Friday, November 13, 2009

Mini-Sabbaths at the Mount

I just returned from three days at Mount St. Alphonsus, a retreat center in Esopus, NY. This magnificent building, pictured on the left, sits above the scenic Hudson River about a half hour south of Albany.

Although this is a wonderful setting for a spiritual retreat, my purpose for being there was to interview candidates for the United Methodist ministry. Because the interviews went from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., there was little time for exploring the 400 acres of green fields and old forests. The best I could do was take short walks around the building during breaks and after meals.

Even though I only had, at the most, a half hour for a walk, they nourished both body and soul. Taking a walk outside was a welcome break from the intensity of listening carefully to the candidates' answers.

These walks were mini-sabbaths, times of rest and renewal. They reminded me that when we don't have the time for a long time for spiritual renewal, we can still take short "retreats" during our day. Just because we can't do everything we would like isn't an excuse for doing nothing!

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