It’s been a few days since I returned from a woman’s retreat called Cursillo. After almost a year of planning, I, along with 11 beautiful team members, an amazing priest and deacon, entered a charming retreat house in San Fernando ready to serve 17 sisters. We knew God had called each of the sisters by name, and He was asking us to become His instrument to carry out His plan for each person there.
I’ve spent the past few days trying to compose a worthy reflection regarding the weekend experience, but it remains difficult to put into words. I suppose this is what happens when we come so close to God’s presence, that we are simply left speechless and in awe by His magnificent grace and love. Until this moment I remain at a loss of words, as there isn’t a single word in the human vocabulary that can aptly capture the magnitude of the Lord’s power and mercy.
I began my journey with Cursillo about 7 years ago on my birthday. I still remember this moment clearly, because it was the very first time God revealed Himself as a LIVING, BREATHING being. As I was quietly eating dinner next to a group of strangers, I felt a deep stirring inside my heart. Could this be….God? Wait, is that you?
At the time, His presence came as a deep stirring in the depth of my soul. In an instant, my soul expanded a thousand times in depth and size (I later discovered St. Theresa’s Interior Castle which made perfect sense) and I felt at ONE with Him.
And suddenly I can hear Him! It wasn’t that I can hear his voice with my ears but I can just intuitively feel His words in my heart. And the first thing He said to me is, “Happy birthday Angela. This is the first birthday you’re spending with me.”
In an instant, God fully revealed Himself to me and my life was transformed from inside out.
From that moment I lived with God at the center of my heart. He was no longer someone I simply believed in, but someone alive and real. My relationship with God went from “faith-based” to “experienced-based.” This was truly an amazing grace from Him, a free gift He bestowed upon my lowly soul.
I have to admit it’s sometimes difficult to hear His voice through the daily struggles of marriage, motherhood and life itself. The world is too noisy, and life is littered with too many distractions. Because of this, I sometimes wished God called me to a religious vocation because living as His devoted daughter in the material world is difficult and often painful. Knowing what my soul is capable of through God’s grace and not being able to get there in my ordinary life is hard…and at times, lonely.
But God asks us to bloom where we are planted and He gave me the vocation of marriage and motherhood. I now understand the sacredness of my vocation as a mother and wife and that this too, is Holy order in His eyes. He entrusted me with two beautiful children with one more on the way, and this past weekend, 17 beautiful candidates to carry out His plan of reconciliation, conversion and most importantly, love.
So here I am today, sitting at my desk asking God for the right words to express the gratitude, peace and calm I feel in my heart. Life remains the same, still difficult and full of responsibilities. My daughter is in and out of sleep with a high fever, the house is a mess and there are plenty of bills waiting to be paid. Everything is seemingly normal— but God has touched the depth of my soul once again, and my interior castle feels even larger than before.
God’s love and mercy is truly infinite, is there an end to His amazing grace? God is truly the beginning and end, alpha and omega.
What began on my birthday many years ago came full circle on Valentine’s Day. This time, I witnessed not only my own transformation, but transformations of 17 new Cursillistas and 11 team members. If you saw the radiating beauty on their faces, you would know what I’m talking about. All of us were full of love, peace and grace the entire weekend.
I also witnessed the power of community, prayer and sacrifice– and learned what kind of miracles and blessings await us when a Christ-serving community gathers for a single purpose, not for oneself, but for others.
Through Cursillo, I learned that God has chosen each of us by name and that we are called to be His disciple in our everyday lives. His most Holy grace and mercy are not limited to the twelve disciples in the bible or the numerous saints in history– they are also reserved for US, us ordinary lay people in our everyday environments.
Many years ago I felt a personal calling to become a saint in my everyday life. And this calling is only getting stronger as I continue my 4th day journey. It’s definitely a lofty calling, but a calling I will pursue until I face Him in Heaven.
There are so many stories I want to share and so many awakenings I wish to capture into words but for now, I think it’s best to share with God and see what He has to say. May He provide me with the wisdom to share what I should share and bury what must be treasured in my heart.
May the Grace of God dwell in me always.
Brothers & sisters of 40th English men and women’s Cursillo