I can't even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the day. I only wish it had been a little longer.
It wasn't exactly like the retreats that you remember attending when you were in grade school, if you were catholic and went to one. I can't even figure out how to explain it except to just tell what we did.
Fr. Jack is a priest at my son's high school and he ran the day along with a woman named Elizabeth who he used to work with at an old parish of his in Delaware. She's a regular woman with 4 boys and knows what we are all going through every day. Fr. Jack is one of the most busiest priests I know because he is involved in everything at the high school, even some of the sports. And he does an awful lot with the Mothers Association which is how I know him.
The day started with lunch and chit chat. Can't beat that! We went into the chapel afterwards and it's just so peaceful and comfortable in there. Fr. Jack gave his talk about St. Francis De Sales who is the patron saint of the school and all the priests there are Salesians, they follow the teachings of St. Francis. This is not St. Francis of Assissi, the animal lover. St. Francis of De Sales was very devoted to the catholic church and was a bishop but he had a different way of thinking. He thought that because women were so busy even back in the 1500s, women shouldn't be spending hours in church praying on their knees on hard cement floors. He knew that they were thinking that they could be taking care of this and that, the kids, the house, the meals, the laundry, everything like we do today. Instead he thought, think of God while you do your chores. Put yourself in his hands, talk to him while you do all this and make him a part of everything you do every day instead of just those hours in church or at adoration or whatever. St. Francis has some wonderful quotes. One of my favorites is "Be who you are and be it well." Doesn't matter who you are, just be that person, that mom, that telephone operator, that volunteer, that whatever and be it well. It's actually such a peaceful, relaxing way of living your life and putting God into it everyday. You don't have to sit and recite long prayers that during the middle of the prayer you drift and start thinking of something else. While you are folding some laundry, say a prayer, your own prayer.
It was just a very peaceful and relaxing way of thinking about how you should be living your spiritual life. Don't stress over the fact that you didn't get to Stations or confession or a mass, just live with God in every thing you do. Just be who you are and be it well.
The second half of the day, Elizabeth talked about Mary & Martha. They were sisters and friends of Jesus if you know the stories from the Bible. Her talk kind of talked about are you a Mary or are you a Martha. Martha was the one who when Jesus was coming to visit, she cleaned, prepared the food, did whatever needed to be done. Mary, she waited and watched. And then when Jesus came, Mary ran to him. Martha got ticked at Mary and said something to Jesus. Jesus pretty much told Martha that Mary had the right attitude. Don't fret about the house, the cleaning, the wash, the meals, enjoy the people who are with you, who want to be with you, who you never know when you might see again.
Sure easy for Jesus! But the whole talk was about taking some time from our busy lives as women to enjoy some of the little things, spending some quiet time with Jesus & God, enjoying the beauty of the given day and treating it like a gift. Sometimes we women need to realize that the world isn't going to come to an end if we don't have ALL the laundry done this weekend or if the kitchen floor is dirty for a few more days. We need to stop beating ourselves up and realize that when we have today, make the most of it, or at least try to. Give yourself equal time, 1 hour of cleaning, one hour of down time.
Hey, it's a thought. And it's something that will make us better women, wives, mothers, friends, sisters, daughters and we'll be the best whatever we are.