Friday, December 7, 2012

Thoughts on My Retreat with Cardinal Burke

Canon Law mandates that a priest take 5 days of retreat every year.  I just returned today from my retreat in Bloomington, IN, where Cardinal Burke was the retreat master for a retreat where that drew 30 or so priests.  It was AWESOME!

Some thoughts from the experience:

1) Mass celebrated "ad orientem" is more prayerful.  I'm not watching the priest's face when we're all facing the same direction, I'm thinking about what the priest is doing

2) Cardinal Burke is the head of the "Supreme Court" of the Church on matters of Canon Law.  He noted something that I've come to realize in my life as well - the law guides us towards happiness and is not a burden.

3) Cardinal Burke mentioned "social justice" Catholics who think we need to jettison the laws of the Church, with the imagined end result being a world where people just do social justice projects.  He noted that this is completely backwards, because the laws of the Church are the precursor and guide for justice.  Without the laws of the Church, we don't get a more just world, we get a less just and more confused world.

4) A priest that doesn't pray is a priest that is on his way out of the priesthood.  Archbishop Buechlein used to say that all the time as well!

5) Spending silent time with our Lord in prayer is highly transformative.  Can I get an "Amen!"?

6) A priest that thinks of himself as an MC at Mass, needing to make the Mass more tolerable and entertaining, is not doing a service for Christ, he is getting in the way of Christ.  Such a priest is "increasing while Christ is decreasing"

7) It is a mystery to Cardinal Burke why Canon 915 is not imposed against Catholic politicians who vote in favor of abortion/embryonic stem cell research/euthanasia

8) The Church will likely get smaller before She becomes more faithful again