Sunday, January 27, 2013

Recharging my Batteries

Well, I just got back from a contemplative prayer retreat this weekend.  I found out about it on Thursday evening, and was able to register Friday morning, and the friar that was leading the retreat said that he might be willing to be my spiritual director, but he wanted to meet me first.  This was definitely providential, as this past week was really tough at work.  I have to say that I really hate our new learning management system, and that all the glitches that we have found so far has made my stress levels go through the roof.  When yet another glitch surfaced at about 5:30p Friday evening, I started to cry.  At that point, I had no choice but to tell my professors that we couldn't fix the problem until Monday, letting both them and their students down.  I hated that more than our new management system.  By the time I began driving to Holy Cross Retreat Center, I was running on an emotional empty.

After the first session Friday evening, when Fr. Tom let us know that the chapel would be open all night, so I spent a while in front of the tabernacle.  As I did so, I could feel my muscles unclench and the stress begin to subside.  I was still trying to keep abreast of the situation at work, as one of my friends was helping me out, so stress was not going to go away completely.  Even so, as I walked to my room, I was thanking God that I had gotten to come and that I could spend time in God's presence.

Then, when I woke up on Saturday, I realized that I had forgot my cell phone charger, so I had no way to keep up with work.  My phone died early that morning.  I think the Lord knew that I needed to have a weekend where I was unplugged.  Instead, I started my morning in Adoration, my day in prayer and learning, and ended my day talking with Fr. Tom about the possibility of going to him for Spiritual Direction.  The consensus was that I would try it out for three sessions, and see what happens from there. I don't know if it will work out, but I'm excited about getting spiritual direction from a fransiscan, since I'm attracted to that spirituality.  The retreat ended at lunchtime today after Mass--since I couldn't eat the Spaghetti  on the menu for Lunch, I took the opportunity to have gluten-free pizza from UNO's, which I ate on my way home.

At the left of the main crucifix is a statue from the 18th century, and a relic of the True Cross.  I was able to touch my rosary to it.  I wanted to do the same with the relic they have of St. Francis and St. Anthony as well, but never got the chance.

This was a wonderful weekend, and I was able come back recharged and refreshed, even if none of the problems at work resolved themselves. I won't go into the whole weekend, but the best part was one of the times for prayer yesterday morning.  I absconded with one of the extra blankets in my room, and found a nice place to sit in the pecan grove of the retreat center.  While there, I listened to all of the birds chattering and basked in the sun that had only recently peeked out from behind the clouds.  I also meditated on the following verse:
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.  And He who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. --Romans 8:26-27, RSV
Two things hit me from this verse: first, that this verse is highlighting the fact that we often don't know what to pray for or how to pray.  Right now, I really don't know what I should pray for in my life on so many fronts, so I'm fully aware of my shortcomings in that area.  Second, the Holy Spirit DOES know what needs to be prayed for, so He does it for me.  I LOVE THAT!!!!  It is so awesome that God continually has our back.

The pecan grove at the retreat center.  The trees currently have no leaves on them, but I don't currently own a camera....using the pictures from the retreat center's website will have to suffice!