My son and I are heading out this Sunday to a 5-day silent retreat on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. I've been looking forward to this for a long time while my son, who is twenty six, I think has a bit of trepidation. He's a very outgoing people person and I don't think he likes the idea of a silent retreat. I guess it can be a bit daunting if you've never done it. Last summer a good friend of mine and myself did a 3 day retreat of the same kind (although put on by different priests) and it went very well, it was very natural, and we had no problem keeping quiet for three days. That first time, I didn't know what to expect. This time, I am looking forward to the silence. It seems no matter what I try to do here, in this state of life, I can't seem to re-arrange my life to give myself more time for silence. The world seems to run rampant over all inner thought, leaving one almost defenseless at times to all onslaughts. Overwhelmed, is perhaps a better word. All in all, though, I'm trying to go into this retreat with a feeling of nothing, that is to say trying to keep my expectations down to nothing. I desperately need to un-focus from this world of work, sleep, work again. Even starting the day with Holy Mass my mind can't slow down enough to escape into the silence of the Mass. So be it. Just read recently a beautiful piece, either in the Remnant or Catholic Family News on how to keep God before us at all times. One part I especially liked, what resonated in me was this, and I shall paraphrase: Do even the smallest action the best you can, and do it as though Jesus, or the Blessed Virgin or God Himself were right there doing it with you. I had never thought of it that way, with God right there with me. It all of a sudden made all my actions seem just that much more important to do, because Our Lord is right there with me. When I can remember to think like that the act that I do becomes that much more joyful, even the most redundant job at work. For me, it was a small revelation, even on something that I had known from the start. Thank you, Father, for that small gift.
Tomorrow I will pack. Tonight, after this I'll sit in the dark for awhile, try to get through a Rosary before sleeps overcomes me. H is asleep on the couch. I've already begun to feel the small sadness that occurs when we're apart. Two become one. For us, it has been an incredible journey to Heaven, a road hard and narrow but one we travel alone together. For now, I'll let that small sadness rest quietly within me, I'll enjoy the sweet sorrow that a husband and wife have when they are parted for a time. I know it is God, Family, Duty. I know to love God above all things. But for right now, this moment our love will linger, in a melancholy state of mind.