Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Spiritual Retreat

I went to my first religious retreat. Silent. Even our meals were taken in silence. There was a lot of praying. I didn’t think I could hear Mass, pray the rosary, the stations, adore the Lord and meditate for this many hours every day for three days but the time flew. I was grateful for the 5-hr drive so that we could transition to our normal lives. 

The Carmelite retreat center was beautiful. There were paintings to lift our minds to God, even in the bathrooms. I copied a couple of sayings:
Count your blessings. (I have a pillow that says this too and Salina Yoon wrote a beautiful PB J). This little saying should be tattooed upon our hearts.
Seven days without prayer makes one weak.

What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to God. ~ Hans Urs van Balthasar.
I loved this opening prayer before each meditation.

My Lord and my God, I firmly believe You are here, that You see me, You hear me. I adore You with profound reverence. I beg pardon for my sins and the grace to spend the time in prayer fruitfully. My Immaculate Mother, St. Joseph my father, my Lord, and my Guardian Angel, intercede for me. Amen.

Meditation on the Samaritan woman in John's Gospel:

We are like her. What is our encounter with Jesus like? He longs for a deeper relationship. And when we allow this, we are transformed. The Samaritan woman drops her water pot and announces to everybody that Jesus is the Messiah. It’s important to note that Jesus chooses imperfect people to spread His Word. Think about Mary of Magdala.
Another point is that God puts specific people in our lives, not just random people. We will have the greatest influence on the people in our immediate circle – our children, friends, parents. They are all here in this time and place by design. So be salt and light to them!

On Examination of Conscience and Mercy:
We belong to God. He made us. He knows us. So have no fear and anxiety when we go to make our confession.
On the cross, Jesus is not focused on His humiliation but how we are hurting the Father. “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do!” He cries.

And so, we too need to forgive those who’ve wronged us. And be quick to ask for pardon as soon as we realize we’ve done a wrong. “Don’t say, ‘he made me do it!’”
Funny story: A nun hauls in a boy because he bit another’s finger. “Did you bite his finger?” she asks. “Yes, sister,” says the boy. The nun is pleased with the boy’s forthrightness. “Why did you bite the finger?” The boy replies, “He put it in my mouth.”

Fri Mass – Homily

Feeding of the five thousand. It’s an impossible problem, but Jesus tells us what to do (sit down and distribute the food) and He provides the rest. He far exceeds our expectations. We must trust in Jesus.
And who is this Jesus? He is Son of the Living God! In Acts 5:34-42 a Pharisee observes what has happened to previous so-called prophets. He then advises the Sanhedrin, "have nothing to do with these men (the Apostles), and let them go. For if this endeavor or this activity is of human origin, it will destroy itself. But if it comes from God, you will not be able to destroy them; you may even find yourselves fighting against God."
That's enough to chew on for now :) More meditations to come later.


Yanting Gueh said...

Looks like a beautiful place, Vijaya. I'm glad you got to a retreat to pray and focus on praying. That's something I want to do (not praying, but eating and writing in silence at a retreat) after reading Maxine Hong Kingston's The Fifth Book of Peace few years back.

Mirka Breen said...

So lovely. I have yet to go on a retreat, except inwardly.

Becky Shillington said...

These are beautiful, Vijaya. You are "salt and light" to me, my friend!

Vijaya said...

Claudine, I often write during Adoration -- sometimes is a prayer but sometimes it's me asking Jesus to write with me.

Mirka, I must say that retreating from the normal family responsibilities is extremely rejuvenating. I hope you will have a chance to make a retreat.

Becky, thank you! Hey, we should've taken pictures last weekend.