It was the feast of Christ the King on November 26, and an Advent retreat was held for the Mong Ha Sunday school staff.
Father Joey Mandia, our retreat director, inspired us greatly with useful information in relation to Christ’s kingship. With special emphasis on our need for regular confession, he explained very carefully how we should live our lives on earth in order to enter the Kingdom of God afterwards. Finally, he discussed how we become united in the kingship of Christ through baptism and how we should share in His kingly, priestly and prophetic offices in our everyday lives.
His talk initiated a lot of our thinking. And we appreciated the opportunity to ask related questions at intervals throughout the discussion. Indeed a lot of questions were raised and Father Mandia not only answered every one of them with patience and wisdom but also guided us to explore deeper into the issue being discussed.
Among the questions, a few were related to Penance, Absolution and Forgiveness of Sins. We were particularly curious about Hell and Purgatory. There was, for example, concern about the Final Judgment for our friends and relatives who were unfortunately deprived of the identity as children of God. Though Father Mandia humbly referred to this as one of the questions to which only God has the answers, what he said lessened our anxiety and brought us hope about helping our dear ones.
Personally, I was inspired most by Father’s advice to examine our consciences in light of the Ten Commandments. He suggested doing this three times a day. This is good preparation for a confession. What I had not thought of before was the fact, according to Father Mandia, that while reflecting on our wrong deeds, we sometimes discover something good about ourselves. We can then focus more of our efforts on our goodness, however trifling in amount, and gradually achieve reconciliation with God. This, I think, is the best thing that can happen as a result of an examination of conscience.
I am not sure if I am capable of a daily examination of my conscience. But I am very thankful to Father for a very enlightening retreat. His advice has helped me make up my mind to be more serious about going to confession regularly and about the fulfillment of my kingly, priestly and prophetic duties in my life as a Christian.