“You can experience this life in Christ every day” Fr. Scott Courtney
My friends, may the Lord give you His peace!
This past weekend I was on a Teens Encounter Christ (TEC) retreat with local high school students. May God be praised for His grace and mercy as I am still in awe of His goodness. I am sure most of us have had those moments in our lives where we get a nice jumpstart or lifeline to give us a new perspective and outlook on life. I am inspired by the young people I met and got to know over the weekend and am moved by their desire to love Jesus more and strive to live for Him. It was refreshing to see high school students saying yes to Jesus in a profound and real way. May Jesus be praised!
Over the course of the weekend, the reality hit me that most who have a weekend retreat experience do not find a way to make the fruit of the retreat last. It is nice to come together for a few days, experience the Mass in a new way, pour your heart out in Confession, and be supported by a strong Catholic community, and also to have a great desire for those things when you leave, but for some reason it all fades. We go back to our way of life, excited and refreshed, but maybe after a few weeks or months, we lose the fire we received and fall back into our former lives.
As I was praying for those on the retreat this past weekend, I was struck by the words of the spiritual director of the retreat who declared that we can experience what the Lord offers us in a retreat experience every single day. A great emphasis of the weekend was to fall in love with the Mass, and we can go to Mass every day. The sacrament of Confession is something that many take advantage of on a retreat weekend but never make a commitment to after they return home. What a gift Confession is, and it is available every day. To go at least once a month, maybe even more, can be very helpful in the spiritual life. Also, retreats allow a forming of a great Catholic family or community, and how beautiful it is to see the bonding and love that is shared when strangers come together united in love of Christ and the Church. Great news! A supportive community to live the faith in and surround yourself with is very much available. It is not a community that just gathers once a year and then dissolves when the weekend is over. The Body of Christ, the Church, is that community that we all are a part of, and it can be very helpful to find support and encouragement striving to live a life of faith. Every day, we can find the community we need to be strong and committed to Christ and His Church.
Every day, we can experience Christ in the Eucharist, in the sacrament of Confession, and in a rich Catholic community. Every day, we can open the Bible and read God’s Word. Every day, we can pray the rosary and give our lives to Mary as she leads us to Jesus. Every day, we can sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament in silence and be renewed by the One who loves us and died for us. Every day, we can laugh and find great joy in the gift of our faith. Every day, we can talk to a friend and spread encouragement and support. Every day, we can have a meal together and let God’s love be present in conversation and friendship. Every day, we can play sports and silly games that give us great joy and contentment in the name of our Lord. EVERY DAY.
Thanks be to God for the TEC retreat this past weekend and for all retreat experiences that renew our faith and our very lives. May we come to realize that what we experienced is a gift every day to be received from the One who is our hope and joy.
Every day we can experience the fullness of life in Him. Why not start today…
God Bless You,
* Catholic News Agency columns are opinion and do not necessarily express the perspective of the agency.