Saturday, October 27, 2007
The Long Retreat
TERTIANSHIP CLASS 2007-2008 (front row) Chris Soh (Singapore) Carlo Manunza (Italy) Kifle Wansamo (Ethiopia), Julian Das (India), Lee Sang-Won (Korea), Ray Guiao (USA) (back row) Bill McGarry (assistant tertian instructor, USA), Emanuel Lim (Singapore), Benny de Guzman (Philippines), Rene Oliveros (Philippines), Kolbe Sang-Hwan (Korea), Roger Champoux (tertian instructor, French Canada)
Beginning tomorrow, October 28th, my fellow tertians and I will be entering into what is known as the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola. It takes the form of a 30-day individually directed retreat, commonly known as the Long Retreat. It is considered the "centerpiece" of all Jesuit tertianship programs.
Jesuits undergo the Long Retreat twice in their Jesuit lives. The first time is as a novice, or "beginner Jesuit." I made my first Long Retreat when I was twenty-two years old, only four months after entering the Jesuit novitiate. The second time a Jesuit experiences the Long Retreat is many years later, when he makes his tertianship. Needless to say, the Jesuit tertian is far better prepared, ready, and even eager to enter into as significant an experience as the Long Retreat than he was a a Jesuit novice. That's exactly how I feel. While the prospect of keeping silent and out of touch with the outside world may seem daunting to some, such time-out-of- time affords those who experience the Long Retreat the rare privilege of entering into a period of intensely personal prayer with God, unhindered by the many obligations, occupations, and distractions of life in the real world. We Jesuits are hardly monks -- anyone who knows me can tell you that! But, twice in our Jesuit lives, we members of the Society of Jesus take 30 days to listen intently to the movements of God in our hearts and minds.
Needless to say, I will not be updating this blog for the next 30 days of retreat. We will be finishing retreat at the end of November, at which time you can expect my next blog entry. Until then, I ask for your prayerful support for me and my fellow tertians (pictured above), that we may all persevere, focus, and savor our time-out-of-time with God in these weeks of retreat. Be assured of my own prayers for you and your many intentions. Ad majorem Dei gloriam!