Monday, November 7, 2016

Busy Person's retreat

      I volunteered to be a spiritual director for a "Busy Person;s Retreat" which began last night.  This is a retreat in daily life in which people commit to 20 -30 minutes of daily prayer for a two week period.  They will meet with a spiritual director three times during that time.

     We sat in a circle last night at the Newman Center - 19 directees and about 10 directors and listened to Father Vinny explain this process.  He had his Bible in his hand as he talked about how we can receive a card or a letter from a friend and savor it - or just read it and discard it.  This retreat is meant to be a time to encourage people to pray the scripture in a way that is really savoring the word of God.    I was sitting next to Father Vinny and could see how worn his Bible was and how obviously he had cherished it.  It made me hungry to enter into this kind of practice intentionally.  What had happened to me over the years is that I usually print out a copy of a text from the computer and then mark it up.  And somehow I miss that tangible feel of the Bible.

  So this morning, in preparation for the first time I meet with my directees I took out the Bible that I had carried for three years in seminary and read over Psalm 139 many times.  They are familiar words and yet today, I heard them in a new way.  "Search me and know me"  "Where can I go from you?"  "Lead me in the way everlasting"

  As I always do - I begin a new undertaking with some trepidation and anxiety.  Anxiety about whether I can do this - whether I will be adequate as a spiritual director.  And as I read this word today I found tears coming as well as eventually a sense of peace.  God is here .  God knows me.   God is with me.
I can trust that.

Psalm 139

You have searched me, Lord,
    and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
    Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
    if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
    if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
    your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
    and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
    the night will shine like the day,
    for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
    all the days ordained for me were written in your book
    before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
    they would outnumber the grains of sand—
    when I awake, I am still with you.

 Search me, God, and know my heart;
    test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
    and lead me in the way everlasting.


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