But he would withdraw to deserted places and pray. (Luke 5:16).

This coming week your clergy will be heading on retreat to pray, think, listen, dream and scheme about what we are doing here at St. James’. Where is God calling us? How do we serve within our parish and care for our people each day?

Getting away to ponder and reflect, gives us the opportunity to think without being distracted. Have you been on a retreat this year? Is there a place where you go to recharge, reflect, and be with God?

Retreat time is not only for clergy. Going on retreat gives us the opportunity to rest spiritually. That might sound weird, but faking spiritual health is nearly impossible. We all need to be recharged sometimes, and after all Jesus said “come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

Life moves at a quick pace. Have you ever heard someone say, “the older I get, the quicker the time seems to go!” I have. I’ve also heard people state that they don’t have time to go on retreat. There are too many things to do. The idea of going somewhere to do “nothing” (as in stop doing everything at high speed!) and be still, is foreign to lots of people, but the benefits far outweigh the time spent.

In our daily prayer we may ask things of God. We may hear answers, but taking a retreat means that you have more time to dwell on these things, or as Fr. Matthew might say, to brood! Disconnecting and spending time in prayer grounds us in our faith as Christ’s disciples.

At my ordination to the priesthood Archbishop Melissa said during her sermon, “be faithful to the many vows you will make today, for faithfulness is the bedrock of your stability in God…at the same time remember to attend to your ongoing discernment, for through this God refreshes and renews you, and the people you serve.”

Hopefully when we return at the end of next week we will be refreshed and renewed, ready to continue our journey here with you as the people of St. James’ and God’s people in the world.

I will be away this Sunday at a baptism in Kelowna, so I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and look forward to seeing you soon.

Mother Lucy