Our house has set aside Fridays as“Days of Reflection”--times of intense inner reflection and contemplation, usually centered on a certain theme or topic. What's been interesting about these DORs is the novices are planning some of them. I organized a day of reflection about prayer beads two weeks ago, and Chris presented one about putting ourselves in the stories of the Gospel this past Friday.
Preparing a spiritual experience for a group of people is more difficult than I thought it would be (and I realize as I'm writing this that I've said that about practically every part of the novitiate. Hmm...that's a subject for a different blog post). As I was preparing for my day, I was very concerned about having a variety of possible prayer styles or activities available, and I didn't want it to be too simplistic, but I didn't want it to be too esoteric, either, and...my list of possible problems went on and on.
However, what I remember most about the day, looking back, is that a) nobody did what I expected them to do, but b) everyone talked about having a positive and significant experience. In hindsight, the day really wasn't about anything I said or did – the DORs are about each novice (and director) setting aside a time to journey with God awhile. What happens during that journey is beyond anyone's plans.
In that regard, I think the DORs can be a microcosm of our entire novitiate year. Alot of good people have put effort into setting up our classes, our days of prayer, our talks and one-on-ones, etc. In the end, though, this year is about a novice's individual journey with God—and the ways, means, and outcome of that is far beyond anyone's planning.
(PS The photo this week doesn't have anything to do with days of reflection – I just really like it.)