I feel like there is so much to talk about I don't even know where to start!
As I mentioned in my last post, this week is spring break here at HC. Unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately), I've been around Beantown all week while my peers have been out gallivanting around the country. (OR, as the case may be, gallivanting around the world. DEFINITELY go see the travel blog of Stephanos and Alexandria's trip to Kenya!! To use one of my favorite Greeklish word, it's Unpistevable!!)
To be fair, however, I did go to Denver the weekend before last, so I can't really complain! What a joy it was to be there with seminary friends, my spiritual father, and my amazing GOYA kids!
Here is a group picture from the night we went ice skating in the grand, bustling metropolis of Kremmling, CO
and here is us after an afternoon of Tubing near Winter Park
It was a great weekend! Our retreat theme was Desire and our goal was to focus on Desiring Christ Above All Else as we journey into Lent and look forward to the celebration of Christ's Glorious Resurrection! Of two main retreat sessions I led one and CPX led another. He spoke about Confession and Forgiveness as one of the ways we come closer to God. I spoke about Desire and redirecting our desire toward Christ. I used the story of Zacchaeus to illustrate the power of desire (a grown man went to the extreme and climbed a tree, disregarding all that the onlookers might say about him, in order to see Christ passing by. What happened as a result?.. Not only did Christ see him, Christ went to his house and in the end?.. We are told, "Today Salvation has come to this house"!!)
My whole point was to say that as we enter into and journey through Lent, we are given the opportunity to work on the direction of our desire. In her wisdom, the Church gives us this time of fasting, prayer, and service as a means of reorienting our lives and putting "first things first," so to speak.
I reiterated the point that that the very thing that Christ said was granted to Zacchaeus (Salvation) is the very same thing we look forward to as well. I told the kids that when we start our Lenten journey looking forward to Pascha, our purpose is not simply to make it to the finish line (to Christos Anesti) so we can eat meat and ice cream again. Rather, in looking toward the celebration of the Resurrection of Christ, we hope to--in our own lives--come one step closer to meeting Christ face-to-face in our own Hearts. In so doing, we pray that through the grace and activity of the Holy Spirit that we may attain to Salvation just as Zaccheaus did. That's our true purpose and the true goal toward which our desire should be focused. My session fed into CPX's as I ended in talking about the opportunities the Church provides us with to help us put first things first in our lives. ...Those things being amongst others, the Eucharist, Confession, Forgiveness, and more services during Lent.
Although I am admittedly not the most dynamic or exciting speaker, I pray that God was able to use some of my words over the weekend to speak to even just one of our students. While I wasn't able to listen to his sessions because of my own, I knew CPX did a great job in talking with the kids about the beautiful sacrament of confession and about the forgiveness circle we were going to do that weekend. :) Glory to God in All Things!
Here is a shot of the chapel we used for services while we were staying in the cabin:
Prophet Elias Greek Orthodox Church - Hot Sulphur Springs, Colorado
The photo was taken from the Papadeas cabin where we were staying. :)
Okay, I should go for now. More posts on a plethora of topics forth-coming! Stay tuned!