By Fr. Maurizio Zorzi, sss
You have decided to accept the invitation to participate in the Euro camp Retreat. We ask you to be open, to cherish and ensure that this time for you and for everyone will be an experience of the exaggerated (overflowing) love of our Lord!
The Eurocamp 2018 started with these words and with the delivering of a little piece of paper, on which there was the logo, the slogan, the themes of each day and the picture of a grapevine plant. This year Eurocamp took place in Thy-le-Chateau, Belgium where The Community of the Beatitudes were our gracious hosts.
There weren't many of us, 20 people in total, full of joy desiring to live that week in community with prayer and reflection on the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the “exaggerated love” of Jesus for humanity. Each day, following the usual structure typical of the Eurocamp, we discovered that we are “beloved sons and daughters of the Lord”, called to live His love as gift in our daily lives.
On Thursday, the 2nd of August, feast day of St. Peter Julian Eymard, we, as in previous years, had a whole day's Eucharistic celebration with the introductory rite of the Mass included in the Morning Prayer. After breakfast until early afternoon, the liturgy of the Word was celebrated. and the liturgy of the Eucharist was` concluded before the evening meal. This experience is really popular with the young participants and indeed, with the animators too. Many of the participants, tell us that they are better able to understand the importance and the beauty of the Mass in their lives, thanks to this prolonged, whole day experience.
After the reception of Holy communion and before the final blessing, everyone received a “letter from Father Eymard”, created by Father Manuel Barbiero. We take this opportunity to thank Fr. Barbiero for his fine and willing contribution to our retreat. We read the letter in silence just after receiving Jesus in Holy Communion. We would like to share it with you; you can find it attached at the end of this article. Hope you enjoy it as we did!
On Friday the 3rd and Saturday the 4th of August, our time was spent thinking about our future, our vocation, the choices we might make, our mission. Through the desert time, silence, the stations of the Cross (the text we used for this was written by a group of young people who accepted this challenge proposed by Pope Francis during this year's Synod for young people) , the sacrament of Reconciliation and a “personal declaration of commitment”, every participant created a little programme of life with a generous response to the exaggerated love of our Lord.
Spending a day in Brussels was nice too. First of all, we visited the Blessed Sacrament community, situated in Rue de Wavre, where we prayed together before the Eucharist and, after having our packed lunches, we walked around the city with Father Maurits Gijsbrecht and Father Omer Termote. These moments were very important for us, as we were conscious of being part of the Blessed Sacrament family, the whole fraternity, which comes from Eucharist and the important places connected with the life of Father Eymard's.
During the last day, we enjoyed listening to the testimonies of our young people; especially those from the sons of Els, their mum who had participated in Eurocamp some years previously and who decided to take on the responsibility of planning the week. Sara, David, Aaron and their friend Kareen shared their joy after spending their week with us. They are patiently waiting to participate in next year's Eurocamp. Their enthusiasm gives us optimism for the future of Eurocamp.
I want to be honest: I wanted to end the experience of the Eurocamp after 33 years thinking this kind of experience was not interesting anymore to young adults. However, after listening to these young people and the advice of Jean Luc and Elisabeth, people in charge of the community of Beatitudes (it has been an incredible experience, we have been happy to welcome you into our community, you have to continue working for the young generation to allow Jesus' love to penetrate their hearts more and more). I have decided to continue. However, we really need more interest and participation from the Blessed Sacrament Fathers in order to make this experience of “life in the Eucharist” known! We need to be really brave in speaking out about it. We need to have more joy in transmitting news, and lots of courage approaching young people. We also need more collaboration with the animators' group: It is truly our calling to share our lives with more young people.
This is our hope. This is our wish. This is part of our…future.
Therefore, here you can find attached the letter of which I was speaking earlier: the letter which we gave to participants on Thursday evening, during the silence after the Holy Communion.
Have a good read…
If you would like to find out about the spiritual itinerary of the Eurocamp, let us know: we will share it gladly, hoping that it might be helpful for others/for you in the pastoral with young people.
Letter written by Fr Manuel Barbiero, sss
My Dear Friend,
You are living a special week: the one of the Eurocamp.
I will take advantage of this occasion to share with you an adventure I lived some years ago.
Throughout my life, I always desired to do great things for God. At a certain point, I thought It would’ve been nice to found a community in Jerusalem, inside the Cenacle itself, there where Jesus celebrated the Last Supper with his disciples and instituted the Eucharist.
I didn’t think it was going to be so complicated and that it was going to take so long.
I went to Rome to handle the matter and while I was there I decided to make a spiritual retreat, that lasted for 65 days.
It was during this retreat that God made me understand what he really wanted from me: the gift of my self.
Sometimes we have the impression of giving God many things, even important ones. God, through the Holy Spirit, made me understand that if we don’t give our heart completely to Him we haven’t done a thing and we haven’t given a thing. He revealed to me another cenacle: the Interior Cenacle.
What is this interior Cenacle?
It means that Jesus has completely taken over my life. I had the impression that he was waiting for me there, in Rome, to tell me that he wanted to live in me, develop his life in me, grow in me, share with me his love for the Father and for all humankind, sharing with me until the end his Paschal Mystery of death and life.
At the moment in which I allowed Jesus Christ to take shape in me, I realized that it wasn’t anymore I who lived, but he, Christ who was living in me.
I discovered, in a new and more profound way, that God loves me personally, as I am, with an infinite and eternal love.
I accepted to remain in this love, in all its simplicity, like a child. I made myself available entirely to the Holy Spirit, for him to guide me, for him to shape me. It was the Holy Spirit who leads me make the gift of my self.
I felt as if I had begun a new relationship with Jesus, a union of love and friendship so strong that in this bond my actions became, so to speak, the actions of Christ. The life of Jesus, his thoughts, his feelings, his desires, his way of acting have permeated me and have become my thoughts, my feelings, my desires.
I took the decision then to let him control of my existence, to put myself under his guidance, to live in his Spirit.
In him I find everything. Jesus Christ is my interior master, the guest of my soul and my body, my guide, my model. In a word, the God of my heart. I love him and want to be like him in everything, to experience the same attitude as him, to identify myself with him.
But, my dear friend, pay attention, to live this life of union you must give up everything: heart, mind, understanding, judgment, thought; to work in union with God, to become spiritual, to abide in him as he abides in us, to live in thanksgiving in order to find joy in him.
This is possible thanks to the Eucharist, which is the very gift of Jesus Christ, a concrete gift, incarnated, a gift of his body and of his blood, an expression of the depth of his love.
Thanks to this gift, which is offered as nourishment, everyone can learn to give and receive.
I simply responded to the “Gift of God” through the gift of myself, with love and thanks for love.
Maybe you will like to know, concretely, what this gift produced in me, in my life.
During the retreat, I wrote to a nun - who had provided me with daily bread during the first days of the foundation of the Congregation – that on my return home I would like to give her “a new bread”. I saw myself as if I would’ve become a “new dough, like the Paschal bread” (1Cor 5:7), like another Eucharist, with Jesus, bread broken for the life of the world.
I entrusted myself completely to God, to his will. And when I received the negative answer from Rome regarding the Cenacle at Jerusalem I regarded this as being the design of God and I blessed his holy will.
My relationships with people also changed. How much criticism from some of my religious brethren! But I didn’t judge them, I forgave them, I chose silence and patience, gentleness and charity, service and prayer.
Jesus enabled the new man in me to take over, the interior spiritual man, who lives by the strength that comes from love.
My wish for you, dear friend, is that you may be enabled to have the same experience that I had.
I pray for you and ask for you the gift of the Holy Spirit.