BAGUIO CITY – “From the bosom to the breast,” “return to the heart,” “black and beautiful,” are some of the key images employed during the five-day Augustinian Recollect Spiritual Exercises (ARSE) held in Casiciaco Recoletos Seminary, Baguio City from June 18-22, 2018.
Keywords or concepts are indispensable tools to keep in mind lessons learned; nonetheless, images, the moving and personal ones, are far more effective. No wonder, the twenty-seven participants are enamored to the facilitator’s elaboration of those imageries; hence their imaginations, not setting aside their emotions and sensitivities, were rendered to vibrant inspirations and rich reflections during their group sharing.
“Master, where do you live?” was the first topic given to the retreatants that also included the two Nigerian candidates for the solemn profession who are also undergoing their Mes de Preparacion (month of preparation) from June 18-July 17, 2018. The Calling of the Disciples pericope of John is followed by the theme on “Leaning on the Breast of Jesus” which is part of the Last Supper setting on day two. The third-day reflections, the Lectio Divina after the talk, exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and Holy Hour were guided by the theme, “Behold your Mother” while the fourth and fifth days were centered on the Easter scenes, “They went to the Tomb” and “It is the Lord!”
Fray Lauro Larlar, OAR, the facilitator, directed the retreatants firstly, through his brief recapitulations of the previous talks and he related them to the next topic. Secondly, he emphasized on the challenges or invitations of the day. Thirdly, he presented well-chosen video clips and excerpts from various references connected to the theme; and lastly, he stressed on the importance of silence, the Augustinian, and the Recollect elements of spiritual exercises. He also mentioned some innovative expressions like “lean on the breast of Jesus,” “be in the winepress,” “be spiritual mothers,” “canta y camina,” among others, as part of the challenges gleaned from the commentaries and writings of St. Augustine. Fray Emmanuel Bolilia, OAR of the former Secretariat on Spirituality, assisted Fray Larlar.
The annual ARSE is offered to all Recollect religious, the AR Sisters, the members of the Secular Augustinian Recollect Fraternity (SARF), and then, to be echoed to the personnel, faculty and employees of the different Recollect communities of the Province, the Recollect Augustinian Youth (RAY), and the Confraternity of the Augustinian Recollect Altar Servers (CARAS). It is usually held three times a year, by April or June for the first batch, by October for the second batch and by November in case there will be a third batch.
This spiritual exercise is already in its sixth year since the ARSE was first introduced in the year 2013 as the Order was preparing for its restructuring and revitalization as mandated by the 55th General Chapter in 2012.