4 days to go until, I enter the enclosure of Douai Abbey!
There's always something nerve-racking about entering a monastery, and knowing that you will be there for some time......with no television, no internet and no mobile phone!
Each year, I always try and make a retreat to somewhere, I usually go to my own Abbey which is Ealing, but as it's just down the road - it doesn't quite fit the retreat description! Anywho, I'm SERIOUSLY looking forward to spending time in Solitude, Silence and Prayer - things which I think most people in today's world could most certainly benefit from.
As a Methodist Oblate of a Roman Catholic Benedictine Abbey, I am often asked questions from both sides as to why/how does Methodist theology relate to Benedictine theology and spirituality and whilst I personally, (and many wise others) know and understand the links between both, there are still those who don't quite get it. This time in the monastery should, I pray, help me and them to better understand.
I'll be picking plums, talking to goats, praying the divine office and walking :) I might even get to meet the bees which I didn't get to do last time!
The brethren at Douai are very welcoming and as they no longer have a school to run, things are a bit more "Monastic" there. The thing people always say about Benedictines not taking themselves too seriously is very true and some of the brothers are a good laugh too!
I won't be taking much with me as always, just some books on different topics and a tunic, scapular and some trousers and shirts (the bare minimum)!
So watch this space, I shall keep you updated!
And in the words of Benedict himself:
"Let us open our eyes to the light that can change us into the likeness of God. Let our ears be alert to the stirring call of his voice crying out to us each day: today if you should hear his voice, do not harden your hearts". Rule of St. Benedict [Prologue]