Postage for Pakistan and other parts of the planet

Monday, November 19, 2012

Please do you a favor

I want to encourage you to do something for yourself in the near future, something I did this weekend: Go on a retreat. Find a good retreat house (don't just look one up in the phone book; it could be run by heretic nuns into the eneagram, worshipping goddess Gaia, and labrynths) offering a retreat led by competent retreat masters, and prepare for two-three days of rejuvenating silence. Never have I done a retreat where I didn't come back totally recharged and with much greater self-knowledge. Because of this, my employers have benefited, my wife has benefitted, my children have benefitted, and because of all this, *I* have benefitted, not only in the here-and-now but eternally. PLEASE DO YOURSELF THIS FAVOR. It's the greatest Christmas gift you can give yourself and those you love.

Personally, my best experience has been with a former Legionnary priest when he was still with the Legion, Fr. Jeffrey Jambone, now in Louisiana. Well, I take that back. I did a diaconate discernment retreat that was out of this world. For 12-24 hours (sadly, that was all), I lived as the Christian man, husband, and father I wanted to be. But I know it's possible now.

This past weekend's retreat was with Fr. Anthony Mastroeni. He is very good. However, he's not like Fr. Jambone, who touches you with Scripture and, through this, an encounter with the Word made Flesh Who dwelt amongst us. He takes you through a series of scriptural, historical, and philosophical considerations, largely letting you to connect the dots or draw the conclusions God wants you to have. And it works, largely speaking. I know it did for me this weekend. Nonetheless, it didn't surprise me that at least two handfuls of retreatants saw no purpose in the weekend at all. Listening to them, they missed the forest for the trees. "He's being anti-homosexual. He's being anti-woman. Why, who would say that segregating the sexes works and is what's best for the students? [Uhm, research and centuries old experience? Just sayin' ...] Why, my daughter's a public school teacher. Don't tell me she's not doing a fine job. Those public school teachers work hard." And, sigh, so on.

But I think most guys got the fact that we as men, both in general and as individuals, have a lot of room for improvement.

Anway, I know they can be expensive. Still, if you went on holiday for two days and two nights and all your meals and lodging were taken care of for $100-200, you would think you did pretty well, by and large. And if you need to write a check in one foul swoop, that can be hard. But it's not hard if you sock away $15-50/month (depending on your budget, naturally). If you're poor, do $5-10/month. Many retreats offer scholarships. At worst, on such means you don't go every year, but by the end of two years, you'll have enough saved up.

And then there are always those parish missions, the boxed lunch version of retreats. Granted, with these, you're not going away for a weekend, entering into Great Silence from the first conference/talk to the last, shutting off your pagers and cell phones, etc. (Wow ... pagers ... Am I dating myself these days or what?) That doesn't mean you won't get fantastic things out of them. By and large, you will! You'll always, without fail learn something, and if you pray for God to show you the one thing He wants you to take away from this experience, He will answer that pray ... sometimes in spades.

So, again, do you a favor. Do yourself the favor of going on retreat. They're absolutely wonderful experiences.

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