4/22/23 School of Leaders
Each Easter Season we are all "reborn" in our faith with the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. We are blessed with the waters of baptism at Easter mass and have an opportunity to recommit ourselves to following Jesus more closely.
About 25 Cursillo Leaders gathered at St. Therese of Lisieux and shared breakfast, fellowship and renewed our baptismal vows in lead by Deacon Bob Rodriguez during his Spiritual Reflection.
"Being baptized as children… or whenever it happened would make no sense and have no meaning if we grew up in faith and didn’t put our baptism into effect…if we didn’t live like people who have been baptized into the Catholic Church.
Our baptism would be nonsense if we did not decide for ourselves that the decision made for us by our parents was in fact what we ourselves also wanted for ourselves." ~ excerpt from the Witness Corner
Guided by the principles from the National Cursillo Center, witness speaker Donna Holmstrom, encouraged everyone to reflect on their Baptismal vows and go deeper by developing an intimate relationship with Christ- to surrender themselves to Jesus and follow His prompting for their lives.
The Cursillos in Christianity Movement provides us with a sure method to enable us to live what is fundamental for being a Christian in our God-given environments. This method is our interior tripod of Piety (Heart), Study (Intelligence), and Action (Will). These three attributes correspond to the basic functions of the human person; namely, to think, to want, and to act; actions which themselves correspond with the theological virtues of Faith, Hope, and Love.
Let us remember that God loved us first. How do we know this? Because our Lord Jesus Christ, in doing the Will of the Father, incarnated Himself in humanity in order to redeem it, and bring us the knowledge, life, and love of the Father prolonged through and in the Holy Spirit who makes Christ present in our life, living temples of the Holy Spirit.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was so obedient to the Will of the Father that He underwent His Passion and Death and in so doing, died for you and me. In these actions, He was consciously introducing into this world an original love which was unknown until He himself lived it. By doing so, He was able to concretely and undeniably demonstrate how He understood and manifested His love: “No one can give a greater proof of his love than by laying down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
The Passion and Death of Jesus should lead us to reflect on the love that God has for us not only as a community of believers but, as an individual love for each and every one of us. God loves each one of us in a profoundly intimate way.
Christ’s Passion and Death should also lead us to reflect and understand that as disciples who follow Jesus faithfully, we are called and expected to follow Him into dislike, ridicule, even persecution from those who find the Gospel threatening to their ways of thinking, wants, and actions. We must remember Jesus words; “If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first. No slave is greater than his master.” (John 15:18, 20).
Love is therefore the gift of self and the desire for the happiness of one’s friends; a love which is so total that one is even willing to sacrifice oneself for them. Examples of this kind of generosity abound throughout New Testament scripture; for example in Romans 5:8, Paul tells us, “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us.”
The Lord goes even further. In John 15:9, we read, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.” Consequently, there can no longer be a question of human attachment alone; Christ’s love is also divine love. To Love as Christ loves is to love both spiritually and humanly; to share in God’s own love and to extend it to others.
In a certain sense, the whole truth is love, because as Saint John tells us, “God is love.” (1 John 4:8). To love is to possess God and be ourselves immersed in God; it is the love of God in us, communicated by the presence of the three divine Persons, which will convert us to live immersed in sanctifying grace, always following the path pointed out for us by the light of the Word of God. And it is thus that the love of God is manifested in us, transforming us and identifying us with the three divine Persons through our complete union with Jesus Christ.
Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for us to have an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ in order for our piety to be genuine. And in order for this intimate relationship to start or to be rekindled with our Lord, King, and Redeemer, Jesus Christ; we must die to our self-centered attitude and human will.
The Cursillo Movement should be the epitome of love. Our model is to make a friend, be a friend and bring a friend to Christ. Without love we cannot live this model. It is the love of the Father, through His son, that He demonstrates that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, no height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
We just celebrated the most sacrificial action that anyone would ever do for us in the Easter Triduum. Commemorating Jesus's death and resurrection reminded me of how much God loves and adores each and every one of us. During Palm Sunday mass and Good Friday stations of the cross, my eyes were filled with tears as I laid all my burdens at the foot of the cross and joined my earthly sins with Jesus’ sufferings. I felt Him calling me to a more reverent and fervent prayer life to advance His Kingdom here on earth, to look to Him first, above all things, to guide and lead my piety, study and action of His will for my life.
I believe He is calling all of us leaders and challenging us to step up our game because the spiritual battle is upon us and we need to protect ourselves more with the sword of the spirit- the word of God- to overcome challenges we face and be the authentic Christians He has called us to be. We must stand together in faith, hope, and love with the Holy Trinity, Mother Mary, Saint Joseph and all the angels and Saints to have victory over the evil one. We must be diligent and vigilant to stay close to Him in community with one another to rise above the earth into the heavenly realm to bring love, peace and joy to all the world, one friend at a time.
In Ephesians 3:14-21, St. Paul addresses the gentiles to strengthen their faith as he wrote a prayer to his readers: “For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of His glory, He may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through His Spirit and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with the fullness of God. Now to Him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than we can ask or imagine, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”
How can we accomplish this? By surrendering ourselves to the will of God daily, through sacrifice, prayer and fasting, for the sake of His sorrowful passion and bringing Christ's light in us to others. The first step towards this mission of holiness is to go deeper, to surrender to His will.
Let each of us renew our commitment to Christ today, to begin a new chapter in our lives and that of the Cursillo community. Let us surrender ourselves to Him as He surrendered His life for us. This praise and worship action will ignite our love back to Jesus for the sacrifices He had made for us!
Play video (5 mins): Hillsong - I Surrender (with lyrics) - YouTube