No Time to Retreat!

I was participating in a diocesan workshop several years ago when one of the presenters suggested that our parish communities should "go on retreat" during the Season of Lent. It was suggested that the parish should model contemplative behavior to its families -- a slowing down of sorts in order to truly "take in" the depth of spirit during this holy season.

It was asked how this might really be experienced when the rubber hits the road of busy parish-life. "How could our parishes retreat for 40 days?" was the question that was asked. The response raised my eyebrows, indeed. It was suggested that we cancel all parish meetings including Board of Education meetings, Parish Council meetings, Finance Council meetings... ... in fact, any business of the parish that is not explicitly spiritual in nature. I thought at the time, "Fat chance of that happening!" No doubt, it's a pretty good idea in theory -- suggesting 40 "snow days" in a row! Who wouldn't like that? But dismissing all of the business in which a parish engages for more than a month is simply unrealistic. Putting off Baptisms for the season itself leads to an unbelievable rush during the Easter season -- I'd hate to imagine the workload that would await the Great 50 Days if we went on retreat for the next 40 days.

This Lent, besides all of the normal parish activities to which I need to attend, I will be engaged in several presentations for all sorts of religious organizations. Tonight I'll be addressing "Norbertine Spirituality" to those in formation to become Norbertine Associates. On Thursday I'll be headed out to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and will again preside at the NFL Coaches Mass -- last year 144 NFL Coaches, owners and general managers attended the event. Upon my return to DePere, I'll gear up for Lenten talks for a variety of different parishes and the Norbertine Center for Spirituality.

Towards that end, Martha from our scriptural tradition will probably appreciate my Lenten observances and crazy schedule much more that Mary would! So for those of you busy folks who will not be "on retreat" these 40 days, try to get as much out of these 40 days as possible --either through your giving or receiving. And remember the one who gave it all for us -- might we all receive with grateful hearts these holy days!


Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

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