Jesus said to them, ‘Come away to some lonely place all by yourselves and rest for a while’. Mark 6:31

The apostles were called to stay with Jesus (Mark 3:14), as was the apostolic community of Missionaries. They had the mission to help others to “be” in order to “do.” Organizing retreats were privileged moments to do this:

At least once a year, a spiritual retreat will be given, which will serve as a preparation for some of the principal feasts. 
When circumstances permit, many private retreats will be given in the interior of our houses for clerics or laity who come to us with the intention of devoting greater consideration to the important work of their salvation.

 1818 Rule, Part One, Chapter 3, § 7. Public exercises in the church

Today this continues in many parts of the Oblate world, as many are involved in the ministry of the animation of retreats and also in having communities who run houses for retreats. This ministry of helping others to “be” in order to “do” is one of our oldest ways of sharing the treasure we receive daily as religious missionaries:

In the prolonged silent prayer we make each day, we let ourselves be moulded by the Lord and find in him the inspiration of our conduct. Following our tradition, we devote an hour each day to mental prayer, part of which is spent together in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament.    CC&RR, Constitution 33


Heaven means to be one with God.   Confucius

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    More and more I find that time of just being with, being in the presence of, necessary for my day to be okay, for me to be okay. I hesitate in calling it a fix, a way to make it through the day, for it is so much more than that. It is more like the essence of life, where we discover all over again who we are in God. If for some reason I get too busy, or am “doing” too much, if/when I miss it, I truly do miss it. I think that time of just “sitting back in the arms of God”, of being with Him is a foundation.

    Am coming to a more deep or true sense of Oraison and of “the now”. They used to be just words but now there is something there behind them and part of me seems to have a more true and living experience of them – just not something I can put words around yet.

    I want to say that my soul weeps with this and I have no idea of why. Sounds dramatic and yet I have no other way to describe it. Thank you for this daily teaching and way – it is like a small little crack in the wall that is widening each day and allowing the depths to rise up or me to go deeper.

  2. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Having been a part of retreat houses and ashram for the past 10 years and preparing to join the novitiate team, I find these reflections today as affirming.
    Yet, we struggle in Retreat Centre due to finances and structure. Maybe we need to simplify when it is called for. Because Eugene is not talking about structures and retreat houses as we know them now, he is saying that each our our houses need to be an “oasis” of peace and renewal. So how do we do that? How do we invite folks in? How do we celebrate what we already do and then take it to; a level of mindfulness, to prayer always and from the Bhagavad Gita “He who constantly thinketh upon Me, not thing ever of another, of him I am easily reached”.

  3. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Oh yes Jack. It’s funny but when I think of Galilee Retreat Centre – it is the building for sure, it is also the grounds around the building – so there is space and I know for me it is a holy and healing place. It has been very much a place that I could go up to, to just be, or to work through something, or just to visit for the peace and the renewal. And yet this past calendar year I could not due to circumstances and had to be satisfied with what is here and now; and amazingly – I am laughing at myself – amazingly God was able to work through all of it and I was able to listen to him. I got that from you and others through chance meetings, phone calls, emails and love and prayers. I really like what you said.

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