Way back and a day ago, I was on retreat. That's how long ago it seems, although in reality it has only been about three weeks. The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are the retreat of all retreats, and when you can go to one of them preached by the priests of Miles Christi, well then, my friend, you are in Heaven. Once a year they hold a retreat that goes from Monday afternoon until late Thursday afternoon. The rest of the time they are weekend retreats, so this gives you about one extra day which translates into more talks and more time to pray and meditate. There's also more free time so I like to walk around and do all of that praying and meditating stuff outdoors.
This is the first year I had a decent camera on my phone, so I took a few minutes to take some pictures of the grounds.
Isn't it just beautiful? This Shrine is run by the Franciscans and has had Perpetual Adoration EVERY DAY, no matter what, since the 1930s. Unbelievable.
So on that Monday I was preparing to go and I looked up on my information sheet to see what time the retreat started. I saw that registration began at 4:00 and so I knew that meant that the rosary was at 4:30. Good. I left my house about 3:15 and knew I would be in time for the rosary.
Except that I wasn't, because registration really began at 3:00, the rosary was at 4:00 and I arrived at 4:25 with Mass to begin at 4:30. Ugh. I ran up the stairs, threw my stuff in the room and ran back to the chapel so that I could be on time for Mass.
I'm still not sure how that all happened, but later that night I realized WHY it happened. I decided later on that evening to go to the chapel in the photo above to pray my rosary since I had missed it earlier. I remembered that I had won a copy of "Rosaries Aren't Just for Teething" a few weeks back from Cari and had the urge to read it along with my prayers.
This, of course, meant taking my phone out to read it on my Kindle app. That meant possibly seeing a message or an email or a notification and then having to fight the major temptation NOT to look at it. But the urge persisted and so I went directly to the app and began reading the meditations for the Joyful mysteries.
Wow, they were just what I needed to hear. Had I not missed the rosary, I would not have gotten these messages that I needed to get. For example, from the meditation on the Annunciation, "Rather than shake His head at us with a condescending grin, He mercifully offers us something better". I struggle at times with the "loving" God and so this was a great thing to read to set me on the right path.
From the Visitation, "Miracles surround me through the everydayness of life and the suffering and the joys". How often I forget this. Especially the suffering part. Miracles are there...everyday. We just need to look really hard sometimes to see them.
From the Nativity, "God's plans are always better and the stories He writes are always more interesting." Much more interesting and much, much better than anything I could ever write.
Finally, from the Presentation, "Motherhood isn't just about our own pleasure. It is a sharing in the self-giving love of God. It is also a sharing in the suffering of the cross." The cross. Oh how I need to learn to love to embrace the cross. Right now I run away as fast as I can. Much more work to be done there, that's for sure.
I continued to read the other three sections of the book over the next three days I was there. They were chock full of great quotes and insights that really helped me during my retreat. One of the way God typically speaks to me is through the written word and once again, He came through for me.
I hardly ever win things, so I am thrilled that this was one of those rare times. The book is a gem and if you can, you should get yourself a copy and use it to mediate on the mysteries. And, if you haven't done so this year already, you should make time for some kind of retreat with the Lord. I know times are busy, but even an afternoon away at an Adoration chapel will be well worth it.