I decided to attend the 2 day four step retreat held at Our Lady of Lourdes Church which came highly recommended. It was over the weekend of 14th and 15th of May. Furthermore the pamphlet I had received about it, looked impressive with some of the testimonies from people who had attended in the past.
Without revealing too much about the retreat because it is something you should choose on your own to experience. The four step retreat in essence is four steps you undertake to have a personal encounter and lasting relationship with God our Father. I will stop here so that you will not have expectations or pre-conceived ideas except for the fact that you will definitely experience a change in your life should you desire it. :)
After the anointing with the Holy Spirit on the last day I must say I was overjoyed, as I had an extraordinary experience with the in-flowing of the Holy Spirit which lasted at least 15 minutes. A pure unadulterated, unconditional feeling of being loved! I decided that I was going to try and live my life in the Spirit.
Monday came and I attended the morning Eucharistic celebration before heading off to work feeling very elated as I was still very much in the Spirit. I was also looking forward to having dinner with my Dad in the evening as he turned 81 that day. Yes it was his birthday….
So after work I rushed home to meet the family at the restaurant nearby to have our dinner. I would later have to rush off once again to Church as we had our monthly EMC meeting. My wife who couldn’t join us for dinner as she was working, called to tell me that my younger son’s teacher had called her to inform her that she had passed his homework on to a classmate of his since he was on medical leave. I asked my elder son to help collect it for his brother but he insisted that his younger brother should follow him as well because the mother of the classmate was more familiar with him. My mum instructed the boys to carry my extra set of keys with them so that they could return home on their own. I was against the idea but relented because mum said that they could be trusted with the responsibility.
So after dinner mum, dad and I made our way home while the boys went to collect the homework. After showering I heard the doorbell and found that it was my boys outside. Apparently they were playing and started throwing the keys up in the air to see who could throw the highest when the bunch of keys got stuck up in the tree. Can you imagine the anger that was welling up in me? These bunch of keys were not only to my home but had at least 5 other personal keys of mine attached to the same keychain. After screaming at them, I marched them down to have a look to see if I could somehow retrieve it from the tree. As it was getting dark I could hardly see anything up the branches, I shook the tree but there was not even the slightest rattle of keys that could be heard. So I scanned the whole area surrounding the tree to see if they had somehow failed to see that it actually landed on the grass instead. After a while as the effort seemed more and more futile, I started screaming at them once again and even threatened to punish them severely.
Almost immediately after letting lose some expletives which I had not uttered in a very,very,very long while, I decided to walk away and pray. I prayed that Jesus would take away the anger from me and expressed how sorry I was about the outbursts. I surrendered to him and requested for Him to take over and that I would place all my trust in Him. Thereafter I began to feel the in-flowing of the Holy Spirit and soon I was calm. I then walked home silently with the kids. After getting changed I made my way to Church for the meeting but along the way I decided to call my elder son and tell him that although I was still a little annoyed, I will always love him no matter what happened. Our meeting began in the adoration room where I felt the overwhelming but wonderful presence of our Lord Jesus Christ. The rest of the meeting following was needless to say a success!
On Tuesday morning I made my way once again for the morning Eucharistic celebration, but before I got to the bus stop I decided to see if I could find the keys up in the tree in the daylight. I was secretly hoping to see if the ‘curse’ could be changed into a blessing as was preached about during the four step retreat. I was a little dismayed that the situation had not changed, as I still could not even see the bunch of keys anywhere. Still I decided to praise the Lord and thank him for my change of heart.
I was going to be working the afternoon shift and so while I was tempted to attend another talk by Brother Lalith the main speaker at the retreat which was scheduled to start at 1000hrs, I decided instead that I would spend some time with my family since it was a public holiday. When I got home, my wife informed me that she had made prior plans to bring the kids out with my mum-in-law! I took this as a sign that I was to attend the talk and so quickly got into a cab to to Church of the Risen Christ. I left the talk slightly after 5pm to make my way to the office, when I got a call from my mum saying that the ‘lost keys’ was upsetting to my father too, who then proceeded to pray to our blessed Mother Mary for help. ( This was amazing news to me as my father is not the prayerful type) He then had a feeling that he should go to the tree to have a look and LO and Behold! the bunch of keys was lying below! He is now convinced of the power of prayer! The ‘curse’ was truly transformed into blessings!
PRAISE THE LORD! PRAISE THE LORD! PRAISE THE LORD!
More on the four steps retreat can be found at www.crlmain.org