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Going on Retreat

October 29, 2015

I am a person who likes to go on retreats. I am right there with Peter at the Transfiguration, ‘Shall we build two tents, one for Moses and one for Elijah?’ I want to be on retreat all the time.

I go to a summer retreat, which I couldn’t go to this year because the dates coincided with a trip to Wisconsin and Ohio with my good friend Pam and her daughter Kristen and Pam’s grandkids Charlie and Desmond. I couldn’t miss that, hadn’t met the guys and they are 5 and 3 years old! They enabled me to visit my own grandkids, Brianna, Joshua and Isaiah, who are 5, 3 and 1 year old – I was hoping we could somehow get them all to meet, but that would have involved driving for 3 hours each way for a 1 or 2 hour visit, not feasible!!! But they got to visit with their great grandparents in Ohio, and I got to meet and travel with them and my own grandkids and family, so it was well worth it. Spending time with my sister and seeing my brother, their great uncle, referring to himself as Gruncle Matthew and playing with them in their home and yard was priceless!

The summer retreat, for which I usually organize a group of 20-30 women, joining groups from all over of 150 total, is always great, and my friends Ellen and Betty agreed to organize for me, then Betty couldn’t go either so we are going on Nov. 13-15 for the same themed retreat at West End, NJ, San Alfonso Retreat House – not the same as being there in August, but we are looking forward to it. I just finished a 5 day retreat in Philly at the Mother Boniface Spirituality Center with the Missionary Cenacle Family on our spirituality. That one is a silent retreat for 8 days and the Holy Spirit is very present. I couldn’t miss that! Thanks to my friend Dorothy Clay from California, who helped me with the cost, I was able to go to that one, too, for 5 days at least – still can’t get the time to do the whole 8 days! And every year Pax Christi Metro New York sponsors a retreat, which I did in February and look forward to in January this coming year.  Every place I go for retreat has lots of other retreats on various themes, and they all look good to me, but I really can’t do any more or my husband will rebel.

I know the Holy Spirit is always with us, but on retreat I really feel Her Presence. I am better able to be quiet and listen to Her. During the silent retreat we had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and it occurred to me that while Jesus is always present in the Church, with exposition we are reminded of that fact and can be more aware of that Presence. Retreats do the same thing – the Holy Spirit is always with us, but on retreat we can be alert to that whisper in our ear, be filled with the courage, fortitude, wisdom and all the gifts of the Holy Spirit that enable us to do good, be good, be a power for good, in the providence of our daily lives, as we are all called to do by our baptism and guided by our vocations and various paths of life. The joy of having the time to spend listening to the Lord and being able to share it is immense. But we have to come down off the mountain and share it!

God loves us so much, we have to bask in it once in a while, and then go out and let everyone else know God loves them the same way! My parents used to say ‘we love you equally, but for different reasons.’ So I love hearing the stories and sharing them, of how we are different and why we think God loves us or not. Retreats help me do that.

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