I haven't been on a spiritual retreat since my pre-marital course in November 2012, four months shy of a decade.
I wrote about that course here.
I'm surprised how much it has remained with me. I very often draw on it for spiritual sustenance. It had a strangely Pentecostal atmosphere, a group of Christian couples preparing for the adventure of life and marriage-- along with the presenting married couples, and the priest who was also in attendance. It was like basic training before being shipped into enemy territory.
(I remember the priest told us that he was drawn to the priesthood for the "romance" of the thing, which he illustrated with the words: "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.")
After the retreat, me and Michelle went to a big shop nearby that had a huge inflatable snowman outside. It was a general store which had, among other things, lots of mugs and tea-towels that bore the words: "As for Me and my House, We Will Serve the Lord." Michelle bought me a selection of American sweets (or "candy") which we ate in the car park (or "parking lot") outside.
Today is the 4th Of July. America has its critics, and American religiosity has its critics even among Christians-- inside America, as well as outside. Nevertheless, it brought me great joy to see a general store selling mugs that said "As for Me and my House, We Will Serve the Lord". It wouldn't happen in Ireland, even though Mass cards are sold at the till in many shops.
Ever since then, I've wished for a mug with these words on it.
But more recently, I've found myself longing to go on retreat. I'm not sure how to go about it. I've looked at Catholic retreats in the Dublin area. Many of them seem a bit kooky or New Agey or whatever. There are also practical obstacles.
I've thought of suggesting to the chaplaincy in UCD that they run a retreat for staff, but I wouldn't want to attend without my wife and that might be asking too much.
Anyway, maybe you can spare a prayer that I get to go on retreat some time this year. I love everyday life and the ordinary but the hamster wheel is becoming more than a little wearing.