"Other-Wise" Formation Retreat Brings NJ Communities Together

For the second time in New Jersey’s history, St. Peter’s Young Adults, Rutgers Catholic Student Association, Seton Hall SPO, all the SPO NJ Missionaries, and Compass (the young adults of the People of Hope) gathered together for a formation retreat that included a three part talk series about wisdom called “OtherWise.” It was remarkable to see all of these groups (about 140 people in total) fill the St. Peter’s parish hall with joy and excitement for what the Lord had in store for the weekend.

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Adam, a Rutgers student remarked, “My favorite aspect of the retreat was the presence of the different communities, and how we were able to come together and praise God. While I may not have been able to meet up with every individual, I was still able to share in the same worship as my brothers and sisters in Christ. I felt as though I was with my family, coming together to learn and to grow.”

Joseph Matthias, a Servant of the Word based in Michigan, flew to New Jersey for the weekend to give some insight on wisdom through the Lord’s perspective. He taught the crowd that wisdom is what ought to be and therefore how we ought to live, that it applies knowledge to real life. This wisdom does not come from within ourselves, but from God, therefore we are not self-wise, but other-wise. This wisdom from God necessitates humility, confidence in God, and a relationship with Christ, who is the wisdom that constitutes the universe.Practically, Joseph taught the young adults that the wise life is a life of ordered habits, passions, and attitudes. A wise life is hopeful, driven by the desires of the Lord, and bring life interiorly and, in turn, to the world around us.

At the close of the weekend, the retreatants had an opportunity to respond to all they learned in the context of a powerful prayer meeting. The Holy Spirit was very present, and came forth through worship, inspired words from many of the young adults, an exhortation by Father John Gordon, and prayers over individuals. It was a spiritually recharging weekend that everybody walked away from with a new understanding of Jesus Christ in their lives.

Jen, a junior at Seton Hall, shared how this weekend impacted her at this busy time of the semester: “As a person who thinks a lot about the future, overthinks situations and problems, and doesn’t turn to God when it comes to herself, this weekend was a reminder that I need to surrender my everything to God. The distinction between having knowledge and being able to use that knowledge and wisdom towards (and in light) of God, are two very divergent things. I found myself recognizing there is a difference between being smart and being God-Smart. Being God-Smart (having the wisdom of God) transcends into all aspects of one’s life - the good and the bad, the victorious moments and the suffering. It’s recognizing that everything leads back to God. At the prayer meeting I opened my hands to God literally in prayer, but I was internally surrendering to Him my anxieties, worries, and stresses - trusting Him who is the all-powerful. Wisdom is truly just recognizing the ubiquity of God in everything, and being constantly aware of the light and control He has on everything, everyone, and every situation we are in.”

Overall, this weekend had a powerful and unifying impact on the communities that attended, and all hope that this is a tradition that continues!