Retreat: First Night

I'm at our church men's retreat at St. John's University and Abbey. It's my third time here. I left school slightly early to meet my ride and hand off the car and kids to my wife. 

We arrived here in time for supper, and then we walked over for Vespers prayers with the monks. It's quite different than what I'm used to. But it's also a good way to start the retreat. 

The monks have a set of prayer books they use for their prayer times (three each day). The first order of business is to find the correct books (3 tonight) and the right pages. 

Some of the psalms are said; some are read. Always antiphonally (back and forth between one side of the chapel and the other). Always slowly and methodically. It is not a dramatic reading. At first I am annoyed by it. 

Then it sets in. It is purposeful. It slows me down from my hurriedness of the day and attempts to get worship done. It focuses me on the words. It brings me out of myself and into community.  

The worship space is dark except for the altar. It is still. It is peaceful and calm. It is everything my day was not. 

I don't know what the weekend will behold. I am thankful to be here and to have the time to readjust my spirit. 

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