On Thursday I got up bright and early (something more to "offer up") in order to catch a 6 AM flight to Orange County, California where Kathleen Beckman picked me up. Kathleen is a regional coordinator for a Catholic Women's group called "Magnificat" and is the author of several books including one entitled "Rekindle Eucharistic Amazement." We drove about an hour to the Passionist Retreat House located in Sierra Madre, north of Los Angeles, where I'm helping on a retreat for about 85 women.
We began Thursday evening when I gave a talk introducing the retreatants to the "Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius," and leading them in a consideration of what is called "The First Principle and Foundation." Yesterday I gave two talks: "The Call of Christ the King" and "Discernment."
Today I'll be available for spiritual direction and the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and Claretian Father John Hampsch, noted for his ministry of healing, will be giving talks on the gifts of the Spirit and healing the family tree.
Our retreat ends tomorrow and I'll be giving a talk on St. Ignatius' last exercise, "The Contemplation to Attain the Love of God," and how we can live the total offering he proposes by praying and living the Daily Offering.
Though Milwaukee was in the 60's when I left, our plane had to be de-iced in Denver--a sign of things to come in the upper Midwest. Thus I'm drinking in the beauty of California: the sun, the warmth, and the fragrant flowers right outside my window. I'm also drinking deeply of the faith of the retreatants who are an inspiration as they open themselves up to the Holy Spirit and follow the call to go deeper in their spiritual lives this weekend. This too--this joy--is something to be offered up.