Feelings during retreat week



Feelings during retreat week

As night begins to pale, new rays of light down. When the fresh morning ceases, a new day begins to merge, a new day full of hope, sadness, anxiety, ... all of that bigins from an echo of the noise of the shoving the hustle of all creatures, including human life.

Life is like waves floating on the sea, sometime high sometime low, this has made human activities unstable, loss of interior peace, leading to a dizzy spirit, stressful, this influence is not excluded in religious life. That is why people need a certain moment of silence in life, to stabilize their lives.

Recently, accompanied by my classmates in the OMI novitiate, we had a one-week retreat at K'Long Don Bosco, Dalat to find quiet time for ourselves. In a simpler definition, a retreat is the time of repositioning after busy moments, worries in life, to relax and regain a peaceful soul.  In a more spiritual way, the retreat is to find ourselves through the encounter, the dialogue with God alone and only Him, so that we can receive the grace of his enlightenment, his lead.

I have also been involved in some retreats, though not many, and somehow a bit experienced. In every retreat, I always find something new and attractive, like the feeling now, a feeling that is difficult to describe, it is to find the deposition of the soul after a period of active time, to find the call of God in me.

In this retreat, the sharings were from selected Gospel readings. I find that every article is practical and meaningful for my actual life, but the deepest thing that touched upon my thought was THE PASSION OF CHRIST, in chapter 18 of St. John. For those who are Christians, will recognize the familiarity of this Gospel passage. Because every year, on Palm Sunday before Easter everyone can listen again to this reading. In this chapter, when I reflect on the passage from verses 20-23, suddenly in my heart, I feel sad, full of mercy. Do not many people think that the Gospel is always new? That is correct, new because it is not always felt. The novelty must be convinced is derived from the grace of God, he wants to enlighten, something that I still lack. My heart was shaking, and tears began to flow. This feeling I do not know how to share, how to express fully.

But I have to admit that when I read the two verses, I have a general picture of the figure of Jesus, a model of holiness, authority, and so on. He was even abused by insults, even by slapping on his face. It is really sad as Jesus with his sweet voice replies, "But if I spoke correctly, why did you strike Me?” (Jn. 18,24) The answer is no longer the response to the denouncer against him, but perhaps a lament of the Lord in my heart. Jesus wondered why the servant had slapped him. "“If I said something wrong, testify to what was wrong.?" This is a warning to me of a fragile faith. Many times, I still know that I am a Christian, but my faith in that “title” is not revealed in the sense that it is always a doubt.

Next, the meaning of the statement " But if I spoke correctly, why did you strike Me?". Once again, Jesus wants to show me, that I am a sinful man. Being sure that God is  with me, that He himself was carring my sins, but I always behaved like a man living without God. I know that every time I commit a sin, it is the time when I put more nails into his body, a bit of agony that I am not always able to control myself.

Every time I reflect on the Bible, there is definitely something God wants to do in me. But this time, that impact has had a profound influence on my life, because my life is now trying to follow Jesus by the religious life.

To say this, I feel embarrassed and ashamed to write these words, but as an experience, it is like sharing a heartfelt truth, a non-selfish sharing. The aim is to help me to overcome the difficulties in my spiritual life. I know, we are humble human beings, physically healthy but mentally weak, so easily attracted to the wise trick of the devil. So, weakness is the common human condition. Saying this is not to become rigid, accept the stone heart, but on the contrary, the ancestor saying "Let food become your medicine". When we are physically sick, we need doctor, as for the spiritual illness, we come with Jesus. He is a merciful, compassionate teacher, the evidence he promised: " Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners” (Mk 2:17)

Thus, the retreat in the middle of last year is a meaningful and necessary journey for me to change my life and at the same time to understand more about my role in Christian life, especially on the path of following my Oblate vocation.


Joachim Nguyen Thanh Duoc - omi Novice

Translated into English by Đình Hương, omi



























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