Weekly Reflection: Rest

'The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.' Mark 6: 30ff

My youtube.com video clip was easy this week, because it's one of my favorite songs, "This Warrior Is a Child" by Twila Paris.  Here it's sung by Gary Valencia, with a quite moving video. Click here to watch it!

I'm writing this weekly reflection while on retreat at the Franciscan Renewal Center in Scottsdale, Arizona.  It's a really idyllic place, at the foot of the Scottsdale hills, filled with the spirit of Francis and Clare. Their motto is "casa de paz y bien" - the house of peace and good, and that is really what I have experienced here. Everyone is friendly, hospitable, helpful, and eager to welcome you home, where as the Sunday bulletin proudly proclaims, "All are Welcome!"

One of the real perks of being a priest is the expectation that once a year I go away on retreat, "to a quiet place (to) get some rest."  After the busyness of ministry, a week apart in a quiet holy place renews my joy and enthusiasm for the Lord and for ministry, and in the words of the Casa's mission statement, "moves us beyond ourselves in the service of others." For a week I get to go to bed early, not be distracted by meetings, appointments, emails, and work assignments (well, except for Patheos deadlines!), and just rest in the Lord's embrace.

We all need a break from the usual schedule...to unplug, unwind, nap, do some spiritual reading, listen to music, watch the birds, marvel at the sunset over the hills, go for a long walk, and especially pray...

My prayer on retreat is a lot of listening....God just wants to be with me for a while...to have my undivided attention....and to love me. A useful image for me on retreat is that of a mother and a little child who's tired and crawls up into his mother's lap to take a nap. That feels like the Lord with me when I'm on retreat: tired, and needing to feel safe and loved and accepted, just as I am...

Your life might not afford you the luxury of a week-long retreat in the foothills of Arizona...but we all deserve a nap in the Lord's lap, so that we can experience again the Lord's love for us just as we are...

So today, take that nap...breathe deeply...unplug from all the commitments, worries, and struggles, and let the Lord love you...

Now pray....