Five days away from my ministries in Santa Rosa is in some sense a luxury, but one I desperately needed.
I had been wanting to do this since September and finally carved out seven days – 5 days of retreat and two days to travel.
It was a largely silent retreat and, though I talked with the Jesuit who offered me a place to stay, it was largely self-directed – or, rather, as it turned out, God-directed.
I had brought a digital version of St. Ignatius Spiritual Exercises, as well as two books: Néstor Jaén’s Toward a Liberation Spirituality and Michael Harter’s book of prayers, Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits.
Part III of Jaén’s book had a paraphrase of the Exercises from a liberation perspective. Hearts on Fire, parts of which I’ve used for personal prayer, is organized around the Spiritual Exercises. They were both very helpful.
But what happened, without my planning, is that each day presented me with a challenge.
- to be open to God’s love
- to let myself be freed from the pursuit of honors and recognition
- to be available, disponible, especially to the poor
- to accompany, to be present to witness the degradation of the Son of God and the children of God by the powers of this world
- to wait, in hope for the Risen Lord.
These are very personal, reflecting my idiosyncrasies, my obsessions, and my needs – but perhaps they might help others to begin to ask themselves, “Where is God calling me today?”