Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Women's Retreat Notes:

I went to our women's retreat both sessions, but I only took a few notes from Saturday. Let me just say that even though I had never heard of Dr. Muse, I was very impressed. And if he ever comes to your area to speak, I highly, highly encourage you to make every effort to go and hear him.

So the theme for Saturday was "Passion Bearing: Clothing our Theology in Flesh" (and he defined "flesh" as "life" at one point).

Dr. Muse had a short discussion of little "p" passion v. big "P" Passion. Little p passions are the sinful passions and big "P" Passion is what Christ opens us up towards... a Passion Bearing Life.

Asceticism is acquiring a body. Why would God become flesh is flesh is evil? Asceticism renders us vulneralbe to divine energies. Asceticism is a freely shoen act of love whose purpose is to acquire a body responsive to the Holy Spirit (I believe that this is a direct quote from Dr. Muse, I definitely could not have written something like that on my own:)

We need to study our attention. Are we present in our lives, in our bodies?

We spoke about what women want. He told a story but I won't repeat it now because I will probably get it all wrong. The moral was that women want sovereignty. The slave does not give all of herself unless she chooses. You have to know what you want to be able to choose. And fear is what stops us from choosing. (God giving us free will to choose Him, etc. and our fears stop us from choosing Him).

Little p passions possess us (he said that they were demons). Real Passion is the Passion of Christ- God's love bearing the world.

Love has to have freedom; only a free person can love.

We read Luke when Archangel Gabriel appears to the Theotokos as a point of her saying "yes" to God completely.

We broke up into groups and discussed the following questions:
1. what are the three most significant turning points in your spiritual life?
2. what are the three most difficult choices you have ever made?
3. how are these choices related to your spiritual life and moments when you feel most alive?
-feeling most alive: on Sunday Dr. Muse talked a little about how those moments when you totally feel alive, at peace with everything around you like when you are watching a beautiful sunset? How those moments cannot be forced. They have to just come.

How do I say "Yes" to God (like the Theotokos)?

The spiritual is in our ordinary life we have to find it.

The Power of Yes (annointing of Christ by the sinful woman)
We broke up into groups again and discussed the following:
1. what were the obstacles to those three most difficult choices you have ever made?
2. what was the price you paid for those choices?
3. did God provide a "Way" for you to bear the pain? What was that "Way"?

We watched clips from the movie "Ghandi" and "Entertaining Angels" (Dorothy Day).

Judgment = idolatry
-me taking God's place

We don't have a body, we are body.

Finally, we read about Christ in the garden of Gethsemene that shows Jesus' humanity and the love Christ has for us is too great.
discussion questions:
1. what is your Garden of Gethsemene?
2. How are you "sleeping" (like the disciples) in your life?
3. What prevents you from truly praying "Thy will be done"?

That's all the notes I took. Some make sense, others may not. I apologize. I am currently reading "Wounded by Love: The Life and the Wisdom of Elder Porphyrios" and came across this passage the other day,
Fix your unwavering gaze towards Christ. Become familiar with Christ. Work with Christ. Live with Christ. Breathe with Christ. Suffer with Christ. Rejoice with Christ. Let Christ be everything for you. Let your soul long for and cry out to her Bridegroom, 'I crave for You, O my Bridegroom...' (words from a dismissal hymn) Christ is the Bridegroom. He is the Father, He is everything. There is nothing higher in life than love for Christ. Whatever we desire we find in Christ. Christ is everything: all joy, all gladness, all Paradise. When we have Christ within us, we possess all magnificence. The soul that is in love with Christ is always joyful and happy, however much pain and sacrifice this may cost. (p. 106)

I left with these questions about my own life: Where is my attention? Am I present in my life? Is Christ present in my life, day to day? How is Christ present in my life? Is it a head (intellect) presence or a whole body presence?


Xenia Kathryn said...

I feel like I really benefited from his visit as well. Two things I took away from it:
1) to live in the present and for Christ, and to not fill up my life with "busy stuff" just for the sake of doing it.
2) I really can't help anyone else but myself. The more I work to become Christ-like, the more I WILL be a help to others.
These aren't things he talked about specifically, but his words inspired me to reflect on these areas of my life that needed a little "light" shed on them.
I must admit, I was a bit disappointed at first when I learned that our Womens' Retreat speaker was going to be a man, especially after having nuns come visit for the past three years. BUT... it was very edifying and challenging and encouraging!
I'm glad you posted on his visit!

Mimi said...

Wow! What a fascinating talk it must have been.

Elizabeth said...

I am so sorry I wasn't able to attend. I just had had too busy of a week and needed time to do stuff at home before jumping into the next busy week! Plus I had a lunchtime potluck I needed to attend.

Dr. Muse showed us that clip from Entertaining Angels as well, and we watched the whole movie at home. I'd highly recommend it. Of course, we're also involved at the Dorothy Day house in Portland, which has been really great.

I have to agree with Katie....about having a man come as a speaker for women. That does seem disappointing to me too. I have complained long and hard at our presvyteres' retreats, about always having a priest speak to us. I think, we're women, we should have a woman speaker. So, even though I love Dr. Muse's talks, I'd have to say I'd support him coming for other things, but not for speaking just to women, unless we have a good balance. How often do mens' retreats have women speakers?