9 February 2019
Through Christ, let us offer God an unending sacrifice of praise, a verbal sacrifice that is offered every time we acknowledge his name. Keep doing good works and sharing your resources, for these are sacrifices that please God.
Obey your leaders and do as they tell you, because they must give an account of the way they look after your souls; make this a joy for them to do, and not a grief – you yourselves would be the losers. I pray that the God of peace, who brought our Lord Jesus back from the dead to become the great Shepherd of the sheep by the blood that sealed an eternal covenant, may make you ready to do his will in any kind of good action; and turn us all into whatever is acceptable to himself through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever, Amen.
The apostles rejoined Jesus and told him all they had done and taught. Then he said to them, ‘You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’; for there were so many coming and going that the apostles had no time even to eat. So they went off in a boat to a lonely place where they could be by themselves. But people saw them going, and many could guess where; and from every town they all hurried to the place on foot and reached it before them. So as he stepped ashore he saw a large crowd; and he took pity on them because they were like sheep without a shepherd, and he set himself to teach them at some length.
You must come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while.
Every year, I look forward to a retreat with the Lord, with a minimum of three days. Spending time only with God makes me more aware of His presence in my life.
Life can be tiring — our work, our ministry, our families, our hobbies, our friends and even acquaintances. They all demand something from us. Interactions with them call for self-giving, some just a little, some really a lot. If we continue without rest, we will eventually find ourselves empty, with nothing else left to give.
God fills us up. From Him we can draw an endless supply of graces that we need. However, we need to be still to really be filled.
Let us imagine ourselves as pitchers of water. We move around giving out from ourselves and if we keep on doing that without resting, then we could not be filled. When you fill a pitcher, the pitcher has to be placed on a table, and it has to be unmovable, and then it can be filled. I think it’s the same for us. We need to stop for a while to allow God to top us up.
The longer we stay still, the more water could be poured in our pitchers.
Let us not look at retreats as optional. Retreats are needed for our spiritual rest and growth. Let us invest not just time but also our resources to ensure we have a good retreat. I have personally benefitted a lot from the retreats I attended.
To end this reflection, I would like to share about God’s generosity. Just this January, I had to attend a retreat because everyone in the ministry had to go. I was hesitant at first but since God wanted me to go, I told him I’d go. The only thing I gave God was that little bit of desire to follow Him in this retreat. God has rewarded me with so much in that retreat. I truly felt what everyone has been saying — God is never outdone in generosity.
My prayer for all of us is to be able to have that rest with God.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Stephanie Villa)
Prayer: Dear God, please help me find a retreat where you can fill me up. Please help me be aware of my spirituality and send me the right invitations to go to a retreat.
Thanksgiving: Lord God, thank you for both work and rest that you want me to do.