With the beginning of Advent, the liturgical season in which we prepare to receive the Child God, the Laudato Si’ Movement organized a one-day Advent Retreat to experience a journey to God, to our origin and to the origin of all creation.
People from different regions participated and shared, by languages, their testimonies in WhatsApp groups. It was an enriching day, both personally and as a community.
Felicia Aigbiremhon from Nigeria, whose prayerful question was: “What has life presented to me and how do I embrace it?” shared her testimony from Africa, and related a story from her parish: “In my Church we celebrate the harvest of the year, with the theme ‘the harvest of praise’. We were reminded that the person who gives thanks is fully human. When we help the poor, we are doing thanksgiving.”
David Kimanzi, from Kenya, said, “The retreat was a blessing. I thank the Lord for doing the reflection for us. Please pray for my country. Some places are flooding and it has been dry for a short time. There is a lot of climate crisis.
Also from the UK, Maria del Carmen joyfully showed her garden: “The Gospel tells us not to worry about all the burdens of life, but to be confident before Our Lord. He comes to us every day, in all our struggles and is with you, helping you to get through.”
An Indian sister from the Presentation of Unity of Newfoundland Labrador, Sister Annmary Andrews, gave thanks for “being connected to nature and to the human family in general,” and with Laudato Si’, eco-spiritually, linked to the climate crisis.
“What happens when nature calls us to be inactive for a time? What has happened this year in our lives of dormancy?” asked Brigid from Portland, Oregon USA, who reflected on “how to balance our insatiable demand for well-being versus the cry of the earth.”
Gale Mohammed Oxley from Trinidad, showed a photo of a sunset, “a lesson for us that God is in charge, we are stewards of creation.” With another photo of a sunset, Ana Belén, from Ecuador, expressed: “The more difficult the circumstances in which we live thanks to climate change, the greater the hope must be.
The testimonies from Latin America were summarized in three attitudes: hope, courage and transformation. “The paths of creation can lead us to places of hope or annihilation. We must be courageous, as Jesus was, to defend nature against a system of power that violates it. Contemplation and action,” said Ernesto from Spain.
From Argentina, Daniela was “deeply moved to tears” during the retreat: “It is truly very sad to realize the consequences of the voracity of sin and man’s voracity on Mother Earth. I feel a call to revalidate and revalue the mystery of creation”.
A nun from Nicaragua experienced it as “a moment of grace”, to “stop and have intimate contact with the beauty of the common home. To renew the strength and passion to follow this path”.