Having had a spiritual retreat with a universal theme at the start of the year, it was felt that a retreat with a special focus on the Order’s spirituality will benefit members and associates. The search for a Spiritual Director involved in providing spiritual direction for members of the Order was answered in the person of Msgr Estaban Lo.
A one-day retreat was conducted by Mgsr Lo on Sunday, 21 July for members, associates and spouses. The theme of the retreat was “Daily Prayer of the Order”. Mgsr Lo started the retreat by reminding participants that prayer plays an important part in the Order of Malta as it is a Lay Religious Order in the Catholic Church.
As prayer is a dialogue with God, the more we pray the deeper our faith. The rhythm of our prayer life influences the rhythm of our faith. God has called us to and through the Order and we responded in faith. Our response explicitly imply the acceptance of carrying out the mission of the Order – “Tuitio Fidei et Obsequium Pauperum”. “Tuitio Fidei” is about being proactive about our faith – taking initiative to know and love it more, and translate this into action.
More than being a doctrine in the context of a living and loving community, it reinforces and reminds members of their vocation: “Lord Jesus, Thou hast seen fit to enlist me for Thy service among the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem. I humbly entreat Thee through the intercession of the Most Holy Virgin of Philerme, of Saint John the Baptist, Blessed Gerard and all the saints and blessed of our Order, to keep me faithful to the tradition of our Order. Be it mine to practise and defend the Catholic, the Apostolic, the Roman faith against the enemies of religion; be it mine to practice charity towards my neighbours, especially the poor and sick.
Give me the strength I need to carry out this my resolve, forgetful of myself, learning ever from the Holy Gospel a spirit of deep and generous Christian devotion, striving ever to promote God’s glory, the world’s peace, and all that may benefit the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem. Amen”.
Indeed, we have been called to:
1. Obsequium Pauperum – Serve the suffering of the body of Christ.
2. Tuitio Fidei – Develop a right Christian conscience in order to serve the poor and sick.
Mgsr Lo urged members and associates to heed and respond to the calling on a daily basis, and be an authentic witness.
A Mass concluded the retreat on a high note.
There was tremendous learning, spiritual enrichment and deepening of commitment to the Order’s mission. Although it was a long day, everyone felt rejuvenated at the end of the retreat. There was praise, rejoicing and thanksgiving for the day that the Lord has made.