Just over three years ago for the first time I heard the word “Cursillo”. I had no idea what it meant or what it was. I was at work and I asked my colleague what her plans were for the weekend. (Back then, she was just my colleague, now she is my sister!) She said she was going on a Cursillo – a retreat weekend. I asked her what it was. And she explained that it was a few days that she was going to spend together with her Gran Amigo, to disconnect from the world and to recharge her batteries! I was satisfied with her answer and I thought … what a joy that this woman has so much faith and love for God. It was lovely to hear it and to see it in her.
When she returned from her Cursillo … I certainly saw the difference, she did not lie to me when she said she was going to recharge her batteries … you could see it in her face; the joy; the peace and the love. This is something that stayed with me.
My world was turned the right way around almost two years ago when one night I started to pray. I opened up my heart and have never let go of Our Amigo since that moment. I knew that at some point I would love to do a Cursillo. Unfortunately, due to circumstances I missed two. Then, this one came up. Not only was I available to do it and my husband have the time off to watch the kids, but it came at the most perfect time for me. I needed to recharge my batteries.
As I well know, perfect timing is hit and miss at the moment and the run up to the weekend came with a few obstacles! Firstly, my husband hurt his knee playing rugby and was on crutches for a few weeks. Luckily, by the time the weekend came about he was a lot better. Then, my much-awaited appointment for a lumbar puncture came through – two days before! Thank God I have so many wonderful people around me that I was able to lie down for a solid 48 hours to avoid any headache or other side effect of the procedure and I was feeling more or less ok on the day of the Cursillo!
I had no idea what to expect from the weekend. I didn’t really know what was going to happen or who was going. And to top it off I wasn’t feeling a 100%. So I wasn’t only really excited but also pretty nervous! One thing I did know was that I had my heart wide-open ready to experience everything and I couldn’t wait.
The weekend was jam packed and very intense with early mornings and late nights. During the day, we had several talks given to us by the leaders and priests. We had group discussions and moments of reflection. Meditation, Mass, Adoration and lots more. I don’t want to go into too much detail because if someone reading this is thinking about doing a Cursillo weekend I really wouldn’t want to ruin all the beautiful moments that one encounters. Plus, my experience would be completely different to another person’s. It is unique to each individual.
Although we were essentially busy the entire time we were there, there was something about just being away from the real world, no work, no home, no stress and just stopping. Having space. Space to be with God, space to process, to think, to reflect. Space for the thoughts that had been at the back of my mind to come, perhaps unwelcomed, to the fore.
One of these thoughts that kept coming to me turned out to be my break through moment. It came after I had been to confession. It had only been a couple of months since my last confession but I knew that I really needed to go and get something off my chest. At the time, I was really struggling with feeling constantly unwell and I was trying not to head down the “Why God?” route. I was holding back and not giving him my everything because I was in pain, confused and upset. Turns out this is a very unhealthy route to take and ultimately I wasn’t getting anywhere. Once I opened up at confession about all those feelings I was harbouring up I felt warm inside again. I know that no matter what I am never alone and Jesus is with me every single step of the way. I may not know why things are playing out the way they are but I don’t need to. As long as I’m walking this journey hand in hand with our greatest treasure I will be ok. It is all a learning curve and I am learning to trust fully in Jesus at all times.
God showed me that he will always provide for my needs when I turn to him. He used all of the lovely leaders, priests, the women that took part and all of the people behind the scenes that helped to make the Cursillo possible as his instruments to show me how much he cares.
One of my favourite parts for me was seeing the leaders together before talks, the love that these women have for each other and God and how they wanted us so badly to feel the same was truly beautiful. I met a wonderful group of women whom I’m now proud to call my friends, my sisters. With their support and the guidance of our beautiful leaders, I know that I will be able to live this life with God as my centre.
I learned a lot about myself on the Cursillo weekend. My life is more peaceful, Jesus is more real. Scripture with Jesus is more alive. All I can do is hope and pray that my life, words and actions in some way reflect the love I know I have received.
If I had to sum up my Cursillo experience, I would say that without doubt The Cursillo has helped me to fall more deeply in love with God and with life. It was an experience that will forever stay in my heart and I am truely blessed and grateful that I was able to live it.
O God you are my God.
Earnestly I seek you.
My soul thirsts for you…
My body longs for you in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me.