How To Be - To Pray - To Act
The CSJ Associates Annual Retreat was held this year the weekend of Sept. 7 – 9, 2007, at Mount Carmel Spiritual Centre in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We opened with dinner at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, and the retreat officially started at 8 p.m.
Sr. Mechtilde O’Mara, CSJ, pictured at left, was the guest speaker. She began the retreat by explaining to us the great LOVE of God that brought forth God’s work of creation and by illustrating the beauty of this creation through a PowerPoint presentation.
The following day, Saturday, we moved into meditating on the importance of the Sabbath day, when God, having finished the work of creation, rested.
If God rested on the seventh day, we, who are God’s creation, should do the same. We should rest from the six days of regular activities we are involved in so as to renew ourselves — spiritually, physically and mentally. We need time to worship, to give praise and thanks to God for providing for all our needs and to surrender to God all our cares; time for communion with God and with our families, our friends and the people in our community. This renewal is ultimately for our well-being; it prepares us to meet the demands of our lives in the following week.
Sr. Mechtilde invited us to reflect on the following:
- Why did God create me?
- Why the Sabbath? What does the Bible say about the Sabbath?
- What is enough?
- The sacrament of the present moment.
- Emmanuel (God-with-us)
- Self-emptying love
- Reflection and Action
Following each talk came a period of personal reflection, then small group sharing as well as using clay to form an image of what the retreat was for each of us. Under the leadership of Father Chris Iredale we celebrated the Eucharist on Saturday and Sunday, Communal Reconciliation, and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
After lunch on Sunday, more than 60 CSJ Associates left the retreat centre feeling renewed by the talks by Sr. Mechtilde, by the love and communion of fellow associates from the various communities, and challenged to transform our lives the better to heed God’s call for each one of us so that we may have abundant life and share it with others.