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“Everything I have is yours” (Luke 15:31)
Discernment retreat for Verbum Dei missionary couples
Sometimes people are surprised to hear that we have married couple missionaries in Verbum Dei. When they think of missionaries, they might only think of priests and nuns. Actually, there is a call to holiness for all, and Pope Francis reminds us that we are all missionary disciples. For this reasons, Verbum Dei has 3 branches - the consecrated women (misioneras), the priests and brothers (misioneros) and the missionary married couples.
The married couples branch of Verbum Dei is headed by Poncho and Adriana, a missionary couple from Mexico. They were guiding a retreat to 9 Verbum Dei couples who are coming to the end of their 2-year formation course. The couples are currently based in Cebu, Cagayan de Oro, Sydney and Brisbane, Australia.
The discernment retreat was held in Cebu to pray about the next step for each couple. The retreat (or “Spiritual exercises”) was for one week, with the theme of “Everything I have is yours” (from Luke 15:31). The reflections were based on two talks from the Verbum Dei theme set (temario) called “Mercy” and “Call to Love.” The mercy of God can really change and transform us. “From a sinner he draws out a marvelous Saint and, maybe, more grateful than others, who loves more because he has been forgiven more. Seeing that he has been forgiven so much, he loves madly” Fr Jaime Bonet, Verbum Dei founder. In prayer we can experience this mercy. Pope Francis wrote “In order to be capable of mercy, therefore, we must first of all dispose ourselves to listen to the Word of God. This means rediscovering the value of silence in order to meditate on the Word that comes to us.” (Misericordiae vultus, no. 13)
Rey Bagares, one of the couples on retreat said, “If I was to summarize my prayer during the silent retreat in Cebu, attended by fellow couples in formation, it would be with Luke 24,32. They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" The charcoal fire that Jesus started in my heart can only carry on through my faithfulness in prayer with the Word of God, so that I too can heat up cold hearts - hearts that have stopped caring about God and others.”
We continue to pray for all the married couples. May they be faithful to their baptismal consecration and to their calling! So to all the married couples out there, perhaps the Lord is calling you to participate in the mission. What are you waiting for? Come and discover the joy of working together to build up the Kingdom.
With thanks to the WordNews team
On Saturday evening, Feb 16, our Verbum Dei Family in Cebu had two post Valentine’s events: one for Married couples and the other for Singles, young adults group.
The post-Valentine’s Special for married couples was organised by Victor & Ellen, Dondon & Syme, Jess & Mau and El El & Ann. ‘It was a happy evening, and a great avenue to meet new couples. There were 28 married couples present, the youngest being 7 years married and the older more than 28 years married. We all felt inspired starting the evening with mass, and in the homily the priest reminded us of how important it is to build the foundation of the family rooted in Christ’s love. The incorporation of prayer made this Valentine’s meal and celebration very special; a beautiful and touching balance between the food, singing, dancing, gifts, games, prayer and some shared experiences on how Jesus, present in the midst of a married couple, really enhances marriage life.’ (DonDon)
‘A day to celebrate the Love that I tasted from my Father God. A love that was handed down by my Father God when we had our ‘I do’ 8yrs ago. We had our renewal of vows and it was like it is still our wedding day, as I said ‘yes’ and ‘I do’ again to my dear husband Don. A day of love shall I say, which we celebrated with other Verbum Dei couples and invited couple guests on Feb 16, 2018, 7pm at Northstar condominium, NRA, Cebu City. It was AWESOME! I enjoyed so much with my husband and all the couples in that simple yet memorable event. It was a day to remember. It seemed like our first dance during our wedding day to entertain our guest as we danced the opening salvo to welcome all guest. Thanks for our event coordinator Ellen Siarza. God really works as He bridges the gap and He fills in the blank. As one of the organizers I don't know how it turned out so well… nothing is impossible with God.’ (Syme)
‘I have attended many Valentine’s celebrations in the past, where I have spent lots of money, yet this one was the cheapest and one of the most special ones. For me, the highlight was the renewal of the marriage vows, and the way the priest awoke my thirst and hunger to renew my vows. This evening brought me lots of hope, to see how married couples still believe in God’s calling to marriage, despite some of the challenges and difficulties I know some couples are passing through. This was also shown to me in the moment when we were asked to remember and share some questions, such as: when and where was your first date, your first kiss and gift? And when was the date which you said ‘yes’ to each other? Amazing to see how even the older couple present there could remember those key moments of their relationship. All this and the final invitation to dance together by couples, made this event not just a celebration but a remarkable evening in our call to grow in love as a couple.’ (Jess and Mau)
Here are some photos of the event:
From the WordNews team
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