Friday, July 30, 2010

Reports from the Courage Conference.

Dear Readers,
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My blogger buddy is sending me email updates on the Courage Conference held this weekend outside Chicago.  A local bishop and first chaplain of the St. Paul/Minneapolis Courage chapter, Bishop John LeVoir officiated at the opening Mass yesterday.  My friend is very much caught up in the Holy Spirit directing the retreat, so I will simply reprint his emails as they come in.
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Opening Mass celebrated by the Most Reverend John  LeVoir, bishop of New Ulm, MN.  Mass concelebrated by all the chapter chaplains present.
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After dinner, official welcome by new director of Courage, Inc. Fr. Paul Check from the diocese of Bridgeport. the National Office is moving from NYC to Connecticut.  Fr. Harvey is here; in good spirits, but frail health.  Fr. Check's opening remarks centered on the need for compassion - but with calls for conversion.  Compassion without the call to conversion devolves into sentimentality, while calls for conversion without compassion becomes harsh judgment.  We must have both in balance, and for him that's the legacy of Courage that he is continuing.  Following Fr. Check was a testimony by a male Courage member that was quite moving.  He talked about how the best example of Christ's love for him was from his former lover, who is still in the lifestyle with a different boyfriend.  This man's former lover sacrificed "after being together a year" a future together, letting go and allowing him "the chance to pursue a heterosexual relationship, knowing that he wanted marriage and a family."   The crux of his testimony was that God used the instances of sin in his life, even the distorted relationships, for good; God was present to him even amidst the sins in his life, even when he turned away from God. God kept pursuing him. and he said he believes that the cross of SSA ... the suffering ... is meant to teach us how to love.  The mystery of suffering is a gift from God. God allows our SSA to bring about a better good in our lives and the lives of those around us.  In other words, we shouldn't ask "why me," but "why not me."  Suffering in our lives can be redemptive, as it's a share in the life of our Father who suffered for us, and He extends that gift to us if we only have eyes to see and ears to hear.  Are we listening?  Or do we let our self-pity and anger get in the way and allow evil to separate us from God?

Good stuff.  But I'm sure I'm not recounting this as well as it was presented - I'm tired and I'm late for the Charismatic Prayer/Eucharistic Adoration scheduled for tonight. - Courage Conference Attendee Reporter  

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For those interested, I believe tapes of the major addresses will be made available through the Daughters of St. Paul after the conference - I'll let you know as our "reporter" updates me.  I'm sure all the attendees would appreciate our prayers for them this weekend.

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Art:  Virgin and Child with the Saints in Glory, GIOVANNI BATTISTA CARLONE - I chose this image because the members of Courage have clearly embarked upon the narrow way of sanctity.

7 comments:

  1. I would like to hear some of the testimonies on tape etc. Compassion and conversion, I like that. Haven't got a clue how to 'do' it but I imagine by our example we might be able to be used by the Holy Spirit to convict souls?

    Like in AA, it works by attraction. We want what they've got!!! So we need to become willing to do what they did, to get it. This handing over of one's will, is an ongoing thing, at least it is in my experience, as I have a will that keeps running back to me, every time I give it back to God. Daily reprieves were invented for sinners like me!!

    Great encouraging and affirmative post Terry. Praise God, He is so merciful, continuosly. ( I can't spell continuously, never can remember how the o and u go).

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  2. "Daily reprieves were invented for sinners like me!!"

    And me!!

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  3. 'In other words, we shouldn't ask "why me," but "why not me."'

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  4. Did you have something to add Ray?

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  5. Ooops, something got lost.

    I was just going to make a comment that that quote was something appropriate whenever I suffer, feel put upon or neglected.

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  6. I was thinking that the title 'Courage' is appropriate both for this group and for so many others.

    Christianity is not for wimps. It isn't easy, and it requires sacrifice, work, and yes- courage. All graces of God through the Holy Spirit.

    Ours is a paradoxical life. We win by losing and are made strong by suffering. We are rich through poverty. The list goes on.

    Yet this is the life worth living, full of joy and replete with blessings.

    But still - not for wimps! Maybe that's why Anne Rice has repudiated the Church. She has quailed under the lash of liberal assaults and opinion.

    At any rate, God bless those in Courage and those who support them.
    God bless you too Terry. Your blog is a great blessing.

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