KARYN LIM

27-29 JULY 2021

3D2N SILENT RETREAT, MONFORT CENTRE

Leading Me Inward, Outward & to Greater Wholeness

“Walking the labyrinth is a spiritual discipline that invites us to trust the path, to surrender to the many turns our lives take, and to walk through the confusion, the fear, the anger, and grief that we cannot avoid experiencing as we live our earthly lives.”  Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress.

 

I have attended several group-directed silent retreats in the past, but this is the first time I had experienced a personal 3-day retreat, organized by Sherina Wong of Rere Travel.   No doubt, God knows I was craving for the extended time to be still, to ponder and to hear from Him on some life’s important decisions. 

Montfort was especially peaceful during my stay, as there was a total of 3 retreatants only, since I had gone on the retreat during Singapore’s heightened restrictions phase 2.  With the grounds to ourselves, the added stillness and quietness of the place was a surprised bonus.  

 

The highlight of every retreat for me would be the labyrinth walk, where I could gather messy thoughts and slowed down frenzied pace, while bringing my innermost frustrations and desperate appeals to the Lord.  It is usually hard for me to still my over-active mind in my daily prayers, but whenever I embark on the undulating circular path, I am drawn closer to our Creator and touched by a sensing of His Presence.  Not just knowing God is with me, but He accompanies me, even if I may not know where I am going. 

And notwithstanding my selfish, willful prayers at the start of every walk, the Lord would usually dig deeper into the recesses of my soul and emotions, pulling out the weeds of wrong thinking with His gentle chiding, prompting me to let go and surrender the situation to His care, and instilling faith, hope and future with His promises.  

 

I am grateful to Sherina who had arranged for Spiritual Director (SD) Diana to take me for the one-on-one spiritual guidance. A personal retreat program does not really come with much activities, other than the prescribed slots with the SD.  It is well suited to regular retreatants who prefer extended times of aloneness with God.

I truly appreciate a well-prepared SD, who spent extended time to pray and to discern on behalf of their retreatants beforehand. Diana spoke incisively to my situation through scripture verses and prophetic encouragements, reinforcing what I had heard from the Lord at the labyrinth. 

SWONG

27-29 JULY 2021

3D2N SILENT RETREAT, MONFORT CENTRE

A reflection base on 2 Corinthians 4:7 - But we have this treasure in jars of clay,  to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.


Treasures in Jar of Clay


Fragile and soft that’s what it seems
Treasure in the clay
As the potter molds
From the broken mess
He slowly forms
A jar of treasure
That’s what it has
His love that slowly shapes
A lovely jar as it becomes
Cracks that remain
But stronger it grows
Jar of treasure that will hold
The many blessings it unfolds

KARYN LIM

27-29 JULY 2021

3D2N SILENT RETREAT, MONFORT CENTRE

Leading Me Inward, Outward & to Greater Wholeness

“Walking the labyrinth is a spiritual discipline that invites us to trust the path, to surrender to the many turns our lives take, and to walk through the confusion, the fear, the anger, and grief that we cannot avoid experiencing as we live our earthly lives.”  Rev. Dr. Lauren Artress.

 

I have attended several group-directed silent retreats in the past, but this is the first time I had experienced a personal 3-day retreat, organized by Sherina Wong of Rere Travel.   No doubt, God knows I was craving for the extended time to be still, to ponder and to hear from Him on some life’s important decisions. 

Montfort was especially peaceful during my stay, as there was a total of 3 retreatants only, since I had gone on the retreat during Singapore’s heightened restrictions phase 2.  With the grounds to ourselves, the added stillness and quietness of the place was a surprised bonus.  

 

The highlight of every retreat for me would be the labyrinth walk, where I could gather messy thoughts and slowed down frenzied pace, while bringing my innermost frustrations and desperate appeals to the Lord.  It is usually hard for me to still my over-active mind in my daily prayers, but whenever I embark on the undulating circular path, I am drawn closer to our Creator and touched by a sensing of His Presence.  Not just knowing God is with me, but He accompanies me, even if I may not know where I am going. 

And notwithstanding my selfish, willful prayers at the start of every walk, the Lord would usually dig deeper into the recesses of my soul and emotions, pulling out the weeds of wrong thinking with His gentle chiding, prompting me to let go and surrender the situation to His care, and instilling faith, hope and future with His promises.  

 

I am grateful to Sherina who had arranged for Spiritual Director (SD) Diana to take me for the one-on-one spiritual guidance. A personal retreat program does not really come with much activities, other than the prescribed slots with the SD.  It is well suited to regular retreatants who prefer extended times of aloneness with God.

I truly appreciate a well-prepared SD, who spent extended time to pray and to discern on behalf of their retreatants beforehand. Diana spoke incisively to my situation through scripture verses and prophetic encouragements, reinforcing what I had heard from the Lord at the labyrinth. 

VEREEN FOO

4D3N SILENT RETREAT 2017

THE SEVEN FOUNTAINS JESUIT RETREAT CENTRE

CHIANGMAI, THAILAND

Here's why I changed my mind about silent retreat.

Being still with God unexpectedly became my life's biggest breakthrough.

Seriously?

 

A silent retreat was never on my mind.

It is the awkward silence that makes me feel utterly uncomfortable.

 

You see, my days are always filled with activities.

Secretly, I fell in love being busy. There is no time to be wasted. 

 

Well, life isn't linear. I was thriving well until I was hit by a midlife crisis.

Everything crashed. My career, my health, and my family relationships.

 

I was depressed, frustrated, and felt hopeless.

I did everything I could to fix my broken life but of course, it came to nothing.

Only a gentle whisper came from God.

The beckoning of a silent retreat.

And it turned out to be everything I needed back in my life.

Surely there are better options than a silent retreat.

To simplify, I cancelled all the arguments in my mind on why I should not go.

 

People around me were skeptical. No agenda, no planned program or activities and yes, I had to stay away from my mobile devices. My mind protested that there is nothing useful but my weary heart told me otherwise.

 

So, I put on my noise-cancelling earphones and turned a deaf ear to all the nasty call-outs including the one that said I was crazy. I packed my bags and booked my flight. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made.

 

Show me the answers to my problems.

I learned that it is ok to say, "I don't know." 

 

It drove me mad when I didn't know where I was heading in this part of my life. I was desperate for immediate answers. When I raised this strongly to my spiritual director, he gently reminded me of Abraham's obedience to God. He went as the Lord had told him even though he doesn't know what awaits him.

 

These days, I felt better and let it be when I don't know. It is not easy in life to be at crossroads or in the waiting room and not knowing what to do next. Yet, when the mind is calm, the answers to some problems can just come when I least expected them.

 

Help! I can't be still. 

Drop the pressure and seek God in micro-moments

 

On the first day, I sat and kept still for a long time but I was nothing close to being in this silent zone. I failed. Unknowingly, I switched to my success mode. After all, this should be the outcome of a silent retreat right? Now, I worry.

 

This was the mysterious incredible power of stillness with God that I seek. Yet it was only revealed to me when I did nothing with an open mind.

 

I was so busy in my life that I hardly stopped to smell the roses. Here I was surrounded by the lush greenery, flowers in bloom, and chirpy birds in the huge compound and strangely, I felt naturally at peace. That day, God touched me with the beauty of serenity.

 

Turning around a corner, I caught a fascinating sight of free-roaming rabbits. Some nibbled grass, some hopped around and some rested. A baby rabbit met my eyes and shyly dashed back to its burrow. I was so enchanted by its innocence that I laughed to myself. That day, God taught me the joy of simplicity.

 

After a few days, my body and mind slowly adjusted and I start to enjoy this new rhythm of life. Seeking God is no longer about trying to sit still all the time. The secret is that I didn't have to try so hard. It's a hidden sweet spot that God met me whenever I took time to pause, rest and enjoy in his presence.

 

I don't need a silent retreat just to hear God speak.

But I showed up before God for a closer relationship and he didn't disappoint me.

 

By faith, I went.  I took time out to hang out with God for a few days. Here I am, Lord.

 

In the quietness, I felt lighter, happier, and gained better clarity.

On my last day of the retreat, I sat still in one of the rooms. I was enjoying my quiet mind when out of the blue, I heard this phrase in my head.

             

"Peace be with you."

 

I was trembling not in fear, but of awe. It was my first silent retreat and I felt deeply honored. There and then, I had encountered God in a special intimate space that is shared only by both of us. I sobbed gently not just because I was touched by this inner peace but he opened my hardened heart.

 

Stillness with God is now my life's anchoring point

 

I still have the same problems and more challenges in my life but something has changed in me after the retreat experience. I found a new sense of empowerment deep in my heart even amid the raging storms. Be still and know that I am God. (Psalms 46:10)