Day 1 – Why Am I Here?

WELCOME to The Now Word Healing Retreat! There is no cost, no fee, just your commitment. And so, we begin with readers from all over the world who have come to experience healing and renewal. If you did not read Healing Preparations, please take a moment to review that important information on how to have a successful and blessed retreat, and then come back here.

Why Am I Here?

Some of you are here because you are sick and tired of being sick and tired. Others have fears and insecurities that interfere with their ability to be joyful and experience peace. Others have a poor self-image or are suffocating from lack of love. Others are mired in destructive patterns that are more like chains. There are any number of reasons why you have come — some with great hope and anticipation… others with doubt and skepticism.

So, why are you here? Take a moment, grab your prayer journal (or find a notebook or something that you can record your thoughts on for the remainder of the retreat — I’ll speak more about this tomorrow), and answer that question. But before you do, let’s begin this retreat by asking the Holy Spirit to truly enlighten us: to reveal ourselves to ourselves so that we can begin to walk in the truth which sets us free.[1]cf. John 8:32 Turn on your speakers or plug in your headphones, and pray with me (lyrics are below): In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…

Come Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit
And burn away my fears, and wipe away my tears
And trusting you are here, Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit, come Holy Spirit
And burn away my fears, and wipe away my tears
And trusting you are here, Holy Spirit
And burn away my fears, and wipe away my tears
And trusting you are here, Holy Spirit
Come Holy Spirit…

—Mark Mallett, from Let the Lord Know, 2005©

Now, grab your journal or notebook, write “Healing Retreat” and today’s date at the top of a new page, and “Day 1” beneath that. And then pause and listen carefully in your heart as you answer the question: “Why am I here?” Write out whatever comes to mind. This is very important because Jesus wants you to be specific, even though you will likely discover other things that need healing as the retreat progresses…

Why Jesus is Here

Maybe you’re tempted at this point to think “what is the use?” — that, your life is a blink anyway; that all this healing, introspection, etc. is just meaningless in the big picture. “You’re just one of 8 billion people! Do you really think you matter that much?! All this effort and you’re going to die someday anyway.” Ah, what a familiar temptation that is to many.

There is a beautiful story told by St. Teresa of Calcutta of how a man’s only child was dying in the slums. He came to her, desperately needing a medicine that wasn’t available in India but only in England. As they were talking, a man showed up with a basket of half-used medications he had been collecting from families. And there, on the top of the basket, was that medicine!

I just stood in front of that basket and kept looking at the bottle and in my mind I was saying, “Millions and millions and millions of children in the world — how could God be concerned with that little child in the slums of Calcutta? To send that medicine, to send that man just at that time, to put that medicine right on the top and to send the full amount that the doctor had prescribed.” See how precious that little one was to God himself. How concerned he was for that little one. —St. Teresa of Calcutta, from The Writings of Mother Teresa of Calcutta; published in Magnificat, May 12, 2023

Well, here you are, one of 8 billion people, and this retreat is the basket carrying the medicine you need because, simply, you are loved. As Jesus Himself tells us:

Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7)

So, if your hairs are counted, what about your wounds? What is more important to Jesus, your fears or your follicles? So you see, every detail of your life is important to God because every detail actually has an impact on the world around you. The little words we say, the subtle mood shifts, the actions we take, or don’t take — they have eternal repercussions, even if no one else sees them. If “on the day of judgment people will render an account for every careless word they speak,”[2]Matt 12:36 it matters to God that you are wounded by those very words — whether from your mouth, other’s mouths, or Satan’s, he who is “the accuser of the brethren.”[3]Rev 12:10

Jesus lived on earth for 30 years before entering His ministry. In that time, he was occupied with seemingly menial tasks, thereby sanctifying all the mundane, ordinary moments of life — moments that are not recorded in the gospels and that none of us are even aware of. He could have come to earth only for his brief “ministry”, but He didn’t. He made all the phases of life beautiful and holy — from the first moments of learning to playtime, rest, work, meals, washing, swimming, walking, praying, … Jesus did everything, including dying, so that everything human would become holy again. Now, even the smallest things will be weighed in eternity.

For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. (Luke 8:17)

And so Jesus wants you to be healed, to be whole, to be joyful, to turn all the ordinary moments in your life into light, for your sake and for other souls. He wants you to experience His peace and freedom in this life, not just the next. That was the original plan in Eden — a plan, however, that was stolen.

A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)

The Lord has invited you to this retreat to return to you the stolen goods of what belongs to His children — the fruits or “life” of the Holy Spirit:

…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Gal 6:23)

And what does Jesus say in John 15?

By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. (John 15:8)

So there is no question that Jesus wants you to be healed because He wants to glorify His Father through your transformation. He wants you to bear the fruit of the Spirit in your life so that the world may know that you are His disciple. The problem is that our wounds often become the very thief to “steal, and slaughter and destroy” these fruits. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy. If we don’t deal with these wounds and our dysfunctions, we not only lose our peace and joy but often sour the relationships around us, if not destroy them. And so Jesus says to you:

Come to Me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matt 11:28)

And you have help! In the Gospel, we hear Jesus promise that the Father “will give you another Advocate to be with you always, the Spirit of truth.”[4]John 14:16-17 Always, He said. So, this is why we will start these retreat days invoking the Holy Spirit to help us, to free us, to refine and change us. To heal us.

In closing, pray with this song below and when it is finished, return to the question “Why am I here?” and add any new thoughts. Then ask Jesus: “Why are You here?”, and in the silence of your heart, listen to His answer and write it down. Don’t worry, tomorrow we’ll talk more about this journaling business and listening to the voice of the Good Shepherd, the Voice who says: You are loved.

Jesus Set Me Free

My spirit is willing but my flesh is weak
I do the things I know I shouldn’t do, oh I do
You say be holy, as I Am holy
But I am only human, flippant and frail
bound by sin, O Jesus, take me in. 

And Jesus set me free
Jesus set me free
Unbind me, refine me, Lord
In your mercy, Jesus set me free

I know I have your spirit, I’m thankful I’m your child
But still my weakness is stronger than me, now I see
Total surrender, abandoned to You 
Moment by moment I’ll trust in You
Obedience and prayer: this is my food
O, but Jesus, the rest is up to You

So Jesus set me free
Jesus set me free
Unbind me, refine me, Lord
Jesus set me free, Jesus set me free
Unbind me, refine me Lord, in your mercy
And Jesus set me free
and Jesus set me free

—Mark Mallett, from Here You Are 2013©



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1 cf. John 8:32
2 Matt 12:36
3 Rev 12:10
4 John 14:16-17