Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reflection Up on the Hill

One of the nice things Mission Personal added to training were field trips away from Stony Point. On Friday, June 21 we went up to Holy Cross Monastery, an Anglican Benedictine of Men, to spend a day with the Brothers.  It was the most relaxing and reflective day.

Group shot at the Monastery.
Photo Courtesy of Charlotte File

In the morning, we arrived in time for Holy Eucharist at 9am. Then Brother Rob took us on a tour around the monastery, sharing the importance of certain rooms and about the lifestyle of a brother. Their dedication to their relationship with God is inspiring. They make no money and have no possessions. Yet they are fulfilled by serving Christ to the fullest. It is truly remarkable.

At noon, we participated in Diurnum which is a half hour of chanting a psalm and praying. The chants of the Brothers in a beautiful space move through you. They fill the air, centering you in that space, leaving the outside world and all your worries beyond the grounds.

Brother Rob starting off the tour of the Monastery.

Afterwards, we ate a delicious lunch, split into groups to meet with Brother Rob who talked to us about the importance of finding a quiet, peaceful time each day to reflect and pray. And to discipline ourselves to journal so we don't simply rely on memories during this life-changing experience. He spoke on the key to self-knowledge is loving oneself. We are the vehicle to experiencing God and we cannot accept love from anyone else or even God unless we love ourselves.

There are three keys to spiritual journey of seeking God: (1) humility, being one's true self; (2) stability, not running away but staying put and facing the most difficult in order to grow roots; (3) celebacy, but not in the sense of denying sexuality, it is putting your relationship with God first and allowing all other relationships to stem from that one with God.

Taking notes while talking with Brother Rob.
Photo Courtesy of Charlotte File.
Talking with Brother Rob was insightful. He has a deep peace with himself, the good and the bad. I learned you cannot deny who you are to yourself or to God. You can grow by reflecting and accepting your whole self especially by opening yourself up to a deep connection with Christ.

The afternoon, was open to exploring the 26 stunning acres of property. Alan and I hiked down to the Hudson River to skip some rocks. I chatted and reflected with others in the group and sat quietly in the rocking chairs taking in the spectacular view. At 5pm we had Vespers, another short service of chanting, then dinner and we headed back to Stony Point. It was wonderful to get away from the retreat center, learn something new, continue to hang out with one another, and reflect.

Entrance to the Monastery.
Stunning building.
The Chapel.
Gorgeous stain glass that represented the creation of the sun.
Hannah, Me, and Katie in front of the Monastery.
Alan skipping rocks.
View of the back of the Monastery.
Thanks for Reading!

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