Dear Friends of the Retreat Center,
With the coming of the Holy Spirit, the first followers of Jesus experienced an extraordinary outpouring of gifts that has continued to bless our faith community to this day. As we begin a new retreat season, I want to invite you to think about how these gifts are meant to form us in the spirit that Jesus calls us to live. As they guide and direct us from within, these gifts not only enrich our interior lives, but also build up and renew our life in community.
In The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis writes that “the Holy Spirit…transforms our hearts” and “builds up the communion and harmony of the people of God.” The Spirit also “brings forth a rich variety of gifts, while at the same time creating a unity which is never uniformity but a multifaceted and inviting harmony.” (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, no. 117)
At this time our thoughts sometimes turn to the need for a fuller experience of unity and harmony at all levels of life. Pope Francis reminds us that “Differences between persons and communities can sometimes prove uncomfortable, but the Holy Spirit, who is the source of that diversity, can bring forth something good from all things and turn it into an attractive means of evangelization.” (Pope Francis, The Joy of the Gospel, no. 131)
Saint Paul the Apostle tells us that living in the Spirit leads to a deeper experience of “joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control”. (Galatians 5:22-23) These gifts of the Holy Spirit are qualities that bring new life and a renewed purpose to each of us individually and to our relationships with one another.
A key to the unity that we seek in Christ is to live with openness to the guidance and gifts of the Holy Spirit that strengthen us in our following of Jesus. The gifts of the Spirit offer us practical helps to building up our life with others in charity and peace and strengthen us inwardly.
Our retreat theme for this season, In Christ, United in Mind and Heart, will help us to reflect on this important call to become centered and one in Christ. We look forward to your joining us for a retreat during this season and pray that God’s blessings will be with you in all ways.
Yours in Christ,
Fr. Gerald, C.P.