The weekend 8th – 10th July has been suggested by the Retreat Association as a time to find ways to engage with stillness and silence.
The Retreat Association is a national organisation helping people to explore and deepen their journey with God through spirituality and prayer: their website and annual handbook are great ways of finding out what is happening retreat-wise throughout the UK.
At Retreat House Chester it’s very important to us that ‘retreat’ is something we can do in our daily living, to resource us for our daily living. These words of poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama put it well: ‘Retreat is what we do to have the breath and space to see the face of the present moment.’
So this weekend why not join others across the UK in finding a way to shift perspective a little? There are plenty of resources available to download from the Retreat Association website, and we make a few suggestions here:
Consider that silence and stillness may not be about turning away from the world, but rather about noticing it anew. So as you go about your daily life today – or go for a walk or find somewhere to sit – what do you notice around you? If you are in the city, do you notice the rhythm of the bells chiming amidst the noise? What about the people you see?
How about a special place for quiet time, reflection or prayer? In an open space, a garden or a park… in a church (or cathedral) that you find open… or in your home. If at home, some find it helpful to mark a special corner, chair, window ledge with something they find meaningful, a special reminder.
Give something your full attention. Read or do something absorbing. If you need help finding something meaningful to read, try ‘Sacred in the City’ by Margaret Silf, or ‘Finding Sanctuary’ or ‘Finding Happiness’ by Christopher Jamison – our two main speakers so far this year. Or find something creative to do.
Give thanks today – perhaps for the food and drink you have, or for an interaction with another.
Find an internet resource to help you. For example, Pray-As-You-Go provides ten minutes or so of guided reflection on a scripture reading each day.
If you would like to build in some quiet time alongside others, Retreat House Chester joins with Chester Cathedral once a month for a time of contemplative prayer. See our programme page for more.
“Ho, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters… without money and without price.” Isaiah 55v1