In the spiritual life, the word “discipline” means “the effort to create some space in which God can act.” Discipline means to prevent everything in your life from being filled up. Discipline means that somewhere you’re not occupied, and certainly not preoccupied. In the spiritual life, discipline means to create that space in which something can happen that you hadn’t planned or counted on. – Henri Nouwen

This week you may want to try a couple additional practices and join in on a “busy persons retreat”. 

This means that unlike other “retreats”, taking time off from your normal pace of life, paying for additional lodging is not necessary. You experience this retreat from your home, while going about your normal day to day, or you could even be on your family vacation. It’s not really about physical space, it’s about the “spaces” within our normal day to day in which God has room to speak and move. You set the pace.  

Find spiritual energy and meaning in your life, and to see where you are on your journey with God.  Just as we find time to eat food for nourishing our bodies – sometimes doing that on the run- this time is about taking opportunities throughout your day to nourish your heart and soul. This is a retreat based more on experience and connectedness in the day to day than it is of space and time. 

A retreat for a busy person involves various spiritual disciplines. You may want to try a discipline that is new to you, or not. 

 

  • meditation / prayer
  • community
  • solitude
  • play
  • Scripture reading / study
  • journaling

Taking just a few minutes out of your busy day to tap into your spiritual energy will give you the serenity you long for.  While sitting uninterrupted in a quiet space, you can think over a concern or lift your mind and soul to God.  This pondering about or reflecting on is sometimes called “meditation.”  Meditation is really very simple–quieting the usual “busy-ness” of your mind and spirit.

Choose a theme (The weekly readings from the lectionary are an option. You may have another reading that has peaked your interest.) If you are retreating with others, you may even want to select a book to read together. 

Write your theme on something that you will see every day.

Songs are good for reflection on the move, upload a theme-related song on your iPod, make yourself a CD for the car.

Agree with a friend or a group of friends to pray together throughout the day. You may choose times (morning, noon and night) to be praying at the same time. You may choose a common prayer, or not.

Fixed-hour prayer, while it is with the Eucharist the oldest surviving form of Christian spirituality, actually had its origins in the Judaism out of which Christianity came. Centuries before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, the Hebrew psalmist wrote that “Seven times a day do I praise you” (Ps. 119:164). Although scholars do not agree on the hours of early Judaism’s set prayers (they were probably adjusted and readjusted many times), we do know that by the first century a.d. the ritual of daily prayer had assumed two characteristics that would travel down the millennia to us: The prayers had been set or fixed into something very close to their present-day schedule, and they had begun to assume something very close to their present-day intention. (to read more on the history of fixed hour prayer, Phyllis Tickle)

If you have time to gather with others on “retreat”, set a time to share a meal, communion, and discuss your experiences in reflection on God’s word or in prayer. If you are “retreating” alone with God, you may want to schedule a time with a trusted friend or mentor, or spiritual guide. This can be a time of sharing questions and insights that you are discovering in your week.

Journal, this may be just brief bullet point questions or observations. 

Look at movies, TV, books, commercials, people, circumstances through the lense of your theme. As you drive, work, shop, bathe, exercise, care for kids, clean…pay attention. You may be amazed at how God will speak into your life as you “seek Him first”.

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