Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Spiritual exercise

Introducing the Pierini DIET here

One week from today, my wife and I will travel to Phoenix, Arizona to attend a 4-day Catholic Ignatian method marriage retreat at the Society of St. Pius X Our Lady of Sorrows Retreat Center.

An Ignatian retreat consists of a series of spiritual conferences, structured meditations and an opportunity to make a general confession. Silence is kept throughout the retreat, although retreat participants have the opportunity to speak with a priest for spiritual advice. In the true spirit of silence, spouses sleep in separate rooms.

A visit to the Society of St. Pius X’s website had this explanation of the history of the Ignatian Retreat:

The word "retreat" in its etymological meaning signifies a withdrawal. In Catholic parlance then, a retreat means a withdrawal from secular things in order to go to the supernatural, to leave the temporal in order to find the eternal, to sacrifice the human in order to obtain the divine. The whole of human history testifies to the fact that whenever God wished to make use of a man as a chosen instrument, that man had to "retreat" from the world and from his former mode of life, find God and become docile to his inspirations through this withdrawal and the inevitable asceticism or spiritual exercise this inevitably entailed. Such was the case of Abraham, who had to leave the "house of his father and his kindred." Such was true too of Moses, who was tempered by God in forty years of shepherding in the desert. It was true of the Apostles, who withdrew to the upper room for 8 days under the direction of the Holy Spirit. This too was true of the Desert Fathers, the men who taught in word and example the essentials of Catholic spirituality. It was true of St. Benedict, St. Anthony of Padua and all others. A spiritual retreat of one kind or another always preceded the manifestations of grace in the servants of God.

The Retreat in the more formal sense of a place whither Christians hasten in order to spend a certain number of days in silence and spiritual exercises according to a set plan began with the monastic life. Men desirous to follow Christ by practicing the evangelical counsels left the world to enter monasteries where they labored in spiritual exercises. When monasteries were established and dotted the countryside of Europe, the Catholic laity would visit them for a brief period to consult with a holy monk, to follow prayers, meditations and holy reading.

Next week I think I’m going to be challenged with 4 days of spiritual exercise.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your days of silence. You may make the silent monk singing team.