Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Pathless Path or Do you return from a retreat?

I am back from my desert retreat. Do you really return from a retreat or does the retreat return you to yourself? The retreat I attended was called a Contemplative Intensive Retreat. It is rightly named "The Pathless Path." St. Paul went to the desert of Tarsus once he encountered Jesus as the Path or Way. John of the Cross would be hanging out at this place. Teresa of Avila would visit often as would all Christians on the mystical path. Mystic simply means "With eyes open." We are all called to contemplation. Fr. Alberione invited us to this prayer which is the "path" to Paul's "knowing Christ." "It is no longer I who live, Christ lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).
The schedule included rising at 6 A.M. and entering in contemplation fro 25 minutes with a 5 minute meditative walk in between three (25 min) contemplative moments. Morning prayer was followed by breakfast. At 9:30 A.M. returning to contemplation with the eighteen others on retreat - in silence, sitting/kneeling. Meditation by Fr. Pat at 10 A.M. with wonderful reflections to deepen contemplation. Interviews with Fr. Pat (Redemptorist) after this - at least once a day (option except for the first and last day of the 5 full day retreat). Contemplation continued throughout the day. At 4 P.M. we walked on our own on desert paths. At 5 P.M. we celebrated Liturgy. After supper (everyone had some work to carry out in silence - ora et labora) we would return to contemplation until 8:30 P.M. retiring at 9 P.M. What is contemplation? It is being in the presence of God. It is similar to Centering Prayer. Contemplative prayer: Fr. Pat said it so well ... keeping your "hands off of your soul." Letting God be God.
Sr Margaret

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