LENTEN RETREAT FOR YOUNG ADULTS “The Love of Christ impels us…” 2 Corinthians 5:4

The Verbum Dei Missionaries organised a half-day Lenten retreat on 11th March 2017. It was held at Verbum Dei chapel/house.
Below are 4 participants’ sharing of the retreat.

Samantha Tan, St Francis Xavier Parish:
“When God’s will aligns with your ‘Yes’, magic happens.” -this was my takeaway from the Lenten retreat and has resonated in me since. Letting go and trusting God has always been a struggle for me, and how timely it was to be reminded of these precious words especially so during this season of Lent. The pockets of silence and quiet time for reflection during the retreat has allowed me to have some alone time with God; listening attentively to His gentle voice which quieten the “noises” around me. This gave me a much needed sense of peace and respite admist the daily struggle of life.

And how magical it was to have accepted His invitation to spend this time with Him.”

Terence Lo, St. Anne Parish:
“I was blessed to attend a Lenten retreat with the Verbum Dei Missionaries. Before this retreat, I thought that offering something manageable (like praying everyday) for Lent could prevent me failing terribly and getting closer to God. However, I found that I had been focussing too much on the action but neglecting the love that God surrounds me with each day. Through the preachings, the Lord showed me that there is one person who has been the ‘Bestest’ (who knew this term exists?!) friend of many of my friends, and is desiring to be my ‘Bestest’ friend too. Who is this person? Jesus.

During the prayer time as I stared at Jesus on the crucifix, I was led to an image of Him breathing out His last breathe. To me, it was a powerful moment because I could feel the breathe of Jesus, which is the Holy Spirit, coming to soothe me with His gentle love. I felt the presence of God once again.

After this retreat, prayer has regained its purpose and intention, i.e., to talk to my ‘Bestest’ friend and to grow deeper in this relationship with Him.”

Classandra Hum, St. Mary of the Angels Parish:
“Lent may have begun for some, exactly on 1st March. However, it was not the case for me who found my entry into Lent a shallow one. Technically, I already had in mind what kind of fast I would take up, new ways of almsgiving and my intention to attend more weekday massres throughout the season. However, my heart just felt disengaged from my head’s desire of ‘completing’ Lent. It seemed routined that this is something I enter into once a year to be cleansed free of distractions and things that move me away from God.

However, last week’s Verbum Dei young adults Lenten retreat has given me an added meaning to Lent this year. The silence and contemplation on God’s love was the greatest breakthrough for me during the retreat. I pondered on God’s love- how He could invest in a love that hurts, goes to waste and gets taken advantage of yet this love portrays itself to be so free and consistent. It dawned on me that only God can be such a constant and faithful lover.

I realised that Lent was to prepare me for the Giver more than the gifts (e.g. virtues) that I would reap out of Lent. The challenge I took away from the sessions was the call to love actively as Christ did. Examining my passivism and how it was not stretching me to become a disciple was a good wake-up call to make this Lent a different and meaningful one.

The quote which I rememberd most clearly from a session was: “There is no greater gift in the world than the gift of our own transformation.” It was such timely reminder to recall that we can only become active lovers and outward signs of God’s love if we allow Jesus to enter our interior lives which are so in need of Him. I am really thankful since the retreat that I can wake up each morning knowing that there is a new meaning to gain from this Lenten season.”

Christian Eber, Divine Mercy Parish:
“After reflecting on the bible passages given by Verbum Dei missionary Sr Monika and Disciple Desire on the role of faith, repentance and forgiveness, I found the retreat to be a timely breath of fresh air. In one passage that I prayed with during the time of silence, I was amazed with Zacchaeus’s determination of running and even climbing a sycamore tree just to see Jesus. After meeting Jesus, he decided to give half of his belongings to the poor. I had time to dig deep into how I could be moved to react like Zaccheaus. This Lent, I would like to be more selfless so that my actions can benefit others around me.

I am thankful for this experience.”