As a man with four children under the age of ten dominating his personal life, and one who runs a boarding house for 50 teenage boys as part of his professional life as a teacher, there are not many moments in my average day that I can describe as “quiet”. So, for me, getting to go on a silent retreat is always a great blessing. And, being able to participate in the first men’s retreat at Copper Ridge was, in a word, heavenly.
From the moment I drove through the gates of the newly opened centre, a wonderful serenity reigned within me. One view of Howe Sound was consistently trumped by the next — that is until I contemplated the utterly breathtaking view from the dining room. That was when I thought I had hit the apex. And yet, even more stunning than the different views of the sound was the sheer graceful beauty of the oratory. Entering this sacred place brought a flood of joy into my heart. The exquisiteness of the stained glass windows backing the very life-like statue of Our Lord on the cross made the oratory the perfect setting to spend time in prayer and contemplation.
Most important though was how our weekend was filled with time and space: the time to consider how to become closer to God, and the perfect space to foster and nurture this reflection. The benefits of the wonderful food, the gorgeous surroundings both inside and out, and the perfectly appointed bedrooms were only surpassed by being able to be close to the Blessed Sacrament for such a sustained and fruitful period.
As the requirement to observe a reflective silence during the retreat was lifted for our last lunch together, the unquestionable joy I felt rose in unison with all my fellow retreatants. How blessed are we to have the Lord in our lives and how blessed are we to have Copper Ridge!