Lenten Zoom Stay-At-Home Spiritual Retreat For The Clergy Of Our Archeparchy

The retreat master for the Zoom Spiritual Retreat that was held last week was Monsignor John Esseff, a Roman Catholic priest who is presently serving in the Diocese of Scranton, Pa. He had served as a retreat director and confessor to Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He is 88 years old and has been a priest for 63 years.

Msgr. Esseff was baptized into the Maronite Church. From an early age, John had wanted to become a priest. As a student, he was awakened to Christ living in the world today through “me,” the human person.

Throughout the retreat, Msgr. Esseff’s approach was Christocentric, focusing on Christ and how we can, as did St. Paul, say: “It is no longer I who live, but rather Christ who lives within me.” (Galatians 2:20) We are called to wholeheartedly give ourselves over, surrender to the Holy Will of God.

Some theses

  • From the time of our Baptism, we have “put on Christ” and Christ lives within us. Christian service is one of JOY. If we wish to serve the Lord God and to love our neighbor, we must manifest our joy in the service we render to God and to others. We are called to open our hearts in a JOY that presses us onward, forward, and which fears nothing. The Christian
    life is a CALL to build up the Kingdom of Love already here on earth.
  • The Lord God is today in the world. God can be found in the “ordinary,” in the simplest of our daily activities. The Holy Will of God is the way to attain peace and virtue. We are called to discern good from evil.
  • For evil too exists and the devil tempts us trying to lead one astray. But God is omnipotent, all-powerful, and gives us the grace to withstand the temptations of the devil. With God’s help, we are able to discern what is “of God” and what is not.
  • Paul in his epistle to the Galatians (5:22-23) tells us what are the fruits of life under grace, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are Love, Joy, Peace, Forbearance, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control. A life not lived in Christ, lived not under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, would have the opposite result. Christ is the Light of the world and so too we are “lights,’ who let our “light shine before men so that they may see the goodness of (our) deeds and give glory to our Father in Heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

Fr. George Worschak