Along the way we were introduced to one monk in particular who shared several time slots with us, former Abbot, Fr. Damian. Fr. Damian gave an introduction to the retreat format and a perspective that the monks have about reality and what God is up to in their lives and the world.
Fr. Damian gave me a word phrase that I am finding helpful in self-reflection. He said, "I am God's project." He shared about for a season of his life he went on mission for God, but there remained something problematic. He pulled away from the work, did some exploration and found himself at the Abbey, praying the hours, doing the work of a monk. In that world he came to the realization, "I am God's project. If God is God, isn't he big enough to take care of the poor, the sick, all the injustice of the world? Isn't he big enough to fix what I'd like to fix but can't? He can, and I can't. What is it then that God is after? He's after making me into what He had in mind when He created me. Therefore I am God's project. I place myself into His hands and let Him direct my steps."
On the last day of his talks with us Fr. Damian shared the following prayer with us:
Before Praying: We are nothing, God is Everything. We love you, Father, O Divine Will, continue praying in us, and then by offering this prayer to yourself as ours it will be as if everyone had prayed and will give Father the glory that we should all give him.
Our Guardian Angel: My angel, my guardian, make me always live in the Will of God.At Beginning of Day: We are nothing, God is Everything; we love you Father; O Divine Will continue thinking in our minds; flowing in our blood; seeing in our eyes; talking in our voices; breathing in our breathing; beating in our hearts; moving in our movements; suffering in our suffering; and since our souls are united to you, let us be your living crucifixes offered in sacrifice for Father's glory; praying in us, and then offering this prayer to yourself as ours it will be as if everyone had prayed and will give Father the glory that we should all give him.
Here's a picture of our group at the Abbey