Conversion Experience Retreat (CER) 17
18th-21st of March 2010
Catholic Spirituality Centre, Singapore
Archdiocese of Singapore
It all began when a good friend, Lowell, mentioned about it and so I heard about this Conversion Experience Retreat conducted by Father William Goh, from him. First thought that went through my mind, “Conversion Experience Retreat? What a lousy name. Serious. Can we Catholics be more creative?”. Lowell, knowing that “Praise and Worship” and “Charismatic” aren’t exactly my cup of tea, warned through a text message that it’s probably full of Praise and Worship, praying over, etc.
I really wanted to attend this Retreat. Well, I know I need a good retreat from the busy life and at the same time I can experience for myself how the Charismatic Catholics actually do things. I was deprived of Gregorian Chants, for the 4-days. Trust me when I say that before and throughout the entire 4-days retreat, I have been imploring St. Michael the Archangel to protect me and that all that I am experiencing isn’t the work of the Devil.
First day of the Retreat and it was full of Praise and Worship. A form of prayer to God, and so i prayed and sing and yes, I lifted my hands in the Orans position. During a break, Beverley, another friend of mine, came over and ask whether i am still surviving. Truly, initially, I was afraid on whether I can survive this Praise and Worship overdose but as the Retreat went on, it was alright.
There came this part of the retreat where there was intense Praise and Worship and Fr. William Goh would go around blessing each of us with the Monstrance. I did “rest in the spirit”. I cannot comment whether this is the working of the holy spirit. Maybe it’s psychological, I don’t know. BUT! It was definitely surrendering to God and i fell. The second time i fell, on the last day of the retreat, I was shaking and vibrating badly. After I got up, two things. Firstly, i prayed to God, hoping it was nothing evil. Secondly, I was wondering if it was because of the Air-Con.
The carrying of the cross was quite a highlight in the retreat, which happens before the Penitents go for their Sacrament of Penance. Initially, one word, “Lame!” but argh, mea culpa, mea culpa! Our Lord suffered so much for us, dying on the cross for our sins. Indeed, it lowers your pride to go down on your knees to carry the lil’ cross across the hall. This cannot be compared with what Jesus went through during his Passion. Our knees were hurting badly because of seemingly-perpetual-kneeling taking place throughout the day. “Who are we to complain?”, I thought. Looking at Jesus’ bleeding knees on the Crucifix just tells me not to complain pain until our knees can bleed like Jesus’ knees.
But yeap, that’s my experience. All in all, I have to say that my faith in Jesus Christ, my relationship with Jesus Christ, never got so close. Never. In the past, since young, the only “beings”, I can turn to and relate to, was Mama Mary and the other Saints and Angels. Now, I can talk to Jesus directly. Of course, Mary and all saints are still important in helping us pray to God!
What has the retreat done for me ? It truly brought me closer to God.
Laudate Dominum! Praise the Lord!