Our final session of the morning, before our closing Mass, was about calling down the power of the Holy Spirit to change our lives. And as we prayed, not just for ourselves, but also for our brothers and sisters, our host Dan Harms challenged us to appreciate the power that’s already within us, by virtue of our Confirmation.

“I never appreciated Confirmation until after I was in my vocation,” he said. “When I don’t have the strength to be the friend, husband, brother, that I am called to be, the Holy Spirit comes and gives me peace.”

Come, Holy Spirit

Members of the Ministry Team were invited onto the stage as we prayed. Fr. Mike Schmitz reminded us that, as Christians, the battle we are brought into is not just with flesh and blood, but also with principalities and powers.

“Sometimes we go to Confession and confess the sin, but haven’t renounced the sin,” he said. “We have to say we don’t want it any more. We have to say that the kingdom of the evil one has no power in our lives, so that the Kingdom of God can reign.”

Conversion has two movements. Most of us probably think it’s just about loving God. That’s important, right and good – but the other movement of conversion is hating evil. In order to love God more, we have to hate evil.

As the team prayed over the participants, as the participants were invited to pray over one another, Fr. Mike led us in a prayer renouncing those spirits that would keep us from God – spirits of self-loathing, shame, lust, pride, among others.

There was also a moment to renounce the spirit of powerlessness. So many of us want to claim the Holy Spirit, we want a new Pentecost in our lives, but feel like we’re powerless to do so. Fr. Mike helped us to renounce that spirit of powerlessness, because Jesus promises that when the Holy Spirit comes, we will receive power.

He also invited us to renounce the spirit of fatherlessness. Many of us have been hurt through imperfect fatherhood – it was one of the first attacks of the evil one in the garden, when Adam renounced his role as protector. And the evil one wants us believe that any wounds we’ve experience from our fathers on earth are true of God too. But that’s a lie – we HAVE a Father. Jesus tells us that we have a Father, and not only do we have a Father, but He’s a good, good Father.

Go, Make Disciples

To wrap us up and send us home, Dan led us in a prayer of thanksgiving to the Holy Spirit, for the freedom from the baggage that holds us back.

And, thankfully, that Spirit is a spirit of empowerment to set us up to go home. This is not where we stay – “they need this arena for basketball games, or something,” Dan said. But we do not go home leaving anything behind – we go home strengthened by the blessings of this weekend, by the Holy Spirit and the sacraments we’ve received.

And we are also empowered by one another. God reveals Himself through other people, and so we can and should challenge each other to be better. The ways we can challenge one another will make us better disciples. Because when the twelve disciples received the power of the Holy Spirit, they went out as Apostles. And they didn’t just keep it to themselves – they went out and shared it with others.

Which brought us to the most meaningful, beautiful moment of our weekend: the Sunday Mass. God doesn’t just meet us here, He comes to us every single week – every single day, if we want. There are Catholics in every corner of the world, and Jesus is available in every tabernacle.

Our God is radically available to us, in the humblest of presentations. With the Eucharist and the power of the Holy Spirit, we have everything we need to make more disciples.

Written by Rachel Leininger
Rachel Leininger is the full-time chastity educator for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis' REAP Team retreat ministry. She's married to the excessively creative and unfairly gorgeous David. Her favorite things include decorating their home, everything Cardinals baseball, and coffee.