Arise Together in Christ is a three-year, parish centered program of spiritual renewal, evangelization and adult faith formation. Those that have participated have developed a closer relationship with Christ, grown in community, and reached out in service to others.
These past three years, have done just that for me, personally. I have been humbled by the faith I have encountered in others. I'm sure others have felt the same, especially the Arise team. Together as a team we have accomplished God's work by allowing the Spirit to move. It certainly wasn't us. We had no idea what we were doing; we didn't understand; we didn't know anything; we didn't "get it."
Yet, we did it. We stepped out in faith.
I still don't know how we did what we did.
In looking back over the past three years, I'm awed. It has to be the work of the Holy Spirit. In meditation, I definitely see that the Arise program has brought me into a Trinitarian relationship with God. Read John 14:11, John 14:20, and John 14:23. IOW, our faith tells us that God is three distinct persons, each relating to the other two in a unique way, much like St. Mary's Arise team, and very much like my Sunday night Arise group, and I'm sure all the Arise groups. Each person in God is equally and completely one and the same God. We, who have been made in God's own image and likeness, grow in perfection by becoming ever more united to each other and thus to God, in our groups. We grew together and still respected the diversity of each of us as being a unique individual. Wowza. Think of it.
I thank God for this experience.
In the most wonderful way, the Arise team, and the Arise groups, have taught me to respect each person as someone unique, and someone very special to God. We have enriched each other. Our variety has helped me to understand something of the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, imperfectly reflected in the unity in diversity in the Arise team, in my group, in my parish, my community, and the Archdiocese. So it must be in the world. And when you think of it, all of history.
I'm sorry. Words aren't sufficient. My vocabulary fails me. Wowza.
St. Thomas Aquinas teaches us that everything aims toward God. Everyone wants the best. Of course the best is God. All human beings want union with God, and working together toward the good is the best humans can be.*
Arise with St. Mary's Parish has done this. The three years are finished. We are in the last session. Finis.
I hope you will continue to read your Bible, reflecting upon what you have read. My heartfelt thanks to all who have participated in the groups, and those that have found their way to this blog.
OK then, before I go, besides thanking everyone overall, I need to thank some in particular:
- as always, to my husband, my Martha, for loving me
- to my children, for tolerating me
- to Father Dave, for giving me the ball and letting me run with it
- to Father Brian and Father Frank for their prayers and support
- To Deacon Dick for his leadership and prayers
- to Joe, for his marketing skills, his spreadsheet expertise, and running interference for me
- to Nancy, for her teacher skills and procurement abilities
- to Ray for reaching out to our elderly and infirm and Christine for her support and prayers (and I promise to never tell Ray to "shut up" again).
- to Robbie and Paul for stepping in and doing whatever was asked.
- to Brenda and David for the best banner in the diocese and other promotional works
- to Katie for her educational expertise, involvement with the youth, and dedication to the parish
- to John for back-up and ideas
- to Betsy for back-up and help
- to Mike for his support and sales pitches
- to Neil for lending his presence and support and giving us the perception of "legitimacy"
- for everyone's dedication and faith
For a review of the past three years, check out the Arise pix.
*Thomas Aquinas, I-II, q. 36, a. 3, Summa Theologica, vol.2.