by Catherine De Leon
There is a saying “No Retreat No Surrender” and I personally believe in this saying because of the changes that happened to me when I attended the Deepening Retreat led by Bro. Joe Rona last October 15-16, 2016 in Holy Spirit College Bellambi, Australia.
By the way, before I start let me tell you more about myself. I’m Catherine De Leon, and I live in Sydney Australia. I was consecrated and became a member of the Narwee Family Cenacle Group last June 12, 2016 along with my husband and with the guidance of Tita Tess Halili and her family.
We started attending cenacle every Sunday fortnightly and it was very hard for me to attend, because I work 7 days in a week but I still tried even most of the time coming late. Though I know that I am missing a lot of things, I’m still thankful that at least I made it. Time goes by and it was like a routine for me to come to do the rosary, praying and sharing and I admit that it helped me to know more about God and His greatness. It opened my awareness and searched my lost soul and even awakened my heart from deep sleep because I was occupied by the material world always thinking on how to survive living here in Australia. I was blinded by worries and frustrations that I forgot that when God is with you, you have everything. I was living on a prayer, asking and begging frequently for something that I want and if it’s not answered I would easily get upset and started to ask why? But in all honesty, I’m not really that bad because I never forget to thank Him everyday. It’s just that sometimes I’m self-centered wanting the way that I wanted not what God wants for me. I believe He has a plan but I’m impatient. Good thing about doing Cenacle was that it helped me to realize that I was wrong in my doing. I have to trust God with all my heart without any uncertainties (easy to say but hard to do) but not after the retreat.
A month before the retreat Tita Tess encouraged us to attend and I say “let’s see” but at the back of my mind I know it’s impossible for me to come because of my work however I still didn’t close the door for a chance. To make this story short, I decided to come with my husband and with my two kids. Thinking ahead of what was going to happen, is it worth the time or is it going to be fun? I was thinking that perhaps it’s the same thing as we do in our cenacle. When we were heading to the location, we passed through the beautiful scenery of mother nature that you will definitely appreciate. Everything you see is a wonderful view until we reached Bellambi (an hour drive away from Sydney). We started unpacking and preparing ourselves for the retreat. And then the journey began.
We did the rosary first and the orientation. We are blessed that we have a priest with us Father Meng who gives instruction in regards to the importance of learning and acknowledging to strengthen our spiritual growth. Then Bro. Joe started to tackle how to deepen your love and faith to God. He explained the Nature of Man in what you believed in. He mentioned that “THE MOMENT YOU’RE WITH REAL GOD, YOU’LL NEVER BE LONELY”. Then suddenly I felt numbness all over my body and said to myself “Is the God within me is not real?”, I asked this because there are times that I still feel lonely and worried. While I’m in my deep thoughts, Bro. Joe once again said “TRY TO UNDERSTAND YOUR FAITH AND START TO EXERCISE YOUR TRUE FAITH”, my heart skipped or maybe squeezed like there is something in there that wants to be freed even though I can’t explain what is happening to me. That night, I prayed so intensely, asking God to please enlighten my heart and let the Holy Spirit that dwells in me to answer my confusion. I fell asleep and I dreamed of Jesus saying to God the Father “Let Your will be done” and that moment when I opened my eyes I was in a prone position (not my normal position when I sleep) and was crying. My mouth murmured “LORD I SURRENDER EVERTHING TO YOU NOT JUST MY HEART, MY MIND, BODY AND SOUL BUT MY WHOLEBEING”. Realization hit me. I didn’t surrender everything to God at first though I thought I had. I still had left extra baggage (worries, problems etc) that always bothers me and refrained my faithfulness.
The next day, when I woke up I felt totally different like I was reborn. We went outside the building and felt the coldness then Bro. Joe started to talk about Full of Graces and later the Divine Indwelling. I am very blessed with that moment knowing that God really loves us and that He works for us in every way. Bro. Joe gave us the key on how to enter into the Kingdom of God and to unite with God. Through Divine Indwelling, you can easily communicate to God and He will give you the answer straight away. Now, I can say that God is with me without any shadow of a doubt. I am so overwhelmed with the results and the changes that has happened to me with this retreat.
” He has made everything beautiful in his time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from the beginning to the end. I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live” Ecclesiastes 3:12.
I didn’t elaborate on every topic in the retreat because I want you all to experience and learn on your own how truly God’s love for us is unfathomable. I encourage everyone to give yourself time to attend the retreat not because your friends are going or that it’s compulsory but because for yourself and for God. I now have the KEY to heaven and I won’t let anyone take that away from me. Now is the time for you to get your own key so that everyone of us will live in God’s paradise accordingly.
We have to RETURN, SURRENDER, LISTEN and FOLLOW. When you surrender, the light and the Spirit will guide you.
WE LOVE AND PRAISE YOU OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.