Hello, fellow Christians on the journey!
John Lyons wrote of his experience of the Cursillo Encounter held virtually on July 24-25, I would like to share some of my insights and observations as well.
I appreciated that, since it was a Cursillo gathering, we all had lived a Cursillo weekend: there were understandings that we all had. There were goals we all strive to attain. However, there is always much to learn, as we all know. No one on this earth has “arrived”: there are always opportunities for new or enhanced comprehension of what our Lord is calling us to do and be.
Father Mark Seiker, National Cursillo Spiritual Advisor, gave the Spiritual Keynote address at the beginning of the Encounter. There is so much wisdom from those who have gone before us in faith. It is important to read what the saints have written. Father Mark mentioned several saints.
The thoughts from the writings of St. Ambrose really struck me:
“Let your door stand open to receive Him, offer Him a welcome in your mind. Throw wide the gate of your heart.” And from St. Augustine encouraging us to fill our “containers” with what is good, releasing what is not good to make room for more of Jesus:
“Suppose you are going to fill some holder or container, and you know you will be given a large amount. Then you set about stretching your sack or wineskin or whatever it is. Why? Because you know the quantity you will have to put in it and your eyes tell you there is not enough room. By stretching it, therefore, you increase the capacity of the sack, and this is how God deals with us. Simply by making us wait he increases our desire, which in turn enlarges the capacity of the soul, making it able to receive what is to be given to us.
And from Thomas à Kempis’ Imitation of Christ (which I admit that I have never read, but that is going to change):
“The man who lives without Jesus is the poorest of the poor.”
I was able to participate in a breakout session with other attendees from our own Region V as well as from other regions. In our discussion, I heard of a book by Daniel Mueggenborg called “Come Follow Me: Discipleship Reflections on the Sunday Gospel Readings”. There is a book for each liturgical year.
Based on the enthusiastic recommendation from a lay director from another region, I bought the book for our current year, Year A. The first week I had it, the reflections provided me with new insights into the Gospel for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time. This is when Jesus walked on the water, and Peter’s attempt to do the same. 3 things I learned from this book were:
1. Jesus forced the disciples to go without Him to the other side. I had never noticed that. The explanation goes further. In the midst of their aloneness, the reading tells us that the disciples are literally tortured by the sea and winds (similar to the situation that the early Church faced). That they are in a boat is symbolic since the boat was an early symbol of the Church. Even now, the central portion of a traditional church is called the “nave”, a Latin word that means boat.
2. It is at the darkest part of the night when the struggle is most difficult for the disciples, the darkest hour of the entire night. It is then that Jesus comes to them. He is with them just as was promised.
3. The reflection goes on to say that “Sometimes, the trials we face teach us a lot about ourselves and God. Sometimes we only discover our potential when we have to utilize every resource for our survival.”
How true that last point is for us now. I think that I was initially looking at the pandemic restrictions as a necessary, but quite temporary, change in my life and routine. I was motivated to do some organizing (much still needs to be done!), and just accepting this time for what it seemed: a brief blip on the landscape of my life.
As the pandemic continues to limit our activities and interactions, it has been harder for me to get motivated. (Grasping the process of knitting is not going well.) The underlying uncertainty of how life will look in the future, when some sense of “normalcy” (whatever that is) will return, what I’m “supposed” to be learning during this time, all weigh on me. Fortunately, I know that GOD is in control. Everything is His. I am His. All I have and do is His. HE knows how this will all work out. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Your Brother and Sister in Christ