Recently I was on a team of women preparing to give an ACTS retreat for 17 women. ACTS stands for Adoration, Community, Theology, and Service. We spent two months in preparation, forming a giving, loving community among ourselves. Then for two and a half days we gave these women a true gift of love, always thinking of them first and putting our own needs in the background.
During our preparation time we were focused on making this an experience of God's loving presence in the women's lives, so it seemed nothing was too difficult for any of us, small hurts were quickly forgiven, and all needs were met with a joyful willingness and a generous spirit.
After the retreat ended we tried to keep the same loving spirit, but the focus was different. But, why should it be? Isn't this a focus for our everyday lives, too? Forming this small community gave each of us a concrete experience of what is possible if we keep our focus on God's presence among us.
Have you ever had this kind of community experience?
Marie Lucek, OP