The author Margaret Mahy speaks of the necessity to retreat from everyday activity “so the life of the story can take me over.” She continues: “That is why a writer often needs space and time, so that he or she can abandon ordinary life and “live” with the characters.”
Paraphrasing this helps me to understand the section on retreats in the 1818 Rule. Times of retreat were necessary for the Missionaries “so that they could abandon ordinary life and “live” with the Savior.”
Each year everyone will do ten days of retreat in complete solitude and strict silence. Likewise they will spend one day in retreat each month.
1818 Rule, Part Two, Chapter One. §5 On prayer and exercises of piety
Today’s Rule of Life invites us all
To put ourselves increasingly at the service of God in his people, we will set aside special times each month and each year for deeper personal and community prayer, for reflection and renewal.
One week each year will be spent in retreat.
Fraternal gatherings and an exchange on apostolic experiences could well precede or follow the retreat.
CC&RR, Constitution 35
This is not an idle escapism and navel-gazing, but a necessity for the Missionary, who spends his life giving to others. he must allow “the life of the story to take him over” once again and to give him a renewed vision to be shared with recharged batteries and new enthusiasm.
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, Jesus said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
“There are certainly times when my own everyday life seems to retreat so the life of the story can take me over. That is why a writer often needs space and time, so that he or she can abandon ordinary life and “live” with the characters.” Margaret Mahy