Saturday, February 21, 2009

Retreat Reflections

Have you ever been of one mind one day and then the next, something happened that totally changed your outlook?

That is how I feel today. Last night, I began a retreat with our Una Voce chapter, which is the first Catholic retreat that I've attended in over 25 years. I decided to write and share with you some of my reflections because writing is how I keep things straight in my mind.

Catholics are known for their retreats. This one is supposed to be silent. I say "supposed" because when can you remember women being around each other and not saying anything? However, I have kept silent as much as possible and been polite if someone has asked me a question. Later today, I may take a walk outside since our retreat center has a hiking trail with the Stations of the Cross on it.

Yesterday, I was full of righteous indignation over some Catholics criticizing or persecuting others for wanting to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass. Today I feel a little more softened, a little more convicted that this is not the way I should be responding. Yes, there will always be those who disagree (and often disagree vehemently) that the Traditional Latin Mass is too antiquated, too rigid, or too pious for a "keepin' it real" society. But would my feistiness accomplish anything? Does it bring anything of value to the conversation? Does high dudgeon cause the other person to want to investigate the TLM or throw their hands up in the air and say, "She's just like the rest of them. Rigid. Uncompromising. A hardliner, for sure."

No, I do not want that. I am not entirely clear on my mission yet but I think it's safe to say that taking a strong stand for the TLM isn't part of it. I believe in the TLM for what it brings to the church, how it connects us to a sense of the holy and divine. But I am beginning to see a larger picture of what Pope Benedict XVI is doing with his Moto Proprio and insistence that he give the Eucharist only to those who are kneeling.

He is bringing Catholicism back to its roots.

The roots of the Church is in the Eucharist. As our retreat facilitator said, in one of Pope Benedict's writings, he said it could be distilled into this: God Become Food. The Church is nourished by Him in all ways, in all things. Through the sacraments, we are nourished. Through the liturgy, we are nourished. Through our community, we are nourished. And why the nourishment? To make us strong. Strong enough to stand firm in a world full of sin and darkness. Strong enough to resist the temptations of the devil so that we can be His Light to the world, extending His forgiveness to the lost.

So, in examining this further and my deep love for the TLM, I know that my response has to change toward those who either mock it or persecute it. Forgiveness. There is simply no other way.

And then, if the Lord allows - education, instruction, and encouragement. But I need to first focus on my own nourishment and then find those who are seeking Him, so I can help them find their way home.

1 comment:

Karinann said...

Mary Rose,
Sounds like your retreat is doing just what it should-providing spiritual insight and nourishment. I make a 6 day silent retreat every year. It's the best week of my life.
You are right- you can't give ehat you don't have.

God Bless!