Salamat. Grazie mille. Thank you – for the greetings and the countless expressions of love on my special day. What a blessing to have so many caring friends and family. I prayed for each one of you and asked the Lord to fill you with the graces you need.
It’s been exactly two months since I came back. Thanks to everyone who graced the golden wedding anniversary of Papang and Mamang with their presence. What a wonderful celebration indeed, an unforgettable event for many of us, right?
In July I participated in a film retreat at St Beuno’s, the Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Wales. This was a new experience. Usually, the retreat is directed or preached – you either meet your spiritual director or a preacher gives a meditation . This time, I had the pleasure of watching a film each day, reflect on it and share how God has been talking to me through the film. There were 8 of us in the retreat: a female Anglican priest, an Anglican counselor, a female lay member of the United Reform Church, a Polish religious sister, an English religious sister who is a missionary to Pakistan since the 1960s, a Mill Hill Father from Scotland who was a missionary to Kenya for more than 30 years, and an English priest who was also a stationed in Uganda for over 40 years. And of course there’s me.
Watching the films was enjoyable and surprisingly it touched so many areas in our lives. It was indeed a privilege to listen to how God works in my journey and in the lives of my companions. Through the trials and difficulties, joys and consolations they helped me realize that despite our differences, we are all in the same boat. We journey through life as part of a family, a community, a group – and we do “owe each other a terrible loyalty.” How beautiful it is to see the hand of God mysteriously moving in each person and making that person shine with his brilliance.
Aside from the films, it was a joy to take long walks while enjoying the beauty of nature of which Wales has in abundance. The mountains, valleys, cattle, flowers, birds … even the rain and clouds helped one to be in tune with God.
Vodpod videos no longer available.
It was while the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins was studying at St Beuno’s that he wrote:
The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man’s smudge and shares man’s smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.
And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.