Retreat centres have temporarily closed, but many lay apostates and Church programs have successfully gone virtual. CNS photo/Katie Rutter

Speaking Out: A chance for a spiritual reset

By  Bernadette Timson, Youth Speak News
  • April 29, 2020

Nearly a year ago, I began physical therapy for a medical condition. The need for it came at a difficult time as I was excited about starting a new job and moving out for the first time.

While my health has improved since then, the present circumstances with COVID-19 have me dwelling on when I first started the therapy, which was somewhat depressing. Even though I was trying to get better, my heart wasn’t into what the situation demanded of me. It may have been what I needed, but I would rather instead have been somewhere else.  

Many of us undoubtedly have similar feelings these days when we wake up in the morning. When I reflect upon my “old normal,” I realize that I would be attempting a strenuous balance between studies, family, friends, volunteer work, church, looking after my health, my job, my internship placement and writing. 

We live in a society that is both chronically stressed and spiritually starved. As of March 2019, the Public Health Agency of Canada has shown that one in four adults aged 18-34 is not getting enough sleep and 36.3 per cent say it is due to chronic stress.

Many people worry and complain about boredom, and yes, I’m one of them, which often causes further anxiety and strain. Boredom is a sign that one could be devoting time to more rejuvenating activities. 

Retreat centres have temporarily closed, but many lay apostates and Church programs have successfully gone virtual. Done virtually or through a do-it-yourself process (for which I recommend Fr. Michael Gaitley’s 33 Days to Morning Glory), the need for a retreat is twofold: first, to rest from the demands of “speed sickness” of everyday life; second, to provide us with an opportunity to grow in knowledge and love of God and to perfect our will in discipline. This is what the Sabbath was set aside for — a day of rest and rejuvenation.

When we think of the happiest and most relaxed moments in our lives, we think back to when we were small children. As we grow older and are afforded more responsibilities, we often forget what it’s like to have fun.

Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that many of us fall asleep in prayer or in front of the Blessed Sacrament. I used to think I was doing something wrong until a priest told me that sometimes it is an invitation from God to rest and refresh our spirits.

Throughout my life, a few things have been constant. One thing I’ve learned is that God allows for a period of rest to come before undertaking or moving on to another significant task.

Many people have speculated about the reason why God would allow affliction into our lives. Some say it’s chastisement for our sins, and some say it’s done for the souls in Purgatory. Whatever the reason, I suppose God probably granted this sabbatical of mine to ensure a much-needed rest.

(Timson, 21, is finishing her Event Management studies at Humber College in Etobicoke, Ont.)

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