Here's what I opened the retreat with:
I have a plaque in my room, lettered in gold over a kind of gold rainbow. It says, “The place is here. The time is now.” “When the Byzantine liturgy begins, the deacon says simply, 'Kairos!'“ (Schmemann, Eucharist, p. 217). Kairos! It doesn't just mean “roll 'em” or “On your marks, get set, GO!” It means both “Now!” and “Good timing!” St. Paul used that word when he wrote, “Now is the acceptable time.”The overall theme of the retreat is based on a message our Founder received in a mystical experience of Jesus in the Eucharist: Do not be afraid; I am with you. From here (the tabernacle) I want to enlighten. Live with a penitent heart.
….Just a couple of weeks ago at Fatima, Pope Benedict spoke of making “ a journey to the core of one's being and to the nucleus of Christianity, so as to reinforce the quality of one's witness to the point of sanctity, and to find mission paths that lead even to the radical choice of martyrdom” (woah). That is also a good definition of retreat. It sets the bar really high, but “Now is the acceptable time.”
Since the first three phrases all fall in the general category of divine promises, and the last is all that is asked of us, that's the part we're focusing on this week. Each day will consider a different quality of the "penitent heart" that corresponds to the Lord's call.
I'll try to keep you posted--a task rendered a bit more challenging by my laptop's seeming inability to find the retreat house wireless signal! (Good thing everyone else is on retreat; that means that the community computer is free all day!)