Saturday, January 06, 2007

How did you celebrate New Year?

We had a vigil Mass for Mary Mother of God that began at 11:30 pm, and finished (just before the final blessing) with the prayer of consecration to Jesus through Mary of Saint Louis-Marie Grignon de Montfort. It was quite the best way to bring in the New Year that I've ever experienced.

I'm in that strange coming out of silence state. I always try to come out of retreat gently, giving myself some time to adjust to speaking again, but this time round I'm plunging straight back into it by going to a dinner party this evening. It will be lovely to see close friends again, but I rather wish it wasn't this evening.

I realised as I was listening to the radio that I have absolutely no idea what's been happening in the world over the last few weeks. I once went on retreat to a monastery where they pinned a few headlines to their noticeboard. Should one be aware, so that one can pray, or does one have a deeper communion with the world in a more total silence?


Mac McLernon said...

Welcome back! We missed you!

I too saw in the New Year with Our Lord - we had Exposition from 11pm, with the Rosary, Office of Readings and a sermon, concluding with Benediction at Midnight (and then all the local fireworks' displays provided "musical" accompaniment!


What's it like doing a silent retreat? I'm sort of tempted to give one a go, but fear I might go completely round the twist!!

DilexitPrior said...

I also saw in the New Year with Jesus! :-)

Dec. 31st I went to morning Mass at a Benedictine Abbey and spent the entire day up there. I was able to spend time in prayer, visit with one of my monk friends (a precious 86 year old priest with far more wisdom and life experience than I) and spend some time talking with the Abbot. I then went to anticipatory Mass at a parish in the evening because I didn't think I'd be able to make it to Mass Jan.1st (I had an all day commitment for Jan.1st). I then went back to the Church around 11:00pm and rung in the new year with Benediction. It was the perfect way to end the past year and prepare for the new year.

Gildas said...

What beautiful ways to celebrate the New Year.

My experiences of silent retreats have varied each time. I've also done different types of silent retreat: some which have been preached retreats, which though silent were filled with different activities (adoration, confession, prayer vigils, etc) which made the silence quite easy to cope with. I've also done individually guided retreats which provide the discipline and reassurance that you're not going mad that a good director can give.

Undoubtedly the toughest I've found has been those I've undertaken in total silence. Even then, I go to daily Mass, which I would really struggle to do without. Whilst each of these totally silent retreats has been very different, I've found certain patterns that recur. Generally I find the first few days fabulous. It's great to have the space, and my prayer really flourishes. Then, around the third or fourth day I hit a wall. It might be memories or emotions that I thought I'd safely buried, that suddenly rise up and threaten to overwhelm me. It might be a strong temptation to give up, to escape by reading a book. Or it might be that prayer dries up and becomes agonisingly difficult.

Whatever it is, it's around that time that I realise my profound poverty, and absolute need to give myslef completely to Him in absolute trust. It's usually around then that things start to happen...

Hope that's helpful.

Mac McLernon said...

Wow! Thanks for that Gildas.

(I have to say that a retreat of any sort without daily Mass is like, well, breathing without oxygen)