Remember when the quarantine started and we had all sorts of plans for using that time? Instead we watched “Tiger King” on Netflix, and were launched into a summer of turmoil. This past week I went back to my seminary for a retreat. I last visited 22 years ago and was drawn in partly by the retreat master who had been my spiritual director, Father Fred Miller.
Did you know that priests are required by Church Law to get away every year for a minimum 5-day retreat? Why?
“The apostles gathered together with Jesus and reported all they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.” (Mk 6:30)
Or as described by Pope Francis on August 31, 2014: “Indeed, we Christians live in the world, fully integrated into the social and cultural reality of our time, and rightly so; but this brings with it the risk that we might become “worldly,” that “the salt might lose its taste,” as Jesus would say (cf. Mt 5:13)….This is why it is necessary to renew oneself by continually drawing sap from the Gospel.”
Pope Francis directed these words to all Christians, not just priests.
I have often suggested to all of the faithful that they need to likewise make such a retreat if they want to be serious about the spiritual care of their souls.
If you have two weeks of vacation from your job every year, why not tithe? Take one of those 10 days and give it to the Lord by spending a day in prayer at the National Shrine, or at St. Mary’s. Heck, if there were enough interest (like 1 person), I’d figure out how to help you by running a day of recollection here at the parish.
Alternatively, give more. I know there are plenty of folks who have stored up leave and face every year a ‘use or lose’ situation. How about now you plan to give one of those weeks to Jesus?
Holy Week is one such great time to do so, and there is plenty of time to plan for that now. There are a number of liturgies and ways that we could make this happen with daily mass and spiritual readings. (I will suggest some, if you ask me). Are you salt of the earth that has lost its taste? You and I can only be restored by Jesus.
pax et bonum,
Fr. John Mosimann