What's a retreat?
What's in it for you?
When one mentions Abbey of Gethsemane Retreat House (www.monks.org, 1-502 549 4133,) in Trappist Kentucky, for example, one may wonder what happens there.
In the Catholic tradition, not to mention Eastern practices of silence, monks pray and work as they reside in a monastic milieu apart "to entertain silence in the heart and listen for the voice of God -- to pray for your own discovery," Trappist monk, Thomas Merton wrote.
Although the index does not list the word, retreat, it is a cherished and savored time for retreatants, a term use for those "on retreat," as it were for a few days, a week, even a month or year.
Communing with the Creator requires a measure of solitude, a stillness and an emptiness, a waiting on and attending to the Spirit. Silence fosters and preserves the climate of prayer and is a fundamental part of the retreat experience.
Gethsemane, Kentucky is a favorite place of mine for my annual winter retreat choice.
Those persons on retreat maintain a limit to talking only in designated areas.
The abbey's many acres of woodlands and fields afford extensive space for reflection and prayer.
Guests assist the monks at Mass - Liturgy of the Word and Eucharist - and hours of prayer from 3:15 am vigils, to 5:45 am lauds, 7:30 am terce, 12:15 pm sext, 2:15 none, 5:30 vespers, and 7:30 pm compline.
About four hours from Detroit, MI., by automobile, the drive is refreshing and renewing, readying me for my time there.
Today, when retreat houses struggle at times to register applicants for a retreat period, I find that casinos are more attractive, yet less recreating and significant for humans who need time alone with the Maker.
Offerings for the retreat expenses are on a free will basis according to means.
Stress rates are lessened and better hearts are benefits of a retreat, among others.
Furthermore, people who pray, heal up faster according to medical researchers.
What's in it for me?
A fresh spirit and renewed disposition to live life fully one day at a time.
My blog will return when I conclude my retreat next Friday.
My readers will be in pray as I unite you in thought these days.