The Lenten retreat of St. Dominic Church, Ashoknagar was held from the 11th -14th of March 2021. Rev. Fr. Anil Fernandes -SVD priest from Divine Call Centre, Mulki was the main preacher, He had his team of priests assisting him along with the musicians who helped in the singing and praise and worship.
On Day 1 Fr. Anil’s opening words were “Keep your eyes on God” He spoke about the Plan of God in the person of Jesus Christ. 1Peter 2: 24” He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” He told us not to always keep saying “ I am a sinner instead to say “ I am a redeemed sinner.”
He spoke about how we are in spiritual bondage and our thoughts, feelings actions have become compulsive. Our will is divided. The devil is disciplined and takes advantage of our situations. John 10:10-The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” We are always B U S Y- Being under satan’s yoke.
Fr. Anil spoke about the 5 Keys which are essential for Christian living.
1. Repentant Faith
4. Word of Command
5. Father’s Blessings
On Day 2 after the Way of the Cross and a time of praising God and singing songs of Praise, Fr. Anil mentioned that in Psalm 103 we can get 6 types of blessings
• Forgives all our inequity
• Heals all our diseases
• Saves our life
• Crowns you with mercy and compassion
• Satisfies you with good as long as you live
• Renews your youth like an eagle.
Ist Key- Repentant Faith: Mark 1:14 –‘Repent and believe in the gospel- We need to turn to Him and focus on Jesus. Like the thief on the right hand side of Jesus who repented and prayed “Lord remember me when you come into your kingdom” and was taken into heaven that same day, we too should accept Jesus as our Lord and Saviour.
2nd Key: Reconciliation: We were led into a time of worship and contemplation through the adoration that was held and the people prepared for a good confession.
3rd Key: Renunciation: Hosea 4:6 says My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge because you have rejected knowledge. ”He explained the entry points how we allow satan to enter into our lives.
Satan is like a roaring lion waiting to devour us. 1 Peter 5:8 -Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
We have many of our unrepented and habitual sins and many a times we sin against our own body. He mentioned the 7 capital sins viz: Pride, Anger, Lust, Gluttony, Sloth, Envy, Greed which we need to be aware of and prepared us for confessions.
CURSES: Galations 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us- for it is written “cursed be everyone who hangs on a tree.
Only when we give consent or fear then a curse can touch us.
Self-proclaimed curses: Many a times we bring curses on ourselves by saying “Its better I die” or we curse our children unknowingly that this can be harmful. Matt 12:36-37 “men will render account for every careless word they utter.” So it is in our hands to also break these curses by praying with faith ‘In Jesus name I declare the curse null and void and I break myself free. I forgive that person / or forgive myself and I bless you in Jesus name.
Renounce your sin in the name of Jesus and announce that Jesus is Lord. We should cover ourselves daily by the precious blood of Jesus because we are blessed people and we can claim his protection over us and our families.
Our life should be a sacrifice of Thanksgiving each day and we should never resist the Holy Spirit of God.
6 sins against the Holy Spirit:
2. Presumption of Mercy ( assuming God will forgive you)
3. Fighting against the truth
4. Hard heartedness
5. Envying the spiritual good of the other
6. Final Impenetance (dying without being penitent)
4th Key : The Word of Command: Mark 16:17-18 “ And these signs will accompany those who believe ; in my name they will cast out demons, they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them, they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.
We need to claim these promises in our life and be strengthened in our spiritual lives. Surrendering our lives daily to God and to the Holy Spirit and praising God for everything that happens in our lives is the most important thing.
Finally Fr. Anil said that the 5th Key is Praying for Father’s Blessings. Our God is a loving and forgiving God and He does not punish us or bring sickness upon us. We need to give our best time to Him each day – preferably in the morning to spend time in praising Him and thanking Him, read the Word of God daily in our personal prayer and build our relationship with Him.
Through this we are able to get his blessings in abundance.
The retreat ended with the Eucharistic celebration. Around 350 people attended the retreat each day and received the blessings of God.