An Indian priest with 20 years experience in delivering scripture-based meditative retreats is giving retreats in five Perth parishes during Lent.
Divine Word Missionary, Fr Gilbert Carlo svd, has already presented retreats at Balcatta and Ocean Reef, will complete a retreat at Karrinyup tomorrow (Thursday) night, and in the two following weeks will give retreats at Dianella and Riverton parishes.
Ordained 25 years ago, Fr Gilbert began delivering his unique style of retreats in India 20 years ago and has been presenting them in Australia for the last 12 years. He has also appeared in many other countries, including the USA, UK and Germany.
He begins the retreats by speaking at all Parish Masses on the Sunday and conducts evening sessions from 7.30 – 9pm from Monday to Thursday. Fr Gilbert also makes himself available in parish churches in the mornings for Reconciliation and personal spiritual guidance.
The theme of the Retreats is Healing – through God’s love and forgiveness; through the Word of God; through the Sacraments (with exposition on Wednesday); and through His body and blood (with Mass on Thursday nights).
His talks ands prayers cover healing of body, mind and spirit.
Fr Gilbert moved with familiarity and affection through the scriptures from Genesis (God’s promise to Abraham and all his descendants) to Revelation (Christ’s promise to each one us, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Drawing on an almost endless array of quotations, Fr Gilbert emphasised over and over God’s promises that if we believe in him, we will have life everlasting; that if we believe, we will not be separated from him; that forgiveness is available to all who repent; and that “when you repent, I will not remember your past sins”.
We should not carry the burden of guilt or shame for past sins because God has already forgiven them and forgotten them.
Likewise we should not carry any unnecessary burdens because Jesus said, “Come to me you who labour and are burdened and I will give you rest.”
These burdens weaken the heart and the body, and prevent us rejoicing in the love of God.
Fr Gilbert’s instruction included meditative prayer, the Jesus Prayer or Prayer of the Heart.
He urged people to enjoy praying and to enjoy contemplating all the joyful scripture messages, including the understanding that without God we can do nothing, but once we believe we are never without God.