Katie Snipes Lancaster
Scripture: Matthew 11:28
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Spiritual Practice: Retreat
I am in the middle of researching and reading about Thomas Merton, a monk from the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky who spent his life teaching monastic practices and theology to novice monks, and then later, writing extensively on practices like silence, contemplation, and prayer. As a Trappist monk, many of the practices of his everyday life in community would feel like “retreat” to us. Trappist monks eat in silence, they sing through all 150 psalms every two weeks throughout their eight daily worship services that begin at 3:15 a.m. (including eucharist every day at 6:15 a.m.). On top of their daily worship services, gathered together, they also participate in individual prayer and study of scripture.
For those of us not immersed in monastic living, a retreat to a monastic center can offer its own kind of renewal. These retreat centers are re-opening slowly as they find safe ways to operate their guest houses in this season of the pandemic. Holy Wisdom Monestary in Madison, Wisconsin or the Cenacle, a retreat center in Chicago’s Lincoln Park offer overnight guided retreats (and even offer zoom retreats).
A yearly retreat can offer time for intentional resetting, reconnecting with God, and refreshing and reframing the year ahead. Would you consider participating in a spiritual retreat?
God, offer us a chance for retreat,
Whether formal or informal,
Where we can connect with you
And recreate habits of prayer
That last the whole year long.