Recently I was privileged to go on a two day retreat at the Galilee Centre in Arnprior. I want to share my experience with you.
Actually there were two separate retreats, The first was a day retreat with 18 Oblates of Mary Immaculate and Associates led by Roy Boucher, OMI. The second was a weekend retreat with 15 people including one Oblate and one Associate led by David Perrin, OMI.
First, why go on a retreat at all? I spend enough time with the Lord already, working in daily time for prayer and reflection. There is no need. I am up to speed.
Up to speed with what – a daily routine that sometime blinds or numbs me from that real connection with God and others that we all need. I found that stepping out of my daily routine during this retreat to let others take over the mundane, enabled me to see new possibilities of living and feel the connectedness with intensity.
In Fr Roy’s retreat we reflected and talked about our connection to Oblate individuals, groups, mission and ministry, and how we felt about it. There were periods of silence and periods punctuated with laughter and song. The hospitality was superb and we felt nourished.
In Fr David’s retreat we explored the three fold way to personal mysticism (unity with God) articulated by John of the Cross and many other Christian mystics. This retreat was very meaty and I found myself desirous of learning more to help me advance on my faith path. There are no comparisons with others, we each are the person God intended us to be and His love is at the centre of each of us whether we always know that or not. Anyone can become a mystic if you are willing to do the personal work.
Something happened over those two days. Call it transformation or conversion. A sudden realization that the Kingdom of God is here and that I am part of it along with you and everyone else. Language cannot capture the feeling and experience adequately. A new way of living and loving has emerged for me. I wish to sustain it.
Thank you Fr Roy, Fr David and Galilee for facilitating this experience. We all need a retreat occasionaly to nourish our body, mind and spirit. I know again what the hundreds of ohers experience each year who come on retreat here. We are all joined together and better equipped to contribute to a healthier world.