Saturday, November 22, 2008

When is a retreat over? A Benedictine oblate blog

In the past two years my wife and I have had four weekend retreats at the monastery located about 45 minutes from our home. For each retreat we prepared more than the previous one. And after returning home from each retreat, we have spent more time “still being there” than the previous one. We enjoy them very much and our periodic retreats have a greater and greater influence in our lives.

With Advent coming soon, we have another reason to focus on prayer, silence, and God’s love.

And it is easier for me to know how to do the divine office, because I have more experience with it. I spend less time trying to learn what to do with the Benedictine Daily Prayer book I use for the divine office.

And I have been fortunate to have several books that have captured all of my interest in monastic history and thought. With the enjoyment of a Thanksgiving feast, I am reading three books “Benedictine Biographies” which was written in 1912; “The Love of Learning and The Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture” which is a series of lectures given in Rome in 1955; and “Saint Benedict” which is a readable version of the life of St. Benedict.

And my wife and I have been discussing many EWTN TV shows recently. Maybe it is just us, but in the past month we have seen wonderful shows. I am still listening to EWTN Live on the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church (Audio), and another EWTN Live show on a new traditional church design in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. EWTN Audio of Show and Church website showing pictures of this Romanesque style church. This new church is going to be opened soon and if we lived closer we would be there. I think it will be opened in a few weeks. This new great church is at the intersection of I-75 and I-40.

All of the following has also caused me to realize how little I know about monastic history and Catholic church/saint history — and how far I am away from the monastic life I can see dimly.

But, if direction rather than perfection is the test, in that alone I have ample reason to be thankful for God’s mercy.


  1. i agree; i think my own recent retreat will always be with me in some way...

  2. Hello John

    God bless you. Thank you for your poll. I would love sometime to have the experience of a month in a community life of common prayer and personal reflection. Please God, some day I will be able to.

  3. Pip, thank you for the comments. Yes, my wife and I could also spend a month at an abbey. Your spiritual path is an inspiration.