Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Silence is Golden

I traveled to Atlanta Georgia this past weekend to attend a silent retreat based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  The spiritual exercises are a compilation of meditations, prayers and contemplative practices designed to aid in consideration of creation, sin, repentance and redemption which should help to better discern God's will. 

I arrived at 6:00pm EST on Friday night.  I had been quite stressed because I had allowed fear to take over, once again.  When I arrived, a volunteer named Mary, wearing a blue sweater met me at the door.  Outside of that door there was a sign which reminded me to, "Be still and know that I am God."  My room was simple and beautiful, free from any distractions.  I had a bed, a desk and a bathroom.

We were greeted with a welcome reception and fresh fruit, cheeses and cru de te platter, wine and other soft drinks.  Then we had a marvelous blackened fish dinner with roasted broccoli and strawberry shortcake.  After dinner we went to the chapel and had evening prayers and then silence began.

At first, it was a little odd, but afterwards, it was more of a burden lifted.  I was there to be quiet with God.  It is in silence where you are really able to hear and to calm yourself.  The talks were so fruitful.  The spiritual exercises have a lot of similarities to the 12 steps of AA and there are 12 step retreats held there as well. 

There is so much to say about the retreat that I am saving it for future posts.  I just wanted to point out a few things.  First of all, everyone should try to get away on retreat.  It takes all responsibilities off of your plate for a little while.  And with all of the clutter out of the way, real contemplation can occur and with it comes peace. 

Secondly, I am just in awe sometimes of our recovery community.  I purchased a book called, "Breathing Under Water, Spirituality and the Twelve Steps".  I noticed that another retreatant had been carrying the same book around.  And, so being in a silent environment, we noticed one another.  One day after mass, she walked over to me and just hugged me, and walked away.  I never talked to her.  I didn't have to.  We walk a shared journey.  The characters do not matter.  She could have been the addict, or the mother or wife or sister or friend.....it doesn't matter.  What matters.........really matters in the whole scheme of things is that we are looking to God for healing and that my friends, in my humble opinion, is the answer.

Praying for you and yours and Henry.


Julie Cragon said...

Great for you! Look forward to reading more about it.

beachteacher said...

Wow - that sounds wonderful. I look forward to hearing more as well. I also needed this reminder about silence - and seeking peace in it - so thank you. <3