Silent Retreat

Personal Retreat on Reflections

It was a fruitful and spiritually enriching for me, completing my seven days personal retreat in Chiang Mai. I would love to share a few reflections i get (make) from this retreat at the Seven Fountains Jesuit Retreat Centre, Chiang Mai, Thailand from 27th April until 3rd May 2017. I will write it in a point form because this really speaks to my heart and hope it will speaks to those who read this post too.

  • To make peace with myself which means to make peace with my heart, my mind, my body and my soul.
  • To take things slow and steady by not pushing myself but to be patient with myself in the process.
  • To understand the meaning of my baptism and the works (JD – Job Description) that comes with it. Remember Jesus Christ was baptized by John the Baptist and what Jesus did after his baptism? He do what his Father in Heaven asked him to do. Now, Jesus is no more in this world, he is seated at the right hand of the Father in Heaven until his second coming to judge the living and the dead. Thus, it is my duty to continue what Jesus do, to spread the Good News to the people.
  • To dig deeper through the Word of God how much God loves me. Reflects on the gaze Jesus gave to Peter after he denies Jesus the third time which makes Peter wept bitterly. It is the gaze of love and mercy not a condemnation (Luke 22: 61-62)
  • Faith is not freely come to me unless i earn it through my actions which includes prayerful life, read and meditate on the Word of God, received Holy Eucharist, visit the Blessed Sacrament and spend time with God, read spiritual books, reach out to the poor and needy, serve the Church. Of course it will takes courage and patience because throughout the process, the temptations, discouragements, negative thoughts, darkness, loneliness, disappointments, etc will attacks and bring me down to the lowest ground. Thus, i must always remind myself that God is my rock, my stronghold, my strength so i must never despair. Remember St John the Baptist, the greatest saint also experienced darkness (Matthew 11; 3). Jesus will give me peace and consolation.
  • To believe in Jesus and never doubt him. He is the living God and he is truly lives in me when i received him in Holy Communion. I am like Philip, asking if it is truly him. Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work (John 14: 9-10).
  • To embrace and living the moments with full knowledge that God is at work, that God is walking with me, within me. By his graces and blessings he will continue to guide and take me on this life journey one step at a time – even if it is a baby steps – without rushing and pushing me to break me, but to make me strong and shine. He will tell me when is the right time to take another step forward and when to pause or step back. He knows everything about me.
  • Fake repentance is not a game to play with God. When i confess my sins – even how shameful and bad it is – to the Priest, all my sins are forgiven and washed by the Precious Blood of Jesus who dies on the cross. Remember that no sins is greater than Jesus so go for a confession and ask for his forgiveness, do it sincerely from my heart, repent and not to sin again. Often times Jesus said in the scriptures after he heals the sick people, “Go and do not sin again!”

May the good Lord continue to bless us, heals us and give us abundance love so we can continue to serve Him in whatever we do. Lots of Love.

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Silent Retreat

Personal Retreat

mother teresa quote

I was longing for a personal retreat for quite a while now. A few years back i did my silent retreat together with a few other friends and the purpose of our retreat is very specific. Somehow, i didn’t find the answer for a lots of questions in my head. This is because i didn’t prepared spiritually and i am too busy with my worldly things around me. So, way back in 2010 i was searching for a possibilities for me to go for a personal retreat away from my hometown, where i didn’t know anyone. A quite and solitude place for me to find my inner self and carefully listen to the voice of God within. The ‘noise’ of this world easily distracts me from my intimate relationship with Jesus and i must find a way to stay firm and put Him as the centre of my life.

During my search i found a few retreat centres and one of the retreat centre that caught my intention was the Seven Fountains Retreat Centre, Chiang Mai, Thailand. It is managed by the Jesuit priests. At that time, when i calculate the overall expenses i need to travel there, i can not afford it so i stop there.

Last year, i have some ‘turbulence’ in my life and suddenly i was thinking about personal retreat again. My financial is not stable but i make a prompt decision to buy a ticket and go to Chiang Mai this year. Deep down in my heart, my desire to go to the Seven Fountains never fades away. It is always there and knowing that, i just go.

I will fly to Chiang Mai this coming week and will be there for 6D5N. I am excited and at the same time i feel a bit of nervous. I have a mixture of feelings right now especially after i received emails from my Spiritual Director.

Nothing special, try to come not too tired and with lot of goodwill and confidence in God’s love! I’ll see you every day to give you points for meditations and to know if you are well. Bring ball pen and exercise-book. – 16th Jan 2017

Welcome to the Seven Fountains, I am waiting for you. You will arrive for the dinner which is at 6h30 pm. I’ll see you the following day? See you soon.? – 17th April 2017

With this i will put everything in God’s hand and let the Holy Spirit be my guidance in my search. May Lord have mercy on me.

Diary

Confession

I have fear of confession. I just can’t make it when it comes to confession. On 15-17 Oct (last weekend), i joint Life in Spirit Seminar at Kundasang/Ranau. So many beautiful things happen during these three days. One of it is the confession sessions. I am so afraid at first because the fear is there in my heart. Keep on lingering in my head that i can’t make it. I know it is the voice of Mr. S.A.T.A.N. As Bro. Jude said, “If fear is in your heart, there is no love”. His words, makes me realize that i need to overcome this fear. Need to ask for Holy Spirit guidance for this confession. Before i went for confession, i do some sharing with Sis Dot and she did gave me some advice and shared a few things with me. She makes me lower down my nervous and fear a little bit.

Then, i ask for Holy Spirit guidance and may by the power of Holy Spirit i can make a sincere and confessions from my heart. I think about more than 5 seconds i paused and don’t know what to say to the Father. Aiyah! But, thanks be to God with the Holy Spirit guide me, at last i make a confessions and the most beautiful things is that, i can feel that i overcome my fear of confessions. Thanks be to God. Praise Him above all names. How beautiful and how deep is His love for me. Thank you so much dear Lord Jesus Christ. I love You Jesus!…

Activity

Never Walking Alone

I was new here, in this new place even though it is already almost three months but not every place i went. I supposed to look for an office because i have to meet somebody to settle the problem of my resignation. I only have in my mind that, i will let Jesus lead me to the place. Usually i have doubt inside my heart on asking for directions like this from Him. I make a call to my friend about the place that i want to go but i have no idea about the place that he explain. So, i just drive through with prayer in my heart “Lord Jesus, lead my drive and show me the right directions to reach the place. Amen”

Seems to be He listens to me. I drive through and found the right area when i saw a sign board “Padungan” so i know i was at the right area. But then where is the building? So, i call my friend again ask for directions. He did told me but then i have no idea about it, because this place is new for me. I have been to this area a few times but it was not me that driving the car. So, i don’t want to worry so much then i ask Lord Jesus to keep guiding my way.

After a while, i saw the building that my friend mentions to me but actually the office that i am looking for is not in that building. The office that i was looking is in the other building across the road. Suddenly, it was raining heavily and i almost lost my patience when i don’t know where is the entrance road to that building. I make a few U-turns until i get there. But, when i let Jesus leads my way the anger inside just flew away. I get to the place that i want to go and with help from the security guard, i make it. He bring me up to the lobby and i met the person that i have to meet.

Then, i go for meal because i haven’t take my lunch and after that i just walk around the shopping complex. While i am walking, inner voice reminds me to go to the daily missal at the St. Joseph Cathedral at 5.30pm. I know i need to go and meet Him in is House. So, i left the shopping complex and drive back to town and this time i let Him lead me to His house too.

I arrive at the church and it was still raining heavily. I join the mass and it was a wonderful experienced that i have yesterday. I say thanksgiving prayer and feel blessed that He will never let me walk alone.

Believe and have Faith in HIM.

Hope

Perseverance in Prayer – Part 2

Father was alone in the house now. He visited mother every day and she would occasionally have a lucid moment. He would bring her apples or small candies and try to remind her of the early days of their marriage, walking at night to see the local baseball team play, going on family picnics, spending summer days at a cottage on a northern lake. Sometimes she would smile or laugh in recognition, but the memories were leaving her one by one.

When in the area I would attend the indult Tridentine Mass celebrated by a devout older priest in the area.  Father Norbert Wilger though in his early 80s still runs St Mary’s Parish as well as the parish school in Altoona, Wisconsin. He worked hard to receive permission to celebrate the indult Mass and has been now been doing so for years. He also has a deep devotion to Our Lady of Fatima. He very kindly suggested that given my mother’s perilous condition, she should be conditionally re-baptized and given conditional last rites. My father agreed to this and the good priest saw to it. Mother was conscious at the time and did not offer any resistance or display any reluctance. When the good priest had finished, I took her hand and made the sign of the cross with her, as she herself was now in a wheel chair and could no longer move her limbs. She willingly allowed me to make the mark of faith on her bent and dwindling body. I wept with hope and began to suspect that my trust in God had been weak indeed.

My brother and I moved father into a small apartment in a complex for the elderly. He had a solid meal every day and people around to watch over him, but he complained of being profoundly lonely. He was now at the age of 84 living alone for the first time in his life. The highlight of his day remained the visit to mother, even though she could no longer speak and did no longer recognize him. Still, he visited her faithfully. He also continued to recite faithfully the Fatima prayer every night before going to bed, for himself and for my mother. And I offered up their sufferings and sorrows on their behalf and asked God to have mercy on them and allow them good deaths.

Father Wilger regularly visited my father. He would sit and talk with him, often about the war, or about old times in the city. He would say a prayer with him, but mainly, the good priest performed great acts of Christian charity by simply remembering and visiting at a time when my poor old father felt alone and abandoned. My father would often say, “Who would have ever thought it would end like this?” The Four Last Things have no place in the protestant worldview and when Death and Judgment and Heaven and Hell loom on the horizon, they arrive as unexpected and terrifying intruders.

Last year on the Feast of St. John, shortly after Christmas, I was staying with father when he asked me if I thought Father Wilger would give him “that blessing” which mother had received. I responded, “Well, Dad, you still have your wits about you. You could get a lot more. Would you like to see Father Wilger?” When he agreed, I raced to the phone and learned with delight that the priest was free right then. I picked him up at the parish church, brought him to my father and went to the little sunroom in the building to wait, praying the rosary with tears of gratitude and, God forgive me, disbelief. My father at the age of 85 was received into the Roman Catholic Church, was conditionally re-baptized and made his first confession. On the next morning, the Feast of the Holy Innocents, Father Wilger brought my father his first Holy Communion.

Father Wilger continued to bring Communion regularly. In early March, just after Ash Wednesday, he brought my father communion. My father received it reverently and they prayed together. The next day, an old friend came to visit father and they chatted for some time. He then settled into his favorite armchair, drank a beer and fell asleep, never to awaken again in time. He made a good death. He was a good man and a great father.

Mother never really knew that father had died. We told her and she said with tears, “Poor dad,” but “dad” had long ago become confused with her own father, dead for 70 years. And then that bit of news passed away with all the other memories. When I would visit her, I would bless her with holy water and with a fragment of the True Cross, the finest gift I have ever been given. I received it from a devout nun with a special devotion to Fatima who instructed me to bless both my parents with it and I had obediently followed her instructions for the past two years. My prayers for my mother continued.

In October of this year, I lectured in Tuy Spain and Fatima for good Father Gruner. To visit those two historic sites was a great honor. After one conference I saw some blessed brown scapulars on the table and a voice in my head told me to take one and get it onto my mother. When that voice speaks, I listen. Upon my return, I sent it to my brother who lives outside of Minneapolis. He took it to the nursing home in late October and my mother at the age of 82 was clothed in the brown scapular. On the Vigil of All Saints Day, she passed quietly in her sleep. I have great hope that God will be merciful to her. She was a kind, generous, loving woman and a great mother.

Many of you reading these words prayed for my parents over many years, for I would often publicly request your assistance. There is no way in which I can thank you. Perhaps this small chronicle of prayers being answered will be thanks enough. In this season of hope, with the joy of the Savior’s birth coming upon us again, we should remember those devout chosen ones who prayed for centuries for the coming of the Messiah. Do remember, all of you praying to God for events that seem so far away and so unlikely, God hears those prayers, just as He heard the prayers over those centuries and responded on a cold night in an obscure stable in a small town in Bethlehem. My prayers over 27 years were answered by events in a small apartment and a room in a nursing home in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, obscure spaces and small gestures of which the world took no note, little suspecting again their eternal significance or that God, through a devout old priest, had again visited his people. Persistence in prayer, even for centuries or for 27 years, is no time at all in the light of eternity. God will answer those requests in His good time. So pray and pray and pray, devoutly and with confidence, for God hears those who love Him and obey Him and God is good.