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Showing posts with label Cedarcrest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cedarcrest. Show all posts

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Cedarcrest Retreat 2018 Reflection and Photo Essay

I have been going on silent retreats off and on since 2006. After my first one I wrote: 

"Back in February I went on a retreat at an Opus Dei retreat center Cedar Crest Retreats and I must say it was life changing. I did not know before going that it would be a 'Silent Retreat' but that was the best thing for me. Instead of spending all my spare time gabbing with the other men about our families, work, school, life, and such. I ended up taking the silence as time for study and reflection. There were 12 Meditations given by a priest, and each day we had mass, an examination of conscious, prayed the rosary and the stations of the cross."

There are also several talks by a member of the work. And you can schedule one on one time with the priest or the retreat director. I feel absolutely rejuvenated each time I come. And the retreat recharges the batteries. The monthly recollections I attend help keep them charged. 

A few weeks ago, I had someone close to me state:

"I do not know another man who works on self development the way you do. As a husband, and a father."

My mother in laws words were a bit of a shock. I quickly named some men we know in common, men a little older than I who exemplify those same traits. But her words have come back to me, and in the context of this years retreat I have a response finally:

I read so many Catholic books because they help me improve. I pray that my actions live up to my theology. But that theology is that we have all been called to be saints. I am striving to be better because that is God's plan for me and his expectation. One of the prayers I pray daily is a prayer of humility.

"O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto thine. From the desire to be esteemed, deliver me. From the desire to be honored, deliver me. From the desire to be praised, deliver me. Teach me to accept humiliation, contempt, rebukes, being slandered, being ignored, being insulted, being wronged, and being belittled. Jesus, grant me the grace that others be admired more than I; that others be praised and I unnoticed; that others be preferred to me in everything; that others be holier than I, provided I become as holy as I should; that I might imitate the patience and obedience of Your mother, Mary. Amen."

And another is a consecration to Mary, part of that prayer is:

"Finally, I believe, my God, that you can and will make me into a saint, even if I won't see it, even if I have to struggle all my life against vice and sin, even if I have to wait until the very end. This blind hope in your mercy, O Lord, is my only treasure."

It is from the book 33 Days to Merciful Love: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration by Michael E. Gaitley. I work so hard because I know I am not there yet. And in this life, I will likely never be there. But to quote Matthew Kelly's tag line I strive 'To Become The Best Version Of Myself!" I read, and I write, and I go to recollections, and I go on retreats because I need help. I do these things not because I am holy, but because I want to be.

The retreat house has changed a lot even since I was here 16 months ago. So below is a photo essay from the 2018 retreat. If you are looking for a retreat to go to in Ontario I highly recommend this place. Follow the link and check out the offerings. 

Related Articles:
Opus Dei Part II
Cedarcrest Retreat 2017
Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018
Cedarcrest Retreat 2018

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

Twenty-Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time 2018

The readings for this weekend's mass are:

First Reading Numbers 11:25-29
Responsorial Psalm 19:7, 9, 11-12, 13 Response 8a
Second Reading James 5:1-6
Gospel Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48

I am away on retreat this weekend, at Cedarcrest Retreats. This reflection was written earlier in the week, so that it would post while I was away. A few things really stood out to me on my first reading of these passages this week. First the end of the first reading, Moses speaking to Joshua says:

"Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, and that the lord would put his spirit on them!"

I read this passage with a bit of shock and awe. Prophets were never looked upon favorable. By in large they lived a life of conflict. Called by God to speak truth, and if a prophet was speaking, things had gone way off track. More than one prophet did not want the task, or the specific task. Think Jonah and Nineveh. And the end of the passage, that God would put his spirit on them. This is what we believe happens at both Baptism and Confirmation. And during ordination for priests and deacons. What Moses wishes for at the end of this passage comes to pass at Pentecost, and through the ages has been handed down through the church. I know in my own life I fall short often, as a husband, as a father, as a man. But this passage reminds me of a truth and a hope. I can start again trusting in the Holy Spirit imparted to me to work and to strive. To quote Matthew Kelly's tag line, 'To become the best version of myself!'

As I write this I am home from work sick, my son is home from school sick. The response really speaks to life, If our focus is on God all the rest can be dealt with.

"The Precepts of the Lord are right, and give joy to the heart."

 And then we come to the Gospel. 

"Whoever is not against us is for us."

The gospel passage reminds me that my life is always a witness. At work, at home, at play. The big question is what am I witnessing to? This passage is a reminder that our lives need to be lived above reproach. For the passage is clear that the consequences are severe if our actions lead another astray. As such we need to constantly stay vigilant. We should be seeing spiritual direction, and good spiritual reading. We should use any tool we can to help us stay on the right path so that our live is a witness to bring others to God not cause them to turn away. 

My prayer this week is that my actions live up to my theology. And I pray for strength in the day to day life for you my readers.

(Oratory last time I was here Spring 2017))
(Renovated Oratory Fall 2018)

Related Posts:

Monday, 17 July 2006

Opus Dei Part II

I thought it was about time that I updated my original post about Opus Dei. It is funny the curves that life throw’s at you some time’s, even when your least expecting it. When I started my research into Opus Dei it was just an academic endeavor. Yes I had known a couple at Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario who were involved (10kids.com is their website). I had a great deal of respect for them, and their life of witness but I had no idea how enriching my studies could be to my spiritual life and what an adventure it would become.

Back in February I went on a retreat at an Opus Dei retreat center Cedar Crest Retreats and I must say it was life changing. I did not know before going that it would be a ‘Silent Retreat’ but that was the best thing for me. Instead of spending all my spare time gabbing with the other men about our families, work, school, life, and such. I ended up taking the silence as time for study and reflection. There were 12 Meditations given by a priest, and each day we had mass, an examination of conscious, prayed the rosary and the stations of the cross. At Lunch and Dinner we did Lectio Divina (Spiritual Reading) we each took turns reading during the meal, a page or so and then the person next to us would tap us and we would pass them the book and show them where we were. We read Uncommon Faith by John F. Coverdale it is a biography of Josemaria Escriva and a history of the early years of Opus Dei. It is also the first English written book on these subjects as opposed to all the others that are European and in English are translation.

Since the retreat I have read the complete works of Josemaria Escriva and even read The Way, Furrow and The Forge 3 times each. All I can say is these writings and the monthly Recollections here in Kitchener have done more to further my spiritual growth and to challenge me than almost anything else in the last 10 years. The only thing that comes close was when I did a Cursillo a number of years ago through the Presbyterian Church.

"The seriousness with which Opus Dei takes the spiritual life is refreshing in this day and age. Their 3 fold sanctification: "Sanctify work. Sanctify oneself through work. Sanctify others through work. If we are to transform society there is a need for people who are holy."
Francis Fernandez
In Conversation With God Vol #2 p.63

This can also be ‘Sanctification of Family. Sanctification of oneself through family. Sanctification of others through family.’ Then you can substitute friends … A few weeks ago Andrea and I were invited to visit with the Helmer’s Here in town, they have 11 kids and 9 of them are still in the family home. When we left was wife shared how amazed she was, these kids were great, they came and sat with us, talked, shared and drew pictures for my wife. We had a great evening. Andrea could not believe how well behaved and social these children were in this day in our society. That family exemplified the point above.

While at the retreat and since I have been trying to read books that were recommended. The authors recommended included:Also since Andrea and I are expecting our first child I have been reading a lot of James B. Stenson who writes a lot on parenting and specifically on Fatherhood.

I have been reviewing them as I finished them here are some links to those reviews. I will also expand this list as I post more reviews from these authors, and book by and about Opus Dei.

(For more reviews of Opus Dei books or books by Opus Dei Authors and authors they encourage a person to read. 01... 2... 3... 4... 5... 6... 7... 8... 9... 10... 11... 12... 13... 14... 15... 16... these reviews include the works of Josemaria Escriva, The Pope's, Peter Kreeft, Scott Hahn and many others.)

Locally in Kitchener Waterloo The Men’s Evenings of Recollection are at St. Anne Church 268 East Avenue Kitchener, ON N2H 1Z4 they are organized by John Helmers cellohelmers@yahoo.com. Monday after the 2nd Sunday of each Month Except October 7:30pm-9:45pm.

If you are not in KW email info@opusdei.ca and then you can be put into contact with someone closer to you. That is how I met John and made my first retreat.