I returned home late last night after spending the weekend surrounded by some of the most courageous people I have ever met. I had the privilege to serve and care for them this weekend during the Retreat for the Seriously Ill. Life is sometimes very precarious and the frailty of the human person was quite evident this weekend. But what was even stronger was the resilience and strength of the human spirit. I witnessed such bravery, I really have no words to adequately describe it.
They came, all ages and all infirmities, physical, emotional and spiritual, and they rested in the Lord and were refreshed. They laid down their burdens for just a little while and trusted in Our Lord’s care. There was laughter. There were tears shed and many, many prayers prayed. There was healing of mind, body and spirit. But most of all there was love.
Christ was present in every person there. I had opportunities to listen, I mean really listen as one would pore out their heart and share their journey. It was an honor to do so. You could feel God’s presence physically in the room, during Mass, adoration, even in the silent hallways at night as care givers sat watch over those who came for respite.
I heard many things this weekend, my favorite being “God loves us to the point of ridiculousness”. One of the priests on the retreat gave a talk on how it is that God loves us so much, we truly cannot comprehend the depth or the breadth of it. It just ridiculous how much love He has for us!
This is what Advent and Christmas are all about. Love looks like something, it takes on human form with the Incarnation. As scripture says “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given…” God’s love for us was made manifest in a small helpless child. His love for us knows no bounds.
He gave His Son for me, for me a silly, sinful woman who really doesn’t deserve all the second chances God has given me. I can completely reject Him and HE WILL STILL LOVE ME!
So we suffer, we are discouraged, we are in pain, but we are NEVER ALONE! God is the source of every good gift. He is the source of strength we need to fight the hopelessness and weariness of this world, of our illnesses and our sinfulness. GOD IS HOPE!! Hope is found in the Christ Child and therefore found in each of us. For he became one of us to save us!
This weekend gave me the opportunity to once again acknowledge that love and to wallow in it. It gave me renewed hope and strength to pick up my suffering cross and walk with Him in faith and trust that He will bring me home to Him one day. This weekend brought me so much love, I cannot even grasp it’s fullness yet. It brought me to the manger to kneel before my King, and I am better for it.
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