"Remember, I am with you always to the end of the age" (Mt 28:20)


30-Day Lockdown Retreat Journey: Rivers Of Living Water (FINALE)

Noli Me Tangere (Christ and Mary Magdalene)
by Francesco Albani
 "THERE IS NOTHING UNUSUAL
IN THIS LOVE OF WATER...
I THINK IT IS THE UNBROKEN
SEQUENCES OF FLOWING WATER,
THE UNCHANGING DESTINIES OF STREAMS,
THAT SEEM TO KNIT A MAN'S SOUL
WITH THE ETERNITIES.
THE RHYTHMS OF EDDYING POOLS,
THE RYHMES OF LAPPING WAVELETS,
BRING PEACE THROUGH EYE AND EAR,
EMPHASIZING BY THEIR UNCEASING FLOW
THE UNIMPORTANCE OF OUR PASSING LIVES.
ON AND ON THEY GLIDE, NOT MERELY
FOR THE BRIEF MOMENTS OF OUR ATTENTION
BUT THROUGH EVERY HOUR OF NIGHT
OR DAY, VARYING YET CONSTANT.
THE DANCING OF A MOUNTAIN STREAM
MAY BE AS ENTRANCING AS A BALLET,
BUT THE QUIET OF AN AGE-OLD RIVER IS LIKE
THE SLOW TURNING OF PAGES
IN A WELL LOVED BOOK."

Robert Gibbings Till I End My Song

I was first introduced to Robert Gibbing's beautiful image of the river by Tessa Wardley in her book "The River Book." This is a fitting image of the past 30-day lockdown retreat journey that we have just concluded recently. Jesus said "Let anyone who thirsts come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as scripture says: 'Rivers of living water will flow from within him'" (Jn 7:37-38).

I received all your notes of prayer requests as well as notes of gratitude. I am thankful to you, not only those based here in the Philippines but in many parts of the world, for "river journeying" with me guided by the Holy Spirit. Thank you for the prayers you have offered. I would like to thank the following people for their encouragement: Fr. Joe Quilongquilong, SJ, Fr. James Gascon, SJ, Fr. Jun Bugtas, SJ, Fr. Jojo Magadia, SJ, Fr. Jun Viray, SJ, Fr. Vic Baltazar, SJ, Fr. Chris Dumadag, SJ (Together with my Sacred Heart Community, the Jesuit novices), Fr. Jordan Orbe, SJ, Fr. Michael Porcia, SJ, Fr. Vic De Jesus, SJ and Fr. Finbar Maxwell, MSSC.

The journey has been participated in by so many communities and organisations thanks to a team of ladies: Raiza Carasig from the Center for Ignatian Spirituality Philippines (CIS Phil) and Lingkod, Tina Mossessgeld, and Sr. Edith Ontiveros, OSU. They regularly became my sounding board on how to navigate through this 30-day lockdown journey. Making an adaptation of the four weeks of the Spiritual Exercises was made possible through your invaluable suggestions.


Some people have been instrumental in sharing some materials that I used like Eva Galvey, Dr. Mark Calano. Finally I thank each of you. I have read your very kind words of how you have grown spiritually, how it has "strengthened your faith and your relationship with God," how you have learned new ways of praying, how the reflections have accompanied you in your sacred spaces, and how this complemented the other spiritual resources, e.g., online masses. Some of you went through the actual lockdown journey with an online spiritual companion or spiritual director. Fr. Maxwell, MSSC was first to introduce me to an ancient Celtic tradition that called the friend of one's soul "anamchara." One religious made use of the daily prayer points while getting online direction from an anamchara who too got locked down overseas. Indeed all our paths have converged through this online oasis through the guidance of the Holy Spirit: "And now I call you friends, because I have shared with you all things I have received from my Father" (Jn 15:15).

From the bottom of my heart, thank you and God bless you.


Fr. JM Manzano, SJ



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