Retreat Day 5

We finish tomorrow, so today was the last time I saw people for spiritual direction. My job is to keep my trap shut, try as hard as I can to keep myself out of the conversation, and listen and watch and pray. Occasionally I can make connections and see patterns that  the person has missed herself, but I don't have to make anything happen. I try to encourage and reassure but after the first day or two even that is unnecessary; the process works.

There is a rhythm to the day. There are a couple of times of group meditation and a daily eucharist, at which we three leaders take turns at preaching - the day's only teaching input. The programmed events are spaced to give lengthy periods in which folk can walk, journal, read, pray or meditate. The food is excellent and plentiful. People can, if they want, come and see one of their friendly local spiritual directors to share coffee and have a wee chat. But mostly, they are silent, and in that silence the Holy Spirit is present.

Yesterday was a day of tears. Today was a day of resolve and enthusiasm and empowerment, as in the space of one short week things were resolved or revealed or removed. The trick will be translating the learnings from this apartness into the lives that will be lived back home, but given the momentum I saw today, maybe that won't be such a problem.

Being here, in this role is such a gift. I find myself humbled and inspired by the movement I was privileged to observe in so many lives. People are already asking about a place in next year's retreat, and John, Mary and I are all up for that. Now I have more time on my hands I would be interested also in running a longer retreat, perhaps a ten day silent retreat with a stronger emphasis on meditation and a shorter, taught Centering Prayer retreat. Watch this space.

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