Participant shares her experiences of silent retreat

The writer (back c in red jacket) poses with her sharing group in Bundu Tuhan.

PENAMPANG – The Light of Jesus Christ Covenant Community (based in Sacred Heart Cathedral Karamunsing) organised a silent retreat on 3-5 Mar 2017 at the Bundu Tuhan Retreat Centre.

One of the participants, Linda Edward, shares her experiences:

Way too many messages came into my WhatsApp, mostly from groups that I am a member of, voluntarily and also involuntarily.

Then came along one message, informing about a programme for a lenten retreat in Bundu Tuhan Retreat Centre on Mar 3-5, organised by LJCCC.  “Another retreat,’” I said in my heart. The picture was rather blurry but I could still manage to read every line; I skimmed through the daily programmes, but as there were no specific topics, it did not catch my utmost attention.

Until I saw the theme ‘Put out into deep water and pay out your nets for a catch’ (Luke 5:4), I thought, “this is interesting because of the word ‘deep.’   My mind is asking what is that deep water that the Lord wants me to know.”

So I decided to go.   Furthermore,  the testimony from the community members gives credit to Father Gregory Hon, a Carmelite friar, for being a good retreat master.

It turned out to be a three-day silent retreat. Some 80 people comprising youths, young adults and the seniors attended.

Carmelite Friars are known for their strong prayer traditions, guided retreats and contemplative spirituality.

There is only one rule: that we observe silence throughout the whole three days. We were drawn into a deepening of our prayer experience in the silence of our inner hearts.

It was relatively easy to be silent in the midst of 80 people, but when you were with friends, just four of us young adults, silence became, well, harder.

But I like it because I value silence and plus you don’t have to engage in small talks.

Through Fr Greg’s talks, God has revealed Himself to me as a God who is friendly, understanding and full of humanity.

With so many elaborations he gave about prayer, and in my own understanding, I am especially drawn to this statement he made: ‘Intimacy is real friendship.’

A heart that prays with all honesty and ‘being herself’ develops real encounter with Jesus. That deep water is the Word of God. Being immersed there, one finds guidance and consolations that one seeks daily from personal setbacks. And I learned that when Jesus asks to ‘pay out your nets for a catch’, it is a request for action on my side, be it to let go of hurts or to genuinely forgive or hundreds of other things.

And the best consolation I have received is that when one actually pays out the net,  Jesus guarantees a catch.   It is not ‘pay out your nets there might be a catch’!

So, may we find consolation in God’s Word, and in the depths of our heart, for it is like a fountain that wells up into eternal life.

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