Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Retreat (as in quiet time away) (08/01/05)
TITLE: A Gift
By Paul Potenza
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I grew up in a very spiritual home. In my early years, I realized that Jesus was pretty much the answer to all of your problems. This didn’t mean that you wouldn’t HAVE problems. It just meant that you had a big brother to go to when the going was tough. On the other hand, it also meant that you had a big brother to rejoice with when things were good.
One summer, my parents sent me on a “Retreat” to a place called Saint Dominic Savio’s. There, as a young boy, I learned to ride horses, make friends, swim and just generally “be” with a great group of spiritual leaders who showed me how to be a Christian and still be a human.
Before I went, I always thought that a retreat was something mystical that only gurus in the Hymilayas did. There I learned something different. It served me well as I matured.
I entered the service and found it interesting that there was a “Sound” for Retreat. It meant to “fall back to a safe place and regroup”. I was always amused that “Retreat” was considered a frowned upon and almost cowardly action to undertake. “Retreat ...HELL!!! We just GOT here!”
Now I know that a retreat can be taken ANY time. At night, when I come home from work, I can turn the lights down low and listen to soft music and take my mind out for a walk. When I’m actually OUT for a walk, the Lord is with me. He points out colors and sounds that I might ordinarily have missed in His father’s creation. Then, together with my Big Brother, we praise our father for all the things our senses pick up, knowing that I’ll never understand even the HALF of what I’ve been blessed with.
Things like this weren’t meant to be experienced by a few gurus or holy men living on a mountaintop. God didn’t create all this magnificence so that a couple of “enlightened men” could savor and appreciate it.
God did this for YOU!
Everywhere you look...Everything you touch...Every feeling you feel is a gift.
TAKE the gift...Enjoy it...Embrace it as you would a handful of dandelions from your two year old boy. Weep if you must...knowing that you don’t deserve this honor. The father loves a humble and contrite heart.
And know this. When you’ve accepted His gift, bow in humble adoration, and there proclaim...
MY GOD HOW GREAT THOU ART!!!
Go on a retreat right now.
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