God is cool! WCCC is cool!

Got back from my 6th WCCC retreat~ I had such a great time on both a spiritual level and social level~  Fr. Ching is just such a wonderful speaker. He knows us so well, he knows our struggles, the traps that we can easily get ourselves into… The ways how he explains concepts, and how he organizes ideas make it much easier to remember what he said.
 
This year’s topic is faith. Basically it can be about anything~ On Saturday morning, he started off by asking who or what do we think God is… And he asked about what we think heaven is… We usually don’t approach our faith this way, yet these questions cover the most fundamental stuff that we should have a clear notion of… There are more questions we need to ponder in order for us to really grow: where is our destination? where are we now? and finally how do we get to where we want to be? He continued with his own faith journey which he started telling us on Friday night. I’m sure I’ve heard his journey before, listening to it again just made me think that God is so amazing… Life can be more dramatic than movies (how he said he didn’t bother going to church, and how in Ottawa he kept going to a church which took him 3 hours to get to), and how God decides to call us/work through us is simply unpredictable… 真正估佢唔到
 
He talked about how intense God’s love really is~ It’s so strong that the love between the Father and the Son personifies into the 3rd person – the Holy Spirit… He drew us a diagram explaining how God gets to man – love is the gateway~ Humans cut off that gateway by sinning in the Old Testament and in the New Testament, God sends His son to die for us on the cross… Jesus reconciles our sins by bridging the gap between God and men with His cross. (Once again being reminded being crucified was the worst punishment that once could get at Jesus’ time. The Romans wouldn’t punish themselves with crucifixion… Jesus suffered with the worst punishment physically and spiritually…) Fr. Ching also pointed out that if there is no free will (so that we won’t be able to sin), real love wouldn’t be possible (how do you love someone if you can’t even choose? if "love" is forced, is it love?)
 
And then there came the one big thing that everyone should have taken home from this retreat – the diagram representing self and God. At any time, God can either be outside of our circle of interests, being one of our interests, or be in the centre while our own self is set aside… With our lifestyles, we have too many things to keep ourselves occupied… Sometimes we can be so busy with other non-essential stuff that God might not even be one of our interests!!  And this is how we get ourselves into trouble – turning 生活 into 生存. To fully live our lives, we should strive to put God in the centre of our lives (again, this is not the first time I heard that.. but how determined am I to try that!!!!)
 
Another important reminder is that, almost all good things (reconciling relationship with God, sanctifying ourselves, forgiving someone) can’t be EARNED! All these are beyond our power… How many times have I tried to "resolve my own issues" with my effort without turning into prayers??? Guess I’m just so used to how this world works, that I forget God always gives out FREE GIFT – you can’t buy, you just ask for these gifts… His color analogy is back this time too, to transform ourselves, there’s only 1 way: roll out the RED carpet, waving the WHITE flag (surrender to God’s plans), and give God the GREEN light to allow His will be done on us. 
 
I like his homily during today’s mass so much~ He addressed several things that we need to watch out for, these are blocks on our faith journey:
  • forgive those who have trespassed against us: to keep being offended by others’ fault creates burdens in ourselves, we’d never have peace… And Jesus made it so clear in the Lord’s Prayer that in order to be forgiven by God, WE too need to forgive others… After all, we all know that it’s hard to resist temptations… I like the quote that Fr. Ching quoted, it was by Bishop Fulton Sheen, (paraphrased) "The difference between them (convicted criminals) and I is that they got caught". We have to remember, we’re no better than any other sinners…
  • to accept God’s forgiveness: we have to understand that even though we’re unworthy of God’s forgiveness, but He loves us and forgives us ANYWAY…Back to that idea of we often think we have to DO something in order to be forgiven, but in fact, forgiveness is actually free!! (guess we just think it’s too good to be true…)
  • avoid sins (and occasions of sins) and confess often: once we get ourselves filthy, we get into a habit and we become numb with committing new sins (正所謂"一件污﹐兩件穢")… It’s important that we don’t get ourselves into occasions of sins (example being not going to a pub if we don’t want to get drunk)… we should also come to appreciate the gift of reconciliation (if we feel embarrassed of telling the priest of our sins, guess that becomes one of the motivations for us to NOT commit that same thing again)
  • worldly attachments: this is one of the things that I have the most 共鳴 (I’m sure everyone in the group would feel the same). We just have too many 身外物 that we rely on… It’s as if we’d die without internet, die without TVB series, die without hocc news (my newest addiction since last Jan), die without MSN (as I just proved last week in my new workplace)… Even little things like these… They seem so hard to be taken away, and they’re NOT essential at all! These are not sinful things, but they’ve taken MOST IF NOT ALL of our time… SIGH! I wouldn’t spend just a quiet moment with God because of all those mo liu things…  God, help me ar!

Fr. Ching is just amazing~ Not just his talks… but the fact that he, as a former WCCCer, comes back as a speaker this time… It’s just so cool! His guitars, his songs, and his piano~ woohoo~

 

Enough about the speaker… (actually all messages come from GOD!!!) I am grateful for being invited as one of the witnesses… The process of preparing what to say forced me to reflect on how I became the person I am today… And I couldn’t thank God enough, how could I be transformed SO drastically? It’s just beyond imagination (like the me from 10 years ago, could never imagine I am who I am today). And the burden/pressure from being a 廢 witness really affected me (appetite being the best indicator always) was lifted during Taize! I realize that anything I was going to say couldn’t be 廢, as long as I tell what really was done in me by God’s hands! In fact, during each year’s Taize @ WCCC, being in the same retreat house where I first attended the first WCCC retreat, the fact that I got called back to God would cause tears to come out from my eyes … That’s already a miracle~

 

The group that I was with is AWESOME! We’re the fruits group, there’s Lai Chi (Queenie) being the leader, with banana (Domingos), lemon (Jonathan), kiwi (Julia), durian (Kenneth) and me the mango. We had a lot of fun thinking about the moves for Children of the Light and the stupid cartoon skit… They were pretty open with sharing too… I only learned that Queenie got baptized like 2 or 3 years ago… Truly, if we’re open to experience, God talks to us in so many ways in our everyday life~

 

Some other miscellaneous stuff:

  • the t-shirt designed by Maria is so nice  and how it magially fits the theme of this retreat… so true: In Him, we blossom… look forward to the hoodie ar!! I’ll wear it all the time!
  • so many guitars this year! I wish my skills will be good enough for me to play in front of so many people in the future!
  • having to take DV made me realize I don’t really know how to use John’s ging pro tripod
  • there’s no place like WCCC for me… even though I’m sorta an old cake now, joining the retreat with so many new faces, I feel no 隔膜 at all… I couldn’t imagine how my life @ loo would be like if there’s no WCCC!!

Thank God for giving all of us such a grace-filled weekend! WCCC is truly a blessing, may God continue to bless this group, so it could continue to blossom

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7 thoughts on “God is cool! WCCC is cool!

  1. VEN says:

    I actually read thru your entire blog w/o my mind wandering hehe.. heard so many good things about WCCC\’s retreat!! I wonder what your witness was like, hehe you have to share with us next time we have our "spiritual" gatherings la..

  2. Benedict says:

    After reading through this blog, you are making me very envy and jealous for not being able to attend the retreat. I wish we can set something like this up in Hong Kong one day.

  3. Jessica says:

    This retreat was indeed really special. I enjoyed your witness time. You scared me after listening to your sharing. Mine was nothing as well put together as yours were. Never heard your "entire story" until Saturday. Your journey has been a special one. I love that picture John took of us two! it\’s on my msn now! hehe…. very "yau" feel. 😀

  4. Queenie says:

    It was nice being in your group this time laaa…….esp all the laughters we had …..and of coz not to forget ur "quoting" sign =P wakakakakka~~~ I enjoy ur witness so muchhhhh leiii……… kekekeke~~~~ although I was pretty tired that nite…….. I was so awake when I was hearing ur story =)

  5. Teresa says:

    Thank you for writing the highlights of the retreat. I really enjoyed reading it. I agree with you that Fr. Francis is no doubt a fantastic speaker, even my husband, Kit, a non-Catholic, loved his lecture method and also found his lecture very interesting and Fr. Francis simplified a lot of unclear concepts such as the stem cell researches. (Kit didn\’t fall asleep even though he could only understood 80% of the Chinese!) Both you and Jessica\’s witness was very good! And don\’t call yourself old cake when there are actually old cakes around! hehe!

  6. paul says:

    Hehe. Thanks for your support.(From Maria\’s space). Also, I want to say that yur witness story gave me a stronger feel of God\’s power. How important he is and how much I can rely on him.Paul^^

  7. Maria says:

    This retreat is a special one for me… i want to remember every bit of what Fr. Francis said. He is a good speaker and the level was targeted just right for us. I can\’t wait till you have your DV edited!! Thanks for the work!! =D

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