Indian contemplative Retreat Nov 18-25

The theme for our retreat was Realise, who you are : YOU ARE DIVINE!
An Indian Contemplative Retreat on the Divinization of the Human and an Invitation to Jesus' Prayer.
We were 23 of us – consisting of Religious Sisters, Priests and 8 lay persons (including 3 foreigners from Germanny and Spain).

In the introduction to this retreat Fr. Sebastian Painadath sj. told us to go around in the nature and pick any one of trees in the compound as our Mast tree under which or with which we can have conversation, reflection, meditation, listen to the tree what it has to teach you, etc. So during the course of the day all of us chose our Master tree as our friend with whom we conversed, learnt many lessons and received inspirations.

First 4 days Fr. Sebastian explained to us about the Classical Mystical Texts on the Divinization of the Human – Theosis of the different Sages from 14 century onward , to give us an understanding of the Divinity in each human person. LOGOS – the Word of God is the self manifestation of the Divine – we are created in the image and likeness of God.

How do we realize it? It is through nous.
Image is what we are – it is given
Likeness is what we become - a Grace to achieve

The divine qualities are Joy, love, kindness, compassion… which will shine in and through us when we are filled with the Divine. It is only by going beyond all images that one reaches the divine. The divine has no colour, no shape, no similarity, no analogy. It is mystery. 2 Pet. 1; 4

The Word or God became man, so that we, humans may become Divine. (PG. 25,192)

In all of us the Divine lives, but it is at time dormant in some of us. We are called to participate in the nature of God. We are not only born of God, but we give birth, through our life and services to the humanity.

We are called to merge into God. Kenosis is the language of God. We have not just become Christians, we have to become Christ – Says Augustine. Christ speaks in us, prays in us, suffers in us, and lives in us. We are He! It is a great challenge!

Christ takes shape in us through the Holy Spirit who reinstates the divinity in us. Through the Holy Sprit our nature is reshaped to God in as much as it is made partakers of God.

In oneness we find God, and if you long to find God, become one with the one within in you.. Father also spoke about the detachment. Through detachment I am receptive not to anything but God.

Some writings / sayings of Ignatius of Loyola, Theresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, Teilhard de Chardin, etc, also brought out the hypostatic union of soul with God, divinization of the cosmic love, divinization of inter-personal love., etc.

Every day began with the Suriya Namaskar which was an orientation for the day that was before us. It gave us an awareness of our rootedness in God, our Creator, followed by contemplation with little guidance in the beginning. There were 5 hours of meditations. Slowly this helped us to dive deep into our inner chamber and recognize and find the Divine within. Importance was given to deep silence as it is only in silence we can really encounter the Divine. Personally I enjoyed the God experience through this way of contemplation. I felt God revealed to me what I was looking for and I’m grateful to God. Time was given to spent time with our Master tree. Many times Fr. Sebastian brought out the example of the tree as the root is divine (Father), the trunk is the manifestation of the root (Son) and the divine sap that is flowing to give life to the tree is the Holy Spirit. So, the tree seemed to me as the icon of the Holy Trinity. I learned a lot from my Master tree very specially I was touched by the way the branches were allowed to grow. It taught me a great lesson – to give time and space for my self growth and the growth of others in my community and mission..

The 2nd phase was by S. Rose Pudukadan – CHRIST CONSCIOUSNESS through the repetition Jesus’ Prayer which is also a classical form of prayer to enter into the silence. She explained this to us with many examples. The constant invocation of this prayer can transform our life into the likeness of Christ for which every human soul strives. She referred to the Gospel of St. John to bring home to us the constant union of the Father and the Son, the compassionate love of the Father revealed through Jesus.

We were deeply touched by this way of praying and received many revelations for our life. Sister also touched upon the Spirituality of Jesus’ Prayer, Active phase, Receptive Phase, the Contemplative Phase and the power of the name of Jesus.

On the whole I enjoyed the deep silence and the good surroundings created the ampere for contemplation. The daily Eucharist and the sharing of each day’s inspiration and insight were also very enriching.

Fr. Sebastian and S. Rose were good example for each of us. Their very presence inspired me.

Another thing what I liked was on the last day we were grouped in small groups consisting of 4 persons and were asked to share with one another our God experiences of the week. We were enriched by one another’s sharing. We felt one at heart. After that we came to the big group. Those who wish to share were invited to speak in front of all about their insight and the message they were taking home. It was indeed a heart warming experience. Then the retreat was concluded with the Holy Eucharist which was very meaningfully celebrated by Director of NBCLC. Each of the participant was asked to bring a symbol of their desire to live after this wonderful retreat experience and that was placed in a Thali and offered it at the Offertory

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