|Ah Rome. She's pretty from a distance, no?|
For me the grace of the retreat was to pause and take a look at my life and vocation at this particular moment, especially in light of some changes in the recent past (e.g. loss of a spiritual director) and looking forward to changes that are on the way (e.g. the General Chapter this summer). My prayer was mostly about who I am at this point and the discernment of what God desires for me going forward.
For the days of retreat, I found myself most of the time in one of two places. The first was the Capuchin church adjacent to the friary:
|San Francesco d'Assisi, Frascati. Consecrated 1579.|
There I prayed, reflected on things, and sometimes just sat with the Lord. It was cold enough in there that even I wanted a sweatshirt, so there wasn't much danger of any other friar interrupting my solitude!
My other spot was in the friary rec room, where I read, journaled, and tended the fireplace in the later afternoons.
What a rich source of metaphor for the spiritual life! Long-time followers of this blog will remember my sufferings during a period of my religious life when I gathered with confreres to pray around a fake fireplace (supplied with real tools; 'Lord, close my lips' must be my prayer about that), despite the fact that the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in a number of nearby places.
During the retreat I finished Into the Silent Land: A Guide to the Christian Practice of Contemplation by Fr. Martin Laird, O.S.A., which had been recommended to me by a confrere, and I read most of Cardinal Sarah's The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise, which is a prayerful, beautiful book. I recommend it.