The Saint Leo Abbey Benedictine oblates and anyone interested in Benedictine spirituality will learn about contemplation at a weekend spiritual retreat November 1 - 3, 2013 at Saint Leo Abbey located in Pasco County, Florida. (map)
Cost for the spiritual retreat on contemplation which begins Friday November 1 at 6:00 pm and ends Sunday November 3 at 11:00 am is $215 per person or $115 per person if not staying overnight at the Abbey’s conference center. Registration deadline is October 28, 2013. Registration form and information. Or call 813-677-2599 or email the Oblate Office if you have any questions.
During the spiritual retreat, guests at Saint Leo Abbey will be on the abbey’s prayer schedule, pray with the monks, and eat with the monks in the abbey’s dining room.
Abbot Isaac, O.S.B., (O.S.B. means Order of Saint Benedict), will lead the spiritual retreat guests in a series of conferences using the Bible book Song of Songs (Canticle of Canticles). Abbot Isaac is a priest, Benedictine monk, and abbot of Saint Leo Abbey. He is also the director of the oblate program at the abbey.
His spiritual retreat conferences will be on Benedictine contemplation and he will use monastic commentaries on the Song of Songs. For medieval monastics, the Song of Songs was the most read book and more Benedictine and monastic commentaries were written on the Song of Songs than any other book. The modern mind can be trapped in a secular understanding of the Songs of Songs, but for Benedictines and Carmelites the Song of Song is the essential Scripture for the path to God. It is the book for understanding monastic contemplation.
For Carmelite Saint John of the Cross, the Song of Songs describes the way of the soul to God — the spiritual marriage. The book proceeds through three degrees of contemplation and longing for God — the purgative, illuminative, and unitive ways.
The spiritual retreat at Saint Leo Abbey begins Friday evening with Mass in the beautiful abbey church. At the end of Mass is Compline and the Benedictine monks put on their hoods and enter into the great silence. It is a remarkable scene.
Saint Leo Abbey, the only Catholic Benedictine abbey in Florida, was founded in 1889 and will be celebrating its 125th anniversary in 2014.
Can’t make it to the November 1-3, 2013 spiritual retreat on contemplation, but still are interested in learning more about the Song of Songs? Check out the additional online resources available here.
Interested in the oblate program at Saint Leo Abbey? Learn about Benedictine oblates here. There are about 25,000 Benedictine oblates in the world and about 11,000 in the United States.
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