December 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 248


Sister Lucy's GETTING TO THE HEART OF THE MATTER column for December 1, 2000


        All Religious by Canon Law are required to make a retreat every year. The length of time spent in the retreat may differ from Community to Community.

        I’ve just finished a privately-directed retreat and I must confess that it was a wonderful respite from the confusion and haggling of Florida’s recent Presidential election - counts, the re-counts and the how-many-is-it-now counts again.

        Human beings cannot slave away every day, day after day, without taking time to be renewed. Many people do this, they think, by going to football games, watching TV and the like. While these modes of recreating oneself do provide some kind of renewal in the human psyche, they do not feed and renew the total man, the whole person.

        We are not only, body; we are, also, soul. Thus, if a person is in the state of sanctifying grace, that is, has no unforgiven mortal sin on his soul, God lives in him. God is actually in him, sharing with him His own Divine Life.

        The spiritual aspect of our nature needs attention. Just as we would not or could not go very long without food and water for our bodies, we cannot and should not go very long without feeding our souls.

        That means, we must encounter God; we must commune with Him on a daily basis, and from time to time commune with Him for extended periods of time. Every Christian should make at least one extended retreat each year. Every Christian should take time apart from his everyday life to meet God, face himself as he is before God, renew his choice for God and through prayer and confession (for Catholics) come closer to God. After all, if we are going to spend eternity with God, we had better give Him time on earth. We had better not enter eternity not having conversed with God and getting to know Him better before we die.

        There were many times, Scripture tells, us that Jesus went apart to pray. We know that He spent whole nights in prayer. Communing with His Father gave Him strength and courage to face the human pressures, misunderstandings, ridicule and disbeliefs. Everything Jesus did, He did to give us the example. We cannot do better than to imitate Our Lord and Master.

        Therefore, I wish to tell you that it has been a great grace for me to deliberately absent myself from the “world” and the news of the “world” for the peace, joy, and comfort of being with Jesus for nine days. To choose His company above anything else, to converse with Him from my heart and to receive absolution from a priest who says: “I absolve you from every sin you have committed in your life!” are treasures which surpass anything the world has to offer.

        I wish you an equivalent joy and comfort, but you must CHOOSE to take time for a retreat. If you cannot do a physical spiritual retreat right now, at least take this time of Advent to prepare your heart and soul for the Christ Child. God is never outdone in generosity.

        God bless you!

    Sister Mary Lucy Astuto

For past columns by Sister Lucy, see PRO-LIFE PRESCRIPTIONS Archives

December 1, 2000
volume 11, no. 248

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