Tag Archives: retreat

Behold, I am the hostess (in training) of the Lord

June 8, 2017

0 Comments

While my Mama is ever learned in the gentle art of making others feel welcome, her natural flair for hospitality has not passed along very easily to her youngest child. Sure, I’ve always received complimentary coffees and extra bathroom towels with deep gratitude. But my linear-minded self tends to error on the side of modest (and sadly stingy) hospitality. Less food means less waste! My guests can’t expect me to stay up past my usual bedtime, right? And nobody scrubs floors in college apartments anyways…  Striving for simplicity has left my hostess abilities pitifully lacking, much to the chagrin of my poor guests.

Kate Anderson

Kate Anderson

The saving grace for any future visitors of mine was at hand when I accepted an invitation to the Behold Retreat. This beautiful day sparkled with speakers, resources and lovely surprises for young women in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. The talks I heard at Behold cast a warm new light on the welcoming domestic churches which my Mama and countless others have always beautifully kept.

A theology of hospitality began to unfold as wife and mom Justina Kopp and Sister Eileen Leon spoke from their unique vocational experiences. These women shared a foundational cornerstone long upheld by the Church to make sense of many a thing: God is the perfection of beauty, truth and goodness. Every beautiful thing, from cathedrals and sunsets to clean homes and joyful families, points us to God. A sacramental worldview opens our eyes to the divine dimensions of life which cannot be seen at a mere surface glance. Understanding the purpose of beauty strengthens our spiritual eyesight — but the real joy in seeing beauty anew is sharing that vision of goodness with others!

Since hospitality happens to be all about ‘”the other,” Dia Boyle put our renewed appreciation of beauty to work with her talk on “the others” we encounter in the domestic Church. She explained that the home can be an instrument for beauty because home is the place where we are most influential. Members of a home naturally return to this physical structure out of need. Whether those necessities are rest, resources or relationships, homes ideally meet the needs of those who dwell there. We become people of influence through words and actions we extend toward friends and family in this ordinary place called “home.”

Now people of faith can certainly be influential showing extraordinary love in abysmal conditions, as St. Teresa of Calcutta and countless others have taught us! But knowing what we know about the good, true and beautiful God, couldn’t most of us put a little more effort into creating homes that point others to him? There’s a difference between houses filled with “stuff” and homes that only contain what is beautiful or useful. Rather than trying to impress others with wealth or false appearances, a beautiful home can be an instrument for blessing others.

Warm spaces with cozy lamps and flickering candles invite people to linger. Guests will hope that conversations last longer in a place that is smells fresh and feels clean. And company will always stay later if dessert is served! With this encouragement to remain together, our investment of time yields a harvest of influence. My worries about hospitality becoming an occasion for vice were soothed by the wise words shared this day, because a clean space, plentiful meal and lovely home will always lead our hearts and minds back to our perfectly pure, generous, and beautiful Father.

These beautiful musings from the Behold Retreat explained the theology of hospitality I have long encountered but never understood. Lovingly decorated Christmas cookies, freshly laundered sheets and tastefully selected paintings are the little things which give way to big truths. Hospitality brings us back to our fundamental need for relationships, with Christ and our neighbors. And if warm coffee cake and fresh flowers help us point others to God, then goodness truly is beautiful!

Kate Anderson is a young Catholic with an old soul who spends her days in the Twin Cities learning about banks. 

Continue reading...

shush

March 23, 2015

2 Comments

imageOne word…
“Shush”
One word was all it took to bring me a smile.
I have been on a semi-silent retreat at my sister’s cabin. I say semi-silent because being silent is not something I am good at. I have my phone with me and have made regular calls to my husband, son and daughter. But the purpose, or my hope, in this little excursion was to hear God’s voice. So far all I can hear is my own.
On Sunday I snuck away to a cafe with internet to catch up on some of my social media vices. I hopped on my facebook and messaged a few people. Most of my correspondence was rambling and chatty since I have been out of contact for a while. I messaged a priest friend of mine whom I have known for years and rambled on about my silent retreat and the  church up north that I went to Mass at and the retreat center that is up here but I am not staying at and how it would be a great place for a retreat and… Well, you get the picture. You can almost imagine that my fingers were out of breath.

Being a Sunday morning I was surprised that my priest friend replied.
It is sort of their buisiest day!

He replied with one word.
“Shush”
Not hush like a mother would say, but shush like a Father reminding his children and redirecting their attention.
The shush brought me a smile. For one, it was a reminder to redirect my thoughts to God but later that day I reflected on how it made me feel.

The shush brought me a smile because this priest knows me well and knew that I needed that gentle reminder to quiet myself considering my extrovert personality. It also brought my heart a moment of joy to think that this busy priest held me in his thoughts for a moment on a busy Sunday morning. I get these same moments of joy when my husband  sends me a text telling me he is thinking of me or a friend remembers  a special day.

So if this brought me a moment of joy, why am I having so much trouble feeling the joy of knowing that God holds me in his thoughts always? God knows me and my heart better than anyone.
What was keeping me from hearing God’s voice? Feeling God’s love?

“Shush”

Am I not praying well enough? Is their something I am missing? Has God forgotten me?

“Shush!”

and listen…

Lent is a time for Shush… As we head into this last week before Easter, prepare your hearts and quiet your soul and “Shush” to hear God’s voice.
All we need to do is listen…

Continue reading...