I am a priest. I live in a chaotic world. I am supposed to be able to make some sense of the world so that I could help other people make sense of the chaos that surrounds them. It gets rather difficult to do, however, when one is immersed in the chaos as well.
That is why the Church, in its infinite wisdom, insists that its clergy and religious take at least one week a year to “withdraw” from the world and spend time on retreat. During a retreat week, we are challenged to get more into contact with the Lord who is all around us and who sustains us.
While living in the world, we tend to pay attention to the distractions of the world and the lures of the world rather than to recognize the Lord in our midst. We, like everyone else, often forget that God is all around us and immediately available if we but ask.
One of the first things that I usually do on retreat is sleep. You might think that is funny; but, I do not get a chance to sleep as much as I need while at the parish. There is always something going on that makes me get to bed late or have to wake up early or keep me awake at night as I worry about problems facing my parishioners. So, on retreat, I get the chance for sleep.
That is good and that is bad. Anyone who has made a retreat before will talk to you about sleep. When we finally stop all the crazy chaos of our lives and take the time to rest in the Lord, God uses even our dreams to speak to us. It is not uncommon to hear people talk or shout in their sleep as their dreams overwhelm them. When we give God a chance to break through, He takes it!
Some of my “purist” friends chide me for taking my laptop on retreat. They tell me that I need to disconnect. Actually, I use the laptop to go to different religious sites that offer online retreats. It is a great way to get a personal retreat director that is available at any moment of the day or night. 🙂
So, all in all, the first full day of retreat has been good. The weather is extremely hot outside which has kept me, pretty much, indoors. I am taking the time that I need to rest up and to keep myself open to God.
I am also praying for the myriad people who have asked for prayers while on retreat. Rest assured that your intentions are with me.