Franciscan Moments @ Saint Miriam: June 16, 2020

Well, I did it. I took a few days off and visited my family then made my way to our brand-new retreat center in Starlight. It’s true! There is something that happens when you are away from your regular home, allow God to settle inside you, and the Spirit to move and breathe again. Away from the hustle and bustle of my normal life, away from the pandemic and the worries of infection, away from the stress of making good and wise decisions that literally now impact lives of parishioners, students, and staff alike, I found respite and peace. I left as I came in, but there was still something different about me. In my retreat, I found calmness and hope.

Why are retreats important? A retreat refreshes and revitalizes, and it provides the opportunity for more time spent in prayer and contemplation and allows for a rekindling and deepening of one’s relationship with God. I have long forgotten that if you take these rare opportunities to more clearly hear God’s call and to seek God’s healing grace, you attain a degree of spiritual renewal that impacts your normal living.

I guess for some, the purpose of a retreat can often be as an addition to daily spiritual activities; it is a way to temporarily leave behind the usual distractions we all face for a time long enough to allow relaxation and for an inner change to occur: the ongoing conversion of heart that is critical to deepening faith. Retreat comes from the Latin verb “to pull back”,  and  I think for me it was in the ‘pulling back’ that I found God again. So, perhaps that is the image of a retreat I will leave you with: a place where you pull back from the world.

As a continuing way of helping you, our parishioners in your spiritual journey, we will soon begin to offer you the very same opportunity to step out of your structured scheduled day-to-day and step into the beauty of space and time with God so you can breathe life into your life, like I found by sitting with God by the side a waterfall. You will be able to visit our Falls Retreat Center of Saint Miriam and pay only a fraction of what we will request of non-members. You will have the opportunity to join us annually for a “Saint Miriam Day” Retreat and you will have a beautiful place to deepen your relationship with God.

St. Francis once wisely reminded us, “We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh. Rather, we must be simple, humble and pure.”  Now you have a place to find your true life in the beauty of God’s creation.
 
How will I take advantage of another way to connect with God? How will I support a parish that gives me and my family so much? How will I come back from this time of pandemic and not lose sight of what is really important?