“Walking the Way of Faith in an Age of Uncertainty”

Facilitator: Fr Tony Chiera VG Bunbury

Being part of the Parish Renewal includes a willingness to share gifts and resources with other parishes within the Archdiocese, by inviting them to participate with us as we live in communion of the spirit.

Archdiocesan Parishes who attended the Innaloo/Karrinyup Parish Retreat on the 12th September 2020, were from: Lesmurdie, Gosnells, Rossmoyne, Dianella, Bedford, Scarborough, City Beach, Woodvale, totalling 90 participants. 

The Retreat offered time and space for quiet contemplation and opportunities to share with those near us. 

What is a retreat?  

  • It is a time to stop the ordinary; step aside; catch your breath, and listen.  
  • God has initiated us, His children, calling us to receive the waiting, listening, being.
  • Stop! Revive!  Survive! Thrive!

What is God doing in these times?

  • Some people are suffocated by guilt.  This creates a gulf, separating us from God’s grace.  
  • In the Sacraments, God is in communion with us, showing us how much He loves us and how loved and loveable we are.  ‘You loved me and made me loveable’ [St Augustine of Hippo]
  • In a crisis and pandemic, God breaths His Spirit into every new crisis to move people to be heroes of compassion with courage and creativity.  
  • For example: God breathed into  St Mother Theresa of Calcutta compassion.  She responded by holding the poorest of poor as though she was holding the Eucharist.  Mother Teresa was the answer to the poverty crisis of India and the world.  God summoned new life into the poverty of India – it was Theresa of Calcutta, and through His mercy, her mercy spread throughout the world.

What is the Christian response in this time of great uncertainty? 

  • The Christian response is to acknowledge the reality of uncertainty.
  • Our faith & struggle in this global pandemic, is about seeking… conscious we have moved from a time of certainty to anxiety & fear; an awkwardness in our social interactions, because of COVID. 
  • Fear is contagious – we feel our vulnerability acutely; fear takes over & we close down.
  • Pain & fear pushes us deeper as we no longer have control over the circumstances of our lives.
  • What have we learnt or has revealed itself to us in our isolation? – More Australians, & also worldwide, more people are praying.

Reflection exercise 1: Be – not afraid ! [Mt 10:31] 

What “resources” does our Church offer us during such times? 

  • Do not become the fear.  Examine the fear – this is our Gethsemane moment!
  • Jesus on the cross – ‘My God My God why have you abandoned me!’ [Mt 27:47]
  • God does not always rescue us out of our fears, but we will discover a deathless beauty; a beauty that cannot die; larger than death, of which we are in intimate communion with – we are transformed and taken through our fears.

How can we be a source of hope in troubled times? 

  • Faith offers us a strength and trust; an energy in our prayerfulness that is beauty, grace and courage, developing a deep attitude of gratefulness – to live gratefully, which is central to our faith.
  • A creature in being created means our very nature is grateful for being created.
  •  ‘Gratitude is the echo of grace!’  If our whole life is graced, our whole life should echo the grace received as gratitude.
  • Consider the personal blessings in our lives and the communion of Christ that brings us together. 
  • The precious gift of encouragement is what we can offer one another; waking up to our graced nature; to thank You Lord for the wonder of my being!
  • ‘It is our duty and our salvation always and everywhere to give You thanks.’ – Gratitude is Enshrined in our liturgy.
  • In an Examination of Conscience, we also need to examine our life and count our blessings.
  • Cultivate the practice of gratitude living in harmony with the gifts of God & know you are not alone, but live in lavished grace.
  • Practice paying attention to the small moments of grace in our lives, learning to receive life as a gift, which we sanctify.

Reflection exercise 2:

Consider in our life or moment – what are you truly grateful for now?

  • Practice & cultivation means intentional attention!  Developing a sensitivity to notice the tiny gifts that will encourage me through struggles.
  • God provides us with enough in every diversity.  
  • Even small acts of kindness offer us enough encouragement to lift us out of hopelessness; enough for that moment out of despondency.  
  • We must practice and savour the echo of grace to echo this in our lives.
  • People who are grateful are less stuck in fear.