on empty’ etc I could go on….
So that week of the retreat I decided to pray in a serious way to Our Lady at Knock and I do believe that she led me to Jesus. It was as though she instructed me to ‘open my heart’. She interceded for me in a special way and a very helpful encounter with Fr. Anthony came about.
He was very accurate & insightful. Spot on actually! He exceeded my expectations & I got more than I bargained for in some ways.
Well he’s some man for one man and a force to be reckoned with for sure! I have much gratitude & admiration for him. Thank God for Fr. Anthony! I’m sure Fr. Bill (RIP) was over-seeing matters too. It made me appreciate how important priests really are also. I do feel as though I was ‘brought back to life’.
I felt I got a lot of healing at a deep and far-reaching level. It was not in any way short-lived either. I’m not that easily persuaded.
Fr. Anthony explained the Catholic faith in a very informative way and made learning the word of God very interesting & enjoyable. I was absolutely enthralled by his stories (so funny!) & his lessons were really substantial & thought-provoking.
The retreat did challenge me in a big way too, in ways I never would have imagined. E.g. both times I found day 3 hard and then after it was over (it’s a long story) but I would not have missed it or exchanged it for anything (not even a holiday in Fiji, seriously!)
Basically the truth of Jesus Christ and in a particular way the Holy Spirit came alive for me in a very undeniable & ‘demonstrative’ way during these Fr. Bill retreats. I’m still quite astounded & amazed by it all.
Having experienced the love of God my entire perspective has altered in a way I’ll be forever grateful, for – I’m 100% certain – without a doubt- that I have a Father (or two) in heaven who knows, loves, understands & protects me. I am very re-assured there is a plan for my life. This alone is a miracle because previously I had zero sense of safety.
I also have a new understanding & appreciation of the Holy Mass and also a better awareness of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. I want to go often now to come to know Jesus better & to experience his love more & more. The first time I went to adoration after the retreat, I experienced a real physical warm sensation in my heart. Usually now though I feel a ‘gentleness’ I find hard to explain. One thing is constant though and that is that I always leave feeling better & stronger.
Trying to increase my faith and get closer to Jesus has been a very joyful, freeing, experience to me & such a relief. I’m at a loss to describe how glad I am. It’s my opinion that nothing in this world makes any sense without Jesus. I never again want to lose awareness of His presence. He brings meaning to everything.-all the past sufferings & what I face now & in future.
Thank You Jesus. MaryH.