A funny thing happened on the way to this article. I started writing it in late November for the January Kindling but ran out of time to finish the writing and editing. Imagine how surprised I was to read Gordy Palzer’s article on Ultreya in place of my article in last month’s Kindling. Back to back Kindling articles about Ultreya, do we think the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us something?
I lived my Cursillo weekend in February of 2000 and embraced the 4th-Day method of Grouping and Ultreya. I’m still Grouping, but I pretty much stopped attending Ultreya. You ask: “Why did I stop?”. That’s a good question and one I’ve started asking myself over the past couple months. The only answer I can come up with is; “I don’t have a good reason.”
Somewhere back in 2011 I missed a few consecutive months of Jacob’s Well and I fell into the belief that my not attending didn’t negatively impact Cursillo or my faith journey. While I continued to Group and live weekends as team, I continued to ignore the call to Ultreya. As I missed more months I convinced myself that I did not need Ultreya.
When I was regularly attending Jacob’s Well I joined 40 – 50 other 4th-Day folks and came to know them at a much deeper level. My desire to grow closer to Christ was nourished by these folks. Their energy helped me to see I needed community if I was to truly live the calling of the 4th-Day. I enjoyed those Saturday evenings, I was fed those Saturday evenings, and maybe I even fed somebody else those Saturday evenings -- but then I decided I didn’t need Ultreya. Ultreya didn’t leave me, I left Ultreya.
The more I think about Ultreya the more I’m starting to think – “Maybe I need to attend because Ultreya needs me to attend.” Maybe this isn’t about me having my needs met. Maybe this is about me meeting the needs of Cursillo.
I remember the times when I was on a waiting list to serve on teams. I remember the times when we would see 50 – 70 candidates living a set of weekends. I remember holding four sets of weekends each year and not having to worry about cancelling a weekend.
I believe active Ultreyas played a big part in making this possible. I believe the energy of the Holy Spirit received by the 4th-Day through active Ultreyas was a driver of our movement. Being part of that larger community strengthened me to continue to say yes when called to serve Christ and Cursillo.
But then I decided I did not need Ultreya, and I’m told I’m not alone in the choice. As more of the 4th-Day has stayed away from Ultreya the energy level in the Twin Cities movement has changed. Team waiting lists are a thing of the past, candidate counts could be better, we’ve eliminated one set of weekends, and we have had to cancel weekends a couple of times.
I know reduced attendance at Ultreya is not the only reason for the above and that other factors are impacting the movement. But I can see a direct correlation between the vibrancy of Ultreya and the energy in Twin Cities Cursillo. I cannot control the other outside factors impacting us now, but I can control whether or not I attend Ultreya. I can return to Ultreya and say – “Here I am Lord".
My commitment is to return to attending Ultreya evenings this year and, if you have been away, I invite you to join me.