Both cradle Catholics, Kevin and I were what we called “Sunday Catholics.” Last year, I wanted to get closer to God and joined the Lazarus Ministry. I was hoping that my husband would join too as I wanted him to grow closer to God but knew it cannot be forced.
In April, Kevin returned from a golf game and said that a golf buddy had recommended that he sign up for Conversion Experience Retreat conducted by Archbishop William Goh at the Catholic Spirituality Centre. He said that a spot wasn’t assured but he was successful in his ballot. I told him, “It’s confirmed! God has chosen you!”
Friends who knew of the retreat joked and told me not to be surprised to find Kevin becoming more prayerful than I. I noticed some changes after his first day at the retreat. He got in touch with his sister who lives abroad and whom he has not spoken to in a long time. He also asked if OLPS had an Adoration Room.
The next day, as I was getting ready for work, Kevin asked if I was in a rush. He wanted to go to the church’s Adoration Chapel. This continued for the rest of the week. I was also pleasantly surprised to find Kevin saying the rosary. He had also become more patient as the days passed. He also emphasised the importance of going for Confession. I was happy that Kevin was putting God in the centre of his life. God had answered my prayers!
My husband’s transformation had in turn, led to my own transformation. As I accompanied him to the Adoration Chapel, I started to seek for more in terms of prayers to manage my personal challenges. We have also started attending the Friday Growth Sessions at the Catholic Spirituality Centre.
If I could paint a picture of what my life was prior to the retreat, I would say my spiritual life was a silent and shallow one. Attending church on Sundays and on days of obligation was not at the top of my list. Instead, my attendance and participation felt mechanical.
Having heard my friend Albert’s experience of the Conversion Experience Retreat (CER), and how he grew closer to the Lord, it moved me and I yearned for that too. It was the first time the Catholic Spirituality Centre was balloting participants. It was also the first time I stepped foot into the Centre. I was the eighth person who balloted. I know now that I was called and it was no fluke.
At the CER, there were three things that were particularly significant – spiritual healing, being prayerful and love for others.
Firstly, I’ve found spiritual healing to be very important, and have started my journey to this end. There were many intense prayer and worship sessions at the retreat. From the washing of feet, confession to the Stations of the Cross, I felt the Holy Spirit come down to heal me.
I was never prayerful and never saw the value in it. During the retreat, I realised for the past 40-plus years of my life that I had neglected the Lord. My realisation of the horrors of sin was not a good feeling. I felt as if I had betrayed Him. But I experienced His love, and what I felt at the CER has also proven the importance of prayer and of being prayerful.
This has led to my prayers being answered, especially for my family and our close friends. Little miracles happened, and are happening as you read this. I have also learnt to look at people in a different light, that is, they are all part of the Lord’s flock and He wants us near Him. We aren’t in competition, instead, we complement each other in His name.
Many things were revealed to me during the retreat, and they were life changing. Through this awakening, my eyes were opened, but I know they can shut again. There may be times when we get left out in the cold, veer off course, and lose focus of our mission but know that the Lord is always there to help us.
I pray that anyone who reads this will want to experience Jesus’ love and spread it to their family and loved ones. It is the highest and most valuable gift you can give to others.