After a semester of studying, doing projects and extra-curricular activities, the SAT students had their four days last October 27 – 31, 2010 at the Dominican House of Prayer, Matina, Davao City. It was facilitated by a Passionist priest, Fr. Rogie Castellaño, C.P. His view of a retreat is to be disturbed by the Lord. He explained that people might find their life mechanical, scheduled or structured but a retreat is a time for the Lord to come and disturb these kinds of feelings. He further explained that it is not to make life more complicated but to breathe new life into it. It is more of putting things into new perspective. Therefore, he reminded us to pray, to be in silence and to listen to God’s message and God’s will after finishing the first semester.
And to facilitate us in the four days retreat, Fr. Rogie prepared series of reflection sessions. The first and second sessions were focus on reflecting the dry bones in Ezekiel 37. He emphasized that it is the breath of God that gives life to our lives. It is also the challenge to every religious to hope in God to renew them every step of the journey. Session 3 was about recalling our “sequel Christi,” our vocation story. Fr. Rogie encouraged us to remember the moment that we first responded to the “call.” He also wanted us to reflect on the ups and downs of our journey in following Christ. It is like to be in touch with the reason why we follow so that we will know where we are going.
Then, the rest of the sessions are all about deepening our “sequel Christi” with some reflections of the evangelical vows; poverty, chastity and obedience. These sessions reminded us about the meaning of these evangelical vows in relation to our formation and desire to follow Christ as a Redemptorist.
Aside from the formal sessions, Fr. Rogie also helps us in reflection with his downloaded videos from youtube. The videos were short films, some are funny advertisements to amuse us and some are serious dramas that made us stop and reflect about our own lives. In general, the videos were helpful to bring life and point of reflection while listening to the input. And our retreat days will not be complete without our creative opening prayers. We danced and pray through the steps of some bibliodrama dances.
On a personal experience of this mid-year retreat, I really enjoy the light schedule of the retreat. It was also helpful that Fr. Rogie gave a simple but direct message during his inputs and sessions. He was also dynamic in acknowledging the good things of the different cultures present. And the place was very inviting to reflect and to be in touch with our inner stirrings.
In my reflection, during the retreat I was disturbed by the Lord in a good way. I was reminded that what I experienced in the past semester is just part and parcel of my “sequela Christi,” my journey of following Christ. I am also reminded to be in touch with the life giving breath of God to refresh me every time I feel dryness in my life. “Breathe on me, Breath of God”