The Gift of Time to allow the Lord to Work

This weekend we have a guest speaker, Becky Sander, to present on the English Language Cursillo. With this bulletin front, I want to share with you my experiences with my Cursillo experiences I have had and invite you to be open to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

I was a transitional deacon in 1999 when I was asked by a deacon in Moberly, Deacon Ritter (who has since passed away) to go on a Cursillo weekend at St. Margaret in Osage Bend. Not knowing anything about it except that it was a retreat, I agreed to go. Thursday night was a retreat experience where we had a chance to unplug from the world in which we came from and enter into this experience that awaited us Friday until Sunday late afternoon. It was very low-key, relaxing and just a time to “be” without needing to “do.” Friday morning, everyone was kind, respectful and certainly interested in us entering into the experience at our own pace. Many had never been on a retreat nor renewal experience which was ok. As the day progressed, I was moved and humbled by the way in which the Lord had touched the lives of those giving their witnesses: how these men fell in love with their wives, how they try to use their work environment for Christ, how they try to raise their children and grandchildren for the Lord, how they spend some of their spare time in prayer and so many stories of forgiveness and coming closer to the Lord in many life experiences. More men gave their witnesses on Saturday and Sunday. All of them were impactful for me. What became clearer as the weekend progresses is they were giving us many tools we would be able to use so we too could keep prayer in our daily lives, continue to study what it is our church asked us to believe, and how to have normal (not street evangelization) conversations with people we are around regularly that would not hammer the person nor shy away from our faith. It also became clear to those of us making the weekend, that while these presenters could get up and give their testimony, the Lord has given each of us a testimony/a witness. These men, I would later learn (as I participated on weekends as assistant spiritual director and then as spiritual director) continued to deepen and improve upon their relationship with God; it was not static, but was dynamic. They would be asked to be on team again, give the same talk, but what they shared about themselves and their experience with God were new. As the Lord had given them new experiences, they updated their stories to be more relevant and more current. Whatever they were doing to keep themselves close to the Lord was ongoing and sustaining. And, they wanted us to have the same tools they were using to be able to articulate, sustain and deepen our relationship with God.

On my first weekend and every weekend since, the meals these men cooked were amazing. The unending supply of snacks and drinks was hospitable. Lots of deer sausage and cheese accompanied by plenty of sweets, salts and health seems to be a common staple on both men’s and women’s weekends. The laughter, fellowship, and listening to each other’s stories are always a highlight of each weekend in which I have participated. The prayer experiences were relaxing and meaningful; they were never stressful nor a place where any felt pressure to “do it” or “get it” right; but always a place to truly enter into authentic prayer.

After we already set the date for Becky Sanders to present at our parish this weekend, I was asked to be the spiritual director of the Men’s Cursillo weekend in Edina scheduled for September 19-22. Since I had served on the women’s weekend in March of 2023, I accepted this invitation to be with the men. It will be an investment of my time to give to the Lord and to the men who make the weekend. They will invest their time to the Lord. There is no better return on investment than giving your investment to the Lord. I invite you to invest time in the Lord and experience the generosity of dividends he will pay out to you. Please be open to the message this weekend. People will be at the back of church after Masses to answer your questions. If you are reading this in Spanish, there is a Spanish Language Cursillo as well in our diocese. Reach out to either of our Spanish Speaking Deacons for more information.