Brad Rozairo, OMI – In the year 2008, I followed a six-month psycho-spiritual renewal program, known as the ‘Sabbatical Pilgrimage’ in the Philippines. The focus of the program was mainly on the inner journey of life. There were inputs that helped me evaluate the different stages of my life and see how I have grown as an adult.
During this renewal program, I had a Spiritual Director to accompany me. One day having listened to my personal evaluation of life, the Spiritual Director said that for me to move forward, I need to ‘let go’ of my past, meaning – my unresolved issues, negative feelings, frustration, resentment etc. Reflecting on this I felt that I have been carrying a “baggage” of my past for many years and was not aware of it at all.
‘Let go’ does not mean forgetting your past, instead, recalling what happened in life from childhood, and being ready to solve the unresolved issues as an adult with the intention of moving forward. Recalling unpleasant memories of the past can make us feel uncomfortable and disturb us psychologically. These perhaps can also create a certain amount of fear and anxiety. In fact, when I shared my sabbatical experience with a few people, they told me that it would be difficult for them to follow such a program. But, the inner journey of life demands that we take time to make a serious evaluation at a certain stage in life in order to heal our wounded souls.
Letting go and moving forward demands a spiritual response to our challenges. When I am spiritually solid, to some extent I can fight against what makes me remain stagnant in life, but when I am weak, I become vulnerable in letting go of my past. Therefore, we need to be spiritually strong so that with courage and determination we will be able to move forward while resisting whatever that becomes a stumbling block to our growth.
We have heard about let go and letting God, which means we ‘let go’ of whatever we have been trying to do on our own so that God can do what only He can do. This requires trust and surrendering oneself to God and giving Him room to work in our lives. The way of God is to start fresh, therefore, we do not have to dwell on the past things which might hold us captive, rather, if we learn to ‘let go’, then we will stop looking behind and start looking with hope towards the future.
After many years of my sabbatical, as I reflect back, I feel happy because the psycho-spiritual renewal program helped me take a look at my inner journey of life. I think, if I had missed that opportunity, I would not have made a serious evaluation by taking the time to reflect on my past, which has helped me move forward. I feel that taking a break after a few years of ministry, gives me time to assess my personal life and see where God is leading me.