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Making the Lord Once Again the Centre of My Life

Eric Wachira

I went to St. Pius X Minor Seminary for my High School studies. Compulsory routine wasn’t limited to, but included daily morning Mass, mid-day prayers, evening prayers, night prayers, Adoration every Sunday and recollections each term. I greatly loved recollections, liturgical dancing at Sunday Mass, chanting of psalms and prayers from the breviary at morning mass, adoration, evening and night prayers. This earned me the adulation of my peers that I’d make a fantastic priest one day!

The theme of recollection days was always silence and solitude to get yourself in the prayer mood to get in touch with God on a personal level. They took place on Saturdays but always began at night prayers the Fridays prior and ended with Holy Mass at 4 p.m. the next day.

Personally, I took recollections very seriously (most students only did so to avoid punishment). I was almost always the first for confession. These greatly contributed to the growth in my spiritual life to the point that it got me wondering: Do people on the outside really get to have such days for this as well?

Enter Foyer of Love Youth Recollection at Philothea Retreat Center.

I’d long left high school and had sort of lost my longing to do the extra to grow spiritually. I wouldn’t be overstretching it if I said that these recollections gave me this feeling like I was back to those recollections in high school once more. The problem was, the void had grown due to my laxity in doing the extra in the spiritual sense.

This was owed by the fact that I had met the real world and wanted to be in it greatly. Whereas I didn’t care for being different from others throughout high school, in the real world, I did. So, in conjunction with my love for liturgy and prayer, I mixed it with love for all the pleasantries of the world, namely party life and like any other teenager, the ladies.

Foyer of Love recollections were my escape because I didn’t really like who I was becoming or what I was doing, so much so that I tried never to miss them. It was an opportunity for me to confess my sins in a place where I wasn’t well known and wanted to “avoid the priest’s judgement.” My love for God had been overtaken by love for the world. The more I frequented, I felt like it was always a cycle of confessing the same sins!

So, I stopped going altogether out of shame.

It was while I was in my hiatus that I started to feel empty and the longing to go back for those monthly recollections grew, but I couldn’t go back. How could I? ‘I was a mess’ or so I told myself.

I soul searched a lot during this time and came to the profound realization that Foyer of Love recollections greatly impacted my spiritual life and re-ignited my relationship with my God. My constant failures and shortcomings were the Father’s way of reminding me (and all of us really) of His abundance in mercy and that no matter how many times I fell, He was always going to welcome me back with great joy and love. This was in many ways confirmed by most of the talks that Fr. George often gave during the recollection days.

So, you see, the recollections were a purification for me. They were literally God sent. Even though they began as an escape for me, they became a motivation for me to get back to that state of grace I had missed so much. And so with great joy I welcome Jesus and always commune with others to say: Live Jesus in our hearts!