As I have posted previously, members of the Diaconate classes ordained in 2012, 2013, and 2014, are required to come together for a joint retreat. This year’s retreat was held at Saint Edmund’s Retreat Center, on Enders Island, Mystic, CT. Our retreat director was Father William Murphy, who is on the staff of St. Pope John XXIII National Seminary, MA.
Some random thoughts from the retreat:
The Church’s primary message, received from Jesus Christ, what we Deacons are to proclaim by our words and actions: God loves us, God cares for us.
No matter what matter troubles afflict us, no matter what anxieties there are in our lives, “we are being held in God’s arms, we are safe!”
In the Book of Exodus, we see the Hebrews threatened by Pharaoh’s army, God tells them to stand firm, and not to be afraid, and He will save them. God is also telling us to stand firm in the face of pain and suffering we may be experiencing; He will be there to help us. God wants us bring all thing to Him, our joys and our fears. In the Gospels, Jesus promises that He will be there to help us with our burdens.
As Deacons, we are to be witnesses of the Love of God. When we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ, by the words we speak to others, by the care we give to others, we are witnessing to God’s love. When we help to raise people up from their burdens, we are witnessing to the love and hope that comes to us through Jesus Christ.
I know that for some these words may sound hollow; I will admit that at times the road ahead right now looks dark threatening. But I also know that God cares for me, and is trying to help me, right here, right now, if only I just open my heart and soul to his Presence. I trust in the words of Jesus, when today, He promises to be with me, and will be with me till the end of the age.
This is the truth all of us Christians, especially we ministers of His Word must witness to, at every moment of every day.
A task Father gave to us Deacons was to remember the words from our Ordination and live them: “receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ whose heralds you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe, and practice what you teach.”
The retreat was definitely a time to practice deeper prayer, to be more present and open to my God. The challenge now is carrying that experience forward into my daily life.