Weekend with Rabboni – A weekend well spent

On the 15 of February, a silent retreat called Weekend with Rabboni was held in Oasis, Kluang. This is the second time this programme was conducted in this town. The silent retreat was for young adults between ages 18 to 25. Most participants were school students waiting for their SPM results, young working adults and college students on semester breaks.

On the first day, the Weekend with Rabboni started with Mass at 10am. Celebrating the mass was Father Martinian Lee. Right after mass we had a short conference (briefing) with Matthew Wee – the animator for weekend with Rabboni. Handouts were given to all the participants to guide them.  In the briefing we were guided on how to meditate upon the words given effectively. The first encounter was with SOLOMON – An excellent model of a retreatant (1 kings 3:5-15). After we were finished with the points of prayer, we met our spiritual directors.

When lunch was over, we had our 2nd briefing, a handout of the topic MARY – Woman Of Consolation (LK 1: 26-28) were given as guide, the briefing was about spiritual consolation, the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit. And after the briefing, we were asked to find a comfortable place to encounter and meditate upon the words given in silence. When we were ready, we would go and speak to our spiritual directors.

After a scrumptious dinner, the 3rd conference started at 8pm, here we had some discussion about the desolation of DAVID (2 Sam 11: 1-17) as well as a discussion about the domino effect that can happened when one does not have self-control while in desolation. This was the last conference for the day and again we meditated upon the word given in silence before we had a personal session with our spiritual directors.

On the last day, our final briefing started after breakfast. The last encounter was about PAUL – PETER & JOHN (ROM12: 9-21, ACTS 3: 1-10). For this session we reflected upon how the spirits guide us on our day to day life before finally meeting our spiritual directors again. Finally, we ended the silent retreat with Holy Mass, lunch and a group photo session.

The model for this Weekend with Rabboni programme was taken from Ignatian discernment by St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) which is his own unique way of Catholic discernment. The main focus of this silent retreat was spiritual desolation and spiritual consolation. spiritual desolation defined based on St. Ignatius of Loyola the Fourth Rule of his Spiritual Exercises, contains attributes such as darkness of soul and feeling of hopelessness. According to St Ignatius of Loyola spiritual consolation gives us a palpable experience of God’s love. Spiritual consolation and desolation are parts of the spiritual life that we all experience as we grow and develop in faith; we are always cycling between consolation and desolation and neither one lasts forever. During this program, we also learn how to differentiate between the two. In addition to that, we learned about spiritual discernment where we used a series of spiritual exercises for discerning life choices and focusing on noticing God in all aspects of life.

Personally, by the end of this silent retreat, I felt like a new person. I could see a different perspective in my life which I once thought impossible. I have learned to understand and be at peace with myself and learn to control my feelings. There were many things for me to take home and reflect upon despite it only being for two days. I wished this silent retreat was a day or two longer as I felt that it was somewhat rushed and compacted. It would also have been better if we had more spiritual directors to cater to the large group of participants. Nevertheless, I think the programme has achieved its goal in spite of the limitations. In conclusion, Weekend with Rabboni was a weekend truly well spent and I would definitely like invite anyone who has not experienced silent retreat to give it a chance at least once. And I can promise you that you will not regret it!