Second Sunday in Advent: A priest on retreat

These annual Advent trips to New Mexico began as vacations. They have transformed into retreats.  They are a rhythm to begin the new liturgical year–full of possibilities and surprises. 

I’ve been to retreats in monasteries, in people’s homes, churches, camp sites. I’ve attended as a retreat leader and facilitator and as a participant. I’ve been on silent retreats and retreats that involved praying through community art. I’ve been on business planning meetings that were called retreats that were really work. 
These Advent retreats in New Mexico have a Benedictine flavor. They are an opportunity for a mindful balance of prayer, reading, walking, conversation and listening, friendship, play, eating, and, always, possibilities and surprises. 
There are fires and hot coffee and tea. There are skies that offer a variety of ever-changing messages throughout today. 
This is the Sunday of my retreat. A rare day to cease to work and to be. Having been able to stay out late on Saturday night enjoying a four hour dinner with friends, I allowed the sun to wake me up this morning.  
Now I am off to the Wild Rivers wilderness to hike and pray and have Communion. 
Possibilities and surprises. 

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