It is always good to attend the retreats. So many people you only see once a year, and only so many hours. Of course, the entire point of a retreat at Gethsemani is silence. I had a hard time finding silence on this retreat. Most of the time I spent hiding in the space between the liturgy office and the vocations office. It’s just a little space, but no one ever comes down there.
The reason I went into hiding had nothing to do with other people talking, it had to do with my being very used to only seeing a limited number of people each day. I get up, go to mass, come home and begin my day. Unless I go to the doctor, Kroger, Walmart, or the library, I see no one else.
Ministry calls us out of ourselves and out of our comfortable places. I am very comfortable in hermitage. I am also in charge of on-going formation for the Kentucky group of the LCG. That is a ministry helping to guide others, and myself, to a deeper understanding of what it means to be a lay participant in a 912 year old tradition.
Another ministry is that of presence. People feel they can talk to me. That is good, and I don’t mind. Twenty five people that want to talk to me makes me want to run away! However, the Lord sends those people who need you particularly. This happens to all of us, not just me. The trick is being open enough to the Spirit to know when this person before you is sent to you for a reason.
That’s challenging, knowing when someone is there from the Lord. It requires some filters to say the least. First, are you making up this feeling? For instance, the person is very attractive to you, are you creating a false spirit? Or, this is someone you have a bone to pick with, and you decide this must be from the Lord. Is it?
The best way to find out is keep repeating the name of Jesus the entire time you are listening to them. Do it in your mind of course, but do it non-stop. That is a sure way of discerning in your own heart what your motives are, or if the only motive is the one the Lord sent.
This weekend I found myself without any real need to talk to anyone. I did, of course, it would be very rude not to, but nothing so pressing that it had to be done during the retreat. It’s a gift to be silent.
It’s a gift to be silent.
It’s a gift to be silent, before the Lord.