This morning’s Gospel reading comes from Matthew 5:1-12. Matthew tells us that Jesus saw crowds of people and, instead of staying with them, decided to climb the mountain. Now Jesus was known for his attention to the crowds; he could often be found in the midst of them teaching, healing, listening. Yet here Matthew notes that Jesus left the crowds to go up the mountain. His disciples followed shortly thereafter and when they found Jesus they sat with him, hoping perhaps for a word from their beloved friend and teacher.
Retreat is kind of like that. We go away for a while, away from our usual eveyday activity in order to be with God, to listen to God, and to wait expectantly for a word from God. It’s not that we leave everything behind us without a care, but rather we take our everyday concerns with us, tucked in our heart as we come before God.
While we cannot all afford to have the time for an extended retreat, the idea of “retreat” is something we all can incorporate in our daily lives. It doesn’t have to be a whole week or even a whole day. Perhaps it is just a few minutes when we recollect ourselves and consciously place ourselves in the presence of God.
As you know, at all moments, God is with us, but we are not always in tune with this. We all have tons of things to do, even us nuns. There are jobs to be done, bills to be paid, people to visit, letters to be written, groceries to be bought, etc., etc.? It is easy to get caught up with this stuff. We might think, how can one take the time when a child is crying to be fed, a deadline is looming like tropical storm, or the bills are stacking up on the desk?
Indeed, sometimes there is no time or space to be quiet, to be alone, to think only of God. God knows this and is certainly with us in all that we do. But when there is that sliver of opportunity to take a deep breath, to put on a fresh pot of coffee and sit quietly with a cup of java, to take a walk around the block, to close one’s eyes, to let the words “Be still and know that I am God” echo in one’s heart… this is a good thing because it can be for us a small way to regroup and to tune into the One who is always with us.
June 11, 2007 at 9:45 am
I find that 5 minutes in the garden alone can make my perspective on a problem change almost immediately. In today’s hurried world, where we are online, wired, available 24/7 it is very important to make time to be ‘un-available’.