Retreat! Retreat!

I’m retreating this weekend — from the hustle & bustle of the city and  most technology (I left the laptop at home  (eeek!) — but have no fear, I have my phone) to Glastonbury Abbey for a spiritual retreat.

Last year, Brother Dan Horan talked about our relationship with God in terms of “dating”.  All relationships in our lives take work, whether it’s with parents, siblings, co-workers, friends or significant others,  and so does our relationship with God. He talks about this (and other things) in his blog: Dating God (Inspired by the life and writings of Francis and Clare of Assisi, I reflect on the possibility of understanding relationship of prayer as Dating God in the everyday and ordinary experiences of the twenty-first-century world. I also discuss other issues of timely import (at least to me). Check back here for reflections on contemporary matters and periodic musings.)

Last year I had a fantastic time and I’m excited to see what this weekend brings.

The topic this time:  “The Lesser-Known Stories of Francis: Lessons of Franciscan Spirituality for Today.”  — We’ll look at some of the early stories of the brothers about St. Francis and the early Franciscans from those “who were with him.” Most people know the stories about St. Francis with the wolf of Gubbio, preaching to the birds, encountering the Leper, etc., but many are not so familiar with the stories that come down to us from texts like “The Assisi Compilation” or the “Legend of the Three Companions.”  Some of these stories reveal another side of St. Francis, a side that is much more human and complicated, a side that reveals a whole array of human emotions (sadness, anger, forgiveness, compassion, etc.) that goes beyond the “saintly” image we might all have of Francis.  These will open new ways of thinking about Francis and Franciscan spirituality for us to reflect on and share. 

So off I go!

And if you’re so inclined, keep me, and everyone else on the retreat, in your thoughts and prayers. It will be much appreciated.


Movie: The Way — go see it!!!

A few weeks ago I ended up going to a screening of The Way when the promotional bus tour stopped in Boston.

The Way - The Movie (poster)

I almost passed it up because it was on a Wednesday night. Wednesday nights are one of my yoga nights, and if I skip yoga, it best be for a very good reason.  As it turned out, my yoga instructor was sick and we had a sub that I wasn’t so sure of, so off to the movies I went! (with a burrito in my purse for dinner — common occurrence when I go to the theater).

This is what I call “a good life decision” (going to the movie instead of yoga that is… although the burrito was a good decision too).  I had watched the trailer earlier in the day and thought the movie sounded good and interesting, but I had no idea how powerful it would really be for me.

Here’s a synopsis from the movie website:

“The Way” is a powerful and inspirational story about family, friends, and the challenges we face while navigating this ever-changing and complicated world. Martin Sheen plays Tom, an American doctor who comes to St. Jean Pied de Port, France to collect the remains of his adult son (played by Emilio Estevez), killed in the Pyrenees in a storm while walking the Camino de Santiago, also known as The Way of Saint James. Rather than return home, Tom decides to embark on the historical pilgrimage to honor his son’s desire to finish the journey. What Tom doesn’t plan on is the profound impact the journey will have on him and his “California Bubble Life.”

Inexperienced as a trekker, Tom soon discovers that he will not be alone on this journey. On “The Way,” Tom meets other pilgrims from around the world, each with their own issues and looking for greater meaning in their lives: a Dutchman (Yorick van Wageningen), a Canadian (Deborah Kara Unger) and an Irish writer (James Nesbitt), who is suffering from a bout of writer’s block.

From the unexpected and, oftentimes, amusing experiences along “The Way,” this unlikely quartet of misfits creates an everlasting bond and Tom begins to learn what it means to be a citizen of the world again. Through Tom’s unresolved relationship with his son, he discovers the difference between “the life we live and the life we choose.”

THE WAY, written and directed by Emilio Estevez, was filmed entirely in Spain and France along the actual Camino de Santiago.

I think that anyone watching the movie will get something out of it. For me, the movie spoke volumes about relationships, and how people come in and out of your life. You’re never quite sure who you’re going to meet, what lesson you’re going to learn from them, and sometimes the lessons surprise you.

Watch the trailer:

And go see The Way.  It comes out Friday, October 7, 2011.