Monday, September 18, 2006

Final Day Of My Retreat

Sunday Morning

I am back in my room after two hours of prayer and meditation. My eyes opened at 2:57 AM, three minutes before the alarm went off. As I was getting out of my bed, the monastery bells were ringing. After dressing and splashing some water on my face, I headed for church. My room is so close to the church that I feel as though I am sleeping in the church. Sunday Vigils are long and we sing rather than simply recite the Psalms.

After Vigils, I once again headed to the dining room for coffee and toast. Sitting in the silent and dimly lit room, I stared out the window into the darkness. The coffee and toasted whole wheat monk’s bread seemed like a great feast. Afterwards I got a second cup of coffee and went outside where I sat in the retreat house garden under the stars. The morning chill kept me awake and alert and all the insects around me sang their morning hymns. Since it is Sunday I will have an extra hour of solitude.

Sunday Midday

The morning activities are over. After another simple breakfast of oatmeal and brown sugar, I attended a talk by Fr Elias on a short passage of St Bernard. After a short visit with some fellow retreatants, I headed to church for Sunday mass. After mass, when I walked across the balcony to my room, the smell of incense was still wafting in the air. It is good to be alone again after a morning with people. It bothers me that people, especially groups, are so exhausting to me. Of course, I did not choose to be an introvert and I do know fully understand why I am one.

The noonday sun is hot.

My time at the monastery ended with a short ceremony where some of the people I have been guiding, as well as others, made a commitment to live their spiritual lives in solidarity with the monks. Those of us who have been doing this a while recommitted our selves.

After the ceremony, I loaded my bags into the car and I headed back home. I always enjoy being at the monastery but my life is in the city with my wife and children a little blue eyed girl named Chloe.

1 comment:

Bryan said...

Good refelctions Michael. It's interesting to hear what others experience at the retreat.

I certainly know about being introverted and being exhausted by other people!