From an "Outpost" in Maine
Recognizing her need, Kathy travels to Boston for the Advent Retreat
I moved from Maryland to Maine three years ago. The move took me far from my fraternity group and nowhere near any School of Community meetings. Essentially, I was in an “outpost” where it seemed only missionary priests from Cameroon, Africa came to do their service work. It was remote! However, this is not meant to paint a desolate picture. I have never been happier until now, with a clear vocation and a loving husband!
Nonetheless, I still felt a longing during Advent for the many Communion and Liberation spiritual gatherings I was missing. So, my husband and I decided to make the trip to Massachusetts to meet with the Boston CL Community for the New England Fraternity Advent Retreat on December 11. We planned our trip to the Advent retreat along with an overnight stay in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on our way home. From the start, we desired a beautiful weekend and were full of great expectation. The Advent retreat was led by Fr. Luca. The key take-away from the retreat was an awareness of the importance of my belonging to a people. I became aware that this history was started almost 30 years ago, as I recognized many faces from my first experiences in Communion and Liberation. “We do not pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps” said Fr. Luca at the beginning of his talk during the retreat. He pointed to the fact that we need another to guide and accompany us on this road to heaven. I know that my experience in the Movement, with these friends, brought me to where I am in my faith now. The experience even touches my move to Maine! I have been accompanied, and I truly need the presence of others on this path. I need others like my husband and the dear friends I have known in this companionship for so many years.
Advent is a time to reawaken our hearts. It is a time to be aware of the present. We can look into the past with thanksgiving and the future with hope by being passionate about the present. We have all had such an intense few years with COVID. Despite this, I can see the blessings. I had the great fortune to join a Maryland School of Community remotely during these times. I have such gratitude that God has given me these years with these people to continue to inform my life.
I am so happy we had the opportunity to be part of the Advent retreat in Massachusetts and to once again be recalled to the essential. Advent for me was truly a time of reawakening to the present. We can start again to look for Him anew now, even in this ‘outpost’ of Maine.
Thanks Boston CL friends!
Here is a Psalm from the Advent retreat that I really enjoyed for meditation:
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
for his steadfast love endures for ever!
Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.