Monday, July 26, 2010

Marianist Retreat - Creating Sabbath Space

(Bro.Thomas, Bro. Mark, Bro. Peter, and Bro. Richard pause before entering the Chapel)

Yearly the Brothers of the Province take some time to rest, relax and rejuvenate ourselves by prayer, re-focusing and developing our bonds of Community. This summer's week-long retreat takes place at Founder's Hollow. Our theme is "Creating Sabbath Space."

We find some wisdom in the words of Fr. Ronald Rolheiser:

"A recent article in Maclean's magazine reported on a study on longevity. What is the secret for a long life? The article summarizes the results of years of scientific research on this question and ends with nine hints for a longer, healthier life.

What should we do to live longer and healthier? The study suggests the following:

1. Add simple activities to your day like walking farther than you need to, doing gardening or home repairs yourself, or running around with your children or pets.

2. Try eating off smaller plates to decrease your portion sizes and reduce calories.

3. Limit the number of servings of meat you eat in a week.

4. Drink a glass or two of red wine most evenings.

5. Know your passions in life and take time to enjoy them most days.

6. Take quiet time to relieve stress.

7. Belong to a spiritual community and gather with them regularly.

8. Make your family and your loved ones a priority. Express that through your actions.

9. Surround yourself with friends who have healthy habits and support you in your goals.

What's interesting about this list is that it expresses many of the challenges contained in the notion of the Sabbath. Scripture opens with the story of creation. God, we are told, made the world in six days, rested on the seventh, the Sabbath, and declared this day to be forever a day of rest.

There is a spirituality of time, work and rest contained in that. According to the theology of the Sabbath, there is to be a fixed rhythm for our days: We are meant to work for six days and then have a one-day sabbatical; work for six years and then have a one-year sabbatical; and, finally, work for a lifetime and have an eternal sabbatical, an eternity of resting in God.

Former generations, I believe, took this more seriously than we do today. Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Until recently it was clearer that this is a commandment, not a lifestyle suggestion. Sabbath, until recent generations, was a day where ordinary life and ordinary activity were supplanted by different sense of time and activity.

What is Sabbath meant to be?"
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Pray for the Canonization of Blessed William Joseph Chaminade

"May you become a pliant and docile instrument in the hands of God for the works he ordains for the glory of the Incarnate Word and his august Mother!"
Blessed William Joseph Chaminade