By Mr. Masaya TAKAHASHI (Yonezawa Church, Niigata Diocese)
< Weakness is a blessing>
We staff of JLMM Cambodia hold retreat by ourselves every year. Retreat is to pray silently, deepen the relationship between God and ourselves and review our activities and experiences. This year we managed to get Fr. Mitsuaki CHIHARA from Yonezawa Church in my hometown as an instructor of the retreat. We took time of five days for retreat.
The topic of the retreat is "Weakness is a blessing," From the Father's talk I learned that defect and weakness which are generally considered faulty are gift so that God may bless them. I got aware of that change of life style from relying on oneself to on God is an important conversion for Christians. I am grateful for such opportunity given.
Usually I tend to pray very hard because I try very hard to reserve the time for retreat. This time, however, I rested without effort to pray hard as the Father advised us to relax. Slowly calm pray came out naturally and silence led me. Father explained us the primary meaning of English word of "retreat". Floating village, our mission place, is a "battle", and it was a precious time to take rest away from the battle.
During this retreat, I deepened the relation between God and me without thinking of our activities and village people.
I said sorry for my fault many times. I was blessed and sent here as a JLMM missionary, but I am ashamed that I could not change and still remain stubborn, lazy and not honest. I fed up my attitude and blamed myself. Then I was encouraged and healed by the Father's words, "Do not blame yourself." Through the words I felt love of Jesus taking me up to let me rest beside him when I was discouraged by my weakness and crouch in the street. I felt the warm hands of God touching my wounded heart in the retreat.
Jesus leads us to the life with serene mind and peace by showing his life. I wish to have good ears to hear the breath of Jesus.
I thank Fr. Chihara who came all the way to Cambodia and God who had send Fr. Chihara!