« Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God » Teilhard de Chardin
“Come, take time to prepare your heart in joyful hope for the Advent of our God.” This was the invitation to Mercy Associates to participate in a day of prayer and reflection with Sister Loretta Chafe in the Associate Room and Mercy Convent Chapel, St. John’s on November 30 and December 3, 2013.
Some thoughts expressed by participants at the end of the day:
Through singing, psalms and scripture reading, personal reflections, sharing of thoughts and a guided reflection on Luke’s account of the visitation of Mary to her cousin Elizabeth, the many facets of joy were contemplated.
Each line of scripture led us to the heartfelt understanding that life is all joy and freedom once we become aware of God’s presence in our own hearts and in each other. Each person shared stories about how we receive the grace in the everyday moments of our lives to “rejoice in all things” – how our lives are a winding journey comprised of joys and sorrows, disappointments and losses, high points of achievement and reward, quiet empty spaces of time and fun-filled times with others.
Sister Loretta’s guided journey with Mary to Elizabeth’s house was truly precious in enabling us to experience trust, joy and comfort with one another. Just as Mary was so filled with joy as she spoke with Elizabeth, that she proclaimed the Magnificat, we too are asked to open our hearts to receive God’s love and allow Jesus to born anew in us.
The retreat was an oasis of quiet time away from the material hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations. It provided a joy and peace that we can take back to our homes and communities.
The day was thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by everyone. We left with lighter and more joyful hearts and with a spring in our step. For a few hours we shared a sacred space and a spiritual unity that brought us to a greater awareness of the presence of God within and among us.
Edited by Sister Maureen O’Keefe