Six years ago, I went with the women of St. Jude to what seemed to me, a mystical place. I had tried to go for two years in a row, but other stuff got in the way. I was so excited the day the bus pulled up to our destination, I cried. I couldn't believe I had finally made it to Montserrat Jesuit Retreat house.
My first trip I was so anxious. What does God want to say to me? Will I hear Him? etc. I have come to cherish my time at Montserrat. This year is no different. You go when you're suppose to go. Normally, as I said, I go with my friends from St. Jude's. However, this year the retreat falls on my Sarah's birthday. And, when I called to cancel, was told about an upcoming retreat. So, nothing on the calendar, I called one of my favorite people in the world, my Patti, and she and I went together this past Thursday.
Now, I must tell you, it's not immediate silence. You arrive Thursday for dinner and can talk during dinner. After that you must remain silent until lunch on Sunday. After unpacking, the first thing Patti and I did was hit the dock. We sat there and chatted and as we did all the tension left me. All the anger, all the anxiety, all my worries and I was filled with almost immediate peace. It was such a gift. I received so many gifts this weekend, it's like it was my birthday or something. I had peace restored to my soul, I met amazing women, Patti and I got to witness to others. I went to confession. Oh, and I tried tilapia and it was AMAZING! And, I hate seafood! lol
The retreat master was a wonderful woman. She's the second woman I've had as a retreat master. See on the weekends, it's not roaming about silently the whole time, only part of it. You go through the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius (awesome guy!). The exercises are only 30 minutes long and then you spend time contemplating them or whatever is on your mind. There are three a day. There's Mass, stations of the cross, the Rosary, meals. You can be as busy as you want. My favorite part of the retreat is when my head finally just empties. No more thoughts. It finally quiets down. And then my thoughts are "look at the duck, oh wait it's a goose". " Look at the clouds, that one looks like a cartoon dinosaur" and stuff like that. It is truly a gift when your mind shuts down and you can just be. It takes me a full day for that to happen.
Then, I reconnected with Jesus. And, I learned things I didn't realize before. Things I knew with my head, but didn't realize with my heart. The retreat master did something different than most. She had some songs that were pertinent to her talk. One such song brought me to my knees on Friday night.
Can you guess which line brought me to my knees? Let me know what you think!
The rest of the weekend was full of color and wonder and amazement. God is so awesome. I think one of my favorite gifts was confession. My gifts this weekend were during confession, during the healing service, during the stations of the cross, reconnecting with a friend from St. Jude, spending precious alone time with God, spending precious alone time with my Patti, and spending time with my spiritual adviser. A couple of my friends have had them for years and I always thought "I gotta get me one of those!" So, this weekend, I did!
I arrived back into the real world yesterday afternoon. Happy to be with my family again. However, I did not want to go to boot camp this morning. At. All. But, with four classes left, how could I quit now? I went, I'm sore. I have three more classes left!
I wish you all a beautiful Holy week.
Until next time,
What can I pray for you?