Associate Retreat: In Cloud and Fire – Faith Alive!
At Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga at the Associates’ Sept. 20-22, 2013, retreat, Sister Grace Sauvé blessed us with deep and inspiring guides to living the life to which we are called, both as Christians and especially as CSJ Associates.
Scripture quotations from both the Old and New Testaments reminded us of how deeply we are called to a commitment to listen to how God is at work within all of our experiences. “Jesus came to reveal the truth and the reality of a God who is love” transforming our lives through our daily events. Sister especially encouraged us to listen to God’s word spoken in our own hearts.
This was illustrated by examples from Sister’s own life story. Her mother quietly influenced her by her simple lived faith as she busied herself with many children. Her father, as well, in his struggle with providing for his family, taught them “the blessings and importance of prayer and faith that sustained him.”
We were encouraged to spend time reflecting on our own story - the people who were examples of faith alive for us, and what continues to nourish and sustain us on our present journey. “Do we try to see God at work with the eyes of faith?” we were asked.
Like Sister Grace, perhaps we too have discovered the Divine Presence also in nature and in the present events of each day. “Every breath we draw is a gift of God’s love and every moment of existence is a grace.” — Thomas Merton
We were treated to illustrations from both Old and New Testament scriptural images concerning Cloud, Fire and Desert, giving us a deeper understanding of the meaning of these images in our own lives.
Finally, we were blessed with an in-depth reflection on Faith and Our Charism — of union with God and communion with all of creation. We are all brothers and sisters abiding in divine love.
Father Médaille the co-founder of the CSJ Community, refers to this process of “union-ing” as self-empty-ing love, lived out eternally by God and we are invited to share in this same love,
We are grateful to all the retreatants who live out these reflections in their daily lives, to the Providence and St. Jude Associate Communities, and to the Associate leadership team who directed the whole process which we gratefully experienced.
Joanne Daley CSJ