Sunday, July 21, 2013

Post Retreat Reflections

My retreat experience was very good. The atmosphere
Bridge in Larz Anderson Park
 was quiet, peaceful and very conducive to prayer.
The week went by too fast. However the Lord was
 very good to me and He gave me a priest
retreat director who was kind and insightful.
It was a time of spiritual intimacy with the Lord Jesus.
Today's gospel account of Martha and Mary reminded
me of retreat. I had to put aside the Martha "busy about many things" to be the Mary who sat at the feet of Jesus.  Now I try to be Mary especially in the mornings when we have time set aside for meditation, morning prayer and
Mass. These are great ways to focus my day's activities toward the Lord, to ask his guidance on the best way to act. Our Founder called this type of thinking and praying a "preventive exam" on my day. That is, I try to look ahead to see what the agenda is, and what negative or difficult situations may arise. I ask the Lord to help me behave as He would want me to.
One observation I made occurred this past Tuesday. Sr. Margaret Michael and I were driving on Interstate 95 North on our way from Virginia to Boston. Not far from the bridge separating us from Virginia, traffic was backed up in all the lanes. Oh, there must have been an accident, I told Sr. Michael. But, traffic was not snaking in and out of lanes as often happens when there is an accident.
Exit signs signaled that we were yet far from our fist "big city"--Baltimore. Usually the trip there is just an hour.  We inched our way along when we saw the cause of our delay: Four police cars with red and blue lights flashing were parked in the center median strip. There were no wrecker trucks, no ambulances, no banged up cars.
People were "rubber necking!" They were slowing down to a crawl to observe the cause of the police action. There was none to be seen! I was inwardly complaining that we were set back an hour on our journey by rubber necking, people turning their focus to the left and not "keeping their eyes on the prize"--the road ahead!
We had left early so as to arrive early in Boston. However curiosity slowed us down.
Then I went into retreat mode and reflected on what that traffic tie-up taught me. How often do I rubber neck? Do I switch my focus of attention to trivia, to gossip, to stuff that really is neither here nor there? Time is so precious and how often it is possible for me to "rubber neck" and check on the latest news. When I turn on my computer and go to one or another Internet provider, there are pages of news. Some of it is up-to-the-minute coverage of international events. Other news, such as the melo-dramatic reporting of two Hollywood ladies who wore the same dress to the same party thus committing a fashion mortal sin is useless rubber necking. Could hours spent watching court dramas be a form of rubber necking? As they say in Minnesota, "You betcha!"
If you think your spiritual life is in need of a make-over, perhaps you might travel down the highway of your memory to see where you wasted time in rubber necking.
Pray for all the young people traveling to Rio de Janiero and for Pope Francis as he heads for World Youth Day.
Have a blessed new week: safe journeys for all who travel, success in your work, peace in your families and good health.
Prayerfully in Christ,
Sister Mary Peter

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