An Extrovert Goes on Silent Retreat – by Julie Elliot

I’m definitely an extrovert and can say with confidence that a silent retreat was not something that held allurement for me before I entered the SoulGuiding program of Pacific Jubilee. But a silent retreat was one of the requirements and I was intrigued by the idea of not talking.  What might happen in silence?

Well, a lot happened and there were countless God moments during those 8 days.   I could write about many things but have decided to focus on my experience of the Liturgy of the Divine Hours. What an unexpected and welcome opportunity!  We got a taste of the monastic ritual of praying around the clock with each hour of the day having its own theme or flavor.  I’ll never forget the feeling of walking in the moonlight to the chapel for Matins. There wasn’t another soul in sight until I entered the doors and there in the candlelight I saw my community – people I felt I knew although we hadn’t exchanged a single word – sitting in the circle, welcoming me with silence. We sat in the dark stillness. We listened to the teaching about that particular Hour of the Day. We chanted and I savored each voice in the circle.   We listened to prayers offered on our behalf and then returned to our rooms until the next Hour of the Day gathered us together again.

I left the retreat with such gratitude, love and peace in my heart. I had a clearer sense of call. Overall, it felt like my life had been suffused with brighter light and deeper colour. I also had a new prayer for the Awakening Hour – Lauds or the hour of Dawn – with its themes of praise, resurrection, joy, delight, and the coming of the light.  This prayer is from “Seven Sacred Pauses – Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day” by Macrina Wiederkehr which was a resource during our Divine Hours.  I’m sharing the prayer along with a photograph by Chris Mann, an alum of Pacific Jubilee.  Chris says, “This photo was taken in January 2013, on Whidbey Island, while I was in the middle of my own PJP silent retreat. How serendipitous!”

Dawn on Whidbey Island, WAO Light of God …

Anointed by your morning light I lift my spirit to receive the gift of this new day. Open my eyes to the beauty that surrounds me that I may walk through this day with the kind of awareness that calls forth grateful living. In all of creation let me see the brightness of your face. Shine in my heart and on my life, filling me with joy, creativity, hope, and laughter. Draw me into the radiant glory of your presence and into the small lights of those with whom I live and work. Inspire me to take time for those who are discouraged. May I live with the kind of presence that enables others to feel at home. Great Dawn of God, hear my prayer.

 

Julie is an alum of the Pacific Jubilee Program in Spiritual Direction. She’s also responsible for Communications of Pacific Jubilee. If you’d like to know more about silent retreats, the SoulGuiding program or any other offerings of Pacific Jubilee, please be in touch with Julie by email.   There is also an information session on September 26, 2015 in Vancouver, BC.  Read more here.