Because Life is So Much Fuller Than I Expect

Notes from Communion and Liberation’s New York Encounter 2011

Did. Not. Expect. This!

Did not expect the hosts of New York Encounter 2011 weekend, essentially a spiritual retreat, to treat us to a free rockin’ concert in the Hammerstein Ballroom at the Manhattan Center, where hours earlier hundreds of us had celebrated Mass.
Did not expect to see young priests and religious college students breaking out into spontaneous line dances and grooving to bluegrass with Henrique Prince of the Ebony Hillbillies (below) the blues, and jazz at a concert m’ceed by Blue Lou, a former member of Blood Sweat and Tears.
And yet, Christ tells us our lives are full when we can detach ourselves from the immediate and attach ourselves to the Mystery of His presence among us. What makes us human? Speakers this weekend – a Nobel Prize winning scientist, the daughter of the man who discovered the gene for Down’s Syndrome, an astrophysicist who became a priest, as well as a Franciscan Friar who now is the Cardinal of Boston answered that question in varied ways: What makes us human is our capacity for wisdom and our capacity for awe. 

Did you ever hear or read the words of Pope Benedict XVI in his inaugural address? He amplifies the words of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II.

 ”Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to Him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope (John Paul II) said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundred-fold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ, and you will find true life. Amen.”

Rock on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02064673794877417232 Sarah Harkins

    I just love that quote. Sounds like an awesome conference! Wish I could have been there. I'm glad you got so much out it!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16021781602272064901 Allison

    Sarah: It was truly transformative. It will happen again next year and perhaps you can come with your brood. Maybe sell rosaries. I received compliments on my rosary bracelet.Blessings,Allison

  • Webster Bull

    As one there, I'll say, great report, Allison! There were so many surprises this weekend, including the amazing Sunday Mass celebrated by a cardinal from Chile, accompanied by a Gospel choir from Harlem, and enjoyed reverently and (when the choir got going) with bobbing heads by 20 Sisters of Life in full habits. Very moving.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16021781602272064901 Allison

    @Webster: It was a great experience and I hope to invite more friends next year. G. kept running into you Webster and then telling me how cool you are, BTW.


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