From Silence to Listening: A Retreat With the Youth

ImageTwo months ago, the Rogate Youth had their retreat in the Seminary of which I was one of the facilitators. For this retreat, only few managed to come for this opportunity, while I remembered inviting many of them to come for such an encounter. Now, I am beginning to learn and understand a lot from them!

For about half-a-day encounter of silence and reflection, we facilitators encouraged and invited them to be immersed into silence and reflection. We invited them to recall all their past experiences (in general) and to look these experiences into what brought them now. We gave them two small pieces of paper to write on which they will be offering to the Lord for our Taize Prayers and Meditation.


But what astounded me most was during the moment of sharing of reflections. It was right that I prepared myself to be attentive to what they will be saying in front of the group. During the sharing, I admired how they were able to process their reflections because they do have realizations which we facilitators did not expect at first. Personally, I felt their sincerity when they shared their experiences from their heart. I really felt that through silence, they were able to search deeper into the meaning of their lives. They were eager to seek the meaning of their lives, and hopefully they will find it.Perhaps, it is the right moment for us to invite the youth to appreciate the beauty of silence that goes with listening.


IMG_2181Months from now, the World Youth Day 2013 will be celebrated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Glad that many will come. But for those who cannot, we can still celebrate it when we, persons involved in the Church, invite the youth around us to come and celebrate youthfulness in creative ways – proposing opportunities for silence and moments to listen within oneself – which they will find difference and meaning from what they are ordinarily used to and oriented to.For today, some of the youth are afraid to seek what is inside of them which is why they search the “seemingly happy” outside of them and get contented with the noises around them. What turns out would be more catastrophic because when they forget who they are as individuals, they lose the sense of meaning of life, and when they do so, they get lost and lose their self-identity.

I invite you, my fellow youth, to celebrate WYD 2013 in silence and listening within! Let us all feel the presence of God of Love who waits us in silence, inviting us to listen to Him because we are His children and He is our Father and loves us dearly! When we experience Him, let us proclaim the joy we felt when we are able to listen with Him!