Jesus is My Home

Have you ever dreaded going for a Catholic retreat? I have. That was how I felt going for SHINE. It’s a 4D3N combined tertiary retreat organised by Office for Young People (OYP), where Catholics from different polytechnics, ITE, and those pursuing diploma studies come together to not only improve our relationship with God, but get a chance to meet more Catholics from other polys.

Before going for SHINE, I thought it was a games camp with captain’s ball and water games, but I still didn’t want go. After weeks of deliberation and dealing with my inner struggles, I decided to give SHINE a try despite having a very busy schedule the week before and the week after. Yet, on the first day of the retreat, I regretted going and complained non-stop about how I was having “Jesus overload” and wanted to go home. However, I prayed to God that He would give me the strength to continue with the retreat and I actually stayed throughout. Looking back, I would never regret staying.

On the second day of SHINE, we had a praying over session and when I rested in the Holy Spirit, I saw a very bright light from which a man dressed in a white robe and red sash walked towards me. As he walked closer, I knew it was Jesus and when he was a short distance away from me he said, “Joey, come home”. But, I was tied up in thick metal chains all around me and I told Him, “I can’t. I don’t know how to. I’m stuck and I’m not worthy to go home to you”. And all Jesus said was, “Don’t worry because I’ll bring my home to you”. At that moment I broke down. I felt His love and His presence so strongly – something I have never felt before. I felt true happiness.

On day 3, we had another praying over session and this time I had a very different experience. It was during praise and worship with the Blessed Sacrament right before my eyes. Suddenly, I saw a black figure walking past me. Its face was melting and we made eye contact. It stared at me with vengeful eyes and I could almost hear it saying to me, “I’ll be back to destroy you.” The next thing I knew, I suddenly lost all emotions and feelings. I felt totally cut off from God and I went dumb. I couldn’t speak or sing and the feeling inside me was horrifying to say the least. Little did I know, that figure went inside me. Just then, I remembered the prayer to St Michael and I said it a total of three times and on the third time, after I said “By the divine power of God, cast into hell Satan and all the other evil spirits who prowl through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.” That thing inside me came right out from the soles of my feet, passing through my whole body, and from that moment on I could sing His praises again.

After that, I was prayed over and I rested in the Holy Spirit again. While I was resting, I saw another vision. I was in a dark place with the same black figure and it was brutally beating me up. I could physically feel the pain and just when I almost gave up all hope, the stone started rolling away and light streamed into the place. At the entrance, Jesus stood there. And just like Lazarus, he told me, “Come out”, and I stood up and walked out of the tomb.

Jesus then carried me on his back across a beach which was beside the place where I was held “captive”. At the end of the road, Jesus put me down and all my wounds were healed. We then took a walk back towards the tomb and together, we rolled the stone back and sealed the tomb. This reminded me, especially during this Easter season, that Jesus has victory over evil and I have walked out of my own tomb together with Him.

Fr Terence once asked us this question – “Who is God to you?”. That mere five-word question left many of us stunned and we started thinking about who God really is to us. After SHINE, I knew my answer. He is my safe place, He is where my home is. So… I’d like to ask you this question back in return:

Who is God to you?

By Joey Inez Isabelle Lee, 17