On this Friday, let us commemorate and meditate again on the passion of Jesus through praying, fasting, and the Way of the Cross. We also invite everyone to encounter our Lord Jesus through Eucharistic Adoration and observing the Holy Hour.
As we reach the ninth day of our retreat, you might wonder why the retreat content from the eight previous days doesn’t seem to be closely related to the theme of the retreat. Instead, it seems to focus on promoting the acts of love. In fact, that is an intentional arrangement. On one hand, we hope to achieve a more balanced growth in our acts of faith through praying, fasting and self-denial, and charitable work during this Lenten season. On the other hand, while most Catholics place a stronger emphasis on their personal spiritual development, yet, acts of love are essential expressions of Christian faith and a crucial element of our journey towards holiness. We need to practice continually and carry them out in order to develop the right attitude for personal sanctification and evangelization as a community. Therefore, we hope to root ourselves in charity from the beginning of this retreat and have more time to perform our acts of love, so that they can bear more fruits.
If you have accepted our invitation from the beginning and made different attempts in performing acts of love, you should have seen some fruits by now, for example, witnessing the works of God in yourself and others, as well as breakthroughs in personal and relational aspects. We invite everyone to continue trying and challenging yourselves, and not to give up easily in the face of any difficulties. After these forty plus days, you will find that not only will you have formed new habits, but also with the right mentality and with greater confidence, that you will be better equipped to carry out acts of love which require more thoughts and effort.
Another reason we have spent a significant amount of time discussing the importance of acts of love is that, as mentioned before, the condition of “I thirst” has become a “pandemic” in today’s society. In the extraordinary state of the world we live in, we cannot use traditional methods, but need to use unconventional methods to confront and combat the dire situation.
The concept of “Five-Loaves-and-Two-Fishes Moment” and its exponential power can become an effective “remedy” and a “preventive measure” to combat this “pandemic”.
The human desire constantly expands as time progresses. Endless desires constantly erode the mental and spiritual development of us humans.
Our lives are filled with things of lesser importance, taking away our focus on the most important things in life.
Just as “thirst” is a signal from the body reminding us to take in water, “I thirst” was originally God’s reminder for us to pay attention to the dryness of our mental and spiritual state. Unfortunately, our sensitivity to this “thirst” has continuously been weakened by our insatiable worldly desires. This makes us unable to receive God’s signals and revelations with greater sensitivity, leading to the waste of our lives in endless busyness.
As we are made in God’s image, our deepest and most primitive desire comes from our Heavenly Father. This desire nourishes our spiritual life. This most basic desire in our lives is embedded in our “genes” and is the lifeline that connects us to our Heavenly Father!
Our enemy will try to cut this lifeline, making our lives no longer human, but rather, like animals in a mode of “instinctual reaction” and thus depriving us of our identity as children of God!
As precious children of God, we must not only avoid falling into the enemy’s trap, but also stay alert and do our best to remind our brothers and sisters around us not to fall into this trap.
Sadly, humans are living in a so-called “boiling frog” state. As Christians, we need to take up the role of a prophet, shoulder our responsibility in this critical period, and not let Jesus down in the mission entrusted to us.
To become a faithful prophet in this chaotic age, we must not sever our lifeline with our Heavenly Father. Without a solid prayer life and time spent in deep connection with God, we will gradually lose our sensitivity and ability to listen to Him. On the other hand, if we actively set aside time each day to encounter the Lord in His Word and strive to meet Him in the Eucharist, we will gradually become more receptive to His messages.
Do not underestimate the impact these messages from God can have on you and those around you. The words of the Father can change the trajectory of your life and the lives of others, giving you more confidence and boldness to proclaim the Good News of the gospel and bringing endless joy and peace to your heart!
Therefore, we encourage everyone to seek opportunities to attend Mass, receive Holy Communion in person, and find opportunities to talk to Him before the Eucharist, in the presence of Christ.
Please examine your own desire of life in silence – how much of it comes from God, and how much of it comes from your own and the worldly desires.
Please also examine the lifeline which connects you and your Heavenly Father. Has your prayer life been weakened by the worldly desires or even broken by them?
Do you believe that God has invited you to be His messenger and to take up the role as a prophet in order to invite those brothers and sisters who have walked astray from God to return to His embrace?
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for reminding me and calling me today to see more clearly of my own status and to let me feel how You care and concern about me. Please keep me vigilant. Do not let the worldly desires bound me. Help me to stay connected with You and learn more about my role as a Christian. Let me see my brothers and sisters with Your merciful eyes and treat them with Your mercy. I pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
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.