“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:17)
“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb.” (Luke 1:39-41)
Yes, every new human being, though as small as a poppy seed, deserves singing with joy over them. Even if the baby is a surprise for its parents, even if it finds its mum not ready – being accepted expresses his or her deepest and primary need. When that need isn’t satisfied, as the experience of many people shows, they are left with a painful crack for the rest of their lives.
You can say: sometimes it’s too difficult, greeting new life within oneself. Because it seems to be coming in the worst possible moment in a woman’s life, when she has no support – or even is suffering violence – from the near ones. And yet the little person is desperately begging for love. For not being rejected. Because he or she feels deeply the pain of rejection; it fills them with horror.
And so much depends on the fathers: to give a woman, who is just becoming the mother of their children, a sense of safety. When she feels loved and protected, she will announce to the whole world that a new human being has just started happening!
And even if deserted by everyone, she can always remember that God himself, “the Mighty Warrior”, takes her under His protection – the first one to feel the pain of her isolation, the first – to admire her motherhood. And He will take care of everything.
Małgosia i Dosia
“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” (1 Corinthians 12:4-6)
I used to be think that the ideal of proximity consists in becoming “the same” – the kind of unity in which “the fewer differences, the better.”
I’ve come to understand, however, that I owe a lot to those who differ from me in their style of acting, thinking and feeling. Thanks to them I can widen my own (and often narrow) perspective, I can grow in open-mindedness and make my own world richer. And I can reach out all the time beyond my own self – in order to try to understand the other person and to respect them more in their otherness.
Becasue any difference shouldn’t turn us into battling sides, entrenched up to ears in our views. It’ll be so much more interesting if I treat the difference as the call for building unity – in the richness of variety.
Yesterday the day enden even later than the day before, which means: very early in the morning. ;(
Nobody wanted to say goodbye. After all, the next congress will be held no sooner than May 15, 2013. Will we manage to see one another again? With each year those congress meetings become some sort of “unfinished conversations” which keep us all waiting for their ending in eternity. This congress has just been over.
So it’s time for the wrap-up. Even in dry facts. 3000 registered participants. 7000 visits to the website which streamed all the plenary sessions live, 125 speakers from 69 countries, 16 panel sessions, 300 volunteers, 18 trnaslators, 45 exhibition stands, 150 acredited journalists, 6 tv programmes broadcasted from the Congress Auditorium, 12 cultural events (he show of the film “Cristiada”, frist time in Europe), 90 members of parliament from 22 countries. Even when you do not add any colours to this description, it looks as if we had a very serious congress. And so it was.
The organizers managed to invite the people who knew what they were talking about, though the extremely strict time limits left us longing for more. Which was very good, because it’s better to be left unsatisifed than satiated.
Conlcusions? Do what you do the best you can. If you only can, become an expert in your field. Then, when you get 10 minutes to speak, you will not waste it on telling people how they should do the things you do, but you will inspire them so that they will want good things for the others – the same way you do. Or.. They will invite you to their place and will give you as much time as you need to do for them the things your best at.
So: what are you good at? What would you like to be known for? 🙂
Days are becoming longer, as the nights are getting shorter. The consciousness that the meeting is just about to finish and we’ll see one another in a year – at the next Congress – makes us all hurry to the lobby during all the breaks and at the end of the day. We want to spend more time together talking, exchanging experience and plans, and sharing just oursleves with the others.
There are no barriers of language, nationality or denomination. We experience speaking one language of the same Breath who told us to leave our well-known places and take the risk of encoutering “the new” – a new challenge, task, and especially – a new person.
Yesterday’s Mass of the Penetcost Eve, celebrated by a bishop from Argentina in the company of two priests, in Spanish, with the homily translated into English, in this community of all national colors – made me aware anew of the power of unity built on His acting human hearts. Only He can take us our from our various niches, send us to stand in front of the “God-fearing . . . from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2) and to procalaim family rights, and the right of the family to meet God.
Let’s allow the Holy Spirit guide us.
What can that mean for you, in your particular life situation?
Yesterday abounded in special celebrations. To start with the official opening ceremony and speeches in the beautiful Congress Auditorium of Palacio del Congreso, and to finish with the symphony concert, rewarded with a standing ovation, and closing with an excellent encore.
Before noon there are plenary sessions, and in the afternoon – panel sessions which take place simultaneously in 5 rooms. That shows how many issues are discussed – by experts from all over the world – but also confronts us with the decision which panel to choose, as you cannot be everywhere at the same time.
The breaks consist in meeting other people. The ones we’ve known since the previous congress editions (How are you? How’s the situation of the family in your country?) and the ones we may get to know and exchange visiting cards (the pile is growing and reminding me I should think at last to have my own cards made). That is followed either by general invitation to come and visit a place, or the actual “orders” for participation in various undertakings.
And we’ve got the strict timing discipline, except for a minor delay at the beginning, which is self-evident, as we’re in Spain. 😉
That discipline allows the speaker to talk for 10 minutes, and then there’s the sound of the alert that your time is up. That discipline kept me awake yesterday/today, because I was rehearsing my speech, trying to make it shorter by 2 minutes. For the time being – I chose to speak a bit faster. We’ll see the outcome. Anyway, I’m asking for your support. A Pole, a priest, about infertility, in English, in front of the audience of 3 000 participants. I don’t know it will be enough if you just raise your thoughts to Heaven – I may need more thean this. 🙂
Note from Editors: You can view Fr. Jay’s presentation on-line (live) during the plenary scheduled for 11:00-12:00 (about 11:20) on the official WCF website.
Today’s program: HERE
An unusual organization. It organizes congresses in many countries worldwide, for thousands of people. And it began with the idea of just one man – Allana Carlsona.
Today there’s just one manager, Larry Jacobs, and the meetings, which used to be held once in several years, have now become much more frequent. Their regional editions (London, Nigeria, Latvia and Moscow) inspire other cities to join in the idea, and they become cyclical, too.
There was Prague, Geneva, Mexico, Warsaw, Amsterdam, today Madrid, next year – Syndey, then – Moscow…
This is possible because the idea gathers all those who care in their hearts for the good of the family. All those congresses rely on the work of volunteers from many organizations.
So today it begins. Almost 3000 participants have registered. Among them, there will be the leaders of organizations assisting families, researchers, activists, politicians and members of parliament. All coming together to share ideas and plan strategies. People from various countries and cultures having one thing in common – the concern for the family in contemporary world.
Without the family there is no future for the world – nor for the Church. Every effort we make to help the family become who they really are – is building the future for us.
You are not in Madrid today. But you have your own family or some families near you. Join us and do something tangible. We can change the world together.
“Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome” (Acts 23:11)
This time our Fr. Jay Szymczak is travelling to Madrid. Tomorrow begins the long expected and prepared World Congress of Families – its VI edition. There will be guests from the entire world, and they will speak about the family in this world – so often completely neglected by high and low politics.
And we owe so many talents and skills to our own families! Unfortunately, sometimes the “inheritance” includes also the burden of problems to deal with. So, there is nothing more important than a family. For a small child – their family is the whole world, and when the family is missing – the world collapses.
Today we would like to ask our Readers for their prayer for the Congress, and especially for the Captain of the “Harbour,” who in Madrid is going to talk about the process of becoming parents – and the hindrances to it. We count on your support!
And we’re already waiting for the letters from Madrid.
It was our community’s day of reflection. And Adoration, too. The chapel wasn’t too big. But the light in it seemed not to be sufficient. So many families, and many more children. Buzz, noise. The pews squeaking with every movement. Some children were taking part in rosary prayer, some were walking around the chapel, some were filing a request for changing the place of their stay to their parents. One small boy quietly enjoyed sightseeing in the presbytery with the Holy Sacrament in the middle of it. Everyone was pursuing as much silence in their hearts, as they could afford. For sure, the yearning for silence was much greater than the actual experience. And among all that – He himself, God.
And it occured to me: isn’t our life just like that? Is it not what any family’s everyday reality is like? You could say: chaos in thousands of variations. And it is only up to us – to make this chaos a space available for Him to walk around. He doesn’t like being an unwanted guest. He wants so much to be invited. Wanted.
Stay with us, Lord.
I’m not afraid of your misery. I’m not afraid your wounds will stain the whiteness of my robe. I’m not looking for the healthy and the perfect. I’m taking you in my arms, careful not to make your aching places hurt more. To heal them. To turn them into the place of meeting Me and the others. To make you shine with My love.
And I’m not discouraged by your empty hands. The emptier they are, the more I can fill them. Come and hold them out.
I’m waiting for you.
One of our regular Readers told me that Fr. Jay’s posts are the least “pious,” so today this is going to be a bit more pious for a change 😉
Yesterday we all celebrated the Feast of the Ascension. I’ve always associated this feast with the words of Lord Jesus saying it is good for us that He is going away, because we will be given “another Comforter” (John 14:16). So we’re entering the special time of vigil, of awaiting.
Who am I waiting for? Under which name – from so many of names of His – will He come to me? What is my waiting like?
And I’m praying for you, my Dear Ones from the Harbour, so that you can get His power anew – the power which will manifest itself in your marriages and families, in your struggle with your weaknesses and fears.
So let’s raise our heads, we’re clothed in the arnour to fight for our marriages and families. Let’s open our hearts to His power. All we need is to let Him act within us, as He did in His Apostles and saints. Si isti, cur non ego? If they could do it, why not me?