Pastor’s Keyboard: By the time you read this I will be back from my annual retreat in Scranton PA. Every priest is required to make an annual retreat for at least five days once a year. As I’m writing this I am on day two, I can say that it should be a practice that everyone by the title of Christian should observe. The retreat I’m on is called an Ignatius Retreat. Instead of daily conferences (talks), it involves meeting one on one with a Spiritual Director (usually a priest but can be a deacon, religious, or trained lay person). This is an hour-long meeting that takes place once a day. At the meeting the Director and the Directed seek to discern what the Lord is trying to say to the Directed. The director asks questions about your experiences in prayer and helps you to ask the deeper questions God is trying to unlock for you. Then the director gives Points of Meditation (usually scripture passages) to meditate in for an hour each (so you spend four hours a day in prayer). This is over and above daily Mass, devotions, and spiritual reading, and oh yea, Lots of extra sleep! Something I feel I sorely need these days.
A good Director can help you to hear the Lord better and then you make Resolutions. Resolutions are the things you are going to take back with you from retreat so you can continue to grow in the Lord. Example might be to pray extra devotions, get more sleep, exercise more, stop Meetings by a certain time, prepare better for talks and the like. After all a retreat is only as good as what it leads you to do differently so that you continue to hear and follow the Lord in a deeper communion of love.
This retreat is focusing on areas that I need to bring to the Lord (like being too self reliant). Recognizing even more the Love of the Trinity for me separate from the many things I do. You may have heard this theme over the years in homilies I’ve given (they say that if you want to preach well you are always preaching to yourself too). I’m already feeling the spiritual ear wax cleaned out of my heart and mind. Please pray for me in the coming days that I may not allow the cares of trying to serve two parishes, a college, high school, grade school, Boy Scouts, and as assistant vocation director clog them up again. In which case I will be doing it all in my own. The worst thing I could do, and the worst thing you could do in our lives. May all we do be with and for the Lord. I think I’m rediscovering again why the Pope said that “Christianity is the greatest love story ever told, to which we are all invited”. It’s truly good to be here. I’m praying for each one of you everyday in all my many masses and Holy Hours, and rosaries. Please do the same for me.
Your Brother and Father in Christ,
A Disciple Renewed