[auth]The theme “Strengthened in Faith” is a topic close at heart especially at the beginning of the year of faith declared by Pope Benedict XVI. As St. Paul declares in Philippians 3:7-9, “But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ - the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”
On Friday evening after a busy week at work, I felt tired and down emotionally, and had to do an effort to hear Mass before going to the Community weekend. I knew at the depth of my heart that as always, God was going to do great things during the weekend so that gave me the strength to go to the weekend with an open heart.
When I heard John Pridmore in his first talk “Renewing Our Faith in the Love of God”, giving a testimony of his personal life as to how he was transformed from his previous life as a gangster to his present life as a preacher and a servant of God, I felt rather ashamed of myself. As part of the Intercessors DG, our mission is to pray for others. Although I do pray for others in faith especially for the conversion of sinners, lately I was feeling discouraged at the way the mentality was changing especially in youths in the way they look at God and His Church. When I heard John Pridmore give his testimony, I was amazed by his great faith in the Lord and at the way he looked up to the love of God and especially His mercy in the Sacrament of reconciliation. I felt so weak that notwithstanding the fact that I had a Catholic upbringing and that thanks God I am on the right track, I was lately lacking that deep faith in the Lord. This made me think why this was so.
In his second talk, “The Power of Surrender”, John mentioned the fact that it is useless to think that we will first deal with ourselves before trying to help others, but that it is through helping others that we strengthen ourselves. This was exactly what I was lately thinking. I was feeling down with the pressures at the place of work that were limiting me from witnessing the love of God to the persons around me, thinking that it was not the right time to do so. But in fact, God was showing me that it was through that situation that I had to give witness of His great love for others, especially those who never experienced His love.
My experience was fulfilled in the third talk “Healing the Child Within” and through the Sacrament of reconciliation and the Ministry session in that I felt that I was healed from that feeling of being disheartened with the way I was looking at my life.
I have changed the way I look at the Sacrament of reconciliation in these last couple of years. Before, I looked at this sacrament as the means of confessing the wrongdoings to the priest. But in these last years, I am truly feeling the tangible love and healing power of God through this sacrament where I meet Jesus with open arms and with his loving embrace. The feeling is intense and cannot be explained in words.
The following day I went to the meeting feeling lighter in spirit and filled with the joy of meeting the Lord in my inner self. The talk “Refilled with the Holy Spirit” was exactly the way I was feeling at that moment and this was strengthened with the Baptism in the Spirit.
I must say that this weekend transformed me for the better both spiritually in the Love of God but also on an emotional level that I felt that the Lord was with me no matter what I was going through in life and that I could always lean on Him to be filled with His love and support as my Saviour, Redeemer, Lover of my soul and King.[/auth]