- A Spiritual Reboot.
- An Encounter with the Global Church.
- A Challenge to live the Eucharist - or rather, "go in peace to love and serve the Lord."
1) A Spiritual Reboot - Our hectic lives very rarely allow for a week away from distractions filled with spiritual reflection, witness talks, prayer, community building and pilgrimage. If the IEC offered nothing more than these precious moments, we're further ahead than when we started. Having the chance to examine our faith journey, reflect on the wisdom of those around us and gather for communal prayer is good for the body, mind and soul. It shouldn't take an occasion like this to make it happen and it's up to all of us to find time in our busy days for a mini spiritual reboot. Daily mass, the sacrament of reconciliation, the rosary, adoration in front of the blessed sacrament - they're all waiting for us anytime we like. This week reminds us of that.2) An Encounter with the Global Church - from the parishioner who sits in the 10th row in Latin America to the Cardinals of the world, we got a helpful reminder that we are a global church. While we often get caught up in our own local issues, it's a good reality check to remember that the world is a pretty big place and the mass that we celebrate in Scarborough is the same one that takes place in Dublin, Cape Town or Madrid. We find comfort and support in our global church. Featuring a different continent each day allowed us a brief glimpse into the spirituality of that part of the world, allowing us to rest at night knowing there are tremendous people of faith from north to south and east to west.
Having the opportunity to fly in an airplane next to a Bishop, walk in procession beside a Cardinal and eat breakfast with a priest or sister is a good thing. It bridges the gap between our religious leadership and the "church on the ground". It lends itself to dialogue, fellowship and mutual support. For that, we should all be grateful.
3) A Challenge To Live the Eucharist - We saw examples of this happening all week. A delegate pushing a wheelchair through the mud, helping a complete stranger with translation, walking a little slower so that someone else wouldn't run out of steam, seeing the face of Jesus in those we encountered.If we could bottle that experience and bring it to the streets of our cities, in the way we deal with our co-workers, caring for the marginalized and outcast - not just for a week but a lifetime, just imagine the possibilities?
Photos: Emanuel Pires
We are the body of Christ. In the Archdiocese of Toronto we are better for having journeyed together to the IEC. We thank the organizers who put in much time and effort to plan a thorough and challenging program. But most importantly, we thank God for the graces of this gathering and pray that they will continue to be sown in the months and years to come.
P.S. If you've enjoyed the updates provided in this blog, stop by regularly for more information on what's going on across the Archdiocese of Toronto. Watch for daily updates from World Youth Day 2008, including Days in the Diocese (Melbourne) July 10-14 and the worldwide gathering in Sydney, July 15-20, 2008! Thanks to Emanuel Pires for his great photos, web updates and most valuable contributions. To the Archdiocese of Toronto's IEC Committee and all those involved in bringing this pilgrimage to fruition, hats off for a job well done!