A Wasted Week

No, this isn’t about drugs or about being adrift at sea. It is about a wasted week. But, since the particular week hasn’t come yet, I guess it is about a week to be wasted. At least that is what some people might think about my coming week….

First of all, the week in question has one more day than your run-of-the-mill week. My week will has eight full days. Better yet, all eight days will be spent in silence. Literally, yes! No television, smart (or dumb) phone, computer, radio, etc. “So what is it, solitary confinement?” you might ask. Not solitary by any stretch of the imagination. I will have about twenty-five (silent) companions.

So what will be going on? Well, it will be my annual retreat, that is, an eight-day period of prayer and reflection. Glorious! I know that some of you are underlining the word “wasted” in my title – what a way to waste a good week! Really, I can assure you that it is not a waste, but a splurge.

Each and every one of you should think of making one of these retreats even if it is only for one day. It is a time of calm and relaxation for both body and spirit, a time to reassess the past year, a time to check on your character, your habits (good and less impressive), a time to plan what progress you hope to make in the year ahead. It is a time for accountability and calm. A time to contemplate and pray.

While I am at it I promise not to pray only for myself, but also for you because you are part of my past year and will hopefully be part of the year to come. May your hearts be at peace. May a little quiet time enfold you. May your days be straight and your steps secure. So, I will pray for you and hope you pray for me, too.

here is crabby mystic at work...

here is crabby mystic at work…

Blessings all around!

Joy to the Whirl!

We just passed the Third Sunday of Advent so there are very few days left before Christmas. This is where we really begin to get nervous. Will I finish getting ready for Christmas on time? It’s just one big holiday whirl. PAUSE! Take a little breath. If only we were as worried about our spiritual preparation, but most of our stress is on presents, decorations, and dress. We need to take a moment to see how God has been preparing. Have you noticed in the liturgical readings how calm and gentle and patient God is? Read them again for these three Sundays and catch all the tenderness and mercy, of the Shepherd-God who gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them, of the many promises of peace, of forgiveness. I waited, waited for the Lord and he stooped down… Those words remind us of the many heartwarming military reunions we see on the media. And, waiting also involves alertness. When we were kids awaiting Santa’s arrival, our parents hoped we would fall asleep. But, awaiting God, we need to be alert. Usually, when we await God, it is in prayer and, all too often, we aren’t so alert. We get sleepy and distracted. Not to worry: these are normal, human reactions to our busy, complex, pulled-in-many-directions days. Feeling these things doesn’t automatically mean that we aren’t alert. The “alert” we are speaking of here is the state of our soul. This alertness isĀ our spirit looking for God, looking toward his promised coming. So don’t worry much about the sleepy distraction you may feel. It is to be expected and accepted as natural, but try to pay attention to what God means by Christmas. He is sending his Son to us. Why? Because God loves us and he wants to make us happy. He comes in the most charming and beautiful way: as an innocent Child. In the Christmas Season, God only asks that we acknowledge his Gift. And, as we would do with any child, God wants us to gather up this Holy Child in our arms, that his gentle love may be ours.

Let us join with our loving God in crying out: Joy to the Whirl!