Break me into million pieces

by: Sr. Joy A. De Vera, RA

I considered our one-day recollection experience in the formation program when I was a Novice as one of my favorites. We had a very unique activity that brought out a lot of reflection within me. It was a game called “Break the Pot” challenge. We are about 80+ novices from different congregations and nationalities. We were divided into groups.

The first instruction to us by Fr. Allan (our retreat facilitator from Nazareth Team) is to break the pot using things that we have. My groupmates lined up. One by one, we tried our best to throw things to break the pot. Most of my groupmates tried throwing their shoes, sandals, leather belt… some were convincing the others, let’s try throwing your watch! Good thing I brought my hard-bound journal. I handed it to a Kenyan Redemptorist brother, and he successfully broke the pot. We rejoiced and were delighted because a bountiful amount of assorted candies came out of the broken pot. We were like kids yelling and cheering for our little accomplishment. Then, we were asked to have few moments of silence to reflect on the activity.

         Here is my personal reflection:

  • There is something good that comes out of being broken.
  • Letting go of attachments that I possess can bring out the best in me.
  •  I don’t have the courage to do it alone. I need spiritual accompaniment and God’s grace to help me.

The afternoon session was more challenging. This time, we needed to put together the broken pot. We were the last group to finish putting together the broken pieces using the scotch tape. It was tedious. I hear comments from my groupmates “pwede na ‘yan…” I was firm in answering back “What if you are this pot? Do you want that if you will be put back together, someone will tell you, ‘pwede na yan’?”

Putting together the broken pieces entails a lot of patience, determination, perseverance, and presence of believers. After a few moments of silence, a lot of insights came out.

  • In life, it is easier to break anything or anyone, than to fix!  
  • Putting every piece of the broken pot together takes time! Good thing my groupmates were not impatient and that we did not get pressured to other groups who finish the activity ahead of us.
  • When we have put it back, it was not flawless as before – It had scotch tape all over that is so visible. The small pieces (especially the powder pieces) were harder to put together. Actually, we can’t! We were already limited in that area.
  • Our human capacity to restore is not enough. We need another tool to use in restoration – God’s grace!

This activity led me to appreciate the kind of formation that I had. I appreciate my formators and spiritual mentors who guide me to tediously fix what is broken in me. I was grateful how the Lord gave me the needed time and space and the fullness of His attention to restore my fragmented being…

His promises in the scripture became so alive:

  • “With age-old love, I have loved you!” (Jeremiah 31:3);
  • “Do not fear for I have redeemed you, I have called you by name, you are mine!” (Isaiah 43:1);
  • “Behold, I will make all things new!” (Revelation 21:5).

Few days after the recollection, pieces of spiritual crumbs led me to a deeper sense of reflection.

Here are some of the remarkable thoughts that was written on my journal:

God’s way of restoration is more than the scotch tape solution.

God’s capacity is greater than the Human capacity to restore.

When our capacity ends, His grace begins!

         The Lord filled my imagination with this thought:

God’s way of restoration if I will be that broken pot, will pound me into powdered pieces even to million or billion pieces and asked me the question, “Are you ready to be broken more?” He will put the pieces in hot water to change its form (Imagining this led me to feel the pain of this insight). Then, once it become malleable like clay, God can re-make the pot flawlessly and perfectly. It will become a new creation! No sign of brokenness at all! This is indeed God’s grace that no human capacity can do. The process will be painful…as the famous line goes “No pain, no gain!”

How about you? Are you ready to be broken more?

I am hopeful to believe His promise of newness like what St. Paul says:

17 “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:

everything old has passed away;

see, everything has become new!”

– 2 Corinthians 5:17

Lord, do not hesitate to melt us, mold us, make us into the best version of ourselves.

Restore our fragmented being into the perfection of who we really are– in the likeness of your image! Amen.

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