Category Archives: Spiritual Director

Spiritual Director – June 2019

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“He said to them, Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” Mark 6:31

The days of summer are certainly upon us. Although there’s been much rain and many storms, we’ve also been truly blessed with some wonderful days as well.   Through it all, we need not look far to see how God provides in so many ways.  The beauty of His creation, helping hands in time of need, the gift of family and friends, and our skills, talents, and treasures to care for all are ever present.  Summer is the time God gives us to refresh ourselves from the daily grind of our work and commitments, and to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

As work is a right and blessing in and of itself, we mustn’t forget that rest and relaxation is vital to our mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.  The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church teaches us that “Rest from work is a right.”  As God “rested on the seventh day from all the work which he had done” (Gen 2:2), so too men and women, created in his image, are to enjoy sufficient rest and free time that will allow them to tend to their family, cultural, social and religious life.  (Compendium, No. 284)

A summer retreat is a great way to renew ourselves and draw closer to God.  We have some very fine Catholic retreat centers nearby.  I’ll list a few good ones you may want to consider: 

Kings House Retreat Center in Belleville – http://www.kingsretreatcenter.org/

White House Retreat House in South St. Louis – http://www.whretreat.org/

Chiara Center in Springfield, Illinois – http://www.chiaracenter.org/

St. Meinrad Guest House in St. Meinrad, Indiana – http://www.saintmeinrad.org/retreats/

Our work is often demanding and rightly requires our full time and attention.  And surely the work of evangelizing our environments asks us to be ready and alert.  Alert to the many in need of Jesus’ mercy and ready to share what we, too, have received by grace.  If we fail to take care of ourselves, we risk losing our Joy in the great mission Christ has entrusted to us – his disciples in today’s world.

I hope this summer you may find time for some renewal of mind, body, and soul – if for only a brief time, to unwind, and unplug from the stress and busyness of your lives – whether on retreat, vacation, or time spent with loved ones.  Christ and His Church need us to be rested, healthy, happy, and well.  But above all, Joyful!

De Colores! Deacon Wayne Weiler           

Spiritual Director – March 2019

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“Blessed are they who have kept the word with a generous heart and yield a harvest through perseverance.”  Luke 8:15

We find ourselves well into the Lenten season, and in a few short days our spiritual work of increased prayer, fasting and almsgiving will bring us to the day of redemption that Jesus promised us and gave his life for. 

Now we ask ourselves, what impact will this time of Lent have on us after Easter?  Have these days been a time of conversion of heart and mind?  Will we be able to persevere in these works of mercy beyond these 40 days?

This has been a time to focus on those areas where Christ’s light may have become dim or where the darkness of the world has been allowed to seep into our thoughts and actions, where we no longer feel the presence of Jesus in our lives. 

If this is your story, do not despair, you’re in good company.  The apostles, too, fell prey to darkness when things got tough—recall Good Friday.  But as we have been reminded time and time again, He does not turn away from us, quite the opposite is true.  He leads us and others back to him in a new light, in renewed hope for the world—the light and the hope of eternal life that is Easter.  

By their Weekend experience, I have to believe that the 36 new Cursillistas experienced His light and a renewed sense of hope in a profound way.  I know I did! 

Saint Teresa of Calcutta said it best, when she said, “He will always look after us.  So we must cleave to Jesus, our whole life must simply be woven to Jesus.  Jesus in the Mass, Jesus in my Sisters and Brothers, in the poor, and at adoration.  It is the same Jesus.”

Not unlike the apostles, we meet that same Jesus, the Risen Christ, in all circumstances of life.  We will soon hear these accounts in our Eastertide readings.   The Acts of the Apostles give testament to how the apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, shared His message in a world often unwilling to hear it, very similar to our own time.    We would do well to focus our study on St. Luke’s Acts of the Apostles. 

May we find Him as we go about our daily business, seek him with a generous heart in word and in the sacraments, and continue to persevere in faith and holiness. 

De Colores,

Deacon Wayne

Recommended Reading:  A book by William S. Kurz, SJ, which gives an excellent commentary on The Acts of the Apostles.  ISBN 978-0-8010-3633-0.

Spiritual Director – December 2018

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“…they departed for their country by another way.”  Matthew 2:12

The story of the Magi making their way to find the new born king is one for us to ponder with great hope for our own journey of faith.  Led by a sign from God, a star, they find Jesus the One sent by God to rescue and redeem the world by a message of Love, Joy and Peace. 

The journey of the Magi was surely one of uncertainty and many questions.  What would their search lead them to?  What would they report back to Herod, and what would his response be to what they found?  Who would they meet along the way?  Would there be doubters trying to sway them from what they sought?  Would the star occasionally be overshadowed by clouds?  Would they need to correct their bearings or even change course?  When they arrived would something more be asked of them?

The obstacles the Magi may have encountered are not different from what we encounter in our search for Jesus.  Fear, uncertainty, doubt, distractions and questions can overshadow our signs, our stars.  Likewise, what the Magi found is not unlike what we too find–the pure love and wisdom of God in our Lord Jesus Christ.  They would not encounter a king on a throne, but rather a king in an unusual and humble setting—a manger.  They would meet a king who comes to rule by humility and compassion. 

Scripture tells us that the Magi would not return from this meeting by the same route.  So too is our journey of faith and encounter with Jesus.  When we truly meet Him, we simply cannot return from where we came in the same way.  When we receive Him in the sacraments we’re changed.  When we give of ourselves, and offer our self-gift in the service of others, we too experience an epiphany.  And like the Magi, our pilgrimage takes us on a different road than from where we came. 

We, too, will find Christ if we are willing to search for and recognize the signs from God in our own time that lead us to Him.  As this Christmas Season comes to a close, we’ve once again experienced the great mystery and the reality of Emmanuel—God with us.  May they bring about our own Epiphany in this New Yeara closer walk with the One who comes to save all of mankind!   

De Colores!

Deacon Wayne

Spiritual Director – September 2018

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De Colores to the Fourth Day Community!

Hear ye! Hear ye! We will gather our Fourth Day community for our annual Grand Ultreya and Potluck.  This year’s Grand Ultreya will be on October 27th from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. at Saint Liborius Catholic Church located at 911 Sparta Street in St. Libory.  Reserve this date on your calendars, and please spread the word to all cursillistas. If you know someone who does not communicate via e-mail, please share this information.  Thank you!

The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.” Luke 10:2

While the autumnal equinox occurred only a few days ago, we’re once again beginning to see the wonders of God’s creating hand in the change of seasons.  The brisk mornings to come, the shorter days, and beautiful fall colors, remind us that it is harvest time.  And we surely can’t overlook the dutiful farmers working well into the night to bring in their crops.  We pray for a bountiful harvest of the fields that all are nourished and fed by their labor.

But we too have a harvest field to tend to.  Daily, many in our communities, whether urban or rural—experience a lack of some of the most basic of resources—things many of us take for granted.  We would do well to use this “harvest” time to reflect on our many blessings and give constant thanks to Our Creator who makes them all possible.

The abundant harvest field require us laborers to put our faith into action.  To look out for the lost, the lonely, and those searching for what we know Our Lord openly and freely gives—Hope.  In doing so we truly express the beauty and meaning of the Christian message, and bring to the world what is so visibly lacking all around us.  We give witness to Jesus and the reign of God, “On earth as it is in Heaven.”

The work of evangelization is a Christian duty, but also a joy.  The Cursillo helps us to recognize this important demand of our faith and so grow in holiness.  What could bring more joy and peace to a disheartened neighbor than for them to gain a glimmer of hope brought to them from a true Christian pilgrim?  Never under estimate the power of your example in a society troubled by doubt, mistrust and disappointment.  May we always be ready and willing to share the benefits from the great harvest of God’s love for us all!

The world and the Church still desperately needs the Christian message to be told.

De Colores!

Deacon Wayne

Spiritual Director – June 2018

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“Be doers of the word and not hearers only…”  James 1:22

We will soon celebrate Independence Day.   A day we give special thanks for the courage and commitment of our founding fathers for the cause of liberty, and to all who have died in defense of that cause.   Our founders understood that an important tenant of a well-ordered and just society would be the freedom of its citizens to express their belief in God and to put that faith into practice in the everyday circumstances of life.   How blessed we are to live in these United States of America where life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness matter.

The Church continues to ask us to remain vigilant in the protection of one of our most cherished, and dare I say threatened, liberties-religious freedom.  The Catholic Bishops of the United States have asked that we reflect on what we may often take for granted—the freedom to express our faith without fear of persecution.  But regrettably, we see far too many instances of a gradual erosion of this precious and protected gift.  And in parts of the world we see painful images of an all-out assault on Christians, for no other reason than their faith in Christ, our Brother and Savior.

The Second Vatican Council document Dignitatis humanae, the Declaration on Religious Liberty, declares, “that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such ways that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits.   The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. “ (DH #2)

St. James teaches us to be “doers” of the Word.  This requires us to have the courage to put our faith into everyday ACTION.  We can do so by expressing that faith though our system of government.  In letting our voice be heard, voting our conscience, writing to our elected officials, and standing up for the poor and vulnerable we show the impact of our Christian values on a confused and often misled culture.  These are all ways we can bring our faith to the public square for the common good and the good of all of God’s creation.

Let us pray always for those persecuted for their walk with Christ, stand firm in our faith, and embrace the truth as revealed by God.  We are called to live our faith in all facets of life-to hear the word of God and live it by our Piety, Study and Action.  In these we are “doers” of the Word.

To learn more about how to stay informed on the issues and be engaged with our elected officials, I recommend you take a look at the Catholic Conference of Illinois Website at https://www.ilcatholic.org.

De Colores

Deacon Wayne Weiler

Spiritual Director – March 2018

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Dear Brothers and Sisters of the 4th Day,

On this Easter Day, for just a moment, reflect on these words from the Gospel of Matthew.

Then they went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce this to his disciples.”  (Matthew 28:8)

What devastating emotion the women must have felt upon hearing from the angel that Jesus was not in the tomb, where they had personally laid him to rest.  They most surely were afraid of what His missing body meant, while at the same time being overwhelmed by the possibility that what He had promised may have actually happened.  They are in a time between fear and joy, in a time between uncertainty and answers.

We experience these times also, don’t we?  When we get news too hard to handle on our own, when our doubt overtakes our faith, or when our frustrations get the better of our joy.

I suppose it is in the midst of these times, between fear and joy, when we must put our trust in God the most.  Because isn’t this where we come to know His immense love, where our faith grows stronger, and where our hope in Him is found?  For in that hope we rise from the tomb of anxiety and despair and all that gets in the way of our joy.

Our wonderful weekend themes this year help us to see the true joy which comes from “Trusting in Jesus” and “Letting God” take hold of those times in our lives when we struggle for answers or wonder what is coming next.

The Cursillo Journey is one of faith, enhanced by our piety, study, and action.  It is also an experience of resurrection, of sharing our own dying and rising in the real and concrete circumstances of daily living.  This is why we need one another, all of us, to help carry one another’s burdens and share in our joys.

Then Jesus said to them, do not be afraid. Go tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me” (Matthew 28:10)

So by the light of the Risen Christ, let us march onward, Ultreya, to our own Galilee, our own environments and beyond.  Then like those who first encountered the empty tomb, “Do not be afraid to run and announce what you have heard and seen.”

Blessed Eastertide to all, and De Colores!

Deacon Wayne

 

Spiritual Director – December 2017

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Dear Brothers and Sisters of the 4th Day,

Once again, our Christian journey finds us at the beginning of the Blessed and Holy Season of Advent.  The weather is getting colder, the trees are bare, and the days are noticeably shorter, and there are obvious signs of change all around us.  The new Liturgical Year is another sign of change.

Advent gives us the opportunity to use the stillness and quiet of these weeks before the Incarnation to reflect, pray, and to accept Jesus in our lives in new and amazing ways, while we anticipate and await His return.

But despite our best efforts, the time leading up to Christmas is often filled with business, distractions, and stress.  We have our family traditions and gatherings, shopping, baking, wrapping, and yes all those “holiday” parties to attend.  So much for the stillness and quiet of Advent, right?

Such is the world we live in today, and this is what our culture has embraced as the norm for celebrating Christmas.  But these are not altogether sad reflections on society as much as they are occasions to show the face of Christ in an increasingly secular world.  Here’s why.

As Christians, and especially Cursillistas, at Christmas we celebrate much more than the materialism and commercialism that has so taken hold of this most blessed result of God’s love for us.  While we do, and should, take part in the festivities of the season–we celebrate Emmanuel—“God is with us” (Mt 1:23).  We celebrate the coming of The Savior who has come to us, is with us still and will come to us again.  We celebrate the One who gives us answers to the trials and evils of our troubled world.  This is truly cause for celebration!

We are not removed from the negativity of our world, we live as a Christian witness in it, embrace it with all its faults, and bring Jesus, and His unfailing message to it.  And by the Grace of God, perhaps we change it one person at a time.

We pray that this Holy Advent season be a time of reconciliation and change—change of heart for ourselves as well as our neighbor.  May this be a season that brings hope to the hopeless and healing to the wounded souls of our time.  And above all, may it be a season of the love and joy that the Prince of Peace makes ever possible, again and again.    O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

Deacon Wayne

Spiritual Director – September 2017

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Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Fourth Day,

I hope this finds you well and in good spirits! I begin this message by offering sincere gratitude for the leadership and direction Nick Lang has brought to the Belleville Cursillo in Christianity Movement during his tenure as Lay Director. Nick has been a stalwart advocate for ensuring the mission, method and practices of the Cursillo are in place that we may experience an even closer walk with Our Lord and Savior. Nick, we thank you for your friendship, and your unwavering witness and Christian example. We also congratulate Bob McCormack, our new Lay Director. Bob, please be assured of our prayers and support.

“The Cursillo wants to accomplish, and by the Grace of our Lord it does, the Evangelical message – the Good News. Good for everybody and always new because it renews us.”

These are the words of Cursillo in Christianity founder Eduardo Bonnín Aguiló on the importance of reaching out to others. In doing so we hear Jesus’ great commission to, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations.” (Matthew 28:19)

We have so many opportunities to bring that rejuvenating message of love we find in the Gospel–The Good News–to others. We share this evangelical message in simple and ordinary, as well as demanding and complicated times—whether in our homes, within our families, at the worksite, or the office.

We need not look too hard to find these opportunities, in fact we need not look at all, as they will find us. They will most likely find us when we least expect, and when we feel least prepared; at the end of a long day, in the midst of a busy situation, or in the times when you think you have nothing to give.

But therein lies the beauty and the wisdom of our call as Christians, that God gives us these moments to be Good News, to be Christ to others, to be renewed in our commitment to live out our baptismal call in charity to others.   These are gifts for which we never know the time or place of their offering.

I have personally been lifted up by Grace in the moments with Christ that I simply didn’t see coming. Or when I had to push myself to carry out His mission. Without exception I’ve come away from these moments with a new sense of purpose and a renewed spirit.

Our rich Catholic faith offers us countless opportunities to experience the Love, Joy and Peace that flows so readily from the Good News of Christ. Our task is to stay open for these opportunities whenever we’re ready, but more so when we are not. “Go, and announce the Gospel of the Lord.”

De Colores!

Deacon Wayne

Spiritual Director – June 2017

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Dear Brothers and Sisters of the 4th Day,

As I begin this message, I would like to first offer gratitude to Father Gary Gummersheimer for his service and faithful dedication to the Belleville Cursillo Movement for these past six years. Father Gary has inspired and guided us in faith by his words and reflections. We are grateful for his priesthood and witness to our Lord and Savior. May we assure him of our continued prayers for his ministry!

Happy Birthday! Yes, Happy Birthday to the Church. It is hard to imagine, but we find ourselves at the great day of Pentecost. The day which sent forth, and released, the power of the Holy Spirit on the early Church. This day gave us yet another example of how, throughout the ages, God has kept and continues to keep His promise. The promise of His unfailing, unending, and undeserved gifts of the Holy Spirit. The prophet Isaiah foretold them (Is 11:1-2); Jesus announces and asserts them in the coming of the Advocate (Jn 14:15-20); God Himself sends them in the driving winds and tongues of fire (Acts 2:1-4).

Our Cursillo Movement helps us to see more clearly the impact these gifts have on the world around us and the environments in which we find ourselves. I suppose the question we should ask ourselves is how have we allowed them to affect our relationships? Our relationship with neighbor, with nature, and most importantly, with God.

We’ve been given these great gifts to make a difference in a troubled, divided, and confused world.   As much as we may want to, and try as we may, it is difficult to escape the noise of mistrust, anger, and discontent we’re bombarded with on a daily basis. But we CAN, by our witness to Christ and by our acceptance of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, show our culture another way to address its many challenges. We have answers to provide, love to give, hope to offer, and faith to share. And in doing so we can restore joy to a misguided or broken soul—one person at a time.

A daunting task, well maybe, but one well worth our time and effort. We can take comfort in knowing that we have a constant companion as our guide. The world needs to see us, and these precious seven gifts in action!

Let us continue the process of Christian initiation by praying for, encouraging, and supporting our newly confirmed members and those new members of the Church received at the Easter Vigil.

So, Happy Birthday Church! May you continue and always “kindle in us the fire of your love.”

De Colores!

Deacon Wayne

Spiritual Director – March 2017

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To the Members of the Belleville Diocesan Cursillo Community:

For the past several years, it has been my good fortune and honor to serve as the Spiritual Director for the Diocesan Secretariat. As I write this, I just received notification that Bishop Braxton has appointed Deacon Wayne Weiler as the new Spiritual Director. I wish Deacon Weiler success and good fortune in this endeavor and promise him, the Secretariat, and the Cursillo Community my continued prayer for the success of bringing friends to Christ.

As we prepare to celebrate the great feast of Easter, may we all take some time and remember that we have all been baptized into Christ’s Passion, Death, and Resurrection. May we strive and work to bring peace, mercy, and love to all of our communities.

Again, I wish to express my gratitude and thanks to all the members of the Belleville Diocesan Cursillo community for their prayer and support over these past years, especially the good people with whom I served on the Diocesan Secretariat.

May God bless and keep all of you close to His heart and grant you His love and peace.

De Colores,

Fr. Gary