I was pretty pleased to learn yesterday that the retreat I am leading did not, in fact, begin today. It actually begins tomorrow afternoon, giving me even more time to pull my notes together. And I do mean "pull together."
The current state of the eight days' reflections is scraps of paper, Post-Its, torn out missallette pages and assorted other sources, divided into eight folders. I had been counting on the month of April for the work of editing this collection into a seamless garment of spirituality; instead, my siblings and I helped weave an altogether different garment--call it a wedding garment--for Mom. And as soon as I got back, we had the Theology of the Body series (which is all online now, by the way). So here I am, about to give a retreat and with only a sketchy game plan. You know the Holy Spirit is going to have to be really busy this week!
Besides working on my Intro and first meditation, I managed to take a walk around the motherhouse for my Rosary. The dogwood trees down the hill are at that perfect stage (those on the hill are yielding their flowers to leaves); the lilac are still in bloom, and as I crossed a barren stretch of asphalt an incredible perfume came wafting to me from the greenery on the side of the road. The rarest and loveliest springtime flower of all: lilies of the valley. Square yards of the tiny white bells waving in the breeze and making their presence known by that powerfully sweet scent. That was a real treat. And more signs of nature in the cackling of the robins and the stately strut of two wild turkeys, with their copper and blue-tipped feathers. Having come from downtown Chicago straight to our wooded hilltop here, I am overwhelmed with the beauty of the Massachusetts spring. And in great need of it, too.
Since I need to focus on preparing each day's talks and prayers, I will probably not have much time to spare for blogging, but I do hope to share each day a little bit of the content I'll be offering the sisters. Let that serve as a reminder for the prayers we need during this special season of grace, the annual retreat. (And thanks!)