It is my prayer that, as we journey together with Eduardo through this study of ‘Encounter with Oneself’, that we will gain the gifts that we need to be more Christlike for others, glorifying God with our lives.
I invite you to offer your efforts along with me, during this study, as a prayer to lift up all those who’s struggle is overwhelming, especially those who suffer without faith, hope, or love. Those of us, by the grace of God, who are faring well, during this pandemic, I feel, have a responsibility to gratefully do our best, to do our best for the sake of others.
As we examine the wisdom that Eduardo teaches us about ‘WHO we are’, it will be much clearer to us when we look through the lens of ‘WHO’s we are’. You and I are God’s beloved sons and daughters.
Eduardo names several qualities to consider in the exercise of encountering ourselves: Some may already be part of our consciousness, while others may have never crossed our minds. I encourage you to reflect on and note the ones that you recognize as present in your own self-awareness and maybe, more importantly, those you have never considered for yourself.
So, here we go… “Dear Eduardo guide us on this journey of self- encounter!”
- “Each of us is an individual and a constant source of living values; somebody who is remarkable; someone who is unique and irreplaceable.” (Just imagine if every child grew up hearing these words of affirmation!)
- “As God’s children, we are created to be fully alive. (Saints are often spoken of as being ‘fully alive!) Dynamic (full of energy and positive in attitude) “specific, focused and not easily influenced.”
- “We are meant to be aware of our own value and the value of others with critical perception,” (critical, not in a negative sense) “enabling us to recognize our own success, as well as our failures… and the value of what we value.” From the first rollo of our 3- day weekend, we examined the value of what we valued, to discern what our Ideal was… to honestly see the value of what I value, I have to look at it in the light of what is God’s Truth.
- “Each of us is somebody uniquely capable of unique possibilities with a structure and a vision, a focus, a perspective and specific possibilities that only each of us can carry out fully and responsibly because you and I are aware of our self; our life; our responsibility; our mission and our greatness.” God sees the great potential He created each of us for. Why would we not do all that we can to know and embrace what that is?
- “When we familiarize ourselves with and reflect on how these realities shape and bless our lives, it’s important to remember to go beyond knowledge and reflection and hold these things in prayer and consciously live the truth of what God has revealed to us. This brings about healthy self-esteem that enables us to value ourselves without pride and to understand others.”In reflecting on these writings of Eduardo, it’s clear how beautifully all this applies to the rollos and meditations of the 3-Day weekend, gradually building on each other, not only to encounter ourselves but certainly God and others.
- “Through their own efforts (the candidates) and God’s, they come to be their own person in self-awareness and freedom, using their conscious freedom to become the captain of their own ship. Each one must know the TRUTH to continue being free, guided by the TRUTH, in which direction to take.”“Any Cursillo in Christianity has to begin with an encounter with oneself Many of us come to the weekend distracted by everything that has been invading our senses, taking our minds away from what really matters, which is … God’s LOVE and TRUTH. Being ‘still and knowing that God is God’ is a challenge often expressed by many.
- “In order to become fully human, we need to go on discovering our self as a person, which is essential: a coming together of our capacity for conviction; decision and perseverance!” (a coming together of our firmly held beliefs; choosing to live our beliefs and being committed and steadfast in doing so.)
- “When we establish the self-discipline to exercise a consciousness of realizing our potential, we can accept and embrace the self that we will encounter.” That is my prayer for each of you as it is for me.It gives me hope, to know that encountering myself in these ways, can enable me to “encounter others free of negative judgments and presumptions.” It can be a tall order to fill, as my human selfish will struggles to conform to Jesus’ call for me to love and serve with His heart and mind. I need His grace to not create or give in to obstacles to His grace.At the time I was preparing this rollo on ‘Encountering Self’, I was participating in an 8-week on-line study of Edith Stein “Seeker of Truth”. It was exciting to discover the parallels between her thinking and Eduardo’s, not to mention St. John Paul II, which so beautifully mirror each other.
Eduardo Bonnin, St. Pope John Paul II, and St. Edith Stein, fully encountered themselves and God, giving them the freedom to see the potential God created in each person and love them unconditionally.
On a few occasions, Larry and I have had the privilege of meeting with a couple of Cursillistas who journeyed as friends with Eduardo, for years, including in Ultreyas and small group reunions. When we enthusiastically share with them a revelation about something we’ve come to understand (that is a matter of course to them), they respond with delight for us, not judging us as ‘slow learners’, but encouraging us to continue in our journey of discovery.
What it means to encounter oneself, is much more than a theory that these veteran Cursillistas understand. It’s a very natural way of thinking and speaking – it’s a manner of ‘being’ for them. Their authentic encounter with themselves and with God is translated in their open, loving, and generous encounter with whomever God places in their path.
9. Eduardo asks us “Do we respect, consider and value each person? Each of us knows that that is what we are called to do.” As we reflect on this question, the answer becomes quite clear, especially when we include Jesus in the examination of our day.
“Did I respect, consider, and value each person I encountered today?”
How often might we find ourselves judging others, by what they ‘appear’ to be to us? I realize that by acting toward someone, (misguided by my ‘perception’ of them), that I am not free to be my true self. Which in turn does not allow others to freely respond to me, because they really don’t know who they are encountering. Eduardo tells us that we truly encounter someone, “Only when the person is able to make his intentions known to us and opens his mind to us; expressing his own self-awareness and freedom.”
By God’s grace, this becomes the reality of the 3-Day weekends, as team members, being authentic and showing their own vulnerability (their truth), allows for the candidates (often for the first time) to experience the freedom to share deeply from their own hearts.
Beyond the weekend, Ultreya and group reunion are an essential part of our 4 th Day journey, giving us opportunities to continue sharing the ups and downs of our faith life, in freedom & total security.
We are free to fully encounter ourselves when others embrace us with the heart of Christ.
In closing, please be reminded of how remarkable and irreplaceable you are, as you encounter yourself in light of the great potential for which God created you… as a person uniquely capable of unique possibilities. Be encouraged by the Holy Spirit in being aware of your own value and the value of others. Recognize your own success and failures and the value of what you value, living your life freely and responsibly, conscious of your mission and your greatness.
May God give us the grace to share this gift of encouragement with others, so they too, may encounter themselves and our good and loving God.
When every member of the team of leaders on a 3 Day weekend has a good understanding of the wisdom of Eduardo, in “Encountering Oneself” we can look forward to abundant fruit, together as disciples in each of the environments that God has placed us. Christ can count on us, as we wholeheartedly count on Him.