Retreat Time ...by Sr. Dorothy

Each year, usually in June, our community takes a retreat together. We don’t go anywhere—we just stay here at the monastery. But retreat time is different from ordinary time. This year we are having eight days of silence, which most of us look forward to. We eat in silence and spend our days, each of us, alone in silence. We still pray aloud at Mass and the Liturgy of the Hours, but unless someone has something that actually needs to be communicated to another, we don’t talk. With silence, we become more aware of the beauty around us, and also what’s inside us. There is time to consider and to contemplate...

Young Dogwood in full bloom

The Bible speaks of chronos time and kairos time. Chronos time goes on ticking away during our ordinary daily lives—now it’s time for an appointment, now to start work, now to end work, now to pick up the children from school. Kairos time, on the other hand, isn’t something we measure, but rather a moment or a season. Retreat time can be kairos time—a time when God interrupts our busyness and our counting, and touches us—perhaps deeply. Retreat is a way of making room for kairos time and for God, making the kind of time and space for reflection and prayer that we may not ordinarily have.

 

Mature Dogwood, late blooming and long lasting

Most of us in this modern world, monastics and other people alike, lead quite busy lives. There is always plenty to do, to keep track of, to plan for and to manage. We can get pretty worn down by all this if we never take time “away.” And, often, when we think of taking time away, vacation comes into our minds. Vacation can be fun and relaxing, but it can also be very busy—planning our itinerary and trying to keep track of what comes next, whether to do ‘this’ or ‘that’ today, and so on.

 Retreat time is different. We try to “clear the decks” of busyness and make time and space for God to speak to us. Perhaps we do a little spiritual reading. We might also have art supplies ready so we can spend some time allowing the Spirit to move in our creativity. Maybe we’ll take a walk around the grounds or in the woods, noticing God’s handiwork all about us, appreciating and enjoying God’s artistic creativity. If there is a bit of work we can do and still maintain our contemplative openness, perhaps we’ll do that. Some spend time in the garden and grounds, digging around in the soil, tending potted plants, or perhaps weeding. We may sit and gaze into the distance, just waiting.

The cross in our cemetery near the chapel

 All of us here look forward to the blessing of retreat time. I hope that you, too, are able to take some time for retreat at some point in the year. A time that can be kairos time, a season just for you and God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  • Comment posted by Paz Vital on June 17, 2024 at 3:32PM (30 days ago)

    Yes, indeed Sr Dorothy.
    Time of silence and contemplation is very welcome at St Placid. I feel a lot more light and peaceful.
    Blessings,
    Paz

    • Comment posted by Dorothy on June 17, 2024 at 3:39PM (30 days ago)

      So glad you have had a good retreat, Sr. Paz!

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