SHARING FOR GOOD FRIDAY

Once again we invite you
to consider sharing the graces
that you received in today’s retreat.

Share an insight, a question,
a prayer, or any observation
that might help your fellow online retreatants
encounter the Lord.


Indeed the sharing of our retreatants
has constantly offered
an equally crucial opportunity
for others to learn and pray.

When you share about your retreat experiences
and the graces that you’ve received,
you are also helping yourself
because in the process of sharing,
you end up clarifying these experiences
and savoring these graces even more deeply.

Sharings are anonymous,
so be as open and honest as possible.

Take time to read the sharings
of your fellow retreatants.
Many tears have been shed and shared
in these posts.

Play this instrumental music
as you reflect and prepare to share.

“To a wild rose” from Unexpected Songs by Julian Lloyd Webber/John Lenehan. Released: 2006. Track 19 of 20. Genre: Classical.

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254 replies on “SHARING FOR GOOD FRIDAY”

Salamat, Poong Hesus at sa mga bumubuo ng Pins of Light, dahil pinaalala ninyo rito na hindi dapat umikot ang aking buhay at pananaw sa aking sarili. Salamat sa paalalang may Panginoong gustong maging saklolo at kanlungan sa atin lalo na sa panahong ito na napakagulo, basta lamang handa tayong makinig at tumawag sa Kanya.

* Late post, pasensya na po kasi ampangit ng internet namin.

I am so moved by this retreat. I’m so grateful for you who have prepared this. I really feel how the Holy Spirit has worked through you to bring us closer to God this Lent. Thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart, Pins of Light team, for helping us let Lent go through us. I look forward to the next retreat modules.

Dear Jesus,

How could I not realize that you were so afraid before you suffered? Spending time with you, doing what little I can by pulling some thorns from your beloved head, I realize how much I have struggled to forgive those that have hurt me. I pray that I can be stronger, not to serve myself…to take care of myself so that I can courageously live Your love even when I am anxious and uncertain, even when I question the meaning of my life, and what little I can do for those I love, those around me. Your great Love has changed me, and although I am not worthy, I receive it reluctantly and slowly, I know You are with me always, my Lord.

Amen.

This online recollection has been painfully refreshing for the soul. And I’m feeling guilty that it took the quarantine to let me spend lots of hours to reflect when I should be doing it more often. My tears reflect my guilt, at the same time my renewal. May I be reminded to always, always think of You first more than anything else. I empty out myself and lift everything to you, Lord. Use me to be an instrument of your love and of your forgiveness to all those around me. Please guide me so I may choose the path you’ve laid out for me, let me see it more clearly and let me hear it more intensely. I am Yours, Lord.

This has been one of the powerful modules for me in the years I’ve been following Pins of Light. Although it was only a minor part to introduce us to the experience of removing Jesus’s thorns, what struck me the most was my special encounter with Christ as he sat waiting for his crucifixion. I’ve always just seen myself as part of the crowd, watching from a distance, fearful and anxious…but this time, I can’t believe I somehow managed to sneak past those Roman guards – what an enormous blessing to have been given the chance to spend time with the Lord in his final hours! I felt his hands grasping mine tightly as I sat there keeping him company – me wiping blood off his face, He wiping tears off mine, both of us praying together fervently. This experience was so intense and beautiful and it will forever stay with me.

Thank you Jesus for your unconditional love.
Thank you for reminding me that you die everytime I die to anger, hurt and sadness. you died for me so I could live and be happy. I love you and I only wish that I could always be a manifestation of your love to others.

Thank you pins of light for making me a feel God’s love through this platform. God bless your hearts.

Today, before I went through today’s retreat module, I prayed to the Lord to open my heart and be reminded of the reason why I am a Christian and why I continue to live as one. The Lord answered my questions through this retreat module. Thank you, Jesus, for the sacrifices youade for us and for our salvation.

Todays retreat and subject has made me realize how much suffering Jesus had to go through to save us from sin. By realizing this, I hope to help more people and think less of myself. I hope to be a servant of God and do His will in everything I do. I also hope to forgive those who have hurt me in the past and the future. I hope to live the life of Jesus.

This is a Holy Week that’s full of meaning.
It is now that I come to realize how important Holy Week is. It is indeed a season that’s HOLY and most impactful.

Lord, thank You for your love. Please help me do things that are pleasing to you and that are pure.

As I recollect during this season about the love of my parents to me and my siblings, it is painful for me to realize that I’m not able to reciprocate the love for them.
As a daughter, seeing Jesus suffer made me realize the times that my parents are not in good condition, not in good health or not in good condition whatever is the reason, they suffer without us knowing, without them telling us completely so we do not experience the pain. I feel this pain.
As a mother, seeing Jesus suffer makes me think of the pain that Mary had to go through. I do not want my son to go through any pain, but I know he will not be spared, and when that happens, may he turn to you, Lord.
As a Christian, seeing Jesus suffer, I feel so unworthy. Undeserving of His sacrifice, please help me Lord take the path led by You, path that will lead me to your Kingdom.

Thank you for this recollection.
God bless.

I’ve been doing this retreat for years already & it has always been insightful. The removing of thorns ritual made an impact to me, and would want to always remember to be more careful of my thoughts & actions so as not to cause any more pain to our Lord. I pray for the grace so every second of my life be an offering to the Lord.

As a mom who will be giving birth soon, I was moved by the last activity. Seeing Mama Mary, feeling her heart, somehow I also felt how crushed it was seeing your son – in pain and in the point of death. I do not know if mama Mary knows an dcomprehends what is happening but still thereality of death and pain and sadness is hard in every mom. I also imagined myself, if it will happen to me, I cannot fully grasp and cannot imagine and would not like to proceed in imagining as the pain is overwhelming.
As a daughter, I also felt how hard it is seeing your loved one, your parents. It must have been also hard for Jesus that as you bear the pain of the thorns, the cross and humiliation, you cannot console Your mother’s heart. Feeling and imagining Jesus pain, I felt I needed my mother’s embrace but also would wish that she will not see what is happening – for I do not want her to be pained as well.

In this time of pandemic, I have felt also pain that I cannot receive Jesus sacramentally, I miised seeing Him in the Blessed Sacrament, I missed listening the Word and participating in the Liturgy in the church. Collecting my thoughts and prayers for Good Friday, I also realized that God must have also missed us, He is too pained of how His faithful, His creation, His servants are going through right now. He feels our pain, our fears, our thoughts, our sighs and our worries.

Hope.
God has prepared a new heavens and earth for us. This too shall pass. We will all be redeemed through the blood of Jesus. We will experience the newness of spirit as we yield in this time of renewal.

It has always been my pleasure to join this online Lenten retreat and it gets better and bigger every year.

Thank you, Pins of Light!

My Jesus! How distant have i been from You. As the distance grows, more thorns i put on your crown. Lead me closer to you each day that i may follow your teachings and remove the thorns of transgressions and omissions. This retreat has allowed me to warm my heart for you. The season of lent has come and gone over the years in my life. But it has never struck me deep down on its relevance in my life and of this world until now. Your passion washes our sins and your death saves us that we may be worthy of your Father. Your Resurrection gifted us a living Saviour who by his example here on earth we may live according to your teachings through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I love you Jesus. Keep me close to uou day by day.

The thorns activity hit me at 2 points… when you are made to think of particular thorns… the thinking itself is painful coz you start regretting and reliving the moments when i was a thorn… then while removing the thorns you realize there are thorns not meant for YOU to remove… maybe for others? Maybe this is also the concept of social sin?

I was imagining myself being there close to where Jesus was. He was waiting. The soldiers and the pharisees were at a distance. He has already been scourged and crowned with thorns. What can I do or say to comfort him? I gave him a cool glass of water. I tried to wash his bloodied hands and wipe the blood trickling down on His face. There were no words to comfort Him. I wanted to tell him that we will be okay, and that we will take care of Mama Mary. Yet , no words came forth. He just looked at me with a sad smile. I wanted to comfort Him but He comforted me instead. It was as if He was telling me that He is okay and He can go through all the cruelty that will come. His loving gaze on me was only for a second and he was whisked away.

On the ritual of removing the thorns — most of my thoughts (more like, commitments and resolutions) are represented by action. What I commit to do to remove a thorn in my life and consequently remove a thorn from Jesus’s crown. I feel that by doing some positive action (to counter our personal thorns) can equate to the removal of a thorn from Jesus’s suffering. To make His suffering worthwhile, I want to show to Him that I take steps in making myself a better person, the best version the Lord wants me to be.

All I can say is I so sorry for the hurt and pain. I can’t stop crying. I know I have deeply hurt you and your cross should always be a constant reminder to me when I do wrong. I am so sorry Jesus.

I feel thankful for this online retreat. This helps in creating a meaningful Holy Week despite the lockdown and not being able to go out to visit the churches.

It’s my first time to join this online retreat through a friend, and I must say that it’s all worth the time. Thank you for coming up with this platform as it helped me more in solidifying my relationship with the Holy Trinity. Most importantly, this online retreat gave me a different perspective and deep understanding of Jesus’ life. Kudos to the people working behind this program. Thank you for being a blessing to a lot of people. This is how Holy Week should be spent for us to always remember God’s love for humanity and Jesus’ passion and resurrection to save us, sinners.

Panginoon, madalas nakakalimutan ko kung gaano kasakit at kalaki ang ginawa mong pagliligtas sa amin, sa akin. Salamat sa pagkakataong ito na makapagdasal at makapagnilay — nakita ko muli ang pagmamahal mo sa akin. Nawa’y mapanghawakan at maranasan ko parati iyon, lalo na sa mga panahon na ako’y nag-iisa, nagdududa at natatakot.

Maybe the reason why im not dead until now is because i still have one person in mind whom i cannot forgive until she has done her job in the foundation to support what it is supposed to do. It is difficult for me to fathom the reason why for 4 years as a foundation they havent sponsored a single centavo to its primary purpose to the point that they are spending even the 1Million subscription money for their allowances. Lord please help them. That they may support us in our work for the families. Lord please help me to forgive her and others. Amen.

Maybe what you are feeling is righteous indignation for the injustice that’s being done! Has anyone confronted her and the group? As long as you don’t have ill will for them in your heart, then perhaps you don’t harbor unforgiveness in yourself…of course, it doesn’t hurt to turn to the Lord to be cleansed of all negativity.

Once again I am reminded of Your love, humility, and sacrifice. You showed us how to live and die to be closer to God. Give us wisdom, strength, and guidance that we may live and die like You. Let us be instruments of Your love and grace on earth and Your living testimonies. May Faith guide us through this pandemic. And may we always live to remember Your ultimate sacrifice and unparalleled love. All I want is to be pleasing in Your eyes Lord. I want to make you proud and not cause You any pain and disappointment. I will fail, I will remain imperfect, but I know in my heart I love you Lord. You have my life.

Why can’t I serve my family wholeheartedly? Why do I retaliate against their insensitivity? Why can’t I be more humble And patient. Help me God.

Sometimes it is hard to love those closest to us; often, it’s easier to be nice to strangers! Be encouraged, and God bless you!

Thank you Lord for the gift of mercy and forgiveness. And thank you for this meaningful retreat which reminds me how great and loving you are. I’m sorry for all my wrongdoings and shortcomings. May this experience not end with the end of lent so that I may be constantly reminded of all the thorns that I need to keep away and also to remember that you will never tire of me no matter how unworthy I am. Thank you Lord for everything.

With life comes death, I know this—we all do. Though sadness lingers in each and every one of us, it does not make us whole. God does. Turn to Him and look at how He has suffered for us!

I love God, my partner, family, and life. However, no such pain that I will face will ever compare to His. This retreat proved to me this very thing. Thank you.

While I am too saddened by Your sufferings for me, my thorns, I was also too thankful because of that, we enjoy the life and blessings You give us. Make me remember that each thorn hurts You, so I have to free myself from worries, pains, sins, and toxic people and events. Let me not put thy sufferings in vain. Lead me to the fulfillment of Your plans. Thy will is my will.

I am called. I am chosen. I am Annointed. I am Beloved Child of God the Father, Lord Jesus Christ live and died for me for me to live life to the full that my joy will be complete and bear much fruit. Life is empty, meaningless and full of fear without knowing the love of God through His Beloved Jesus Christ, my Savior, my loving guide, my way, my truth and my life. Lord Jesus Christ life from womb to cross to tomb to Ressurrection brings courage and peace in this journey of life -the mission of love. LORD JESUS CHRIST, thank you for the love.

Amen. We are children of God. What else to prove His love, when He has done it. Thank You Lord. We love You.

Thank you, Lord for this graced time. Thank you for opening my eyes to my weaknesses, my vulnerabilities, and the dysfunction in myself. All these that contributed to the pain and agony of your suffering and death on the cross. Help me Lord to find in myself my “better angels” that I may become the person that you intend for me to be.

We adore you O Christ and we bless you, because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world!

I am blessed. We are all blessed. I am so thankful to be alive right now and to experience God’s love and compassion amdist everything that is going on. There is so much confusion and uncertainty, but I find the comfort I need in the Lord .

I am the reason that Jesus died in the cross. I am the reason for the thorns on his head. I continue to try my best to make his sacrifice worth it and I try to not add more thorns. There are are some that I can never remove or I may have left scars in the past and for those I am heartily sorry/

I have thorns on my head too–caused by others. Sometimes the pain, I cannot bear anymore and Jesus helps me get through them. I pray that I have the courage to go through life with these thorns too & act out of love despite all the pain I am feeling.

Thank you Lord for the fulfillment moment that I spent with you. It’s a great enlightenment deep in my heart and my soul. I wish people could experienced what I did this lent time. Thank you and I love you!

There is something so purgative and cleansing about this Lenten season during a global health crisis.

I found the removing of thorns ritual difficult to do because with it lay the promise to not add (or put back what you have removed) to Christ’s crown of thorns, and it is very difficult to commit to that when one is suffering! But with God’s grace, the ritual brings a sense of clarity to many things that weigh us down and prevent us from becoming more like Jesus.

Mahirap magpakabait at mas mahirap magpakatao kapag dumaranas ng mga bagyo sa buhay, pero dahil kay Hesus, gumagaan ang ating mga dalahin… naaabot natin ang hangaring maging mabuting tao na gaya Niya.

I regret the thorns I’ve added unto your crown, Lord. May I be loved by your love and spirit to remove thorns I’ve placed on your crown and with forgiveness, remove those that others have put on my own head. I thank you for never tiring to love us even when we are sinful, even when we forget, even when we are lost.

Thank you LORD…you washed my feet…you shed you last blood and water for me…you opened my eyes… I am so very sorry for never being worth of you…but now…please help me walk your way…Be with me always! I love you…

moving the crown of thorns to pull out a thorn will hurt his head. I need to be gentle but decisive. The start will hurt before it can give any relief.

I have no idea of the pain Jesus suffered! The noise! The exhaustion!

I haven’t even begun to understand.

Lord, forgive me. Lead me on. Through Christ, your son. Amen.

I haven’t cried in a long while. And by now, I thought after having watched Passion of the Christ several times in the past, I wouldn’t cry anymore, especially those scenes where Mother Mary watched her son in agony and eventually until he died. Boy was I wrong. That scene where her profound grief is so palpable in her eyes undid me. I can think of all the people in the past few months who are or have been in a similar situation feeling helpless during this pandemic – having watched their loved ones from a distance suffer as the virus took over. The virus, although naturally-occurring, is as senseless as Pilate’s non-verdict (man-made) because of the sorrow and deaths it has caused. I pray for the eternal response of all the people who perished in this pandemic and the grace of health and time to heal for the loved ones they left behind.

I have realised through today’s retreat that I should take a more active role in inculcating my faith through action. Being a Christian entails responsibility to look out for others, especially for the last, least, and lost in the society. I have to stand for and with them, no matter how difficult or unpopular that stance is. I need to reach out to them and show through my actions that I am His instrument.

Lord, I’m sorry if I don’t seem to live up to the kind of life You want me to have. But You know I’m trying everyday — by weeding out these thorns that hinder me from growing. We have already plucked some of them out together, and I still look forward to having that partnership with You as I continue to gain more wisdom by knowing You.

Maraming salamat, Panginoon, sa lahat ng biyaya at pagpapala.

This online retreat rekindled the relationship I have with God. I have been serving Him through my church and community but I always fall short of my service because of my sins. This reminded me of the very purpose of my love to serve. I shed many tears and admitted my worries and fears that I have always tried to keep to myself because I don’t want others to see me as weak and negative. But tonight, I embrace You oh Lord, my savior! Thank you for your unconditional love for all of us.

Bless the people who arranged and prepared this retreat and all of your children who are coming back to You. Grant us Your peace. I LOVE YOU, LORD!

With God’s grace led me to start and finish this online retreat. It has answered my prayers to deepen my faith and develop a personal relationship with God. I have also been lacking in empathy being unable to feel and relate to the sufferings of others. The retreat exercises have shown me how Jesus suffered for even the least and undeserving which I should follow. I should also pray on how I will change my practice of distancing myself from those whom I perceive as “unpleasant” and difficult to get along with. I also promise to go to confession once the ECQ is lifted. Thank you for to Fr Johhny and the team that organized this online retreat.

One really great insight I have from today’s retreat is the importance of examen, St Ignatius spiritual exercise. I should go back to doing examens more faithfully as this is an exercise in which I will be able to review my day prayerfully and see moments of shortcomings and gratitude, and God’s own message for me.

Grant me Lord the courage not to add the thorns anymore in your head. As I embrace my fragility and weakness, grant me Lord your love and mercy. Amen

My Lord and my God, you are my hope and my strength. Thanks once again for reminding me of your great love for me. You emptied your heart for me. In return please give me the grace to really trust and hope in you no matter what. May I go on loving and serving you in others especially those who are in need. Please bless all the persons who prepared this online retreat for us. Please bless all my co retreatants and their families. Bless the whole world. Amen.

I couldn’t even bear to see the Lord suffer. It was too much, way too much. He should have just run away, avoid this suffering, be free and still do good. But, He didn’t. For us, He didn’t. For God so loved the world… I will never be worthy of what Jesus did for me, for us. My hope though is that I can pluck those thorns, one at a time, by doing good, for Him, for our Father… There is no greater pain than this. There is no greater love than what the Lord has for us.

When I saw this post I had some hesitations if i should read it or not because at first i was concerned that it will take up so much time. But after going through The retreat for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, I dont have any regrets. In fact I thank the Lord for making me go through this wonderful prayer journey. The entire retreat made me shed so much tears. I am now even more grateful to Jesus for dying for my sins and would like to walk through my life being a good person and to avoid sins so that I may not add more thorns to His crown.

Thank you Lord for this prayer journey and thank you to everyone who made this possible during this times of crisis. God bless.

Looking at how Jesus suffered for us gave so much ache in my heart. He loves us so much. He sacrificed Himself for us. Thank you, Lord, for saving me, a sinner. Thank you for opening your mercy for us, for cleansing us of our sins. I love you, Lord. Make me an instrument of your love to others.

I guess if there is one insight to be had is that we ourselves have choose to pull our thrones out of Christ, but as many as we try to pull out, there will be an endless amount of thorns to pullout, there will always be some that will remain.

And that’s why at the end of the day, we hope that He takes all the thorns that we have left and he transforms that pain into something more. Because after all, what are we but human? But he has taught us the only real thing we can offer as humans, that does not fade nor wither is this love he has given for all of us. A love that lasts beyond our death, a love that he will carry to the people we cannot reach nor the people who do not wish to be sought out.

A love that asks us to be vulnerable and to entrust in him what we no longer cannot do, to go to places we cannot reach, but honestly and just sincerely offer our love to Him.

Very good and humbling encounter ans experience for this good friday. We need to engage more on tnis even on a virtual mode. We communicate with God and ourselves. Thank you Fr.Manoling and the teAm.

I rarely cried in the seventeen years that I tried to keep the family afloat after my father died. But I shed some tears yesterday. I think, for the first time, I grieved a little for the life I led and I became honest with myself regarding how I feel. I always joke about being an Ice Maiden, but it’s true. I’ve got a hard heart because I became a little (a lot?) hardened by life. But I cried because everything just seems so uncertain. I thought I would be able to begin again, start a business… Now, I have no idea what to do now. I don’t know what my next step is. I long for so much, so it hurts that I’m back in limbo.

My realization so far is, I still have to heal from my past and this is the challenge I need to face while the quarantine is ongoing. I need to heal my trust issues first so I won’t have problems with people later on. Emotionally, I couldn’t feel anything even as I tried to pull the thorns from Jesus’ head. I think my heart needs fixing by learning how to be open and vulnerable again.

I had begun looking at the stars at night, just thinking about certain people and certain dreams. I am inwardly devastated this dream seems so far now. I could see my rainbow’s end with my potential business partner, nowadays, I’m not sure. Maybe this is the time to heal my heart so I would be better prepared if I get a chance to pursue my dreams again. I don’t know how. I feel emotionally numb and physically and mentally tired. It’s not easy to face Covid-19 when you had been expecting a bright future. I just need to trust in divine timing.

The pandemic has me scared and depressed. I sometimes even cry when I hear of the stories of some nurses and doctors that die even when I dont know them. I just feel for their families. But then in the reflection yesterday and today, I realize that I need to trust and have faith in Jesus. He has given up His life for us…. A most painful death. I pray that He enters my heart and remind me of His love and sacrifice. I pray that I wont be scared and depressed anymore so I may function better and uplift people.

In these trying times, we need to have that solid faith and trust in the Lord. Often, we find ourselves in the middles of the noise and confusion around us and the most convenient response is to join. While it’s proper to demand for accountability from our leaders, we may also not forget that our Lord is still here. And this is what I appreciate going through this retreat. It serves as a reminder to be braver during these times. Jesus’ self-sacrificing love for us should be the reason for us to put our trust in the Lord, as we share ourselves to others bringing them hope and encouragement in the fight against this pandemic.

Lord, thank you for letting me discover this retreat. It had to take a pandemic for me to discover these spiritual resources online. How timely, given the current situation. Although there is more time in my hands, i still feel distracted and anxious about the the present. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to quiet down, reflect, and talk to you a little more. Thank you for being my comfort and my peace. Teach me to trust you more and more each day. I love you.

Thank you Fr. Johnny for this beautiful way of reflecting on the Passion and Death of Jesus using songs, clips and applications, to make the experience very personal, thought-provoking and meaningful.

Oddly enough, your thoughts on Pilate reminded me of somebody whom we are all familiar with… our country’s current leader. It is painful and both interesting to see the resemblance between the situation then and now. Moving away from that, the symbolisms on the different washing activities, brought more depth to the story of Jesus in understanding Him in His final hours. The part where we think abt Jesus’ thorns was a very painful experience but definitely a meaningful one. Thank you to you and whoever else has helped you put all these together. It felt like you were just right by our side as we went through the different parts of the retreat.

I have attended online retreat before and its message always pierced thru my heart…this lenten retreat now gives me a new meaning, a different outlook in life…may the Lord continue to make me an instrument to spread His word and love…Amen.

Today’s Good Friday retreat was very meaningful for me, including reflecting on how different washings occurred both on the first Holy Week and on the context of Good Friday during these times. I may not have control over the actions of Pontius Pilate, the crowd back then and now, the actions of world leaders in this pandemic, etc., but I realized that in simple everyday actions we make, yes, we can help even remove just one thorn from Jesus’ head.

My Lenten season experience during the past years have become routine. I looked forward for Holy Week because it was a time “to rest,” not really to contemplate. With this pandemic, God has reached out to me through this online retreat. I am very grateful to have experienced again the great love of Jesus Christ for me by dying on the cross. I realise my sins have contributed to to His suffering. My mind is blown away by His great sacrifice. Jesus didn’t need to suffer and die but he went through all that to show me how much He loves me. I have sinned and this created the distance between me and God, but Jesus’ humility and complete obedience to the Father’s will has bridged this distance. Jesus has saved me with the price of His precious blood! I am not worthy Lord, but you still reach out to me and redeemed me in the most darkest moments in my life. I love you, Jesus! Thank you for dying for me and loving me❤️ Let your will be done in my life! Amen.

How can I ever doubt Your love for us, Lord? Especially during this time? When You sacrificed Your Son and Yourself to save us? True, I felt worthless for I am a sinner… But still I felt Your love. Thank you Lord for easing my troubled heart. Truly, in You alone is our strength and hope. You will not forsake us for whom You have sacrificed You only Son.

This Good Friday retreat has given me the chance to open myself to listening more intently to our Lord again. As I look at Him on the cross, I am reminded of the many things I have forgotten amidst the noise of the world, and I am told of the many new things I’ve yet to fully have a complete grasp on. My heart is truly heavy seeing our Christ, heart emptied. But with my newfound-renewed trust in Him, I do see and feel hope for the Light that is to come.

My Lord, My God. It is through your cross and through your love that I live. Allow me to be a vessel of your love and peace, especially during this difficult time.

Lord, I ask for the grace to not just keep in mind, but also in heart, that you truly love me, even when I don’t always see myself as lovable, even when I am not a loving person. Help me to see myself the way you see me.

Please continue to pray for us undergoing formation especially in this trying times. Help us to pray to God that He may use us to be His instrument of healing and peace.

Responded to God’s call later in life.

Religious Brother

I needed this, especially at this crazy time in our collective experience.

Thank you ❤

This brings to mind one of my fave prayer songs, “Pagkabighani,” based on a prayer by St. Francis Xavier:

“Hindi sa langit Mong pangako sa kain
Ako naakit na Kita’y mahalin
At hindi sa apoy kahit anong lagim
Ako mapipilit nginig Kang sambahin

Naaakit akong ika’y mamalas
Nakapako sa krus hinahamak-hamak
At ng tinanggap Mong kamataya’t libak
Naakit ako sa ‘Yong pagibig

Kaya’t mahal Kita kahit walang langit
Kahit walang apoy, sa ‘Yo’y manginginig
Huwag nang mag-abala upang ibigin Ka
Pagkat kung pag-asa’y bula lamang pala
Walang mababago mahal pa rin Kita.”

My take home is God’s immense love that washed our iniquities by His Son’s own precious blood, that we can emulate in our way through acts of service and social justice, by loving our neighbor as ourself.

Yesterday I found what I lost. Tears of relief. And I am assured by our Lord, he is always there. Be not afraid. Change to serve.
Tonight, dying. I am empty. Desolate. But still relieved and unburdened.
He gave so much. He suffered so much.
How can I have taken him for granted for so long?

Lord Jesus, you have washed my sins with your blood and loved me unconditionally. Bless me to be faithful, humble, generous, forgiving and loving so that I may not put your death on the cross in vain. Amen.

Lord, I am writing this letter directly to You. Thank you for making this retreat an instrument for us to reflect on our sins. Thank you for making this retreat an avenue for us to share our deepest pains. Thank you for making this retreat a chance for us to make good use of our time. Thank you for blessing us with people who are always so kind to us and to others–people who give without expecting anything in return. Thank you for letting me realize that it is beyond my abilities to try and change others. I can only pray for them. I will lead them to you Lord. Heal them as you have healed me. Amen.

Thank you, Lord for leading me here. This is my first time to attend this retreat and I’m grateful that I did. It brought me pain & heartaches but it also reminds me how great is your love for me. I cried so hard in this retreat (and the Holy Thursday retreat), the removing of the thorns was heartbreaking.
Lord, continue to guide me and please allow me to stay with you. Thank you, Lord.

Today’s retreat was very moving. The meaning of the different washings, how we are related to the characters in the washing stories, from the taking away of the thorns, from contemplating to NEVER MY LOVE (never did I imagine that this song which I knew since college days will have such an impact for me), even to listening to IN HIM ALONE (we are very used to hearing this at church), all are subtle ways wherein the Lord spoke to me powerfully this day. It’s a good feeling, and I know this is lasting since the message went into the deep recesses of my heart. Thank you Lord Jesus! Thank you for washing me spot clean. May I always be mindful to maintain this spotless clean you made to me, which I can only do through Your grace, and to also be mindful to maintain others spotless as well. Amen.

Such profound insights revealed in this retreat especially on the stark contrast of Jesus’ actions and intentions and those of others including us.
I like the interactive parts that add impact to the retreat experience. The crown exercise was powerful i kept on clicking hard to remove as many thorns feeling guilty and sorry that I contributed to His pain. I also appreciate the personal choice of songs that makes it more heartfelt.
I find value as well in other people sharing their thoughts and prayers. It helps me identify myself with them.

Yeah. This online platform enabled me to rekindle the love of God for the humanity. Thank you for the organizers of this beautiful program.

It’s really refreshing to learn more about the mystery of His death. I’ve learned the significance of the handwashing of Pilate and footwashing of Jesus Christ to my life. Sometimes, I became Pilate when I neglect others needing my help. Sometimes, I became like Jesus, by giving, by being humble,

Lord, I found myself in tears after going through this simple yet moving experience of rediscovering your love. It makes me rethink the many choices I have made in my life, both the simple ones and the big ones. Each of them has had an impact to me and the way I continue to love you.

I’m so thankful for the grace of the unconditional love you have given me tonight. I really felt that. I love you Jesus. Salamat.

Indeed, this online retreat that I have been attending for the past years is like a friendship that has been rekindled. It always give me hope and strength. My relationship with the Lord has deepened every year.

The prayer exercises really helped me experience the meaning of Lent—-imagining how I would feel if Jesus came to wash my feet, how I would remove a thorn from the crown of thorns…
It is my first time to do this online retreat and it is intense.

My question is: how come I feel when I “wash the feet” of an “enemy” people look down on me that I am a pushover? Why does it feel like a bad thing to do good to someone whom I feel has done me wrong, not because I feel bad per se but because I feel like doing so would give me a bad reputation for others? That I can’t defend myself, that I am being “too good” to people who do not deserve it?

It’s just the second day of this retreat, yet it has touched my heart more profoundly than I could ever imagine. Today, one of the things that struck me was Jesus still washing the feet of Judas even when He fully knew that Judas will betray Him. It must take a lot of humility to do that to your enemy, I cannot even imagine myself doing it :c But alas He said, “As I have done, so you must also do.” Following Christ was never easy. Often times I can feel my heart being stretched because following Christ is so hard. But if this is the way to everlasting freedom and happiness, so be it, Lord.

The Crown of Thorns exercise was also very moving. When instructed to just imagine that I am with Christ and I had to remove His thorns, I couldn’t help but be sad. I am so sad that Jesus had to go through all the pain, and I am sad that I am also the one causing Him pain 🙁 I sincerely repent, Lord. I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I desperately wish I was there with You when all of it happened.

All the more I understand now why You are the Giver of life. You literally emptied Yourself for each and every one of us. It’s all because of Your divine Love for us that You let Yourself be crucified. Lord Jesus Christ, when things get rough and I forget all that You’ve done for me, I beg You to enter my heart and remind me of Your great Passion. Let me stay in love with You through all eternity. I love You so much po, Lord. Thank You for leading me to this retreat. Bless us all here and continue to be with us. Amen.

Thank you for your overflowing grace and unconditional love, Oh Jesus. Remind us always — in You alone.

O my Jesus,

I am unworthy.
But that’s not how you see me.
All my sins are washed,
Through your most precious blood.
Your love overflows.
You had left nothing for yourself.
Because of your unconditional love for me.

From now on, I am reminded of this:
“Nothing you do will ever diminish my love for you.”
(This breaks my heart, but it makes it whole too.)

This was the song I picked and I hear You loud and clear. I am filled with so much grace, listening to your voice. And it goes~~

NEVER MY LOVE
You ask me if there’ll come a time
When I grow tired of you
Never my love
Never my love
You wonder if this heart of mine
Will lose its desire for you
Never my love
Never my love
What makes you think love will end
When you know that my whole life depends
On you (on you)
Never my love
Never my love
You say you fear I’ll change my mind
And I won’t require you
Never my love
Never my love
How can you think love will end
When I’ve asked you to spend your whole life
With me (with me, with me)

I will hold your hand tightly, as tight and as sweet as your loving embrace. With tears, no fears, my life is for you.
~Your will, not mine.
~IN HIM ALONE, I am home.
~My heart and soul are forever yours, Jesus, my merciful Father, I thank you and I love you.

That Jesus washed the feet of Judas was such an eye opener and changed how I visualize the event and a few of my other perspectives like how to deal with or think of enemies.

Thank you!

The tears I shed as I watched you being crucified Lord is the washing I needed. As your lifeless body was put down, Mother Mary was there just as she was there all your life and all of these she was contemplating in her heart.

For the past few years, I have struggled with the loss of faith and disbelief of one of my children, who has been hurting herself and going through so much trial. I have always blamed myself for what she is going through. Coming from this retreat, I realise that I am not alone, that Jesus has already gone through everything for me. He will not abandon me or my child. All I need to do is pray, and trust in His plan.
This is the 1st year I have tried this retreat. Thank you Fr Johnny and your team – may it reach more people and touch them as it has touched me. Praying that you all stay healthy and safe.

Thank you, Lord, for the grace of being able to go through this retreat with you… for the grace to feel deeply, to shed tears, and to just be with you during these trying times. I feel my faith gradually becoming stronger. I pray that I can continue to remain hopeful and trust wholeheartedly in you.

I am struck of Jesus washing the feet of Judas. I could not imagine myself doing the same, of doing something that intimate kind of service to my enemy. I am not a kind of person who create scenes or drama. I am a quiet person and normally intentionally create an invisible wall between me and my enemy. That is why Jesus washing the feet of Judas struck me. Tell me Jesus, are you inviting me to do the same? Whoooahhh, you have to help me do this. I could not do this on my own. I need your help, your grace, so that I would be able to reach out in humility and loving service to the Judases in my life. Amen.

Removing a thorn from Your crown proved to be a difficult task not because i cannot identify one cause but because i know and yet i feel i cannot remedy the situation. Theres a lot of doubt and reluctance to do so and when its done i still second guess myself if i can indeed do it. I pray that everyone here who do know the thorns they place on Jesus’ head do find it in them to keep the thorn away from His crown for good. His Love for us knows no bounds and is unconditional, how about we just try with our best efforts to do just that. Dear Jesus, i lift this into Your hands. Please help me.

It’s my first time to live abroad… I had a retreat last year before I could gather all my resolve to finally take the leap and proactively change my life. What a year to really make that change! The world is changing now, my life is going to change. I have to say, trust in God’s timing and guidance. Had I not listened to the voice in my heart saying “it’s not or never”, I would still be in Manila.

I do feel alone and disconnected. I am surrounded by atheists and non-Catholics. I don’t even feel I could say what I believe in. I am in my “cell”, similar to a retreat house. And I see my housemates distract with themselves with alcohol (among others), and I am just content with being alone. This voice in my heart, and this retreat, is my reassurance. I try not to be afraid, but it is hard when you know you are not safe. Let’s just all trust in the Lord, that we will all be saved, and that we are not really alone. My stubborn heard needs to be reminded, every once in a while. Now, I just need to be still and trust in Him. I will not be alone.

Dear Jesus, I am still wondering if I am worthy of your sacrifice. I have a very low self esteem, I am wondering why you have taken a chance of me. Yet this retreat reminds me that You love me specially, even if I am not worthy. Lord, help me to trust you more and to live each day knowing that you are with me.

Thank you, dear Jesus, for the grace and opportunity to feel Your presence more this Good Friday, when You “emptied Your Heart” for me, an unworthy sinner. Be with me always, my loving Lord.

For many years, the Pins of Light online recollection accompanied me on my Lenten journey towards a most meaningful and insightful reflection on how to be a better human being. I have been taught lessons in kindness, compassion, humility and faith through the passion of Jesus. I am grateful and blessed. Thank you Fr. Johnny and your team who continue to inspire us to reflect more and be men and women of prayer ??

The prayer exercise of removing the thorns from Jesus was moving for me. It gave me a moment of how great a sinner I am. I am sorry Lord for causing you pain and suffering. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Truly Lord, you are my strength and salvation. It is truly a Good Friday. What an eye opener that the quarantine distancing made me distance from the world but got to know you more. What an awakening as to how You have washed our sins to be closer to you our Lord. Amidst this pandemic and death, I believe You’re there. I have to take more part in removing my thorns. I am sorry for my sins. Thank you Lord.

This part of the retreat made me understand how selfless and loving Jesus is. Someone who stooped down to a servant’s level to wash his disciples’ feet, someone who chose and accepted to be in a position of torture and agony for our sins, every thorn piercing his head for every sin we’ve done, and for how much he embraced his passion knowing very well what it will achieve for us in the end. I fervently pray that this example helps me and others to deeply appreciate the kind of person he is and that he will always show this kind of love to all of us.

Dear Lord,
I don’t know what to feel right now. A lot of bad things are happening all around due to the COVID-19. It is hard to relate Your act of salvation to save us from our sins to what is going on at this time around the world. Maybe that is what my prayer should be. Speak to me Lord. What do you want me to realize through this online retreat and do afterwards?

Today, I realized how fitting it is that we remember Jesus’ Passion and Death in the midst of the pandemic. It is as if He is reassuring us that this, too, shall end and that Resurrection will be upon us soon.

Dear Lord, thank you for the peace You have given me the past two days of going through this online retreat. Thank you for hearing my weary heart and granting the solace that it yearns for, amid the nose and despair. Amen.

I am actually embarrassed because my concerns are really so petty compared to what our Lord had to go through and yet how I complain…
Grant me Lord a steadfast heart and teach me to be still assured in knowing that you are always near…I love you Lord. Thank you.

The anguish in Mary’s face is the most painful of all. How could I do the things I have done and keep doing knowing it causes so much pain not only to Jesus but also to his mother. He didn’t deserve it. If I get hurt most of the time it is because of my own fault. But Jesus didn’t do anything wrong. All he wanted to do was to share the love of God with me and teach me how I can enter his kingdom. I don’t deserve your love and mercy Lord.

When you’re not feeling the Lord’s love and presence, go back to his life and experience it with Him.

Today’s retreat about washing is again very relevant. In as much as we were advised to wash our hands to avoid the virus, it is also good to linger on the thought that God allowed His son Jesus Christ to die on the cross to wash our sins with His own blood. In our present time, we can share in the suffering of Jesus by removing some of the thorns in his crown. This can be demonstrated by being more understanding with the difficult people in our life, or extending help to those in need especially in this time of pandemic…or just simply love just as Jesus loves us…

Fr. Johnny, I have been on this online retreat since you started in 2008. Every year, you outdo yourself. I am awed and deeply grateful for the thought, effort, inspiration, depth and creativity that you put into this. The exercise on the crown of thorns was like the Confession I missed because of the lockdown. I felt I made a good one, albeit emotional. God’s love and mercy were so powerfully communicated!

Jesus died for us to save us from our sins. This is what makes the Catholic belief beautiful. Nowhere can we find a God who gave His son to the world and a Son who gave His life so the world will have the chance to be with them after death. In this day and age, it is more convenient to focus on my thoughts, feelings, priorities, dreams and desires. The video is one good reminder of how I have contributed to the pain and sufferings of Jesus on Good Friday by focusing only on my self. I’m glad I take this retreat every year to reflect on my selfish ways and learn to correct them so I help remove the thorns on the crown of Jesus. I pray that I carry the lessons from this retreat in my heart and help Jesus lighten His load. Lord, please bless all the staff who prepare this touching retreat every year that they will continue to touch many hearts.

I will let you write, Lord, through my hands, through my heart and the words you flow through me. I stayed there with you, as Fr. Johnny suggested, in the moments before you set out to carry your cross towards calvary. We have sat this way many times before, everyday after Mass. And somehow you wanted it to be the same way. You did not want me, at least not this time, to remember you in your dying. You preferred that I stay with you as you lived, as you continue to live in me and in this world. I felt our friendship and I felt you wanting to be reminded of that in these moments. And so that is what I gave to you, my Lord. Did you feel my words? Did you find my heart? I held you, Jesus, and I reminded you of the work we do every day, of your friendship, of your guidance, your forgiveness, your work that you will me to continue everyday. I reminded you of what you always remind me. Whose feet must I wash? Who do you want me to serve? With what gifts that you have given me? For what pains, Lord? The friendship and tenderness and guidance you always treated me to, I was able to give back to you a little bit. You died 2,000 years ago, my Jesus. Then you rose once and for all and you live today and everyday in the work of our hands. Teach us not to live in the past of your death, but to celebrate everyday in our lives and in the way we live that you are risen and that your work of love and redemption carries on everyday through me, through all of us. Thank you, my dearest friend.

With St. Ignatius, I pray…

Kunin mo, O Hesus, at tanggapin mo
Ang aking kalayaaan
Ang aking kaLOOBan
Ang isip at gunita ko
Lahat ng hawak ko
Lahat ng LOOB ko
Lahat ay aking alay sa iyo.
Mula sa iyo ang lahat ng ito
Muli kong handog sa iyo
Patnubayan mo’t pagharian lahat
Ayon sa kaLOOBan mo.
Magutos ka Panginoon ko
Dagling tatalima ako
IpagkaLOOB mo lamang ang pagibig mo
Ang lahat tataligdan ko.

I capitalized all the LOOBs, Lord, as you asked.
Nawa’s ang nasa LOOB mo ay maging nasa LOOB ko rin.

To Love, Lord, as you Loved.

amDg

Lord, Your call to love, if we seriously consider it, is a truly daunting call in this modern world of ours. Looking around me where almost everyone is satisfied with the superficial and not care much about the deeper meaning of things, it is so easy to grow indifferent and not stand up for the truths that are most difficult to swallow. I have let many things pass because I did not have the courage to confront and stand up for the truth. It has left me wondering now how poor a follower I am of You and still how many chances You will be giving me. Fittingly though, I see myself in Your disciples who are also found to have a weak faith in You quite a lot of times. And yet, You still chose and trusted them with Your Church. Lord, help me direct and fix my whole heart, mind, body, and soul NOT on my sins or on the sins of other people, but on Your incomprehensible and boundless love and mercy for all, for each one of us, and especially for me. You are our faithful God, our Salvation, our Anchor in this tumultuous world and passing life. Help us remain in Your Life, O Lord. Never forsake us. Amen.

“Through his blood we were washed away from our sins.” This particular realization struck me the most. Lord, you were human just like us and yet, so divine. How blessed and lucky are we to have you present in our lives. Your love is so great. I couldn’t help but feel so guilty adding up to the weight on your cross and to the thorns in your head. This retreat made me realize that I should be more aware of myself and the people around me most especially to the ones who are in need. Lord, I am sorry to have grown distant from you the past couple of months. But through this, I was able to find my way back to you. Please continue to make me feel your presence in my life. I surrender all my worries and burdens up to you Lord because without you I am nothing. I love you Jesus. Amen.

What struck me most was the “taking away of thorns” from Jesus’ head. I imagined myself taking away my constant thorns that contribute to Jesus’ pain – my disbelief, my anxiety, my lack of trust, my wanting to always be secure (and not living one day at a time), my unsupportive words to my spouse, my worries.

The video with the song IN HIM ALONE was very powerful for me that it inspired me to take it as a teaching tool for my 7-yr old son. I put him on my lap and let him watch the video with me, and told him this is how Jesus suffered for us to save us from our sins. We can help him each time we do good to others. But we add to his pain each time we do bad to ourselves and others.

I pray the Lord grant me abundant grace to let go of these thorns. Not to add to Jesus’ pain anymore, but more so to free me from slavery to such negative pattern. To once and for all live life to the fullest, being free in Jesus Christ.

You willingly accepted the pain of crucifixion and death because of your great love for us, dear Lord. Let me not add more to the lashes in your body and thorns to your crown.

Lord, do you love me that much, to set aside your divinity so as to endure great suffering so that I could be saved? And what have I given back to you in gratitude?

So many tears and feelings of guilt and great love and of being unworthy of receiving the most meaningful redemption. Praying now for those who’ve been affected by the thorns in my life, and asking or Dear Lord to make me strong enough to be able to keep those thorns away from my life for good. Praying for all the other petitions here, and that we are all kept well and safe.

This retreat gave me this insight to keep in my heart should I be called again to serve in the community I am in:

The more we know about Christ’s passion, the more we feel unworthy – but when the Lord calls us to serve Him, we are called to HUMILITY and offer ourselves to the Lord to become His instrument ❤

There will be pain. Healing comes with pain. I must brave the pain, just as Jesus did. With Jesus, the pain won’t be in vain, he bore them already. With Jesus, I will be healed. Thank you Jesus for choosing me though I am not worthy. Don’t let go of me.

I cried, knowing that you went through all this pain for me. Help me to be a better person for you.

As in the past, I have tears after the retreat ~ but more so this time because of the Covid crisis all over the world AND because my family & I are grieving for the loss of a loved one > one that cannot even be given a proper respect & support to the family bec of lockdowns… but as I think of Jesus carrying His Cross to His own Death & His mother witnessing this – what could be a more difficult way to grieve… This retreat is a treasured experience esp at this time. Fr Johnny ~ I do not personally know you, but with you giving this retreat -You have definitely plucked so many thorns from our suffering Christ … now its time for US(retreatants) to pay it forward !
More graces & Blessings be with you Father & to all those who made this retreat possible ~ in this Covid-times , YOU too are
our “frontliners” who serve & fed our spiritual hunger!
Thank you!❤️

When imagining Jesus washing my feet, I imagined Him saying “Trust Me, Trust that I will take care of you and everyone with you. You will not crumble just trust me”.

Feeling this trust coupled with His Love, I was overwhelmed when removing the thorns. I didn’t feel worthy taking them away. And as much as I wanted to remove all, I paused. I couldn’t. In humility, I can NEVER remove His thorns.

I am moved after today. I end with “In You alone is my Hope and Strength” especially during these crazy times.

Heavenly Father, thank you for always loving me Lord even if I often tend to look away. Thank you for your Love. I pray to strive to Love even an ounce like You.

Amen.

This sinner is forever grateful.

I thought I have had things figured on the previous slide, but as I watched the video, Mama Mary’s face spoke to me as well. I can never fathom the length of pain she must have felt watching her son be crucified.

Her gaze at the end of the video, personally touched me. It’s as if she is reassuring me that I should never doubt Jesus’ love for me. He died to save a sinner like me. He did it out of love. God allowed it so that I will be reminded of His unconditional love for me. Mama Mary wept silently and did not stop Jesus from doing God’s will, so that I will be reminded, that Jesus came and died for a sinner like me, because he loves me. At this point, I believe that God, Jesus, and Mama Mary speak to me and tell me to forgive myself already so that I can allow His love to convert me. ??

This sinner is very grateful, Lord.
Thank you for making me see myself as your Beloved.

❤️

Dear Lord, Thank you for saving me. Thank you for loving me without any conditions. I’m sorry Lord for all my shortcomings. Help me to carry my own cross and follow you.

It must be a painful experience to lose a child. I cannot imagine it and so I dread that my mother should go through this experience if I predecease her. If I may request dear Lord to spare my mother from seeing me suffer and watching me die. I am already guilty enough for all the trials and tribulations I have caused her. I cannot bear for her to go through that. I would like to continue living to spare her that but grant that it is according to your will. Amen.

Thank you for this online retreat, Fr. Johnny.

As the body of Jesus was being brought down from the cross, Mary’s face spoke a thousand words and touched my innermost being…..sadness, anxiety, uncertainty about her future and what are God’s plans for her….. as Scripture tells us, she always pondered these things in her heart and kept faith in God. Mary, my Mother, pray for me!

Thank you for allowing me to experience my preciousness through your pain and agony. Yes, you are closer to me than I to myself. What really matters is what you are doing to me and each of us….Help me to remember your unbelievable love to change me for the better. Deep thanks.

Although I have read and watched the story of Jesus suffering so many times, seeing it again always brings me into tears. I am reminded that despite my faults, weaknesses, shortcomings He loves me unconditionally. He listens to all my prayers. He keeps me blessed regardless of the situation. Nobody is perfect. We will all make mistakes. But I guess what is important is that there is a conscious effort to be good, to change, to be a blessing to others. “Removing the Thorns” prayer activity gave me a different meaning in doing good. I never saw it that way. May the situation we are currently in make us want to be better thus helping remove Jesus thorns one by one.

Dear Jesus on the Cross of my salvation, Thank you for this time during this despicable pandemic to bring me and so so many others closer to you. We would have gone on vacation Lord, enjoyed the beaches, the mountains – anything but stay in prayer and in reflection of our blessings and the sacrifice you made for us. It is not a coincidence that the pandemic is happening during Lent – and that all these resources such as Fr. Johnny’s beautiful online retreat are here for us. All of us who have gone through the retreat are thankful for this time with you. Change our hearts forever and never let us forget your sacrifice in future. I love you Lord.

Lord, I see your face in the faces of our neighbors who suffer even more today – of illness, isolation, exclusion, uncertainty, and fear; of joblessness, hunger, and deprivation. Nothing I can ever do will ever compare to the love, kindness, and generosity that you poured out for me, by dying on the cross. Make me, Lord, a channel of your love, kindness, and generous help to others, most especially to my neighbors who are in most need of your help.

I am Barabbas. It is I who is the guilty.

But YOU took my place and set me free. I deserve condemnation but You gave me salvation instead.

To be stripped of everything is what I need to realize what I truly need. And there is only one- Jesus. Nothing else saves.

My life has been very good. I’m comfortable, I have money, food. I’ve gotten fat but also… I have learned to tune out the cries of other people. I refuse to be bothered. I refuse to feel any pain or prick of inconvenience… sure, I donate, I give. But that is painless. Now with covid, I have opened my palms and my pockets more. I have heard my friends and strangers cries. Covid may be wreaking havoc on the world but I am being transformed. I am being reborn. I am opening to God again.

Life is hard. The temptation is to think it gets easier as we go along, with success after every success built on personal efforts. Far from it because on our own, we are nothing. The only thing that makes us special is God’s love for us.

Good Friday reminds us of the one true Love that is God. In Him we live and move and have our being.

Indeed, we are not human doings but beings; we are only as good as the Love of God flows through us and reflects itself.

thank you so.much for giving company as a take thia retreat. God ia showing us a different way of observing this Lenten season. My heart is full with, pain, sorrows, questions and at the end acceptance and real trust in God. This pandemic and this retreat led me to see the real menaing of life, forgiveness, acceptance, compassion and mercy. I hope I can continue to remove the thorns in my life. Amen.

Watching the video I found it very meaningful to reflect on the mystery of Christ as being treated as criminal, having difficulty, suffering, and in pain. Yet, this is the Christ that I have made a commitment to and has set such a profound example of how we should aspire to live our lives. Like the experience of being disrupted from our lives, this has been a realization of what is truly important and meaningful.

Like many, I have allowed myself to be fearful and uncertain of the future. Thank you for the reminder that indeed, I have nothing to fear. If Jesus can give his life for me, how can I fear anything?

Indeed, this is yet another time that Lent went through me. Every bit as heartfelt and enriching to the soul.

I have been truly blessed by this 2-day online retreat. Jesus spoke to me through each page and every music.
I am a sinner, who contributed to the thorns on His head…but I continue to pray that I become a true child of Christ, following His commandments, so that I may be able to take out those thorns and be closer to Him all the days of my life.

I wasn’t expecting much from Good Friday, but because of this retreat, I am reminded of how unworthy I am of His love. I do not understand why Jesus would go through so much suffering for me, for this world that is full of so much hatred and sin. But His immense love moved me to the resolution to always choose the good so that even if I cannot remove all the thorns on His crown, I can at least not add more to His pain.

Good Friday is nothing new to us, yes. As children we have heard the story about Jesus and how he suffered and died for us. And sometimes, because we hear it so often and see the image of Jesus on the cross at Mass or in art and film, it has desensitised us, or me at least.
But I don’t want to be desensitised, I don’t want to take the love and suffering of our Lord Jesus for granted. I know my mind can not grasp His love in totality or else I probably would not be able to take it. But I hope that the understanding of the consequences of my action (or inaction) will help me to be more aware of how my actions impact others. I hope and pray that I will be a better, more patient, more humble, more forgiving person for having a glimpse of God’s love.

Thank you for this online retreat. This has been more meaningful during this pandemic. This virus, as dreadful as it is, is also a means for us to be closer to God. To lift our lockdown in our hearts & open it up to Him.
Jesus knows what it is to suffer..to doubt..to fear. We need Him now more than ever.
I have my doubts & fears on what is happening now & what is to come. This retreat has helped me to remember to put my faith in God. That He will show us the way. Perhaps it is not the way that we want, but it will be the way that is best for us. In that we must have faith.

Thank you for this opportunity to spend Good Friday during lockdown this way- on line. I cried thinking about the thorns that I have contributed. I cried thinking about His great love for me and all humanity. I cried watching his mother suffer. I resolve to live life putting more love in my work and actions.

When I imagined Jesus washing my feet I thought, why me? Why do I receive this privilege? When I pictured Jesus emptied on the cross for my sins I again thought, why me? I didn’t exist yet, why would he die to save me? When I visualized myself pulling thorns from Jesus’ crown I again asked, why me? I am responsible for those thorns; I am not worthy to remove them.

Today’s retreat was a reminder of how deep God’s love really is and that He does not want distance between us but I can only close that space if I set aside my pride and continuously choose to repent.

“Only crimson can turn (hearts) to white”

Thank you Fr Johnny for this moving online retreat, am grateful to the loving Lord for using you as an instrument in helping us bridge the distance between us and the Lord.

This retreat, so far, has helped shortened the distance between me & Jesus ?

God’s immense love is incomprehensible to me. One thing I know is that it is this immense love that saves me, that continues to call me, that welcomes me each and every time I ask for forgiveness. I am a sinner but the assurance of God’s love provides me hope of spending eternity with Him.

Thank you Fr. John for this on-line Retreat. Another time for me to experience again the unconditional love of Jesus. Until now I could not understand this love of God for me a sinner. I can only imagine how costly this love for me. And the only thing I can do as a response to this special love is to thank Him. Only that and my life is still the same. I can only wait for His grace to strengthen me and to have the courage to change my sinful life into a virtuous one.

There’s a third washing happened on this retreat. It’s from the tears in our eyes from our minds and hearts. Thank you so much for the opportunity and this well crafted retreat. I hope this will be known to all so that they may experience what we have experienced to specially in these days of pandemic. It will help them ease the burden of what we are going through and quench the thirst for spiritual hunger.

What is good about Good Friday? How can suffering be good? How can pain be good? We have seen how people react differently to suffering. As humans, more often than not, our reaction is one of self-preservation and protection. Some resort to “washing hands” like Pilate did. Some resort to denial as Peter did. Some resort to vengeance as the high priests and soldiers did. Hurt can cause us more pain and can cause us to instill pain on others. I pray for the Lord’s grace that I may see pain as a way closer to Him. I pray that I can rise above my pain to see this as a way to wash me of the thorns of pride, envy, greed, indifference, materialism, among others.

Wash me o Lord of my sins and let me see the goodness that comes with the pain. Amen.

That we may love as Jesus loved
That we may be strong as Mama Mary who held on
That we do not give up on our sinful selves and keep trying
That we do good to others so we help remove those thorns
That we remember that our little faith is enough

I do not know when I will be ever worthy of you, my Lord. I am a sinner and as much as I know what must be done to please you, it is just not easy. And I am sorry because maybe I am not trying hard enough. Yet you’re there, Lord, always by my side. And for that I am thankful. Thank you for the love and mercy you continue to bestow on me, on all of us. Thank you Lord. We are in the middle of difficult times but You, Lord, will get us through this. I believe, I trust that you are with us and will help us. Amen.

I hate how Jesus had to go through all of that because of us but I know that at the same time, it’s beautiful how He gave us the opportunity to repent. Lord, I am not worthy at all yet You never gave up on me. I feel renewed and alive. May I follow You everyday.

Thank you for this meaningful retreat which allowed me to experience God’s love on a more personal level, today, through Jesus’ passion and death.

I’ve been doing the online Holy Week retreat for a few years. And every year, it becomes more meaningful for me.

Thank you, Fr. Johnny. Only by the Holy Spirit who indwells in you, can we be given a personal & deep reflection of God’s Word for each one of us this Holy Week.

Thank you dearest God our Father, for giving us Your Only Son, so that we can receive the gift of salvation and be near to You again. I know now more than ever how much You love us. Jesus Christ died on the cross for me. By His blood I am saved. I love You dear God, and may You protect us. Just as the 1st passover You have spared those whose blood of the lamb were on their doors, may You also spare us from the perils of covid-19. I praise and honor You all the days of my life, and give you back the glory.

I love you dear Jesus. I am blessed that for the past few years, I have grown to have a personal relationship with You. Thank You for dying on the cross to save me. I am sorry for the sins I have committed, and I try my best to do things that are holy and pleasing to You and to God. May those of us who believe that You are our Savior, be witnesses of Your love, and make it known to the world. Please protect the world & our countries, our families and loved ones, from this global pandemic with Your most precious blood. We ask this in Your Mighty Name, Amen.

Today’s retreat and yesterday’s allowed me to also detach and distance myself from the “reality” of Covid-19, which – with GOD’s GRACE – will pass; to embed me in the ETERNAL REALITY of CHRIST’s MERCY & LOVE for me and all mankind.
These retreats reminded me that to KNOW GOD goes beyond “reason and logic” but rather needs OPEN, “HONEST” DISCERNMENT; with HUMILITY and TOTAL SURRENDER TO HIM.
I know now that CHRIST IS MY BEGINNING, MY PRESENT, MY END & MY SAVIOUR. HE is ALL I NEED and that HE IS WITH ME ALWAYS. I just need to ALWAYS reach out and connect with HIM

Thank you for this online retreat. It is my first time to experience this and I must admit, it is quite an emotional journey for me. I am constantly reminded of the sins I have committed against our Lord but, also happy with the invitation to renew our relationship and to deepen my faith and trust in Him. I am glad He has not given up on me, despite my frailties

Somehow Jesus’ s passion and the suffering of so many all over the world became
one and the same. I cannot help but see him in the many selfless frontliners today making the supreme sacrifices of tending to the seek and being away from home so others may live. My prayers are always with them as well as the afflicted and their families.

I’ve been doing this online retreat for two years now and it has been providing me the opportunity to pause and reflect, especially in this busy world. It has given me the chance to step back and see the Holy Week in a new light, providing insights on what the sacrifices of Jesus truly meant for me and humanity. I’ve learnt a lot and I hope to inculcate these learnings into my everyday life. Thank you very much for creating this online retreat and may more people experience the sacredness of the Holy Week through this.

I truly appreciate this online retreat.
I thank you, Father Johnny, for creating this.
I hear Him telling me, “I’ve got you. Trust me.”
With a lighter heart after shedding so many tears during this retreat, I remain, hopeful.

The tears I shed in today’s retreat somehow washed the fears and worries I have for weeks now. The sadness I feel over the effects of covid19 is overpowered by the hope that it’s in Him alone we will be saved.
Thank you again Fr. J and everyone for working so hard in giving us beautiful means to journey with the Lord through this online retreats. Every part is well thought and delivered. I praise God to have found you. You’re such a blessing to us.
God bless ❤️

This on line retreat is a first for me and for many or for all if you may. This Lent season is very different from all the others as we are faced with global covid pandemic. And we are confined in our homes. I am alone and thus having this guided retreat gave me a deeper look how the Lord works in our daily lives. Where before mundance things are taken for granted it now occupy focus and attention. The sufferings of Christ renews our faith that it is only thru Him and in Him that we cry for help and salvation. Lord may we be closer to You and love You more. Changebus Lord for the better. Amen ?

So many thoughts, so many realizations:

It is never okay and right to pass a responsibility to others just so u wont take the blame and feel guilty afterwards. This retreat has helped me realize this and that I also want people to take responsibility on their actions. Following God and having faith in Him is for us to make better decisions. Lord, you dying on the cross to save us from our sins caused you so much, youve been through a huge amount of pain and just the thought of it, is like wow your love for us is so unconditional, and people can love that way too, love not because it is convenient. Love without asking anything in return.

Today I reflect on the three washings
– the washing of hands of Pilate – forgive me Lord for the times I could have made a difference but did not. Help me to remember that every blessing you give is an opportunity for me to make a difference where I can. Remind me always.
– the washing of the disciples feet – Jesus was the son of God and yet He humbled himself to serve all not just those He loved but including those who would betray Him. Help me Lord just to serve and lift it up to you wholeheartedly. Let me not be proud, righteous or discouraged when it does not seem to reap the results I want. Let me just serve and you will do the rest.
– the washing of your blood and water that poured forth from your heart – You gave your all to us Lord Jesus. You did not need to but you did out of love. Help us to love like you did. Let our actions bring people closer to you.
Thank you Lord. We are so grateful.

“But what truly matters is not how much we’ve been through Lent but how much Lent has been through us.” I continue to let these words seep through my whole being today as we commemorate the passion and death of our Lord, and as we face life in the midst of the pandemic. I’m still very young in the art of loving, especially, when doing so would entail inconvenience but that is what this year’s Lenten retreat and this pandemic are teaching me.

This retreat is my first time in a long time to stay this long in prayer. I am humbled by the grace to always get to reset. That our Lord keeps on welcoming us back despite continuously failing him. I am reminded of the power of forgiveness, and above all, of LOVE. It is God’s love that continues to nourish us despite being unworthy of His love. I pray that I will always be reminded of this all encompassing love. And that I become a better instrument of His love to others. What a liberating feeling. Humbled and grateful.

I was most moved by the scenes in the last video clip. By Jesus’ pains but also the expression on Mary’s face was really very haunting. It made me consider how much pain she as his mother experienced as she witnessed him suffer so much and die.

This retreat touched my heart so deeply, reminding me of Jesus enduring the pain & suffering…giving up His life for me. Forgive me my sins, O Lord, the sins I know, the sins I do not know, the sins I repeatedly commit. I do not wish to add thorns on your crown but only to take these out & ask for your forgiveness. You are my hope & my strength. Let me be constantly reminded of Your love. I love you Our Lord & Our God ?

A question in my mind was about Pontius Pilate. Yes, clearly he allowed the crucifixion to happen and he was the only one that could have stopped it. But if you think about it, it was part of God’s plan and it had to happen. We pray about it all the time in the apostles creed that Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. Yet, he truly believed that Jesus was innocent. Was he a good person? Did he still go to heaven? Jesus saved us by being crucified, if it didn’t happen, what would have?

We are human. We all have our weak days. That thought just popped up. Nonetheless, I am very grateful for this retreat. Thank you. I pray to trust in God more and allow him to work with me. Life is very much uncertain and difficult now, but I will not be afraid.

This retreat has struck my heart, mind, body and soul. Lives were lost in this lockdown but I believe many lives will also be “gained” back. I pray for those who perished, and praying for us who are gained back.
Thank you for this retreat, from the bottom of my heart.

I thank the Lord for this moment of prayer…for loving me to the end. HIS LOVE IS MY STRENGTH… thank you O Lord for allowing me to journey with you in this sorrowful friday, You have shown me your great love. Thank you! May I do the same. Amen.

Lord, grant that we live what we learned in this retreat, in Your name. This crisis we face comes with lessons we must learn. I pray that, when we learn them, we never let them go and be complacent. Help us to truly learn and live according to Your will.

Thank you Jesus for Good Friday. Showing your great love for us by dying on the cross.
We celebrate Fridays as TGIF, because of the long week of work, finally it is Friday n we can take a break. Today, walking with You in the different events of Your passion, my every TGIF is thanking You for Your great great sacrifice and love to save from our sins.

This was a moving and meaningful experience for me. I realize how precious is the blood that Jesus shed for us, and how ungrateful I have been by taking God’s love for granted at times. I know that “removing thorns” should be a lifelong and constant endeavor so that I become a better person to others, more generous with understanding and kindness, and more deserving of the immense and total love of the Father. Thank you for this experience. May it stay with all of us forever.

This retreat has made me realize even more the immense love Jesus has for me. It is a love that makes me worthy. Lord, please grant me the grace to share this love to others – for them to know that they are deeply loved and made worthy because of Your sacrifice.

Thanks Fr Johnny for this retreat. God bless you and your team.

Thank you Lord for encountering You here. May the conversion of heart and soul will not end here. Grant me the grace to be the best version of myself that you want me to be.” Remember me Oh Lord in Your Kingdom.”

I always value my online retreats with Pins of Light. This Good Friday, i feel I had a vwry personal confession of my sins to the Lord. Each thorn I took away, I am reminded of the times I put it on the crown of thorns. And I weep.

Thank you Jesus for bearing my sins. So I will never be far away from The Father.

Thank you for everything You do for us, Lord. Despite all what is happening today, I am grateful that you are by our side. Sorry for the times I didn’t choose to love, and when I’ve failed to choose you. I love you Lord. Amen.

Thank you so much o LORD for making me see and realized how much you love me, by laying down your life just to save me. Thank you for opening my eyes that the pain i am experiencing right now is not as painful as to the ones you bore just to save me, so, grant me o GOD the grace to embrace this pain with joy. Help me to always remember to offer the pains i am undergoing right now for the forgiveness of my sins, for the conversion of sinners and for d peace of world. I know i am not worthy of your love, so help me cleanse my heart, my mind, my soul, my whole being so i may someday be worthy to be called your precious child. Renew me o GOD, strengthen and deepen my personal relationship with you, draw me nearer to you. All these i ask not only for today but for the rest of my life, amen!

You died Jesus that I might live. May I be able to live my life befitting of your suffering and death on the cross.

May we learn to see this pandemic as an opportunity to turn this curse into a ‘blessing’. May we realize that this is a warning to us to be able to return to you and appreciate you as our savior. Let us acknowledge our vulnerability and fragility and our dependence on you. May we not ignore your sacrifice in Calvary. We ask your forgiveness and compassion.

May our lives glorify you.

Thank you Lord God for never giving up on us.We are all sinners and we font deserve your love.But you are our Lord and you never judged us and you accepted and love us the way we are.wWe are not worthy but your love still overflows. I want to live my life being a better christian and i want to let go of all the pain and anger inside of me. Pls help me o Lord…..

Thank you Lord God for your unconditional love for us. You gave Your only Son to save us from our sins and to have an everlasting life with You. Thank you Jesus Christ for giving us Your life. Even if we are so unworthy because of our sins, You still endured all the pain and sufferings because of your love for us. All praise and thanksgiving only belong to You, Our Lord.

Thank you Lord for the gift of openness and courage to face my own darkness. The truth within me is so shameful but journeying with you towards Calvary with all my nakedness allowed me to have a deep grasp of who really I am before you. I am your beloved child that you emptied your heart and shed your blood ? for my salvation. May my insights and realizations be put into practice as my way of plucking the thorns in your head. Just grant me Lord the graces that I need. For without You I am nothing. You are my strength, You are my hope. Amen.

Thank you for putting together this well prepared online retreat. I never thought it would be such a personal and holy experience.
Yes, I must slow down… must adjust my speedometer…. must stop for a little while and think and feel before I make judgments, comments in social media… which I just realized, I take pride in. Despite not being able to go to church, this crisis has triggered a whole new way of worship and prayer, of reflection and meditation. We have turned our homes to spiritual sanctuaries, and I am sure God is delighted ! Awesome and beautiful fruits of this evil virus ! JESUS REIGNS FOREVER AND EVER !

Sharing an excerpt from Pope Francis’ homily ♥️ Thank you, Lord, for saving us. May you always grant us the grace to be better human beings for ourselves and others. ?

Why did all this take place? Once again, it was done for our sake, to serve us. So that when we have our back to the wall, when we find ourselves at a dead end, with no light and no way of escape, when it seems that God himself is not responding, we should remember that we are not alone. Jesus experienced total abandonment in a situation he had never before experienced in order to be one with us in everything. He did it for me, for you, to say to us: “Do not be afraid, you are not alone. I experienced all your desolation in order to be ever close to you”.

That is the extent to which Jesus served us: he descended into the abyss of our most bitter sufferings, culminating in betrayal and abandonment.

Forgive us Lord for failing to think of what harm we add on to you for putting ourselves first before others. May your sacrifices and selfless
Love remind us of how much we too should give up our own Selfish wants and needs in order for others to live. Our words and actions may not be enough to take away the pain we have caused but day by day guide us in order for us to create ripples of differences in the way we live out lives here on earth. We are truly sorry for failing you, we are very ashamed and for this please forgive us for our sins.

Beautiful self-retreat in the circumstances. It is amazing.
Reminded that the thorns I can remove not just today but daily in my life and love for others. Lord help me never stop striving to love you more, Amen ❤️

Because of today’s retreat I was taken back to a time in my childhood when my family and I were watching the movie, Passion of the Christ. I was crying after seeing all that Jesus had to go through, but somehow I think my father felt that these tears were “shallow” and were shed for the sake of being in theme with the general mood during Holy Week. I don’t remember what he said exactly, but it was something along the lines of, “Why are you crying? What’s important is not how you feel but how you respond to Jesus’ sacrifice for us.”

That time I didn’t fully understand what he meant, but now I do. Yes, we contemplate the mysteries of Jesus’ Passion and remain grateful and in awe of His sacrificial love for us, but the more essential part of this is what we do next. This point was driven home by the unique visual prayer introduced to us earlier, reminding us that every time we do good and less evil, there’s one less thorn on Jesus’ crown. In our own way, we can help alleviate His and our brothers and sisters’ suffering — and I think that is the best response we can give.

Today I was given the grace to understand better why the Lord has to undergo these sufferings unto His death on the Cross .
May the Lord forgive my sins, and teach me how to love & serve Him better .

Today, my eyes welled up with tears and my heart poured out with so much sadness knowing how I have caused so much anguish and pain to our Lord, Jesus. At the end though, it was a redeeming experience that brought me so much hope and strength as I realize that God continues to welcome sinners, like me, with open arms as I enter into His fold again.
Thank you Fr. Johnny and team for this meaningful and profound reflection guide on Good Friday. God bless always.

Thank you Lord for another graced moment to experience Your immense love for us.

Thank you also for the team that made this experience possible.

May this experience and Your continuous showering of gifts help me to live a life that is closer to You even after this pandemic is through.

It is never easy to watch the carrying of the cross and our dear Lord Jesus’ crucifixion. What struck me the most this lent season is Mary’s pain. The expression on her face. The sadness and grief that was shown in her blank stare. I wonder if she herself wondered why this was all happening. I wonder if she wondered was it all necessary? I am always moved to tears when I hear about Jesus’ passion. I’m never brave enough to watch the entire firm and I feel shame sometimes. I believe the tears we shed and the feelings evoked by Good Friday are necessary elements to truly feeling the season of lent and allowing lent through us. Thank you for letting me be brave today to watch the clip, O Lord.

Seeing my failings as thorns on the crucified Christ gave me a stronger resolve to overcome my own pains which I use as an excuse to continue inflicting those thorns to others. I now have a stronger motivation to do better to others seeing that in failing to do so, it is Christ I hurt.

I looked at the thorns that could give you the most pain and as I removed them one by one each thorn bears the name of the sins I have committed. Thank you Lord Jesus for your forgiveness and mercy.

If we think of our small sins as added thorns on Your crown and our bigger sins as added weight on the cross, they become painful and unbearable for us as well. The difficult ones to pluck out are the thorns from daily inaction. Social distancing seems to have given us either an excuse or an obstacle to do something for others in this pandemic. May thinking of Your suffering on the cross give us the grace, creativity, and resourcefulness to contribute good acts, big or small.

I watched you from a distance myself, with fear nailing me in place. I realized that this is the thorn I have contributed to your crown, the thorn of inaction. Despite the opportunities you have provided for me to reach out and do something, I find myself held back by my fears.

Lord, please save me. Please grant me courage to step out of this bystander role and become a more active player in bringing consolation, encouragement and hope into my world.

I have not been faithful in carefully working to practice Lent, but I have allowed Lent to freely work to change me. I have grown in my knowledge and experience in Our Lord’s Passion, and I will keep His love in my heart to grow. I will try my best to allow Jesus to wash my feet and do the same to my brethren. I will continue to do my best to console Jesus by removing some of His thorns. At the end of the day, He gives us His whole self without reservation. Thank you Lord

It is not easy to bare all and be totally honest with myself in this exercise. It’s difficult to face the reality of how I’ve been constantly pulling off the thorns and putting them back in, in Jesus’s crown, much worse, his heart. Not easy to admit, but I think, that’s how it has been for me. Oftentimes I try to do good, to be good, to be Jesus to others, and at the same time, I also fail to do these — especially for those who are closest to me, my family. It’s hard cause I would always rationalize and justify why what I’m doing or not doing is good enough. Going through the exercise made me realize that if Jesus would rationalize, he wouldn’t have died on the cross for me. Why would he? Who am I? Who am I? It’s so overwhelming to know that I am his beloved. That he would love to serve me, love me, bless me — not because of who I am or what I’ve done, but because that is he. He is love. And today, I would want to remember all that I am to him, and all that he has done for me — without batting an eyelash.

Thank you Lord, for loving me as me. For closing the distance between me and the Father. I pray that you’d bless me with the grace so that I can be worthy of all you’ve done for me.

I love and I am deeply sorry for all the thorns I’ve pierced into your heart. Help me to never add on it again.

Amen.

It pains me Lord Jesus Christ to see the sacrifices you have done in order to save us. Forgive me for all the sins (knowingly and unknowilling) i have committed and help me to forgive those who have wronged me. I pray Lord for your guidance in putting away the negative thoughts,wrongdoings that i make /made and please help me be a better if not the best person i can be in your eyes and through the eyes of others.I LOVE YOU and i THANK YOU for saving me and always loving ,protecting me and my family.

Thank you for being the Lord’s instrument in getting us all back on track with the Lord. I always look forward to these Holy Week Online retreats. Congratulations and God bless you all for spreading His love. May we all love the way He loves!

Today’s retreat points have made me realise my own vulnerabilities, my own thorns, my own crucifixion as well. I’m also struck and embarrassed by the fact that I have also been a Pilate, a Peter, a Judas at one point or another. The humility that Jesus showed in the washing of his friends ‘ feet including Judas’ somehow change the way I look at my own sinfulness and of others’. Jesus never unfriend me even if I’m the worst of sinners. He is always welcoming me to come back to Him and allow Him to accompany me in this life’s journey. I should be grateful that Someone emptied His heart for me and washed all my sins with His precious Blood. My Lord, I’m in awe of you because you alone can make me fulfill my mission here on earth. I am sorry if at times I doubted your process, that I only feel you are distancing yourself from me and believing that you are not listening to my prayers. Thank you for giving me many chances to make amends and forgiving me of my mistakes and trespasses, Lord. Thank you also for sending me people who are instrumental to knowing you more. Thank you also for the people who organized this Lenten Triduum Retreat. Amen.

I hear mass every Sunday and all Holy days of obligation, I try to be a good Catholic…but those practices are all for naught if I do not have the LOVE in my heart for others and convert that to ACTION. Each loving action will be a thorn less on Jesus’ head.

I am so sorry for all my sins. Please forgive me dear God.

Thank God for this online retreat which helped me go thru Holy Week, the way I should. I feel like I went to confession whilst pulling the thrones off Jesus’ head, one by one.

This retreat is so well done; it made me feel like I was with JESUS, all the way from when he was condemned to die until he was brought down from the cross. I felt the pain of Mother Mary; I am very sorry my dear Jesus, I am so sorry too, Mother MARY for all the pains I have caused you. Please help me become a better person. Please help us and save us from sin and from the COVID19 virus!

The interactive pulling of thorns made me realize that simple negative online postings (e.g. rant, opinion) are like the shallow thorns- it can still be easily removed through a personal decision but it still adds up to the weight of the cross. Sorry Lord, for the times of arrogance and self-righteousness. The other intertwined and deeply embedded ones can be removed with a change of heart. Nevermind if it caused dripping of the blood or scars after some time. As long as we repent, go back and love Him, it is more than enough.

Maraming salamat sa mga bumubuo ng online retreat na ito. Praying with and for you also.

Thank you for the very rich experience in this online retreat. Indeed it is the disposition and the open heart one would have to be able to experience the Lord.

The retreat helps me to go back to the basics of just being quiet and having an open heart to receive the grace from God.

I saw again how much You suffered for us. What do You want me to do to make up for the every thorn You had to endure because of me. Lord, please give me the courage to heed to your call. More often than not, it is hard to do good for others when they tend to abuse your kindness just as we have abused you. I pray that we will go on with our lives with you in our hearts. Not just during Lent, not just when we are in need, but every day of our lives. Thank You again and I pray everyday that I will be worthy of all Your sacrifices.

This is my first time to do a retreat, virtual or otherwise during Lent. I have learned so much from the last two days and likewise doing the stations of the cross during this time of the pandemic. If there is anything I realized more during this time is that I have taken God’s love for granted. Lord help me be worthy of Your love from here on. I know that I will falter but pls help me become a better version of me in the days to come.

Thank you, Lord, for this quarantine. I have attended retreats in the past, but none as piercing as yesterday’s and today’s retreats. I am able to look into myself without being pressed for time, read the reflection or listen to the music over and over again and come to the realization that no matter how I try to participate in Church’s activities, serve in a community or follow the teachings of the cross, sometimes, my inaction would get in the way of my salvation. My sins, done and confessed over and over again, are like the thorns pushed in and taken out, in and out again; it causes so much anguish. And finally, the pained expression on Mama Mary’s face , was as painful as the sight of the nails driven through the Hands of Jesus.

Lord, please do not let me forget about this experience. Help me, Mama Mary, to be kinder to people, esp my family, and to be more patient, understanding and less judgmental.

Never let me be separated from you. AMEN.

I have cried with you today, Jesus. My heart has been broken with yours too.

I always feel blessed and loved after doing this online retreat (which I have been doing for a few years now) and I am always grateful for this opportunity, this freedom to come together as a virtual online prayer community. This this the reason why my Holy Week becomes even more meaningful. I can also feel how meaningful this retreat is for every participant, and for every life story behind us all. How blessed we are to have access to the Father through prayer and worship. God bless everyone!

A moment with Jesus before His Crucifixion

How do I comfort Jesus when we both know what awaits Him in the next few hours? But when I started contemplating and entered the scene, He welcomed me with adoration in His eyes and He tried His best to smile despite the pain. How can you be so selfless especially in those trying times? Instead of me providing comfort for You, You still made an effort to do the same for me. Lord Jesus, I want to ease Your pain even in my small ways. Lead me, teach me. I love You.

I felt closer to Jesus… the pulling of the thorns made me really feel His pain and love for me.. for all of us.
In Him alone is our strength… In Him alone, we are saved.

The pulling of the thorns from Our Lord’s bloodied head was a new and very cathartic experience for me in this retreat. It was like going to Confession this Holy Week – recalling all my sins of selfishness, impatience, unkindness, pride, and envy and more, and seeing how deeply they have hurt Our Lord – pulling each thorn out as I begged forgiveness, for resolving never to put them back again. This image will remain with me from now on everytime I make an examination of conscience.

I pulled out some thorns from your head JESUS. The same thorns that I put back in your head again and again but you always forgive me. Thank you for your unconditional love.

Seeing MARY holding the dead body of her Son made me cry so much. I felt the pain of a mother when her children are sick, or have problems and ask forgiveness from them if I have hurt them.

Thank you for the experience and to be with JESUS on this Good Friday. How do I let my children experience this? It is a different generation. They do not see the necessity of retreats, recollections, etc. I am still grateful they continue to hear mass and pray the rosary everyday because of this pandemic.

Lord, I thank You for this retreat. It has reduced me to tears.
I am sorry Your Father had to allow You go through all this pain.
I am sorry for the anguish of Your Mother. How she must have suffered.
I am sorry You all innocent had to be reduced to all these humiliation and scorn, excruciating pain, disappointments and heartaches.
But most of all I am sorry because I relive Your crucifixion even up to today because I keep forgetting my resolve to be better, and not to sin again.
I am sorry because I keep telling You I love you but my love is so insufficient.
Teach me. Have pity on me.
I want to be true to my love for You.

It is a most powerful retreat, even if it is virtual. It has reminded me that the most significant washing is on Good Friday, when the Lord poured out His blood completely, to wash us of our sins. Thank you, Lord for saving me — always. I pray to be worthy, and for your forgiveness, over an over again. Amen.

I do I love you? Teach me Everyday to see everything and everyone with your eyes, to listen with your ears, to touch with your hands and most of all to love with your love.
Thank you Jesus, my lord my God… my all.

Maraming salamat sa Iyo panginoon Hesus Cristo. This time, the faith I am asking to You to increase was now done. MORE power and blessing to you Father J and team. Amen.

So unique and extraordinary is the faith we have been gifted. We believe that it is the self-sacrificing, infinitely deep, infinitely expansive and inclusive love of Jesus, the King of the universe, that redeems the world. That transforms the world – past, present, future. His redemptive love is the most powerful thing. His love has taken and smashed all humankind’s iniquities. His love is triumphant. Thank you for the retreat. It gave me a very special time.

Our Lord suffered and died on the Cross for us. Although He saved us from sin, it is still a part of us. It is our sins that causes Jesus pain. We are asked to overcome sin and show our love to God by serving and loving our brothers and sisters in need. We must always turn to the Lord whenever we have the temptation to do things against Him. Our Lord will always be there for us.

When I tried pulling out one of the thorns, I was very careful. I wanted to hug him but I cannot because I may hurt him even more with his wounds. I am just contented by carefully removing his thorns, one of which remained embedded in the head of Jesus even despite removing it. I realized how I have hurt Jesus too much.

The concept of the hand washing is the most relevant to me in this Good Friday retreat. I have been hand washing quite frequently nowadays. Like Pontius Pilate, I know the right thing to do, give more financial aid to our workers but instead I withhold and pass on the buck to the inefficiency of the government for failing to provide the assistance they have promised. Like Pontius Pilate, I hand wash and pretend I’m not in control but I am. I have the capacity to give. Lord, stop me from this hand washing. Teach me to be generous.

Like Pontius Pilate, I hand wash and choose to distance myself from the sufferings of many. Choosing to be in the comfort of the bubble I have created for myself and my family. Pompously thinking,
I earned this with my hard work. The poor are poor because it is a choice they made with their actions and decisions. Choosing to soak my energies in discussions of the inefficiency of the government, a discussion that is futile and breeds negativity. In one of the comments before I read about the practice of Tonglen, I shall try to do that. Breathe in and suck up all the negative energies in my mind and breathe out positivity related to it.

To end, the last video image of the Passion of Christ got me soaked up in tears. The lashings on his body are so raw and real. I pray this experience will lead to a deeper relationship with God as opposed to the obligatory one I currently have. In this new world, so many things can occupy and entertain my mind it is very hard to keep a relationship with the One who sacrificed everything. I sincerely pray for conversion in my heart.

P.S. Fr. Johnny, this is my first time to embark on your Lenten retreat and I would like to thank you for it. It merges biblical passages with what is happening today, beautifully. I always enjoy your homilies and lectures in school before, I don’t know why it is only now I have tried your Pins of Light. May this only be the beginning. Much thanks again Father.

Removing the thorns was a very painful yet liberating experience knowing that despite our weaknesses and failures, there is a Lord who will accept us unconditionally … always.

I am so grateful for this guide. I was deeply touched by our Lord Jesus Christ’s washing of my feet. It was His act of selfless love and humility that deeply moved me. I felt so loved and honored in spite of the fact that I am a sinner but His love motivates me to do my best in seeing others the way He sees them even though some of these people are difficult to handle. However, to always make the first move to forgive them as well as to ask their forgiveness are my little ways of following Him everyday. Praying for everyone’s safety. God bless us all! ??????

By this, am brought back to reality that God loves us so somuch ..but we have not appreciate this.
Please forgive me Lord..please help me to return Your love in ways You know best.
Thank you so much Lord. Amen.

The story of Christ’s love for us retold in a way that is relevant and meaningful. It is not uncommon for us to get tired of stories that we hear over and over and so this retreat experience just allowed for continued appreciation of Jesus’ sacrifice and love. The pulling of thorns activity forced me to think about the pains that I cause Jesus and those people around me – no matter how much I pretend that this isn’t so. Since I was left to be with myself and Jesus alone – I dug deep to admit my faults and shortcomings — some that have been buried deep into my unconscious which only tells me the excruciating pain that it causes…

He bore all the pain caused by our sins. And it is in doing good, avoiding evil, and giving of ourselves that we share in His suffering. Make our sacrifices count by doing them with LOVE.

i go through Lent every year, cry, feel remorse…and months after, i am back to my old ways of living, albeit a bit better & closer to His ways. i pray Lord, that you don’t get tired of looking for this lamb that sometimes goes astray & forgetful. i am sorry for neglecting you & ask for the grace to persevere. thank you, Lord, for all the blessings You have given & continue to give me. amen.

When the crucified Christ was brought down from the cross and placed on Mary’s arms and lap… He was helpless, he had to rely on others so that the nails could be removed… and he could reach the caring hands of his mother…

…the lifeless body of Jesus represents how “lifeless” I am… empty, meaningless, bleak…numb…

I saw myself in the loving arms of Mary (making sense of her son’s wounds and pain)

Mary, our Mother, lead us to your Son.

I imagine his eyes, when I pulled the thorns. They were very understanding, and full of love, and gratitude for my little act of faith. Lord, may we remember this moment, especially when times become difficult.

How can someone love so much and endure so much?

The visuals of the songs was very painful to see. Seeing, reading and remembering what happened almost every year, I thought I will be immune to the pain. Apparently, I’m not. Because deep inside I have always known that I’m not worthy of that kind of love. But every year, Jesus tells me otherwise. And yet every year I tend to forget.

Every part of the retreat was an experience of God’s great love but the one that really struck me hard was the ritual of pulling out the thorns. It was a very intimate experience of confessing my sins and of commitment to be a better person, to be more loving because God loves me and sent Jesus to die for my sins. I will always hold on to God’s promise that “I am always with you.”

Thank you Lord for reminding me of your unconditional love. I love you and I promise to be a better person. Sorry for all my shortcomings.

In this time of quarantine, in this time of fear, in this time of uncertainness. I only trust in the Lord’s plan. In Him alone are we saved. This gives me hope.

Thank you for this Virtual Retreat which I will also let my daughter experience as soon as she wakes up today as this has given me the chance to thank God again for loving despite my imperfections and sins committed and continuously committing as a wife, mother, sister, friend, relative. The pulling of thorns exercise was a very good avenue to help me recall and ask forgiveness again for putting and adding more thorns on His Head everytime I sin. May God help me make good my desire to change to become a better me as I pulled the many thorns from His head. Thank you for this virtual retreat. May God bless us all especially our frontliners in this pandemic/crisis. Hoping in God and trusting Him that this too will pass in His time.

“You ask me if there’ll come a time that I’ll grow tired of you. Never my love. Never my love.”

It was like a tight, warm embrace from above.

Thank you for being patient with me, Lord. For loving me again and again, over and over, inspite of who I have become. I promise to do better, to live a life worthy of your great love for me.

Naramdaman ko na sa pagtatanggal ng mga tinik sa ulo ni Hesus ay sumasalamin din sa pagtanggal natin ng mga tinik sa ting buhay. Bagamat nakakadagdag hapdi o sugat ang mga tinik, nakatutulong ito upang maghilom ang mga sugat kaysa manatili lang ang mga tinik at hapdi sa ating buhay. At sa buong prosesong ito, kasama natin Sya. Salamat sa Diyos!

I was crying many times. Pulling out of thorns was very symbolic and meaningful. Yes, maybe i or we should do our best to pluck out a thorn religiously. It ached doing it. But theres some feeling of unification. Hope i could, we could , make an effort to rid the thorns each day and lessen his suffering. Our share in his.

I cried because even if I removed a few thorns, the wounds remained; I cried even more when I thought of how God the Father must have felt at seeing His only begotten suffer. It must have been heart wrenching for Him!

I now see the blood of Christ in the Eucharist very differently. It hit home when I read that the blood in the chalice I see at Mass is what washed away our sins… my sins.

I also now know what to do to pull thorns from Christ’s crown. I thank the Lord for giving me this time of reflection, prayer and realization. I need to make time for my family, be kind, and yes, even respond with love to my estranged wife.

The pulling out of thorns brought me to tears. It wasn’t an easy experience, but, somehow I felt relieved after. Thank you, Jesus, for carrying all the thorns for us.

Thank you for this session. The pulling out of thorns was a very deeply felt act and i hope to continue it as a daily commitment. Even if it is just one thorn a day.

Salamat.

I have suffered so many losses these past 3 years. I lost my dad, husband and mother (just last January), just a year apart after each other. My grief has been deep and my emotional and mental dispositions have been severely depleted. I have nursed pain, loss, anger, but also through this incredible pain, hope and trust in faith and prayer. These covid times have added burdens of anxiety and worry, especially as I have to be the head of our household. I feel sadness for those who have lost their lives and for their families, who like me, now are grievers. But through these all, I cling to my faith in my loving and gracious Lord. I find consolation in offering my daily pains as a way of sharing His calvary experience. I pray for strength, peace and relief as I pulled each thorn of hurt, whether caused by me or unto me.

Thank you, Lord, for the gift of Your life, Your blood to save an undeserving person like me. Thank You for Your love which sustained and continues to sustain me through dark and trying times. Thank You and I love You. I do not say that enough, Lord. Help me to not just say it mkre, but live my life as a testimony of that love.

Thank you for sharing. I admire your strength and resilience amidst the many trials in your life — I imagine it was made possible by God’s unfailing love, providence and sustenance. I am praying for you and your loved ones as you navigate your “new normal” and seek to live a life rooted in love, following Jesus’ example.

With a heavy heart I close today’s retreat.

I tried to pull as many thorns (cus I wanted to ease the pain on his head)but only succeeded twice. I realized it was His way of reminding me “yan lang ang kaya mong gawin sa ngayon”. Humility set in.

Times are trying. This retreat has brought me to tears. Tears that i have been hiding because i have to be strong for my loved ones and the people who are rsiking their own lives to keep us all safe. May we all take time to pause in this moment of trials. Look back on how our Lord has redeemed us. We are all in His mercy we all have to pray for He has a greater view of things. Thank you for this retreat.

We all know the story of the Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ, but there are some things that I seem to be seeing more clearly this time around. I am thinking about the gravity of His sacrifice, and the sheer humility displayed in the face of it all. From the washing of the feet of His disciples, to his death. Oh, to have Jesus’s humility and His faith. Oh, to be truly worthy of His sacrifice. To embrace Him, to take His heart in my hands, and to let Him know how sorry I am and how much I truly love Him, even if I don’t know how to show it.

My Jesus, You are my God and my Savior, this online retreat has given me much to reflect upon.. I feel so very sad like a child that has done wrong and saying sorry then doing it again and each time I realize how much our Father loves us so deeply that He keeps forgiving again and again. The gravity of our Lord’s sacrifice is excruciatingly painful to watch, I want to turn my head in horror that I am also responsible, ashame that I contributed to His pain and suffering. My Lord and my God, forgive me and I pray you never tire of forgiving me each time I fall and sin.. I pray for the strength and the courage to always say YES to you when you call me, and I pray for the courage and strength when the Devil who comes in many forms temps me to sin to say NO, go away! ..

I pray that I would be the companion and not the tormentor .. help me when I am weak.

Lord I know that I am never alone in my journey, because you are with me every step of the way. I trust in your love and mercy. Amen

This retreat gave me a totally different experience of Lent. I cried so much and felt so guilty for my sins … of not making God my top priority, of seeking comfort in material things that are not essential and for giving in to greed and selfishness. God never left us, He is always with us but we keep shutting him out of our lives. I am sorry Lord —- for everything. Please enter my crushed, broken spirit and make my heart your dwelling place until my last breath. Open my heart and mind so that I may hear Your voice and seek the path that you want me to take. Take control of my life Lord —— in everything, let Thy will be done. Amen.

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