Thursday, October 3, 2013

Retreat at Bethany - Choosing the Better Part

I was fortunate to spend a weekend at the Bethany Retreat Center in Dickson, run by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia, given by Fr. Kevin from Aquinas College. Along with other mothers from St. Cecilia Academy and Overbrook, I learned about Lectio Divina, about living in this world and not of it, about the importance of praying the Rosary and about myself, who I am called to be. There was absolutely no "new" material given at this retreat and yet I came away with a whole new way of praying and of seeing and of living. Now don't get me wrong, OH THE MILES I HAVE TO GO! But during this weekend (that I was not going to attend until a sweet young Sister happened in the store and reminded me to leave the decision up to the Holy Spirit) I allowed the Sisters at Bethany to "be Martha" and I "Mary" and I sat and I listened. In this weekend, I found SOMETHING MORE, which is just what I need...more.
The place is amazing!
My Quiet Time Spot
Fr. Kevin gave a beautiful talk and shared an example of praying Lectio Divina using the Call of Matthew. As he went through the passage, word by word or a phrase at a time, he contemplated out loud. This was a huge help for me not just with this passage but in praying the Scriptures in general. But, in this passage, he made one particular comment that hit me. He said aloud, "he saw a man named Matthew, he saw a man, he saw Matthew, he saw the potential of what Matthew could be, of what He created him to be, he saw St. Matthew." Fr. Kevin took each couple of words or so this way and after 30 minutes, we had prayed Matthew 9:9-13. That's all! Just 5 verses. And in that one space, I understood that this is what Jesus is asking me to do with my children. I am called to see them not in the moment, not in who they are in front of me as I try to help my youngest study for a test, but who they are to become, what their potential is, who they are called by God to be, the Saints they are to become. And, IT IS NOT EASY. I have been home almost 2 weeks and I think about this passage, this "way", every day. And, IT IS NOT EASY. As I ask what tests my youngest has the following day and as she responds "spelling, but I don't have the words", I'd like to wring her small "potential to be a Saint" neck. She makes me pause. She makes me realize that God has an amazing sense of humor and that from this we will both develop great character. (Oh please tell me it's true).

I have come to understand, as I am reading Scripture, as I am praying Scripture, that the messages are truly beautiful and intense when prayed in this manner. I have come to understand too that the Rosary, which has always been one of my favorite prayers anyway, is truly even more beautiful when contemplated on in this manner. I have come to understand and hope that I can further develop the idea that all of Scripture is meant for this moment. This makes me even more happy that I have taken just the words of Christ and meditated on them in "Jesus at My Side" as I have. And, now, not just His words but every word. This is where we find answers. This is where we find life. Life with Christ. Life in Christ. Life the way He wants it to be, the way He meant it to be. And, it's nothing we haven't all heard before; nothing we don't already know. In His words may we find the help we need to live in this world and not of it. In His words, may we find peace. We sure do need it.

I thank God for sending in the young Sister who reminded me to listen to the Holy Spirit. With me, it takes a village but I continue to try to take all that is Handed Down and pass it on.


  1. Hi Julie! How fun to find your blog today! You got to go on a retreat? That is something I would just love. Lectio Divina was studied at our parish this summer through the 'Oremus' study. We are also going to use it with RCIA.

    I pray it will be as powerful to them as it was for you. Gotta love St. Cecilia, so good choice there! LOL!

    Blessings to you :)

    1. Ceil, So glad you found my blog! I loved listening to Fr. Kevin's explanation of Lectio and having him actually do it with us as an example was very powerful. I am blessed to have the Sisters here and to be able to go on these retreats. No doubt!
      Thank you for stopping by.