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Today it is sunny, and dollops of cream float by in a blue bowl. Last weekend I took a break from my lifestyle of sex, drugs, and rock and roll to go on a religious retreat. “Drugs” referring to my study of organic chemistry, “rock and roll"” referring to my playing in the church choir, and maybe not “sex” now that I think of it.
The retreat was on the Sacrament of the Eucharist. According to the Father Jamie who was running this, there are three liturgical themes to the Eucharist, and these are:
- Sacred Meal
- Holy Sacrifice
- Real Presence of Christ
In post-Second Vatican Council times, the principal theme has been the Eucharist as a Sacred Meal, contrasting to the pre-Council theme of the Eucharist as Holy Sacrifice. This is evidenced by our choice in sacred music, for example some Catholic hymns include: “At the Table of the Lord,” “Let us break bread together,” and “Wisdom's Feast,” among others. If you would like to, flip through your hymnal to see other examples. It is also quite evident in our architecture. Father Jamie told a story of how a church (I forget the name) in the pre-Council days had an enormous high altar at the front of the church. When the Council came about, this church chopped up the upper part of this altar to make it look something very much like a table. All-in-all the retreat was very educational.
I especially enjoyed the game we played a game called “I Love Everybody,” invented at a previous retreat on the subject of “God Loves Us.” In this game, participants would sit on chairs arranged in a circular fashion. Much like “Musical Chairs” or countless similar games, there would be enough chairs for everyone except one. This person would stand in the middle and repeat the following patterned phrase “Hello, I am «name» and I love everybody, especially those who «are something» (for example are wearing a blue shirt).” Then, everyone who was wearing a blue shirt would get up and try to find a new spot around the circle, and the person in the middle would sit down: a new person, the loser, would stand in the center. I thought the game was fun, but I was too afraid to issue my paradox “I love everybody especially those who don't get up.” My favorite part was when someone in the middle said “I love everybody, especially those who speak a Germanic language:” it took everybody a while to realize that the English language was, in fact, a Germanic one. I found it not a little hilarious.
On Sunday, the Bishop came over to say Mass, answer our questions, and to have lunch with us. It was really quite a treat. I've seen the Bishop twice since I've been up here, which is infinitely many more times than the number of times I saw the Bishop down south in Port Huron.
I loved the retreat, and will probably go on more retreats in the future.