I went on retreat at Techny Towers this weekend, and I recommend the place. It is right on highway 43 in Northbrook, Illinois so the buzz of traffic let me know that I wasn't too far from civilization, but there was a certain joy in waking up early in the morning and appreciating the surprising, almost miraculous silence, waiting minutes to hear a car go by. A still point of calm. God rested.
The food was superb as was the bookstore, where I spent quite a bit of time. And, I bought a lot, forgetting that I had biked up there. Let's just say I was loaded down on my way home today.
I was excited to find a new resource for my upcoming retreat, Dancing the Rosary: Moving through the Joyful Mysteries, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, in Romeoville, IL: twenty greeting cards with images of the twenty mysteries of the rosary painted by various masters. Just exquisite.
Also, I finally bought Garry Will's book: The Rosary: Prayer Comes Round (I love the subtitle.) I had heard him speak when the book came out and always wanted to get it. I must share with you how he answers this question which he poses: "If our meditations are on the life of Christ, why is the most repeated prayer in the rosary said to the Virgin Mary?" He explains that the Hail Mary is a prayer for assistance in understanding the life of Christ, and Mary is the perfect model to which to turn for such help. Wills goes through the various passages in the bible that mention Mary and shows how she is depicted as puzzling and pondering what in the world Jesus is doing. So, we ask for her prayers, as she has gone before us on this quest. I'm paraphrasing the passage: his couple pages of explanation is worth the price of the book.
While I'm on rosary resources, I have the "Rosary Sonatas" by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber on what feels like perpetual order now. He wrote 15 sonatas for violin and harpischord -- one for each of the original fifteen mysteries of the rosary. Can't wait to get them.