An Octoberfest in the Holy Spirit
- Day II
By Michail Rassool
Father James Manjackal M.S.F.S. is conducting a retreat in Munich from October 1 to 4. Franziskus v. Ritter-Groenesteyn gives his report of the second day.
Munich (www.kath.net) The Indian priest Father James Manjackal M.S.F.S. is giving a retreat from October 1st to 4th in Munich. Franziskus v. Ritter-Groenesteyn is attending and will be writing a daily summary of each day of the retreat for KATH.NET.
The second day – “More than just bread, a magnet or something…”
The big theme of the second day has to do with confession and the Holy Eucharist. Sin has become a big taboo today. Our times are sick because nobody believes in the existence of the devil anymore – that makes it easy for him. Nobody wants to go to confession anymore, for the insight that they are sinning is missing, Fr. James remarks.
Using the story of Kind David’s sin of adultery and the murder of the husband, Fr. James explains that the devil causes the hardening of the heart, which prevents us from arousing remorse. David had several opportunities to repent, but he didn’t use them. On the contrary, he did everything to hide the sin. The world praised him for it, because they only what was exterior. The Prophet Nathan’s sledge hammer method was necessary to get him to confess his wrongdoings before the Lord, which ultimately inspired him to write the most famous psalm of penance in the Bible: Psalm 51.
Fr. James talks about a more recent example: “One day a man asks for
healing. He had cancer of the larynx. I refuse, telling him he should attend
the retreat. He refuses, doesn’t have that much time. I am told how much
good this man has done for others. So I pray over him, but I don’t feel
any peace. I ask him if he went to confession. He says yes. I continue
to pray but the lack of peace becomes stronger. Something is wrong with
this man. I ask again, yes, he confesses his sins every week. I ask the
Holy Spirit. The situation becomes clear. I ask the man if he also confessed
the adultery he committed with Monika, his wife’s best friend, who is also
married, the adulterous relationship he has been living in for 17 years
Five priests are present to hear confessions. There is a continuous line-up in front of the confessionals. To one side an African priest is sitting, a young white man is kneeling before him. The priest blesses him, they hug each other as if they were the best of friends. Besides, it is striking how much relief, how much joy can be seen on peoples’ faces here when they leave the confessional.
Father James introduces another common topic. In the middle of Munich’s
gay and lesbian quarter he proclaims: “God loves the sinner, but
never the sin. Therefore, love your brothers and sisters, but not what
they are doing. Pray for them. Homosexuality was never part of God’s plan.”
With that, he dismisses us for the lunch break and we have time to think about these things, to talk about them. On coming back we are told at the entrance, “bring your cards with you tomorrow, otherwise you won’t get in, tomorrow many will come.” Tomorrow is a holiday, many may pass by the church on the way to the Oktoberfest, not going inside. It is comforting to know, that many will still come to see Fr. James, even if there will surely not be quite that many. There is also another thought that may comfort us: there, at the Wies’n they can meet the parish priest from St. Maximilian. For he is there, serving at the grass-roots level. He is with the people, completely in the tradition of St. Paul. He brings the litre mugs of beer to the tables. His wages will be given to a charitable organization, as well as the money from the sale of Fr. James’ books and DVD’s in his parish church of St. Maximilian.
Fr. James continues, speaking about how the gospel is alive in the third Millennium: “Last week a boy got up from his wheelchair while he was listening to a DVD. Jesus does not only heal here. His power is not tied down.” I intend to buy a DVD for someone, who God will show to me.
The theme of the afternoon is the Holy Eucharist. Fr. James tries to
make clear to us how important it is to receive Holy Communion, Jesus Himself,
in the state of grace. The Holy Eucharist can bring us great blessings,
but also a great curse. Here in Germany so many people go to Communion
every Sunday and they have never gone to confession.” Then he tells the
story of a young couple. Their child was dumb. They prayed for healing
but nothing happened. They had faith, went to confession and to Holy Mass.
In the Spirit, Fr. James sees the mother-in-law. It turns out that the
couple put the man’s mother-in-law into an old-age home.
Later on, during the healing prayer he will be able to translate the
healing of physical sufferings with the anatomically exact names: three
abdomens, five pancreas, etc. Yes, the number of miracles proclaimed will
also have increased on the evening of the second day. Is it because of
the strong faith of the Croatians? A strong presence can be felt. I look
at my neighbour, questioningly. Is it the Holy Spirit?
Go to the previous page