Ross Belle Santos-Balatbat
Last 6 December 2020 at the St Joseph the Worker Church (Iao Hon), the Loved Flock Catholic Charismatic Community Macau Chapter held their Advent recollection from 1 to 4 PM attended by 40 participants. The them: “Repentance is a manifestation of an improved and renewed life.”
The afternoon started with a Holy Rosary and a reading from the Scripture.
The recollection master, Bro. Jing Mendoza, spoke through a video call. Bro. Jing is the presiding elder-counselor of the main headquarters in Manila and of all the Loved Flock chapters both in the Philippines and abroad.
The recollection master’s talk revolved around John the Baptist as a model in our preparation, particularly on three characteristics of John the Baptist: simplicity, courage, and accepting Jesus.
First, John’s simplicity as a sign of humility. The clothing he wore and food he ate were signs of his simplicity. He humbled himself, admitting that he was not worthy even to untie Jesus’ thongs.
John taught us not to be “slaves of comfort.” He invited everyone to ask whether they are willing to step out of their comfort zones.
He added that if devotion is self-centered, it is useless. He gave as an example praying the 2,000 Hail Mary Devotion. Even if one is praying for eight hours asking only for self, the sacrifice is not pleasing. This devotion makes us practice selflessness because the 20 petitions prayed every 100 Hail Marys are for others.
Second, John’s courage. When we commit sin, we are setting aside and ignoring the power of the Holy Spirit. With courage, we should let the Holy Spirit take control of our life by availing ourselves of the sacrament of reconciliation.
Repentance means returning to, surrendering our sins to Him. Citing the parable of the Prodigal Son, he said that the son expected to be treated only as a slave. But His Father wanted to welcome him back as a son and embrace him. We should let God do the same for us.
Third, accepting Jesus. Bro. Jing asked: “How would you know if you have received Jesus in your life? If Jesus is in your heart, you give Jesus, you give goodness. Christ is manifested in your family. In circumstances where there are challenges, sufferings, burdens, how do you react? If you remain peaceful then you are ready; but, when you are rattled and have negative reactions like anger, jealousy then you are not ready.”
He concluded, “So, ask yourself, is Jesus truly in you? You know he is in You when you are not gossiping any more, when you do not hear yourself complaining anymore, when you are able to see yourself transformed and not doing your old ways anymore.”
The Loved Flock community culminated the event with their weekly liturgical service as a choir in the Eucharistic celebration at St Joseph the Worker Church.