WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Retreat Cluny Centre: The Gospel of our Lives

WelCom October 2018:

Joan McFetridge

Who could not be attracted to a retreat subtitled: ‘Wisdom is life experience well digested, where one story must end for another to begin. Our lives are literally gospel or good news’?

In August this year, Joy Cowley, writer and spiritual-retreat director, and Alan Roberts, parish priest and spiritual-retreat director, led 35 women and men from as far away as Nelson, and as close as Tauranga, through a two-day reflective journey of each one’s life. Based in Tauranga, it was a feast of gifts, and a banquet of God’s love. Wisdom truly chewed and digested.

We were reminded that as faith grows, some of our faith garments become too tight for us, so we discard them, and they grow into something more beautiful. Our church provides all we need and more, as we ripen into deeper faith. As we reflected on this, each retreatant shared the transforming growth in their own faith life. We observed this transformation and the transforming power in our relationship with our church:

  • from following the rules – to loving the church
  • from formal, vocal prayer – to contemplative prayer
  • from significance of clergy – to equality of all but with different ministries
  • from Mass as an obligation – to Eucharist as central to life
  • from God as father – to God as God
  • from exclusive language – to inclusive language
  • from a perfect church – to a broken, growing church
  • from mission as overseas – to mission as God’s gift here and now
  • from theology as dry – to theology as discovery
  • from morality as doing what one should – to morality being life giving, love giving, self-giving
  • from spiritual reading as tedious – to spiritual reading as life changing
  • from church as hierarchy – to church as all
  • from church as ‘it’ – to church as ‘us’.

We were reminded that ‘while Jesus is the Christ, the fire of God incarnate, he also had to grow in his humanity. He is the model for us all. Our faith journey is an echo of his.’