Jesuit retreat center high on the bluffs of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, MO.  Since 1922, thousands of people from around the world make annual three-day silent, guided retreats here to relax, reconnect with God and strengthen their spirituality.  A true gem in the Midwest!  Call 314-416-6400 or 1-800-643-1003.  Email reservations@whretreat.org  7400 Christopher Rd.  St. Louis, MO 63129

Both men's and women's retreats are offered as well as recovery retreats.

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Weekend Reflections for 11/3/17

It’s easy to forget that there are actually four readings from scripture proclaimed at every Sunday Mass. The first reading, second reading, and Gospel are obvious enough, but if we’re not careful, we can skip right over the passage from Book of Psalms that’s read or sung between the first and second readings.

The Psalms are often referred to as ancient Israel’s “prayer book.” Their authorship is traditionally ascribed to King David, but in fact, they were composed over the course of five centuries or so, likely by several authors who will forever remain anonymous. This was a historical period in which the ancient Israelite people experienced both astounding highs and also devastating lows, a period in which David danced in the presence of the Arc of the Covenant, and must have felt so close to God, but also, latter, a period when the Israelites were totally defeated and exiled from their homeland by the Babylonians -- and nauseating despair.

Thus, the psalms poetically express a wide range of very raw human emotions, and I find them a great resource for prayer. Whatever you’re feeling -- joy or delight, failure, dejection or anger -- chances are there’s a psalm to help you express it or help you deal with it. Pick up a Bible sometime and just randomly page through a few of them. You’ll find some hidden gems, including the psalm we hear proclaimed at Mass this very Sunday, Psalm 131. It’s one of my favorites, and depending on the translation you’re using, it reads like this:

In you, O Lord, I have found my peace.

Truly I have set my soul

in silence and peace.

As a child has rest in its mother’s arms

even so my soul (rests in You.)

This Psalm fits perfectly the mission of the White House. We live in a world of such busyness and information overload, a world in which it’s increasingly difficult to slow down and unplug, to just sit still and be in God’s presence. But if we’re going to be people of faith (and keep ourselves from going insane!) we have to do that sometimes. That’s what retreats are made for, but we can also carve out times for it in our daily lives. So maybe find a quiet church or even a comfortable chair in a corner of your house, and just read slowly the lines of Psalm 131. In the stillness let your mind be calmed and your heart be reminded that your God holds you like a mother holding her baby. In God’s loving embrace, you’ll find love, comfort, and peace.

Fr. Jeremy Zipple, S.J.