Thursday, December 8, 2011

Excellent Advent Advice Part III: Hold on to Hope

Last Friday, Kevin and I went to the Ultreya held at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Richmond to reconnect with our Cursillo family, support the person giving the witness talk, who was my awesome Team Member at Table (TMAT) when I made my weekend back in June 2006 at Mary Mother of the Church Abbey, and see one of the spiritual divas from my group reunion who was going to be helping with the music for the evening. 
Though I had gotten to know the witness to some extent in my years involved in the Cursillo movement, nothing could have prepared me for her witness talk.  This strong woman shared openly about a time in her life when the darkness had descended, depression had settled in, and living the lie that everything’s fine became the rule instead of the exception. 
I’m still utterly amazed that she made it through such a difficult period while hiding some very painful secrets by holding on to a pinpoint of light and hope.  Her story is further proof God never gives up on us or stops seeking to have a relationship with us that allows us to walk in the Truth.  Others who have known this person longer and gotten to know her better were also surprised at the depth of the trauma she and her family had suffered. 

The very powerful experience Friday evening definitely fit my description of Ultreya and what they’ve meant to Kevin and me over the years.   The term Ultreya comes from a Spanish word meaning onward and suggests the purpose of these gatherings, which is to help us persevere and get encouragement for our spiritual journey. 

To me, an Ultreya is a mini retreat and Cursillo family reunion all rolled into one.  It’s a time when your fellow Babe Chicks, your spouse, your sponsors, and the many people who made your weekend possible and prayer-filled gather with many other Cursillistas for Scripture reflection, prayer, spiritual growth, fun, fellowship, and food.

When I served on my first Cursillo team for the Women’s Weekend in October 2009 when our theme was “Harvesting God’s Abundance,” I gave the talk on the weekend about Ultreya, the Friday evening gatherings usually held the 1st and 3rd Fridays of the month at local parishes.  Already known in the community as a spiritual diva, I decided to end my talk with an Ultreya version of this popular TV show theme song.  I called it Cheers for Ultreya, and it fit perfectly.  Actually the witness and some other Cursillistas linked arms and sang it with me after the Ultreya held at Sacred Heart a few years ago. 

Have you had a dark time in your life when you could only see a pinpoint of light?  Do you know someone who is in a dark period right now?  What could you do to offer that person hope and share the light God has given you?
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