Monday, June 07, 2010

Retreat Report

Retreat opened yesterday afternoon, with thunder rumbling overhead. Today we had a perfect late spring sort of day: cool breeze, blue skies, puffy bright clouds, bird calls and the scent of flowers in the air. I'd rather be out there than inside continuing to put my talks together! Which is, as I told the sisters this morning, quite literally what I do: I gather notes and quotes, type them up, print them in whatever order they happen to be in and then use (yes) an actual pair of scissors and a glue stick to cut and paste them after I've sorted them into the topics that the notes themselves reveal. Probably not the most efficient way to get the job done, but I've found it helpful. Otherwise, I tend to procrastinate ever more, always feeling the need for more research before I attempt to write a paragraph. This way, it comes together before my eyes and tells me what needs to be written by way of transition and illustration.

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.”
….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.”
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.
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!)


Anonymous said...

HA! And you were worried about finding the right words!----MKH

Anonymous said...

The words which are the right words must be the ones which are received by the listeners in each one's capacity to absorb them. It isn't just a fiber thing.