Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of July 21, 2003
Let Mary's arms carry you
Polish priest walks a unique retreat path
By RENATO GANDIA
"Our effort is the hard spiritual work of discovering the truth, bringing that to him and remaining in (that) truth."
- Fr. Krzystof Jarosz
St. Paul makes the same point in one of his epistles: "When I am weak then I am strong." He saw his weakness as a place for God's action.
This idea is really quite opposite to our normal human thinking, the priest said. "We want to grow, we want to get better, we want to be perfect and then more and more we think that God expects this from us. But he doesn't."
"What he expects is that he can come so he can give his life to us - live in us."
Mary, our mother, is given to us from the cross. Those who discover our mother are open to special help that through her faith, through her love, she carries us, the priest said.
"We are sharing in her life of faith so then our spiritual life shares with her spiritual life which is of course the life of union with Christ."
Jarosz stressed, "It is sharing Christ who lives in her fully. We understand that she's the one who is full of grace, full of Christ. So when we turn to her, we of course are turning to him because she is in union in him."
This way of thinking is changing our concept of retreat because if we want God to work within us, we do not really try to do as much as possible, the priest added.
Calgary's Zbigniew Topor said, "The retreat is something very special for the movement."
Families of Nazareth holds a retreat once a year, usually with a priest who comes from outside Canada.
At their retreats, they expect the facilitator will show them some aspect of spirituality which is a little different from what they are exposed to every day.
Topor said, "This retreat was kind of a revelation."
In the movement for eight years, he thinks through his own effort he has become much closer to God.
"I thought I was on the right path. After listening to the conference and talking to Father Krystof personally, I just realized that maybe I am missing (something). Maybe my effort is not what it is supposed to be."
Topor realized what he must do is be open to God's mercy. "I have to really stay in truth and really expect everything from God."
Adam Kozakiewicz said the retreat gave him the opportunity to reflect on his own experiences and the small miracles that happen in his every day life and how God is leading him. "All we have to do is trust him."
Until he discovered spirituality, he didn't see it is important in his life. "Now I couldn't live without it. It's a major part of my life. It gives me peace of mind to have God in my life."
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