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

30-Day Lockdown Retreat Journey: Take and Receive (DAY 30)


Today is Day 30 of the whole community retreat journey.

Points Of Departure: Leo Lionni's "Frederick," published by Pantheon Books 1967. All the images are taken from the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh.

All along the meadow where the cows grazed and the horses ran, there was an old stone wall.
In that wall, not far from the barn and the granary, a chatty family of field mice had their home.

Landscape With Path And Pollard Trees by Vincent Van Gogh
But the farmers had moved away, the barn was abandoned, and the granary stood empty. And since winter was not far off, the little mice began to gather corn and nuts and wheat and straw. They all worked day and night. Allexcept Frederick.

"Frederick, why don't you work?" they asked. "I do work," said Frederick. "I gather sun rays for the cold dark winter days."

A Symphony in Yellow by Vincent Van Gogh

And when they saw Frederick sitting there, staring at the meadow, they said, "And now, Frederick?" "I gather colors," answered Frederick simply. "For winter is gray."

Trees In The Landscape
by Vincent Van Gogh

And once Frederick seemed half asleep. "Are you dreaming, Frederick?" they asked reproachfully. But Frederick said, "Oh no, I am gathering words. For winter days are long and many, and we'll run out of things to say."

The winter days came, and when the first snow fell the five little field mice took to their hideout in the stones.

Wheatfield With Crows by Vincent Van Gogh

In the beginning there was lots to eat, and the mice told stories of foolish foxes and silly cats. They were a happy family.

But little by little they had nibbled up most of the nuts and berries, the straw was gone, and the corn was only a memory. It was cold in the wall and no one felt like chatting.

Starry Night In Winter Reworked/Credits: Freakingnews.com

Then they remembered what Frederick had said about sun rays and colors and words. "What about your supplies, Frederick?" they asked.

"Close your eyes," said Frederick, as he climbed on a big stone. "Now I send you the rays of the sun. Do you feel how their golden glow..." And as Frederick spoke of the sun the four little mice began to feel warmer. Was it Frederick's voice? Was it magic?

The Sower by Vincent Van Gogh

"And how about the colors, Frederick?" they asked anxiously. "Close your eyes again," Frederick said. And when he told them of the blue periwinkles, the red poppies in the yellow wheat, and the green leaves of the berry bush, they saw the colors as clearly as if they had been painted in their minds.

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

"And words, Frederick?" Frederick cleared his throat, waited a moment, and then, as if from the stage, he said:

"Who scatters snowflakes? Who melts the ice? Who spoils the weather? Who makes it nice? Who grows the four-leaf clovers in June? Who dims the daylight? Who lights the moon? Four little field mice who live in the sky. Four little field mice... like you and I. One is Springmouse who turns on the showers. Then comes the summer who paints in the flowers. The Fallmouse is next with walnuts and wheat. And winter is last... with little cold feet. Aren't we lucky the seasons are four? Think of a year with one less... or one more!"
Starry Night Over The Rhone by Vincent Van Gogh

When Frederick had finished, they all applauded. "But Frederick," they said, "you are a poet!"

Frederick blushed, took a bow, and said shyly, "I know it."

Second Point: "Everything I Need To Learn I Learn From Children's Books"

Leo Lionni (May 5, 1910 – October 11, 1999) was an author and illustrator of children's books. Born in the Netherlands, he moved to Italy and lived there before moving to the United States in 1939, where he worked as an art director for several advertising agencies, and then for Fortune magazine.

Lionni is one of my favorite children's book writer and illustrator. Frederick is indeed a masterpiece not only for children; it addresses us adults especially during a crisis like Covid-19 pandemic. It calls for a contemplative approach towards creation. Pope Francis talked about the 8th work of mercy which is both spiritual and corporal. He is my inspiration for putting up this 8th Worker blog. Frederick is an 8th worker too. He contemplated nature's elements and was able to contribute to his own pack.

Opening Prayer

Grace To Beg For: To ask for what I desire. To ponder with deep affection how much God our Lord has done for me, how much he has given me of what he possesses, and further, how according to his divine plan, it is the Lord's wish, as far as he is able, to give me Himself. (SE 234)

Grace of praying the "Take Lord Receive": To ponder within myself and consider what, in all reason and justice, I ought for my part to offer and give his Divine Majesty, that is to say, all I possess and myself as well, saying, as one making a gift with heartfelt love:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all that I have and possess.  Thou hast given all to me.  To Thee, O Lord, I return it.  All is Thine, dispose of it wholly according to Thy will.  Give me Thy love and Thy grace, for this is sufficient for me. (SE 234)

Word Of God: (See full text below)

1. John 20:11–18 (I have seen the Lord, and he said these things to me.)

Questions and Considerations To Ponder:

1. Today I, together with Frs. Noel Bava, SJ, Roberto Boholst, SJ, Braulio Dahunan, SJ, Joseph Edward Magtoto, SJ, Jordan Orbe, SJ and Michael Porcia, SJ, celebrate with a grateful heart eight years of priesthood. Eight years ago seven of us were ordained by Antonio Cardinal Tagle to the presbyterate. (Seven Blind Mice by Sofia)

2. Reflect how God dwells in creatures: in the elements giving them existence, in the plants giving them life, in the animals conferring upon them sensation, in man bestowing understanding.  So He dwells in me and gives me being, life, sensation, intelligence; and makes a temple of me, since I am created in the likeness and image of the Divine Majesty. (SE 235)

3. This is to consider how God works and labours for me in all creatures upon the face of the earth, that is, He conducts Himself as one who labours.  Thus, in the heavens, the elements, the plants, the fruits, the cattle etc., He gives being, conserves them, confers life and sensation, etc. (SE 236)

Prayer Requests:

You can email request for prayers for the dead (Name—RIP) using 8thworkermercy@bloggercom—there is a DOT between 8thworker and mercy. It is restricted so that only me as blog author can read it. Others will NOT be able to read any email; instead they will get a message stating that this is private. We will offer your intentions during our regular 6:30AM Masses in our community of Jesuit priests and novices.

P.S. Feel free also to include the names of all who are currently sick (Name—Get well soon).

Fr. JM Manzano, SJ

John 20:11–18

I have seen the Lord, and he said these things to me.

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.


  1. Thank you Fr. Jom for bringing spiritual insights in our 30 day lockdown. It strengthens my faith as well as my relationship with the Lord.

    Happy 8th sacerdotal anniversary, may you be a holy priest now and forever. Amen.

  2. Thank you very much for this 30-day retreat journey. I shared this journey also to my friends... Happy 8th anniversary of your sacerdotal ordination. God bless you always.

  3. Happy sacerdotal anniversary father... He is indeed a merciful God. Keep going father in spite of the uncertainties of life God is always with you, accompanying in your journey. Amen

  4. Belated Happy 8th anniversary of your sacerdotal ordination Fr. JM. You are a great gift to us who love to ponder on God's words with His creation. May our Lord keep you safe in His heart as you continue to share your reflections...Praying for you always.. God bless you!


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