Day of Recollection ~ August 25, 2012
On Saturday, August 25th, 2012, Cardinal Glennon College concluded its orientation week with a Day of Recollection. This Day of Recollection was held at St. Joseph in Josephville, the home parish of freshman Anthony Ritter.
Why do the collegians need a Day of Recollection to start the year? There has been little time for formation, the school year has not begun, and some of the new men do not even have Spiritual Directors yet.
Those are exactly the reasons for the College having a Day of Recollection. Each college man is required to submit a Growth Plan about himself and the four pillars of formation. This plan, as stated by the Cardinal Glennon College Handbook, allows the seminarian to, "set realistic goals for himself, to identify the means to achieve those goals, and to evaluate progress in achieve the goals.” This Growth Plan is to be, “written by the seminarian in a spirit of honesty and openness” and where better to open up for this than before Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in silence?
On Wednesday August 22nd, 2012, Bishop Edward Rice, Bishop in Residence, gave a conference expounding upon Pope Benedict XVI about the importance of silence, solitude, and self. With the modern culture constantly bombarding people with information, some people have lost the ability to be with self. They believe that if they are not texting, tweeting, being on facebook, etc., they do not exist. We know differently, because God’s first language is silence. When Elijah waited on the mountain for the Lord, he did not find him in the powerful wind, the earthquake, or the fire, but instead in the gentle whisper. Christ spoke in that language when at Golgotha, for through the pain and suffering, and amidst the jeers and taunting, he was silent. With Christ as our example for silence, we need to cultivate an exterior and interior silence. Exterior silence can be found by withdrawing from music, from phone interactions, and from discussions with other people.
Interior silence takes more time to achieve because we need to excavate our interior. To excavate is to make room for something where there is not any space. How do we do this? By developing a spirit of abandonment that is the realization that when you think that God is not listening and not responding, you know God is there. There is comfort in sitting before the Blessed Sacrament, just in knowing that you are in the presence of God.
As seminarians during this Day of Recollection, we prepare ourselves. There is a sense of cultivating and excavating in preparation for the new school year. The silence helps us break away from the summer and its events, but also sets the stage to leap into the fall semester at the seminary.