Last weekend, as I have mentioned in a few blog posts in passing, I was blessed to be able to attend a four-day retreat at St. Francis Retreat Center (SFRC) in San Juan Bautista, California. I spend a lot of time at SFRC since it is not far from where I live. I attend First Fridays there, participate in center-led retreats, and contribute to the center on a regular basis. (The center burned down in 2006, and for the next three years, every penny that was collected mattered. The beautiful new center opened in 2009. Until then retreats were held in mobile buildings. As with so many other things in life, good came from bad. Were it not for the fire, in which no one got hurt, the friars and community would not likely have built a new center for quite some time, if at all. In that rebuilding I have also been able to participate, relying on God to help me keep a rather surprising financial contribution: for details see The Journey Is More Important Than the Destination.)
This particular retreat was different. It was conducted by the priest who leads our contemplative prayer group. It was the first time I had ever spent so much time in silence. After all, I am an extrovert. Silence does not come naturally. I even talk to birds and squirrels!
The silence, however, was exactly what I needed to finish off a week that had gone from frenetic to tranquil, thanks to God answering my wail while in Washington to return home and be able to spend the entire retreat in retreat activities. Until the day before the retreat I had been unable to arrange for a timely arrival for Thursday evening (my plane was supposed to arrive from Washington, DC late in the afternoon) and unable to get the full day off on Friday (I had a mandatory meeting Friday afternoon). When I begged God, however, to bring me back home and back to Him, suddenly flights were cancelled, requirements were changed, and even the mandatory meeting was postponed. Amazingly, I had the entire retreat time off, all four days.
I consider these four days God's gift to me. God certainly spoils me! (But I hope He does not stop because I like it!)