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Too Many Canes

June 22, 2018


Man of Malvern -Anonymous

     I recently completed a Catholic Religious Retreat.  What I noticed did not exactly make me happy.  I saw TOO MANY CANES.  That was only one observation.  I also noted too many GREY heads.  Baldness was probably average.  Don’t get too excited, it was, after all, an all-male retreat.  Maybe the reader might say, ‘so what’.  The’ what’ is, it is a sad commentary on our ‘free society”, as we used to know it.  It is even sadder that I had to opine that I said ‘as we used to know it’.  Is it free anymore? 

     I have been taking time out of my sometimes hectic life for many years.  Probably yearly, I have devoted at least one weekend to Retreat.  No News, TV, Phones, Radio, Internet, Wife, Children (emergency contact was/is always available).  I had the opportunity to communicate with GOD.  Don’t smirk.  I have been on retreats where some men were actually atheistic.  They were/are welcome.  They did/do not have to participate, they wanted to just be alone.  Our definition of freedom, let them be.  Oh yes, they did not ever bother others. 

     Are you asking me yet, what the problem is about the canes?  Well, it is that we are not replenishing ourselves.  Amazingly, as a senior citizen, I vividly remember my first retreat.  Why?  Well, neighbors, not family, not even relatives, and as I recall not even men from my Parish (however same religion Catholic) but none-the –less neighbors brought this 8th grader, a 12 year old to a retreat.  WOW! 

     Do you get the point?  We, old men, are not encouraging our youth to even find out what a retreat is.  Shame on Me; shame on Us.  I regret it immensely.  I am part of the problem, and I admit it.  I want, with other’s help, to also be part of the solution. 

     Let me ask you a question. Why not help me and many others by starting to replenish the Retreat Centers?  Why not think, and act by inviting a 12yr, or so, young man to a retreat?  Maybe a few?  What is the downside?  Well, maybe in a positive tone: What is the upside?  Positive is better, isn’t it.  Imagine, a young man of today without a phone, video game, radio, tablet, computer, head-set, contact with the outer world and eeek… in silence?  Do our kids of today really appreciate SILENCE?  Do they really know what it is?  Sadly, I do not believe so, in a general sense.

     I did not skip the downside.  There is NONE.

     Getting back to the TOO MANY CANES.  The Religious Retreat movement in the U.S. was started over 100 years ago, by Men.  Middle age men, younger men, who recognized that being NOT of the world at least for a week-end, made them better men, being NOT of the world, at least for a weekend, actually made the world better, for that time.  And, it made them think, not of themselves, but of others, and allowed them just the time to: yes, RETREAT. 

     My retreat experience made me a better man, husband, father worker, neighbor, catholic (which means ‘Universal’) citizen, Catholic, and a person who realized that I have a purpose in life.  Little me, yes just little ole’ me am here to co-exist and live with my neighbors to serve, help and abide by the Law of the Land and the Laws of God. I now, after many Retreats realize that while alone I was able to appreciate the gifts of life, my own weaknesses and strengths, and also that I am NEVER alone.  I have my life, my wife, family, my friends, neighbors, critics, admirers, detractors, warts, flaws, good traits and bad ones, all brought to me, BY A GOD WHO LOVES ME.  As minimal as I am, Sisters and Brothers, A GOD WHO LOVES…ME!

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