God Prepares the Sent
God is the one who calls and sends us to bear His message of mercy, freedom and love to the world. No one takes the prophetic call upon themselves; it is God who calls and sends. He called Amos to take up the prophetic task. Jesus called and sent the Twelve to preach repentance and deliverance. Before sending out those He called, God prepares them. Jesus prepared the apostles (Apostolos-the sent) by first taking them aside to teach them all they need to know. He shows them publicly by his own life and examples; then, he takes them away from the crowd from time to time to get the proper place and time to impart his grace and wisdom upon them. This time of grace and rest is called a spiritual retreat. We all need the time away not only for vacation but more importantly for retreat when we focus on listening, learning, and praying, time-tested means of growing in the perfection of love.
At this time, the Holy Spirit has called me to go on a spiritual retreat. As the code of canon law says in regards to clerics: for them to grow in pursuit of holiness, that is, a life of perfection, they need a regular period to go on spiritual retreats “In order to be able to pursue this perfection” (c. 276.2. n.4). This period is different from the permitted period of yearly vacation. Canon law says in 533.2 that “a pastor is permitted to be absent from the parish each year for vacation for at most one continuous or interrupted month; those days which the pastor spends once a year in spiritual retreat are not computed in the time of vacation.”
Having established the biblical and canonical contexts, I announce at this time that I will be spending a week of retreat/conference/mission in West Virginia from July 12-18. In August, I plan to take a couple of weeks of vacation as well. I will pray for all of you during my retreat. Hopefully, I will return refreshed and better equipped to carry out pastoral duties Christ has called and sent me to carry out in His name. Pray for me as I pray for you; we are all in the same boat.
Fr. Bernard, OP