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The Unexpected Has Become Flesh

After a year of lockdowns, Sofia has the chance to gather with friends during the Fraternity Exercises.

Watching the Exercises in MN

This weekend of the Spiritual Exercises, April 16 to April 18, was the first time in over a year that we were able to be with our friends in the community indoors.

This year was a challenge for us: we moved our growing family across the country during the pandemic and struggled to partake in the life of the community. We had our second child in November and the winter months were particularly long and often lonely.

Yet, Father Carrón’s challenge to live the real intensely with the certainty that nothing is lacking always stuck with us throughout the year. This challenge was sometimes in the back of our minds, but often surfaced in our hearts, helping us live more happily. In fact, when we wanted to change our circumstances, we suffocated in them; when we were open to them, we could breathe. Changing diapers, making meals, and spending the days sitting on the floor playing with the kids became the way I was loved every day and the way I could love Jesus so simply and concretely.

After a year of not seeing anyone in person but family, being in the flesh to do the Spiritual Exercises was something extraordinary.

The weekend was simple but so unexpected for us. We watched the lessons, prayed together, and ate together. In between these structured moments were unexpected moments of hope that made the words we heard become flesh: Marg asking to sit with me while I breastfed alone; spontaneous Irish step dancing after playing countless games of spike ball; David taking our son’s hand to play on the trampoline; Becca holding our baby to give us a break; and quietly playing trains with Abby and Vi in the back of the living room.

These faces are proof that Carrón’s words are true: The unexpected is the only hope, and the unexpected has become flesh. All these people have a similar mark: they live in reality in a more human way. This fills me with admiration and challenges me in the depths.

This weekend also taught me what Carrón means by “the problem is not of intelligence but of attention.” This year of not seeing anyone heightened our senses to searching for and recognizing “the beloved in a crowd.” Our family is grateful that the Beloved showed up this weekend through our friends.

Sofia, St. Paul, Minnesota


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