The two ultimate goals of this Lenten Retreat are: firstly, to help us distance ourselves from and eliminate the burden and distractions brought on by the “many things”; and secondly, to seek and choose, together, what Jesus urges Martha, the “better part”.
One condition must be met in order to achieve these two goals, that is, we need to maintain a strong aspiration in our heart; an aspiration that has been planted in the deepest recess of our heart by our Father in Heaven the moment we are created. This will help us to rediscover a place that belongs to us; a dwelling place where we can restore our true “self”, and are free to grow and flourish; a place we can call “home”.
In this home, we can become the person whom God desires and to unleash our potentials to live the wonderful life that God wants for us.
This aspiration can never be completely erased; however, it can dwindle over time through our weakening will, our hopelessness for the future, and many other distractions. Over time, we may begin to forget and bury it in the dust entirely. It doesn’t matter at what stage of life we are , where we are, or what challenges we are facing, we must not let this aspiration be extinguished, because this aspiration will eventually lead us home to our Father’s house.
We often hear that when people reminisce about the past when they come across certain people or places, or when they are moved by scenes in movies, they would say, “I regret I didn’t seize the opportunity back then. It’s too late now. I can no longer make up for my mistakes.” Among Christians, one the the most persistent voices around us, coming from the older generation or those who were baptized many moons ago, often say that they feel that they are too old or it’s too late to be called and be useful to God. Such is not the nature of our Heavenly Father who is full of compassion.
Like the father in the “The Parable of the Prodigal Son”, He has never given up on any of his children. Regardless of their situations, circumstances or life stages, nothing can get in His way of welcoming His wayward children home and let them become His vessels of love.
This demonstrates the infinite love that God has promised us! Not only does this apply to those who have sinned against our Heavenly Father, but also those who might have missed the Father’s call for various reasons. Therefore, we should never feel that it’s too late for God to call us and thus, miss the opportunity to respond. Even if we have missed many opportunities to fulfil the “duties of the moment” in our life,
our Heavenly Father, who never gives up on us, will never give up providing us opportunities for responding to His call. In turn, we have our whole life to live them out. Until the day we return to our heavenly home, we can still respond to and fulfil God’s will for our lives.
Thus, despite the fact that certain duties are time sensitive, our individual life’s mission does not have an expiry date.
In the Book of Romans Chapter 11 Verse 29, it is said,
“…the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Surely God will not alter His original calling intended for us, and He does not care for how many remaining years or days we can attend to this mission entrusted to us.
In truth, are not our longevity and capabilities gifts freely given by God? It is not up to us, but God, to decide our longevity! If God wills us to offer more to Him, He will provide us with sufficient time and abilities to fulfil our earthly mission.
Ultimately, our Heavenly Father is a generous and benevolent God. Do not be concerned about how far away you are, or have been, away from Him. Let us be resolute, get up and return to our Heavenly Father. At the end, we will discover that He has never stopped hoping and waiting for our return to His side. If we don’t give up on ourselves, He will definitely not give up on us. Though we have made many mistakes and wandered away from Him, if we return to Him with a repenting heart, God will not only “restore” our identity as His children, but also restore and pour over the blessings and inheritance that have been prepared for us!
Do you have regrets that you may have missed some opportunities of responding to God, filling your heart with self-blame and remorse? Offer all these regrets to God now.
Do you feel that you lack courage and energy to respond to God’s call because you feel that you may be too “old”, you lack confidence in your capabilities, or for other reasons? Now is the time to run to God and take refuge in Him, for He will restore your courage and strength!
My Father in Heaven! Thank you for Your unfailing and steadfast love for me. It doesn’t matter how far I have wandered away from You, how much I have been obsessed with “many things” other than You, how many times I have given You the cold shoulders, how many opportunities of responding to Your call that I have neglected, how many times when I even refused to talk to You, and have completely ignored You! How is it that it seems You are never bothered by all these? I’m amazed by the width and depth of Your ocean of mercy and compassion. You have tolerated all the pain that I have inflicted on You. Do not allow me to hide my face from You, so that I may respond to Your call of love for me and find the dwelling place, Your Sacred Heart, that I can call home. Abba Father, I long for You, I love You! Thank you for Your great love for me!
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
I remember quite some time ago, a speaker in a talk asked if any of us are ready to die. The majority said ‘no’ as we had not repented for our misdeeds and there were lots of things yet to be accomplished. Years have passed and I doubt how many of the audience including myself are ready now.
Thank you Lord for Your patience in giving me the time and freedom to carry out Your plan ! Please give me the wisdom and courage to always choose the ‘better part’!