First, allow me to say a warm hello! I am Jovello Gomez Jr., a Verbum Dei disciple. I would like to share my experience with our silent retreat last February 15-16, 2014. The theme was from the passage of Luke 5, “Put out into the deep water...follow me”. It all started with a mind-boggling dynamic in which I was asked to right something about myself which others know, then allow others to write what they see in me that I don’t know. Then I had to write something about myself that others don’t really know. The last thing was to write what I think God says about me. Sounds silly especially that last part. What I think God says about me? I don’t really know. However, as the activity went on during the night, there had been a gradual realization of what’s going on.
So, let me share with you the fruits of my journey. Somewhere in the first part, I was struck with this quote from the speaker, “Sometimes the opinions of others about ourselves affect us a lot than the opinions of God about us.” It was precisely an awakening from my end. I realized that sometimes brokenness and disappointments come from listening to the voices of others, from trying hard to live out what the world says in order to be recognized and accepted but then failed. What I listen to others sometimes becomes my own belief to myself. So I went back to our dynamic. Does God really have His opinion about me? How would I know? The search for the answer begun from the passage of Luke 5:1-11. Jesus says “Push the boat off from the shore”. In my realization, how would I know what God says about me If I am not going to draw myself off from my comfort zone, If I remain from the shore of conforming to the standards and voices of the world. And then Jesus continued to say “Put out into the deep water”. For me, it implies something deeper which may require a lot of courage. So I tended to be a bit skeptical. But the journey went on and on. Until the next day, I was brought to the passage Matthew 14:25-32. It is where Jesus seen by His disciples walking on the water and they were all terrified of what they see. But then Peter dared to ask “Lord, if it’s you, tell me to come to you on the water.” But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Looking at Peter, I see so much resemblance in my life. For many times I dared to come to God in prayer but always shaken and stirred by many obstacles that I almost come to a point of giving up. But I heard Jesus say “Take courage! It is I. Do not be afraid.” And the Lord assures in Isaiah 43, “Do not fear, for I have saved you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” It somehow gave me the conviction to persevere and continue to grow, to continue coming to Him in the midst of overpowering impediments, in midst of confusion and fear. I now see Jesus as above all.
In the final part of the retreat, the passage of John 21:15-19 guided me into a beautiful awareness. Upon reading, it was a bit intriguing why Jesus had to ask Simon Peter three times “Simon son of John, do you love me?” As I perceived it to be, could be that Jesus asked me the same question thrice? “Jov, do you love me more than these?” Sure, why not. I’ve done my best to serve you though not perfectly. But again He asked “Jov, do you love me?” Lord, I chose to come here. I tried my best to attend School of the Word. But then Jesus asked for the third time “Jov, do you love me?” I don’t really understand why it needed to be that way? Then eventually I came with this profound realization. His invitation is for me to learn to be in love with Him unconditionally regardless of my imperfection, achievements, failures, and all impediments. I learned that going into the deep water is a call of love. For in truth, He is the deep water. It may be a difficult process but the process itself is a matter of love. It’s all love. Prayer is a matter of love, so I must bring it into a deeper sense for there you can find the great beauty of life: joy, peace and love. In so doing, I asked Him to grant me the grace of a trusting heart, the conviction to stand up for the truth and the ability to reject the harsh voices of the world. In conclusion, God told me that I am special, I am unique, I have so much potential, I am His.
Jovello is a Verbum Dei disciple and is part of the working singles group. You can contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reflections of faith
Read and be inspired by the reflections and experiences of faith, based on the Word of God.