By: Liz Robleza-Fernandez
(Excerpts from the talk of Fr. Eli Cruz, SDB during the 2016 Holy Week Retreat)
LEAP ladies, Erlynne Figueroa, Cory Altamirano and Liz Fernandez were among the participants of the Holy Week Retreat on March 19 & 20, 2016 at San Miguel Corporation (SMC) Chapel in Ortigas City. This two-day activity was full of enlightening words that brought the attendees from different walks of life to an enriching soul-searching moment with the Lord.
Your World Made Better, be held by God and thrive
The two most recognized words in today’s world are “stress” and “burn-out.” Be it emotional exhaustion, depersonalization and reduced personal sense of accomplishment, it’s all because we are not living in a perfect world.
1. Daily unpleasant news reports (traffic, digital addiction, etc.)
2. Academic overload
3. Peer pressure of children
4. Children’s lack of emotional resilience and dark thoughts
Finding rest in a restless world? You’re not alone. Stop holding on and just be held by God. Be at peace, put aside all anxious thoughts and imagination.
Lenten is an old English word meaning free time. So, the season of lent is a person’s time of rebirth or rejuvenation.
Let your family prosper and you in it. Family is where life begins, where love never ends and where the legacy of the habit of the spirit starts. The following concerns in the families today were noticed by Pope Francis:
1. Weakening of the social honor we give to faithfulness to the marriage vows
2. Escalation of unkept promises
3. Concealment of the daily faithfulness of millions of married people
“Return from your exile as teachers of your children” (Pope Francis)
Between the ages of 12-25, there is a massive reorganization or wiring in the brain of teen-agers. This is when the formation habit of the flesh or spirit occurs. I need you mom to teach me the habit of the spirit.
With the society’s crisis, let us remember that we are not made for comfort but for greatness.
The family is the cradle and matrix of spiritual life. Thus, Pope Francis quoted “The Heart of a Child is transformed into a Heart of Prayer.
The Family APP Before Going to the Holy Eucharist
According to Pope Francis, the Eucharist is the sharing of a meal, beyond food, sharing affection, stories and events.
1. AURA - families should be full of luminous/subtle radiation. What the parents and adults in the family say among themselves is more important for their children than what they say to the children directly. Behaviour of adults is more important than words. Adults should be role models and should personally internalize their faith in God. One good family practice is not missing the Sunday Holy Mass.
2. PREPARATION - Wear your Sunday best attire. People should dress in a festive way their body and their heart.
3. PRESENCE - The Church is the center of sacramental presence waiting for the people of God.
a. Is your presence accessible? Madaling maaabot at malalapitan. For OFW family members, their proximity is present thru skype.
b. Is your presence trustworthy? Karapat-dapat na pagkatiwalaan
c. Is your presence communicative? Ramdam ang pinapakitang kalinga
The Holy Mass is our spiritual gym. “Conflict is necessary or else life is like a cemetery” (Pope Francis)
Ways of showing your family presence:
1. Habit of Godly family greetings
a. Kissing of hands
b. Families have frequent written exchanges “I love you”, “I am happy to have you”, “Trust in me”, “I trust in you”’, “ You can cry if you wish” & “what is your opinion?”
2. Teen depression and how social media can help or hurt
b. Suicide is the leading source of death of children between 15-24 years old
c. Pass video of affirming positive message
d. Look for company of real people who are joyful and helpful
3. Allow young people to have their own voice – stay on a positive faith
4. Take more time for a peaceful meal together at home rather than allowing precious family time each day to be hypnotized and devoured by the media
5. When parents come home, do not go to the children right away while you are carrying all the exhaustion and stress from work….. breathe and de-stress
6. Make the last hours of your day free from negative emotional or visual loads and information overloads
7. Play sport. Let the great outdoors teach you that fatigue, patience, constancy and sacrifice are what build resilience in life
8. Avoid treating God as threat or using Him as a menace
9. Giving to charity activates brain and associate with pleasure, social connection and trust
10. Do the “blessing of the children”, the “blessing of the parents” or the “blessing of the family” at night. Parents praying with and for their children will leave them with a long lasting support.
Habit of Forgiveness
Anger and unreasonable punishment create walls and break bridges. Forgiveness is a hand extending to help and heal, to correct and give hope.
Forgiveness liberates us from revenge and prejudice. You forgive not in order to change the other person, but simply to follow Christ.
Forgiveness is one way while reconciliation is two ways or mutual.
Liberation from regret is 100% possible. Look for lessons, as situations in life are rich. Ask to be forgiven and what is needed to move forward from God and yourself.
In the Holy Mass, we listen to the “living word” which is the Word of God. Read some short verses from the Bible. Learn to meditate to become will-powered, to resist temptation and overcome procrastination.
Obstacles for family lack of communication:
1. Lack of parents’ time
3. Do not wish to listen
Fear of listening to the truth is the reason why parents do not wish to listen to their children. Children, on the other hand, are reluctant to communicate, reluctant to jealousy with siblings, anger, fear of losing their parents’ affection.
Strategies for good communication:
1. Be fully attentive
2. Listening aura – accept a person’s silence
3. Do not express rush judgements
4. Avoid snap decisions
5. Recognize the person’s sentiments
Families should practice the habit of remembering family memories and not forgetting the beauty of the past. Family is the chest-box of remembrances.
Treasure the old people in our family. See their values, cherish their gestures and remember the influence of their words.
Suggestion to remember the happy family memories:
1. Disconnect with the real world
2. Reconnect to nature
3. Love freely – love like a child
I was not physically present to my family during this 2-day Holy Week Retreat but my spirit and prayers are always with them. Let me express my heartfelt thanks to Fr. Eli for his wonderful sharing and well-prepared visual presentations. The participants are looking forward for another spiritual journey like this.