The sign welcoming guests to the Abbey of Gethsemani in New Haven, Ky. COURTESY OF DR. JEFF ANDRINI
Come to me and receive!
BY DR. JEFF ANDRINI, OFFICE OF EVANGELIZATION AND DISCIPLESHIP
Jesus tells us, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mathew 11:28). I recently had the good fortune of attending a four-day retreat at the Abbey of Gethsemani nestled on 2,200 acres in New Haven, Ky. Being new to Kentucky, this was my first time praying with the Trappist monks and participating in this silent retreat.
The above scripture was communicated to me a variety of ways on retreat and I would like to testify to the truth of our faith, that Jesus is good to his word. A retreat is a good place to be reminded of the presence and promise of our amazing God. At one of our two retreat talks given in the evening by one of the monks, he told us this retreat should not end when we go home. The gift of retreat is a new beginning with a deeper awareness of how much we are loved and how much God wants to work in and through our lives. Can we accept the invitation to come to Jesus and find the only thing that meets the deepest desires of our heart? Yes, while on retreat, but how do we live this in our daily realities?
The life of these contemplative monks is very different from the lives we lead. They pray communally seven times a day and attend Mass. They read the scriptures and do Lectio Divina for an hour each morning, they work for four hours each day in a variety of jobs to sustain the life of the monastery, and they have very little contact with the outside world.
We, on the other hand, live in the busyness of the world, often have the television and news going 24/7, and struggle to experience the peace and joy of God in our chaotic lives. But the question remains, “Are you weary and burdened?” The answer for nearly all of us is yes! So how do we respond to the invitation to encounter Jesus and find rest?
Brothers and sisters, we find abundant life, meaning, purpose and rest in a daily relationship with Jesus! We try to find these elusive qualities in our lives in countless other ways; a glass or two of wine, a vacation, a walk, exercise, and more… All good things to be sure, but they cannot meet the deepest needs of the human heart. Only in God is our soul at rest and only by spending time with Jesus each day and surrounding ourselves with other disciples on the journey, will we find the hope, joy and rest that we long for.
As the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship offers the Encounter Love/Encounter Jesus event in the parishes of our diocese in 2022, I hope you will attend and experience a deeper encounter with Christ and be renewed in your growing relationship with God.
Peace in Christ,
Dr. Jeff Andrini is the director of the Office of Evangelization and Discipleship. Please send comments to email@example.com.
Originally printed in the February 2022 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.