Well friends here i am at last! Better late than never…………….
It seems ages since i last did a post but here i am after our annual retreat and lots of other things happening in between times. So what happened on the last day of the weekend for ‘COME & SEE’? To be honest not alot, you may well be asking yourself what do i mean by not alot — but it was SUNDAY! It was really great because of a number of things…. 1st it was the Feast of the Assumption of Our Lady, 2nd it was the 3rd sunday of the month which meant that we had Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and 3rd our dear friend Peter was here so we had wonderful music (as ever). After a lovely mass with new and old time favourites of the ‘Colwich Summer School’ (as we call it for a week in August). So there was plenty of time available for ‘private adoration’ if that was what people wanted to place all their questions/doubts etc… After midday office and lunch we all said our goodbyes and hoped that we could all keep in touch in one way or another………i do hope we will see them all again at some point even if its just a quick visit…
Any how here is some feed back of what people thought…….this is just a start and i will add further comments (FAIRLY SOON – I PROMISE) this is just to wet your appetite!!!!!!!
1/ I’d never been to a discernment weekend before, in fact, I’d never been on a retreat of any kind. So as a recent convert to Catholicism it might seem a little odd that I would choose to go to such an event so soon. That said, it was one of the most enlightening weekends I have ever spent. I was extremely nervous beforehand and it took the four of us who were visiting the abbey a while to get talking to each other.
I suppose what struck me the most in the short time we were there, even more than the monastic life itself, was the people who were living it. There was nothing austere, nothing forbidding about them. Rather, they were proof that prayerfulness and happiness go hand-in-hand. The sisters were the life. I was really moved by their hospitality and kindness. Their openness gave me the confidence to be myself and to ask whatever questions came to mind, however mundane they might be. Sitting in Choir alongside the sisters to share in the Divine Office (while hopefully not ruining it too much with my terrible singing) was a great privilege. And of course meeting Chelsea (and being copiously licked by her) was a highlight!
Whatever decisions the other visitors come to about their lives, I truly hope they’ll be happy in their choices. I won’t be making any decision about my own life in the near future but when I do, it will be much more informed.
Here is an abbreviated version of another person:
2) Everything was helpful, because i’d never done anything like this before. There’s a world of difference between meeting someone for a chat for an hour or two, and actually living there for a few days. There’s a world of difference between thinking about five times of prayer per day, and actually doing it in community – not just once, but over several days again. It helped me so much to experience it, because abstractions and thinking about things can never compare. For me, to se and learn how i felt about everything as i experienced it was key. It’s like learning to cycle, you can read and think about it all you like but unless you try it and experience it you won’t be able to do it. Having said that about the overall experience the most helpful parts of the weekend wasn’t just being included in the offices but i also found the short “sessions” on history, Benedictine life etc…tremendously helpful. I think the way it was set up was absolutely perfect. It was long enough to “look in”, but not so long as to feel ‘trapped’ if you hated it (which i didn’t). You made us feel so welcome i would love to come back later and spend some time there again.