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“Still Waiting for The Promise?”
To prepare us for Christmas, the birth of Jesus, who is the The Promise, Himself, we attended the Semi-silent Retreat conducted by the Verbum Dei Missionaries last December 7 & 8, 2019 at the VD Retreat House in Tagaytay.
The cold weather didn’t deter the retreatants from spending an overnight stay at the Verbum Dei Retreat House, likewise, braving the traffic brought about by the ongoing SEA Games in the vicinity and other areas of the metropolis at that time.
The semi-silent treat was facilitated by Sr. Amy Hernandez, Sr. Grace Gonzales and Sr. Pearl Angelie Rebusit, FMVDs. The retreatants were welcomed by Sr. Amy, who gave us the flow of the retreat and some insights on the virtues of waiting on the Lord, silence, and knowing whom we are waiting for during this Advent Season.
Among the many passages which were given to us to reflect on, the one of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-38) touches me the most… The “yes” of the Blessed Mother to bear the Savior of the world, is the one thing we can emulate in our lives, although it is difficult to do and to follow in our world today. Perhaps we could be docile or humble like Mary, but to follow in her footsteps consistently could be daunting and truly a struggle. But because we have a God who is faithful and always with us, we need not be afraid. The Lord will never leave us nor abandon us to fend for ourselves. We simply need to be still and to listen to what the Lord is telling us.
Sr. Grace expounded on our God who speaks to us in the silence of our hearts; who patiently waits for us; who has not broken a promise to His people; who considers you and I as precious in His eyes. In Isaiah 54:10, the Lord says, “My love will never leave you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the Lord, who has mercy on you…” Truly, the Lord is a faithful God! He keeps His promises. But, oftentimes, we are the ones who are unfaithful, the ones who break His heart! Likewise, when we undergo trials and difficulties, there will be long periods and moments of waiting. Thus, we are being taught patience because in waiting, there is grace. In His own time, God answers our waiting. He is faithful, always.
The name of “The Promise” is Jesus, Sr. Amy said. So, are we still waiting for The Promise? He is already amongst us. He came more than 2000 years ago to be with us and to live with us. The question to ask is, how is Jesus, who is The Promise, being manifested in our own lives at the moment? Can Jesus be seen in the way we live our lives?
Another beautiful question we can ask is, how should we wait on the Lord? What can we do as we are waiting? Trust, as we wait on God; trust Him with all our hearts. Do not run ahead of God for He is faithful and He will come. In Psalm 27:14, it says, “Wait for the Lord, take courage; be stouthearted, wait for the Lord.” Also, “He who begun the good work in you will be faithful to the end” (Phil.1:6).
Finally, many are waiting on God, for His plans to unfold in our lives. Do not be afraid about God’s plan for you. Like Mary and Elizabeth, they waited to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let us not be afraid to receive the Holy Spirit in our lives because He will lead and guide us as we journey in this life. God is Emmanuel, always with us and giving us the abundance of life through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is The Promise. Amen.
Here are some more photos from the event:
Advent... Coming of the King
The celebration of the feast of the birth of our Lord on December 25 calls for a preparation. Filipinos by tradition, prepare for Christmas even months before December which is quite obvious in the decorations put up in malls, streets paraded with all kinds of lights and decorated with some recycled from several Christmases past. Cities and municipalities compete with which draws the most crowd with their extravagant display of Christmas lights and decorations.
People in the offices are busy planning for their parties. Families are also redecorating their homes to enhance the flavor of the season. And who can forget the menu planning that stretches for a week from the eve of Christmas until New Year morning of which Filipinos undoubtedly puts ‘heavy’ plans on. Indeed, a lot of external preparations going around keeping everyone on their toes. Nothing wrong with all these but oftentimes, we are inclined to forget to prepare ourselves interiorly.
Last December 6, after the celebration of the mass, James McTavish, FMVD, gave the local community of Verbum Dei disciples in Cagayan de Oro, a formation on what Advent really is, supported by the theme “Prepare the Way” (Mk 1,3). Those present were encouraged to ask help from the Holy Spirit on how to prepare for Christmas celebration. The attitudes needed more than the external outputs, are to appreciate and practice silence and listening in this moment of preparing and waiting.
“Advent is to pause in front of a Presence who is present today”, one of the numerous spotlights given by James, which resonates in our hearts and minds until now.
With thanks to Rey, Flor and the WordNews team
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