In the chaos of this month from May Day to Memorial Day, Cinco de Mayo to Mother’s Day, the Kentucky Derby to the Indy 500, graduations to weddings, May crownings to First Communions, closing schools to opening pools, and classrooms to ball fields, we try to catch up with ourselves coming and going. Some cultures suggest that when we go too fast our souls get left behind, and we need to arrange a way for them to catch up to us. Fortunately for us, May is followed closely by summertime, a season to rest and rejuvenate.
In her poem, “Come, Rest Awhile,” Lucy Maud Montgomery begins: “Come rest awhile and let us idly stray—in glimmering valleys, cool and far away…” She ends by emphasizing her invitation: “…You have forgotten what it is to smile; in your too busy life come, rest awhile.” I want to echo her invitation and encourage you to take a break: escape to the lake, farm, mountains, or beaches. And while you’re doing that, consider making a retreat to intentionally allow your soul to catch up with you again.
Last July, I moved into a very large rectory that once housed five priests and provided offices for several staff members. When I first entered the over-seventy-year-old structure, I thought it probably couldn’t be saved: the roof leaked, the basement flooded, mold infiltrated the walls, floors and ceilings, plumbing had corroded, one of the two HVAC units had failed, half the building had been closed off, nothing seemed to work, animal smells and hair infested the air handlers and was imbued into furniture, fabric, and flooring. Rather than tearing down the structure, incredible volunteers stepped in and, in a remarkable transformation over a nine month period, restored it far beyond its original beauty. With its five bedroom suites, large kitchen, dining room, living room and patio, I could not justify it as a single person domicile. Instead, we decided to re-purpose it as a retreat house. With a master’s degree in spirituality, I have awaited an opportunity to practice this skill. I think it has now found me.
With our Saint Charles School mascot as “The Chargers,” I am introducing mini-retreats here to help people get spiritually re-charged. Like a lightning bolt, or the scene at Pentecost, some of us get struck by God’s Holy Spirit; and, like the early disciples, we are emboldened to advance The Lord’s mission. I want to assist by offering opportunities for your soul to catch up with you in the busyness of life. Come and rest for a while where you can reflect upon life’s journey and let Christ, the Good Shepherd, refresh your soul.
These mini-retreats will begin this summer for half-day (four hours), day-long (seven hours), or overnight (twenty-four hours). They are designed for individuals, couples, families, or small groups. They include Mass, quiet time, a spiritual assessment, spiritual goal-setting, sacraments of healing (confession, anointing), service opportunities, and spiritual exercises. Each mini-retreat will be shaped for a particular individual, couple, or group. You will soon be able to register on our parish website—but until then, feel free to contact me via e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone, 816-436-0880. Come and rest for a while. Get refreshed and recharged for your spiritual journey.