by Mitchell Tan
I recently attended the TREASURE Young Adults Encounter retreat, conducted by Office for Young People from 20th to 23rd April 2017where I took on the role of a small group facilitator. On the surface, it may seem like I sacrificed my weekends to help out, but in truth, I received so much from the Lord. The Holy Spirit was the one doing the hard work – raking away stubborn weeds and sowing seeds of truths in our hearts.
1. Your last retreat was your confirmation camp.
A retreat, literally, is a moving back from battle’s frontline not conceding defeat, but rather, to regain energy and replenish ammunition. Similarly, we need to find time to step back, pause and reflect. Otherwise, we may end up feeling overwhelmed, numb or have our spirits crushed.
2. You attend mass every Sunday or even serve in a ministry but still feel empty somehow.
Having served in a ministry for ten years, I took pride in it, and thought that I was not too bad of a Catholic. Wrong. It was a subtle lie that hid my lukewarm faith. We are called to live life to the fullest, to thrive and not just to survive. TREASURE helped me to uncover deep truths in my life and rediscover my faith (definitely very different now than at Secondary Four) and be ever more grounded in my convictions.
3. You carry a lot of past hurts that you cannot seem to let go of.
Back in secondary school, I was often bullied. The pain and anger that I buried was hard to release. When I shared this at the retreat and sought prayers, one of the prayer team members saw an image of Jesus sitting beside me in an empty classroom. I was greatly comforted by that beautiful image and realised that Jesus had been by my side in all my struggles and I had never been alone. I am grateful for a safe space to share vulnerably and receive immense inner healing in.
4. You always think you are not good enough.
I vividly recalled kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament at TREASURE after having finished praying for others and a sentence came to my mind, “Do you not believe that it was I who was working through you?” The message surprised me. It was a moment of unaltered truth where Jesus spoke in a firm tone. And my response was, “Yes Lord, take away my feelings of unworthiness and doubt. I acknowledge that I am good enough simply because I am your beloved child.”
5. You feel alone in your faith journey.
At TREASURE, I was heartened to get to know many others like me experiencing similar struggles and hurts. I felt understood, accepted and encouraged by the fact that I am not alone. After my own TREASURE retreat as a participant, I was introduced to a community of young adults and have since joined them. My friends are like my accountability buddies and I know that with them, I can keep on walking in my pursuit to become more Christ-like.
Of course, TREASURE is not like a miracle pill that made all my troubles vanish right after taking it. However, I came away from the retreat knowing with certainty that God was, is and will always be with me. This has brought me much peace, confidence and joy. I am rejuvenated and ready to return to the frontline of life’s battle, charging on with faith and trust!