Escape Needed

After a year of the American lifestyle, I’m exhausted. I don’t want an American vacation because that simply seems to be more exhausting. Vacation? Great let’s go water skiing, camping, rock climbing, white water rafting, and after that we’ll go to a theme park, the beach and have a complete social schedule of cook outs and pool parties. Don’t forget, the kids need to go to soccer camp, volleyball camp, Christian camp, vacation Bible school, and they can’t neglect their piano lessons, voice coaching, extra tutoring and all the activities at church. Geesh, no wonder Americans rule the world. They never stop!

I don’t want a vacation. Keep your vacations. I’m headed for a retreat. Where I would really like to go is Skellig Michael. Have you ever heard of Skellig Michael? It’s a rocky island off the coast of Ireland.
Monks first went there in the 500s Look at the stairway they built out of stone to get up to the top of the island.
They lived in little beehive, igloo-like huts of stone they hacked out of the island. The monks then survived a Viking raid in the 800′s and then abandoned the place in the 1100s.
I’m not really going there. They don’t have electricity. How would I blog?
I do believe, however, that places like Skellig Michael will crop up again. In the midst of our decadent, atheistic and despairing society only asceticism, monasticism and prayer will succeed. Europe especially, needs monasticism like never before.
I’ll never be a monk (they stretched the rules to let me be a priest, but I doubt if they’ll stretch them further to let me move into a monastery with wife and kids) but I can pray and you can pray. We can support the monasteries that are being resurrected and built afresh.
We can also decide to skip the vacation this year and go on retreat or pilgrimage instead. That’s what I’m planning to do.

  • my15minutes

    There you go, being curmudgeonly again! :-)I love both…retreats and vacations. But I’m not usually a “busy” vacation person….more of a “chill out and read and ride my bike and walk on the beach” kind of vacation. I could get into a retreat at Skilling too though, as long as it’s not too cold. Can’t concentrate on spiritual reality when I’m shivering.

  • Michael

    How do you take family on retreat or pilgrimage, and convince them that it is better than vacation.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Choose a retreat or pilgrimage which is like a vacation. Do the pilgrimage trail on horseback to Santiago de Compostella. Stay in a hermitage on a Scottish island. Hitch-hike to Jerusalem from England staying in monasteries en route. You get the idea…

  • Mac McLernon

    I can’t remember the last time I went on “vacation”… I do, however, enjoy lots of retreats and pilgrimages!!(and why does everyone assume that pilgrimages involve nothing but prayer… doesn’t anyone read Canterbury Tales any more?);-)

  • KristineFranklin

    THESE Americans vacation like this: Drive to state park. Level tiny trailer. Hang hammock. Get out books. Sleep. Play cards with Beloved Spouse. Drink coffee. Nap. Read books. Cuddle. Walk dog. Watch birds. Eat celery with Cheez Whiz. Throw rocks in lake. Talk. Pray. Laugh. You should try it. BTW – I’ve heard about that monastery and its famous retreats – all you get to eat is moss soup. I guess the vegans would be happy. We Americans need our Cheez Whiz.

  • Fr. Dwight Longenecker

    Not the real Irish Moss soup? Best stuff in the world. Served with Peat bread it’s all you need.

  • Anonymous

    After a week at Disney World (grace a la mother-in-law–we’re still trying to recover)a week or two at an island retreat sounds perfect, though a tent on a quiet beach is about all our children can handle.

  • Anonymous

    I can’t think how many times I’ve been on vacation and wanted to get back to work so I could get some rest!Dean

  • Anonymous

    Father, if you are exhausted by your American life why dont you return ”home”.We would welcome you back with open arms and happy hearts. We need more priests of your caliber and dispostion.

  • Elizabeth Mary

    anonymous 5:52You can’t have him. We got him and we’re keeping him.Fight ya!*fisticuffs*

  • Maureen

    Obscure Irish song fact:Back in pre-Famine Ireland, the villagers occasionally went to Skellig Michael for pilgrimages if they were really desperate to get a spouse. But this was really dangerous, and became more of a threat against hardhearted beloveds than a real pilgrimage.So there’s an obscure ballad where Rory argues back and forth with Maureen, and the refrain is, “Ochone, I’m going to Skellig”.

  • Anonymous

    Where I would like to, as they say, journey home…to the RC Church…but I’m so hung up about the beauty and mysticism of Anglo-Catholic liturgy and music and so pained at the difference in Roman churches…although it is the one true apostolic church…