I have made it home safely from my retreat and was relieved to note that I still had five children on my return. My husband is such a trooper. Not only did he manage to get them to Mass (and back) and keep them fed & happy (I assume), he even managed to run a couple errands on Saturday!
“You got a haircut?” I said incredulously. “What’d you do with the kids?”
“I brought ‘em,” he said simply.
“All five of them?” I responded. “To Great Clips? What’d they do? Just sit there?”
“More or less…”came the reply.
I, too, did a lot of sitting throughout the weekend. Even more than that, I knelt. It was not a spa weekend, this retreat, not for the body anyway. (Although to this gourmand’s delight, the meals were really good.)
Admittedly, the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius are a bit of a Catholic boot camp. (Click here to take a peek at the schedule from this weekend.) The only way I could see the Spiritual Exercises being more intense would be if you followed them in their original 30-day format. In my case, I did a three-day retreat, and still my knees are creaking.
As Father Xavier, our retreat master, said, “We come to be under the good surgeon St. Ignatius to recover our spiritual sharpness and fervor. Prayer is for the soul what sleep is for the body.”
Our goal is to take a few days off and resolve to conquer ourselves. It is recommended that we make such a retreat once every year, though in my case it had been thirteen. I was very overdue.
The three fruits one should request from the retreat are:
1. To improve in the ordinary things we do each day, and to do them for the glory of God;
2. To overcome our daily faults and weaknesses, and to heal the part of our soul that’s not working so well; and
3. To acquire the virtue that we need the most.
I am not going to tell you which virtue it is that I personally need the most, though any frequent reader of this blog has probably figured it out.
I will be talking more about this retreat in the days to come. I don’t know how I couldn’t, frankly. In the meantime, if you are interested, here is a link to Miles Christi, the religious order that preaches the Spiritual Exercises I just followed, and here is a link to their schedule of upcoming retreats.
Tell them that some lady in Minnesota sent you!
Ad Jesum per Mariam,