I thought that I would have peace of mind if my two homeschooled children could stay at my brother's place while I was at retreat. They were heartily welcomed (Youngest Daughter's dog included) and fed very well, too.
I didn't want to have to worry about my two other children; one is in the university but lives at home, and the other attends a "regular" high school. I didn't have to. Husband took care of them: drove them to school (as he always does, anyway), cooked breakfast for them (as he does for all of us on a daily basis, anyway), coordinated arrival times so the right person had the house keys, and took care of supper.
I wanted a quiet and calming trip to the out-of-town retreat venue. I got it, along with a warm breakfast and good coffee, both taken on-the-road style.
I knew I had to have the proper disposition for the retreat. I should forget my concerns and just concentrate on what the Lord wished to teach me on those three days. Worrywart me managed to slide into the rhythm of the retreat schedule on the first hour of day one.
I, together with my co-retreatants, were gently led to meditation and prayer by the retreat chaplain. He wisely led us through a Trinitarian retreat, focusing on God the Father on the first day, God the Son on the second day, and God the Holy Spirit on the Third Day.
To be reminded once more that we are made in the image in likeness of God, giving us the power to work and the power to love.
To be in awe of the love and providence of God the Father and the points of gratitude in our lives.
To led through the earthly life of Jesus Christ, through the consideration of the Mysteries of the Holy Rosary. To consider the ultimate sacrifice that saved us sinners. To know that there is hope. To want to seek eternity...
To wonder at the transformation that the Holy Spirit can do in our spiritual lives, and to resolve to pray because prayer is at the heart of our spiritual lives.
Those were blessings and graces.
And because we live and share the faith in the world, we were given practical considerations in informal talks given by a lay person. She gave us a abundant information, a menu, if you will, of means by which we can live the Year of Faith as women of integrity living under God's mercy and striving to live the virtue of charity.
Of course, there were blocks of time, too, to be physically alone and process all the inspirations one has been gifted with during the meditations and talks. To pray and connect with one's God. To look into one's self and do a reality check. To seek the Sacrament of Penance and make it right with God.
That we started each day with the Holy Mass was such a beautiful reminder on living a Eucharist-centered faith.
And have I noted that the retreat started on the day of the memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, and ended on Ash Wednesday?
Blessings and graces, one after another, overwhelmingly rich, ironically undeserved, but truly, truly cherished.
It will be a blessing- and grace-filled Lenten Season.
This was originally written for Moments of Grace, a Friday linking activity at Jenny's Suscipio. She now blogs at The Littlest Way.