How Did It Go for You?

As we approach the end of our Advent Recollection,
let us know how it went for you.

assorted stickers

What struck you?

How do you feel?

What significant experience
or realization did you get?

Perhaps most importantly,
what blessing did you receive.
going through this recollection?

This sharing is strongly encouraged
though completely optional.

But remember:
Sharing your insights, feelings,
and blessings may actually benefit
the other members of our virtual faith community.

Please consider posting your responses below
before we proceed to our final closing prayer exercise.


76 replies on “How Did It Go for You?”

My take-aways:
1) God’s love song to me, rooted in Divine Compassion that draws a parallelism with the compassion of Lot’s wife. He will never give me up, let me down, run around or desert me.
2) To keep choosing to trust and to hope in God, and thus sustain or even improve my hope barometer
3) I give to the Lord my depression, anxiety, fears, and anxieties – that they may not lead me away from the Lord but towards Him.

Thank you, Lord for the inspirations and insights.

Thank you, Fr. J and your team, for being a blessing channel through which blessings came to me and to the others in this Advent retreat.

Thank you for this recollection.

I heard exactly what I needed to hear. God spoke with me so clearly. Thank you. Thank you.

God has never been from us. In fact, he had CLOSED the distance. He did the whole nine yards. How can that not be an amazing reminder?

What struck me was the “singular compassionate act of God in the Incarnation”– God breaking the rules of God by allowing His Son to live among us. Truly an undeserved yet wonderful gift. My hope in God was re-awakened; having realized how loved we are, not because of how or who we are but because He loved us first. Thank you, thank you… because You love me.

I am reminded of how blessed I am. That God chose me and He loves me personally. I am struck by Mary’s “Yes”. It showed her deep trust and confidence in God no matter ho impossible it may seem. She answered in humility and obedience. I also learned a new perspective in the unnamed woman’s response in turning back. In effect she became a pillar of salt but perhaps not because of disobedience but compassion. That can be likened to God’s love for us, to choose to suffer in response to showing compassion for us. How can we fathom His great love for us?

Obedience is not easy. Sadness is optional. Wait for God to “encash” your “cheque”. GOD IS WITH US, REJOICE!

This recollection has become a journey for me. Three years ago, my whole world turned upside down. I am now ready to let go of the past… but I still need to resolve some things. From this recollection, I remembered that:

“It is what it is.”
“Do not be afraid… you have found favor with God.”
“With God, nothing is impossible.”

When Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, what struck me is that if I continue to keep looking back into the past, I will remain frozen in grief, regret, and pain that I will be unable to move on and be happy.

God’s gift of compassion should be mine, as well. It is really difficult, but I have to be kind and compassionate to those who wronged me and forgive them fully and finally. So that I can heal completely.

Realized that not everything is within my control, sometimes I need to let go and let God. Pray for guidance and wisdom.

Our Lord is completely committed to us. This is the ultimate Christmas Gift. To accept His gift means to also commit myself to His teachings. I pray that I may have the strength & the courage to do so. He will always be there to help. May I not harden my heart when He is talking to me to guide me.

It has been a difficult 2020. But amidst all the difficulty, there is always hope. And this retreat boosted my reason to hope. To hold on, as God will never give up on me and He will never let me down.
The story about Lot’s wife gave me another perspective of the bible story. Laging negative ang nakikita ko sa kanya. But this retreat made me see it in a different light. Naisip ko, that story could also be foretelling of Jesus’ fate. HE came down out of love and compassion, thus the consequence of dying on the cross. Di bale maghirap, basta mag mamahal.
Thank you for this beautiful advent recollection.

I feel refreshed and energized. I felt weird that I was enjoying the work from home because I had more time for many things particularly for my spiritual growth. Because I did not have to go through the usual 4-5 hours of traffic every day, I had time to hear mass online and even pray the rosary (on top of being more mindful in many things at home). Until days ago when I felt the fear because I got sick (later came out negative from the swab test, Thank God!) and had a casual discussion about the future with my husband who said that we can never be sure about anything. For a moment, fear consumed me. After going through the retreat, I realized that that 1 point that I was not sure of (gave HOPE a score of 9) was the fear I felt. BUT I should change my score for HOPE to 10 because God gave me a blank check. Thank you for reminding me of God’s undying love! <3

This recollection has been a very meaningful one for me especially in my process of discernment of God’s plan in my life.

The chosen scripture passages for the theme of the recollection and the guide questions were really helpful. They allowed us to dig deeper to the story of Lot’s wife, and to understand how it can relate to our personal experiences of our own “defiances” to God. It made me realize how God does understand what we are going through — whatever it may be and in all moments of our lives. He has even gone beyond understanding to the point of breaking His own “rules” just for our sake. All out of His compassion and love.

I also thank you for including the “blank check” to God as our form of thanksgiving and response to His continuous revelation in our lives. It is in these responses that we are able to do our part in communicating with Him, through concrete acts of love expressed in surrendering to Him our hearts’ innermost concerns.


This retreat gives me pause on what I’ve gone through for the last 8 months and what future I carve for 2021. It’s a reminder to live a life dedicated to doing God’s Will to make this World a better Place by helping and sharing with Others all the blessings God has given me despite this pandemic.

The retreat made it so clear to me where Jesus is calling me and only assures me with the religious vocation. At the same time, I am feeling so loved and freed from my own weiryness and ideal ways of spiritual life to attain.
As a university student, I am curious and thinking of what its like to work in the world as a faithful lay person so that the experience will allow me to serve others in the future as a missionary.

To deepen the story of the Lot’s wife was very emotional and enlightening. The songs were very helpful too and loved how the course was set out. Though online, it was fun and meaningful, fruitful as well, unexpectedly. Thank you!

I felt reconnected to God. I feel grateful with everything I have right now. This is really a beautiful recollection and I can see myself rereading everything again

Life is one of this world’s impossible gifts.

It can be taken any time, any where, any how… But daily we are given the gift of sunrise. The gift of opening one’s eyes to the wonders of a new day.

I have always thought myself unworthy of such a gift, being a sinful person, I sometimes ask why I am given the chance to live. But thru this life, I hope to become a better person each day. Hopefully with each day I may strive to be more deserving of this gift of life. That by working hard to become good, to live a life of service for God and His people, I may somehow be thanking God for this gift of life.

God equips and accompanies the people He calls. If you are given a life each day, you are being called each day to truly live. How can one not be hopeful…

Thank you for this prayerful time. My takeaway from this spiritual exercise are: (1) to be reminded that despite the many frustrations and anxieties in these dire times that the Lord is with us all the time as was His promise, and, (2) to be reminded of the things I can do for Our Lord.

had a different reaction when i heard the last song… growing up with the song it was difficult.

but was able to look past the change in tempo and focus on it’s lyrics. saw it in a different light. thank you for those reassuring words. it has renewed my hope.

an honest self-examen. Lot’s wife and her radical compassion. The need for me to be the same. I am the same, therein lies my redemption. I could not simply look away, but I keep looking back. Checking on people. I have the compassion, I have the means. Do I have the strength or heart of generosity? Can I give up all my comforts and freedoms?

I do hope for answers. I hope that with the coming of Jesus the Human, The friend, the Savior, maybe I will find peace from the anxieties I feel because I cannot let go.

I was struck by how there is always room for something that I care about — no matter how much I resist or try to come up with excuses like I’m so busy. I see that busyness is just another defense. The blessings I received during this retreat: a few moments of calm and sacredness and the reassurance of God’s love (who can forget that Never Gonna Give You Up song, right?) even during these tough and painful times.

Thank you Fr. Johnny. As always, your recollection is so relevant to our lives. As we begin Advent, we carry the burdens of this past year with us.
The message of hope and God’s endless love for us is the only way that i can unburden myself from the load i carry. That no matter what happens to the world, the only thing constant will be His undying love, and this truly gives me Hope.

– Our capacity to hope depends so much on our ability to believe the angel’s claim
– gratitude for impossible gifts in the past increases our capacity to hope for more in the future
– Lot’s wife turned back because of compassion; God not only turned back but looked down and became one with us
– by becoming human, God has ‘thrown his lot’ with us; to join us voluntarily; to allow whatever happens to us, affect what happens to God
– God issued us a blank check and me issuing a check that is so real – the genuine me because God accepts me.

Lot’s wife disobeyed the angel’s instructions and was punished. But she probably couldn’t have resisted looking back. The act of disobedience didn’t necessarily mean she was evil.
Another woman, in her obedience, became the vessel for God to become one of us and made our salvation possible.
We will surely commit more acts of disobedience as long as we live. Nobody is pure and sinless as the Blessed Mother. But we are assured that we are already saved and God’s mercy is endless.
Thank you for the simple yet surprising insights.

I broke down reading everyone’s undeserved gifts. Whenever I feel disconnected from God, feeling God’s thankful for God’s blessings is what brings me back to Him.

The song “Never gonna give you up”, along with the image of Lot’s wife sums it all for me… God will never desert us.

Thank you Fr Johnny. This is the second time I’ve attend your recollection, the first being the 2020 Lenten retreat.
Simple yet deep, not overly pious but very relevant.

What struck me: God’s Divine Compassion, the reason for Advent.

I am grateful that I experienced God’s unconditional love for me through the reflections and sharing in this Recollection.

My most important blessing from this experience is continuing trust in God’s Divine Providence no matter what the situation might be … because we have Jesus with us always. Emmanuel! Thank you, Father God!??

I smiled, I cried, I felt relief and HOPE. It is going to be a meaningful Christmas. Thank you very much Fr. Johnny and to all those who shared their comments. They made my recollection even richer. I said a prayer for everyone in this community to have the most meaningful Christmas. All these challenges we’re facing right now are blessings in disguise so that we can really focus on the right thing:

be the focus of

Maligaya at makahukugang Pasko sa inyong lahat. ?❤️

Work from Hope: My takeaways:
1. I was struck by Lot’s wife story where she turned into a pillar of salt because of her defiance. In this recollection, I realized that it is a “defiance of compassion” to her neighbors begging her name.
2. Incarnation: God broke the rules of being God by becoming Human. This is his way of ‘Defiance of Compassion”, as we people, beg for His name.
3. Banco de OO: He always find ways to build or to sustain His relationship to Humanity.

Banco de OO. He finds ways.
Plus the theme from Jurassic Park which has always made me feel like everything is beautiful and anything is possible.

Thank you.

Thank you for this beautiful recollection; for time to get in touch with God speaking to me. Thank you for the guided questions and reflections, Scripture passages, and the powerful music. I was particularly touched by the blank check and pray that this offering may be fruitful and may free me to love and serve Him in a better way.

I was deeply moved by Lot’s wife, and the concept of Divine Compassion. Giving Lot’s wife the benefit of the doubt makes me see her looking back not as an act of defiance but one of self-sacrifice and of compassion, a reflection of the Divine Compassion of the Incarnation.

The blank check reflection was also a powerful and meaningful one for me. The charity of God compels me to act, and that blank check was God’s way of gently nudging me yet again to commit to generosity, which is a commitment to trust God even more, that He will always provide the impossible.

For this Advent recollection, DEO GRATIAS!

The story of Lot’s wife made a significant impression on me. During the first read, it seemed so easy to say that she was wrong, na hindi lang marunong sumunod sa instructions. Napaka-basic, hindi pa maaga. Then, it was so beautiful to realize that her stubborn nature was like Jesus’. Sabi nga, human nature na maging curious, impulse magrespond pag narinig natin ang pangalan natin. Knowing that Jesus was human, I find comfort in knowing that kahit God siya, He knows and understands human nature.

Hindi tayo matitiis ng Diyos kahit alam niyang buhay niya ang kapalit.

God forgot the rules about being God. He didn’t just look down. God came rushing down.

Rushing down. Because of so much love and compassion for us.

Advent is about waiting, but we never really have to wait for Him. The God who gives impossible gifts is always rushing to meet us.

It took a pandemic for me to set aside time to go through Fr. Johnny Go’s online retreat. Everyday God surprises me with wonderful gifts, i need only to open my eyes and heart to experience his love and grace. Thank you Fr. Go and friends for helping me tread along my journey this Advent.

I need to be more mindful and grateful for all the “impossible” graces that God has granted and continue to grant to me and my family. God is good!

I have been doing Fr. Johnny’s Holy Week retreat for many years now. And when I good friend passed this on to me, I immediately thought that it would be similar to the Holy Week ones. I knew I was going to do it too. The big difference though is that I am actually sharing now. I had always felt shy expressing my thoughts and reflections before but I promised this time that I would write comments and participate in the sharing. Am really glad I did as it helped me appreciate the recollection more and has uplifted my spirits..

I felt reconnected to God. He truly knows what’s in my heart. It feels great that he gave me more reason to be hopeful, free myself from fears and take time to see the light in all these.
The Emmanuel song has become more meaningful as we prepare for the coming of the Lord Jesus.

Because of the pandemic, I just wanted 2020 to go away fast, forgetting that the end of 2020 is Christmas season, forgetting the message of EMMANUEL. Thanks to this recollected, I feel reconnected.

Hmmm, Lot’s wife looking back and the Lord looking down because of compassion despite knowing the harmful consequences and trials of doing so.

Prayers requested as I say O Come, O Come Emmanuel! To ask HIM to come into my life is to be always ready to look back and look down with compassion and give more if not all of myself for those whom the Lord will choose to call my name.

What struck me was the different perspective with respect to the behavior Lot’s wife. She looked back because of compassion. Forget about rules. She just had to act with compassion.

I feel lighter like all the frustrations and fears have been taken away because I come to find myself more hopeful and that the Lord will never give up on me no matter what and to continue to trust His will.

This year brought gifts – of hope, faith and love from family and friends who are physically far away but have been drawn closer.
Unlooked for, surprises all.
God be praised. He knows and understands.
He provides. He is faithful.
He loves.

I have been feeling tired and weary as the year is coming to close, this online retreat refreshed me and gave me time to stop and reflect on all the good God has done this year amidst all the challenges this year brings. God is ever present and He journey with us. Thank you to everyone who prepared this online retreat

So the lockdown has limited my options. I can’t leave the house, can’t touch or kiss my loved ones. But it has given the blessing of family. Suddenly my siblings and I all have time for each other and we spend around three hours a week on zoom. God is with us all the time in this pandemic and He will get us out of it. He has a plan and I am part of it. I am completely in His hands.

The mystery of Divine Compassion as personified by the reason why Lot’s wife turned as her neighbor’s and friends called her name and in turn became the basis of the Incarnation was what struck me most. And choosing a popular song by Rick Astley as a music for meditation gave new meaning to the lyrics “Never Gonna Give you up” a theological/spiritual dimension.

Thank you for this recollection. Renewed hope, clearer perspective, a personal incarnation of God’s love within me.

God did not come down to fix the wrongs of the world. He came down for those who were open to his teachings on how to make the world a better place. The other option was to destroy the world and start anew which did not happen. Therefore there will always be wrongs in the world. However, our commitments to God, partaking of communion and the Sacraments where we are united with God, not just performing routines, tell God each day that saving us is worth it. Our sacrifices are sweet.

I was struck on the poem about the wife of Lot who looked back to the city that they left…

I am thankful to God who never gives up on me. I am a poor sinner but I mean the whole world to him. I feel so much loved and important.

With all the seemingly bad things tHt happened this year, I wondered how I could be hopeful this Advent. Yet deep inside me, I knew there was still a spark left, waiting to be revealed. This time.of reflection has allowed me to think about the bigger picture. 2020 is only but a year out of the many others that have passed where God blessed us so abundantly. And despite the pandemic, continues to bless us with the gift of our lives, our work and above all our family. The Lord is not done showing us in 2020 that He is still with us and will remain to be until the end of time. Just the thought of that makes me HOPE for bigger and brighter days ahead. Thanks pinsoflight for the gift of this recollection.

As always Lord our meetings in prayer always leave me happy and contemplative. Thank you for my epiphanies, discoveries, and learnings today. As I always say at the end of my prayer to you, basta’t andyan ka, basta’t mahal mo ko, lahat makakaya ko.

Nothing is Impossible with God. This retreat has helped me spark that willingness in me to reach out and talk to Him again. With everything that is happening, I fail to take prayer life seriously but after today, I am running back to Him with a burning passion.

Lord, salamat sa lahat ng biyaya na galing sa inyong labis na pagmamahal sa amin. Ako ay lumalapit sa inyo para gamitin ako bilang isang instrumento. Maging daan na maramdaman ng mga tao ay tunay na pagmamahal na mula lamang sa inyong kabutihan.

I did not expect that this self-paced advent recollection will have a deep impact on me. My heart is renewed to long/desire more from God and his presence in my life.

I believe that the essence of Christmas amidst the pandemic is that of going back to the basics, away from the commercialism of past Christmases. We have to be grateful for all the blessings we have been receiving though undeserving and be hopeful that this pandemic shall pass. Gratitude and appreciation for the gift of family and friends as well as compassion to our less fortunate brothers and sisters by sharing what we have.

I will forever be grateful fro all the blessings God has given me. At this time, I feel that God has always been with me. I must always appreciate His presence in my life.

My feelings before the start of the recollection has changed after all the prayers, gospel readings, reflections and songs and most of all the blank check. The whole activity led me to a deeper connection with God. Writing the check made me reflect deeper what would I give or surrender to God. The GIFT that GOD has given me… Is the GIFT the amount I wrote on the check.
Receive the gift God has given us… Return the gift freely and joyfully with a grateful heart.

I felt chosen, gifted, and very much loved.

Parang isang basahan – marumi, basa, punit-punit pero marami pa rin pakinabang. May saysay pa rin sa mundong ibabaw. Higit sa lahat buhay na buhay sa kanyang pag-aaruga’t pagmamahal.

I feel God’s assuring presence and love … again. It has been a long I have gone through a “prayerful recollection”. The pandemic context has forced to dwell deeper into the issues I have been confronting: doubt, powerlessness, insecurity. With this 1st day of Advent recollection I somehow felt the trust, power, and the security in God’s loving presence (compassion). Nothing is impossible, He won’t give me up!

Thank you for this much needed Recollection ~ it has replaced all the “negatives “ in this Pandemic … being Quiet with yourself & feeling that Jesus stayed with you has renewed & strengthened the FAITH & THE HOPE that Christmas will be as meaningful & Joyful despite the Restrictions of this Pandemic – HE is coming in our hearts, in our table no matter how far we are from Family, friends, loved ones – Jesus will bridge any gap‼️HE TRULY ISVTHE REASON FOR THE SEASON ~ AND for ALL SEASON ❤️

This first day left me aching and dumbfounded in a good way. When I entered this recollection, I actually do not know what I am in for. I was struck by Mary’s yes and trust, and the unnamed wife of Lot who looked back. God looking down, and offering His son to us.

Writing in the check is a big one- and I hope that by the grace of God- I can do my part.

This year has been remarkably life changing and I am grateful for what I have. I realized that there are so many things we have to be grateful for-we seem to think that we lack so many things but truly we have more than enough. God is enough.
Everyday should always be a day of gratitude. There is always, always something to be thankful for.

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