Sunrise at Moree (NSW) Photo B. O'Donnell

Beginning Day 2023 Sydney

The "Beginning Day" is the name given to the annual one-day retreat held by the CL community in Europe. The CL community of New South Wales met and reflected on a transcript of the day entitled Faith the Fulfillment of Reason.
Maria Grandi

Filippo introduced the Beginning Day with a summary of the main points in the transcript. He explained how embarking on the road of companionship, we discover that the journey is not merely a sociological endeavour, but a profound exploration rooted in the love of the Trinity. In this shared odyssey, we gain new perspectives shaped by faith. These lenses reveal a path that extends beyond the confines of individual judgment, offering a freedom to say yes to a collective pilgrimage. Society often preaches self-reliance as the key to freedom, but this can unwittingly lead to a different form of enslavement. True liberation, we find, lies in communion - not a mere communion of individuals but a communion in the presence of Christ among us. Within this sacred union, imperfect faces become mirrors reflecting the divine, reminding us that He is here with us on this journey. Faith, a gift bestowed by grace, is sought through humble requests and pleas.
After Filippo’s introduction, Father Jonothan gave an informative talk on faith and reason. Starting from the definition from Hebrews 11 -1 (“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”), he went on to blend the theology of Roman Catholic Cardinal Avery Dulles (1918-2008) with Father Giussani’s reflections referred to in the transcript.

In the second session we heard two testimonials of lives informed by faith. These testimonials served as inspiring reminders that faith can truly shape our lives and motivate us to make extraordinary changes for the better.

Martha, Dr Robert and Filippo (photo B. O'Donnell)

Marta's Journey: Finding Purpose and Authenticity Through Faith
Marta's narrative is one of an incredible spiritual awakening. Her faith journey has provided her with a sense of purpose, imbued her life with meaning, and cultivated a profound connection with the divine. What was once taken for granted has now been recognized as a precious gift, ingrained within us from birth. Today, her unwavering faith in Jesus Christ serves as her source of salvation, guidance, and hope, bringing a remarkable difference to her life's trajectory.
This newfound faith drives Marta to be more authentic and compassionate, placing a greater emphasis on the well-being of others. She now seeks genuine happiness and knows where to find it, and has learnt to listen to her heart's deepest desires. Through daily Mass, frequent confession, and a constant acknowledgment of God's presence in every moment, Marta's faith has become her compass, guiding her through life's challenges and imperfections. Her journey reflects the transformation from a superficial existence to a profound spiritual awakening, highlighting the importance of faith in navigating life with purpose and joy.

Dr. Robert's Mission: Dentistry as a Path to Compassion and Service
Dr. Robert's remarkable journey is a testament to the transformative power of faith and the profound impact it can have on one's life choices. Initially blessed with a fulfilling family life and a prosperous dental practice, Dr. Robert felt an underlying sense of something missing. As he deepened his faith through daily Mass and prayer, he could no longer ignore the inner calling to make a change.
With unwavering determination, Dr. Robert decided to leave his successful career and embark on a mission to provide free dental care to those who could not afford it. His decision was reinforced by a series of remarkable events, including his wife's battle with cancer and the unforeseen challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through these experiences, Dr. Robert saw the hand of divine providence guiding him towards a new path. He reestablished his practice with financial support from friends and colleagues, dedicating a significant portion of his work to help those suffering from oral health issues and discomfort, who lacked the means for dental treatment. His faith was the driving force behind his mission, emphasizing the values of compassion and selflessness over financial considerations, echoing the teachings of Jesus on earthly treasures.
Dr. Robert's hope is that his charitable work will serve as a beacon of God's love for the less fortunate, potentially sparking faith in their hearts. His dedication is rooted in a profound fear of God, as he seeks to follow the path of righteousness, illuminated by faith and selfless service to others.

These two testimonials powerfully illustrate how faith can serve as a guiding light, leading individuals to make profound changes in their lives, grounded in compassion, service, and a deeper connection with the divine. Marta and Dr. Robert's experiences are testaments to the enduring strength of faith in the face of life's challenges and uncertainties, inspiring us all to embark on our own transformative journeys.