Bethany Mom’s Retreat Yet Once Again, Seeing to Believe

Two weekends ago I was privileged to spend a couple of days at the beautiful Bethany Retreat House with a group of moms from St. Cecilia Academy and Overbrook School. We could not be more fortunate to have the Dominican Sisters teach our children as well as allow us the opportunities to spend time at their Retreat House. Since I was there two years ago, they have finished the new Chapel and Dining Room; both lovely, needless to say. It is a peaceful place to pause from our serving and sit at the feet of Jesus and listen.

Now that formalities are over, let’s get to the meat of the subject. I am constantly aware of the “signs” that I believe are sent from above to allow us to draw closer to Christ. Not like weird signs and wonders, but simple occurrences that pop up in front of our faces that make us just say, “Thank you Jesus, I do believe.” Ya know. Like, “walk with eyes wide open and receive all He has to give” type of gifts. Our retreat topic was “The Joy of Love – the Family as Icon of the Holy Trinity” given by Fr. Albert Trudel, O.P. and I have to admit was not what drew me to the weekend. And yet, as with most things those Dominicans pull me into, the talks were awesome. Fr. Trudel gently tied together an icon (a window to the soul), Rublev’s Hospitality of Abraham, also known as the Trinity, with the love we share with our children and our husband and the love of the Trinity. “As the Three Persons of the Trinity mirror the love of one another, so husband and wife and children should mirror love and help one another toward Heaven.” “Love is willing the good of the other as if it is our own.”  (Aquinas)

As I knelt in the Chapel, I noticed the image in the picture above behind the Tabernacle. If we look beyond the cross, to the shadows, we see on the top the clear image of a triangle and behind the corpus the images of three people on crosses. Is this lighting purposeful? The image on the left of the Son is clearer than the image on the right. Could be the good and bad thieves. Could be the Father (whom we see more clearly) and the Holy Spirit (He’s there but more difficult to make out the figure). I meditated on our lives with the Trinity, us two (husband and wife) with God in our lives. And then, us two as one, with our children and God in our lives. The reading this past week explaining, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh…This is a great mystery…” I meditated on Fr.’s words, “we find our life by giving it away.”

Now, I’m just saying, that when we participated in Eucharistic Adoration Saturday night, the shadows behind the crucifix were all gone except for one. For me, in my thoughts, it was clear that in the Eucharist, we are all one, just as the Trinity was joined as One Body inside that Monstrance. There is no separation between the Father and the Son and the Spirit as there should be no separation in the family. We are together in love. And yes, this is a great mystery.

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, yes…as 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.