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Leisure of the Heart Living the rhythm of God's heart Exploring the Art of Spiritual Retreat

Leisure of the Heart

Dear Urban Leaders, You are modern heroes of the faith, faithful servants, bold like Joshua and a select and choice soldier of Christ like Gideon’s army. You are a shepherd who lives in the urban desert and has learned to grow life even in the most desolate places. You plant oasis for our over-stimulated yet thirsty for God young people. Transform yourself into an artist, poet, a writer, a mystic, a gardener, a pastor, leader, grow yourself in the garden of our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank you for allowing me to share my heart and life with you. I also want to thank my wife, Tamara for helping me with these booklet and allowing me to come here. Thanks DeVos Urban Leadership Institute for letting me serve our leaders. Thank you Avenue Community Church in Ventura, California, my home church and my pastorate for releasing me to come. Thank you Youth With A Mission for being my community for the last 23 years and teaching me to know God and to make Him known. Archie Honrado Youth With A Mission Los Angeles Avenue Community Church, Ventura, California Email: archonrado@yahoo.com Website: www. archiehonrado.com Works cited: Eliot,T.S. “Choruses from the Rock”, Poem Honrado, Archie, “Exploring the Art of Spiritual Retreat” Horwitz, Claudia, “The Spiritual Activist” , Penguin Compass Kelly, Thomas R. “A Testament of Devotion” Wiederkehr, Macrina, “The Song of the Seed,” “A Tree Full of Angels”, Harper Collins Peterson, Eugene H. “ Leap Over A Wall”, Harper Collins Art work credits Barber, Carol, untitled Homer, Winslow, “ Boys at the Praire” Klimt, Gustav; “ Mother and Child”, Sea Serpent IV Kandisky, Wassily, “ Circle of Circles”, “Harmonie Tranquile” Miro, Joan, “Carnival of Harlequin” Munch, Edvard, “The Scream” Pollock, Jackson, “ Composition” Ranson, Paul, “ Apple Tree with Red Fruit” DaVinci, Leonardo, “Female Head (LaScapigliata)

Living the rhythm of God's heart Exploring the Art of Spiritual Retreat By Archie Honrado


Living the rhythm of God's heart Screaming for Space Try and read the paragraph below:

Hewhohasrealizedthatsunandstarsandsoulsdonotrambleinavacuumwillkeephisheartinreadinessforthehourwhentheworldisentranced Forthingsarenotmutethestillnessisfullofdemandsawaitingasoultobreath einthmysterythatallthingsexhaleintheircravingforcommunionOuto ftheworlcomesthebehesttoinstillintotheairarapturoussongforGod solovedtheworldthatHegaveHisonlyBegottenSonthatwhosoeverb elievesinHimshallnotperishbuthaveeverlastinlifeJesuswithdrawfro mcrowdtohavespacetohearGodsvoice How was your reading? What was missing on these paragraph? • Reading art can be like looking at the mirror of your soul, what can you see from this Edvard Munch painting that would closely resemble your life?

In silence, allow the Holy Spirit to minister to your need to create space for God

Heart Rhythms: Spend time in silence daily for at least 10-15 mins. This is like going on a mini-retreat.

“The Scream” By Edvard Munch


Sacred Space “Can you hear me now?” The Verizon television ad keeps on intruding into our personal space. One of their newer TV ads touts their service of 'connectivity' anywhere (even in the train). With this ‘connectivity’ they promise that you can work anytime and anywhere, and people do. To fall prey on this onslaught is a serious threat to your spiritual health and the wellness of your soul. To give yourself permission to work anywhere- go online anywhere and anytime is to desecrate your sacred “Carnival of Harlequin” space. By Joan Miro

A few thoughts to ponder: What is your sanctuary, sacred space or holy place? Do you have a sacred space other than your “church space”? Where are your sacred or holy places ? How have you desecrated your sacred space for God? “ When we're pushed to the boundaries of our existence, running for our very lives, without provisions and without weapons, we seek sanctuary, a holy place. And then this wonderful surprise: we discover vitality in the holiness, life-deepening energies in the holiness. We enter weakened and endangered and before we know it we are strengthened and equipped. . .” -Eugene H. Peterson, from his book “ Leap Over A Wall” Harper Collins Publishing

Heart Rhythm s: Designate a special place (your sacred, or holy place) where you would spend time with God on a regular basis. This can be like a little chapel that you can create using art and whatever creative expression you are inclined to.


Living the rhythm of God's heart Living the Rhythm of God’s Heart-

“Deep within us all there is an amazing inner sanctuary of the soul, a holy place, a divine center, a speaking voice, to which we may continually return. Eternity is at our hearts, pressing upon our time-torn lives. . . Life is meant to be lived from a center, a divine center.”

One-Day retreat at a Retreat Center- I go to a monastery run by the

-Thomas R. Kelly from his book “ A Testament of Devotion”

Circles in Circles By Wassily Kandinsky

How well do you attend to your divine center? How are you living out from your divine center?

“ For where your heart is, there your treasure will be. . .” - Matthew 6:21 “ Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you” -Matthew 6:33 “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4 Attend and care for your soul for in it comes the wellspring of life. Harmonie Tranquile By Wassily Kandinsky

Heart Rhythms: Develop a regular spiritual retreat practice (see toward the end of this booklet for more guides to retreats)

Benedictines near where I live. They welcome me their guest. You don’t have to attend their meetings but they are certainly very welcoming. Attending their services can be quite foreign to you. What I sometimes do on my one-day retreat at a monastery, I go for long walks, silence and solitude. I spend a lot of quiet moments at the chapel and I have a room (which sometimes I stay for more than a day) I would take long naps, read and eat. Catholic retreat centers offers retreat program and you can check them out. You can also make an appointment to see a Spiritual Director, most Catholic retreat center has Spiritual Directors. You could also rent a cabin up in the mountains for a day or two of silence, solitude, meditation, prayers and just have an awesome quality time with the Lord. How about going to a conference as a retreat? God can certainly use conference and seminars to refill and renew your soul. However, an intentional and organic retreat can really touch the depths of your heart in ways that conferences, seminars can fall short of. In developing your own retreat, you get to listen to your longings, yearnings, aches, pains and awaken the hope, faith and dreams that is lying dormant.


Living the Rhythm of God’s Heart Living the Rhythm of God’s Heart-

One-Day Retreat Local:

(remember to plan ahead and have everything that you would need– art supplies, meal menu, preselected scripture, designated space, ) This is basically the same element as the At-Home except you can go to a gym, park, local hiking trail, library, mall and other places you think would server your purpose of reflection, attentiveness and retreat. •

Sitting Practice (15-30 minutes)- Sit comfortably, take a few deep breathes until you can hear your own breathing. Just sit and do nothing but listen to your heart beat and breathing. Just live in the moment, no prayers, no reflections, no thoughts, whenever thoughts, prayers, etc. comes to your mind, just go back to listening to breathing. Don’t watch the time, set a timer to keep your time.

Lectio Divina (30 minutes)- Latin for sacred reading, Basically, you read the scripture slowly and reverentially with the ear of your heart ready to listen. Read your pre-selected scripture verse (try reading only a few verses). Read your verse very slowly at least three times pausing each time to have silence allowing the Holy Spirit to work your heart and allowing the ear of your heart to hear. Once a word, sentence or thoughts from the verse stands out, then you are ready to meditate on it. (note: meditate on what the Lord spoke to out from the verse and take it with you in your for the whole day constantly coming back to it.)

Meditation (15 minutes)- Chew on what the Holy Spirit has spoken to your heart during your lectio divina. Ruminate over what the Lord has spoken to you, let it interact with your world, your worries, ambitions, anxiety, dreams, longing.

Prayers: (15 minutes)-

Contemplate (15 minutes)- Just relax and rest in Him, stop praying, thinking, re-

Busyness, Attraction to Distraction and Soulfulness Admit to it. In one shape or form you are attracted to distraction. Centering on the presence of Christ is difficult for you. Usually the things that clamor for your immediate attention-email, phone calls, bills– gets the time especially when they scream at you. How undisciplined have you become? Answering every tyrant call or needs. Most urgent needs are temporal. Stop the non-stop! Heed to Corrie Teen Boom’s admonition, “beware of the barrenness of a busy life.” What about multi-tasking? Have you succumbed to mediocrity by performing multiple tasks at once but doing it haphazardly, halfbaked and mediocre. You probably won’t even remember you performed or produced. Perhaps, you were so stressed out doing it that you just want to forget that you ever done it. Multi-tasking can lead to soul-lessness.

“ Whatever you do, whether you eat, work or play do it all for the glory of God.” “ Whatever you do, do it deeply and soulfully”

Write your prayer (your response from your meditation, what He had spoken) on a journal or perhaps, you can paint your prayer, dance your prayer, sing your prayer (maybe there is song that came to you during your meditation.

Choruses from The Rock T.S. Eliot, 1934 O world of spring and autumn, birth and dying! The endless cycle of idea and action, Endless invention, endless experiment, Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness; Knowledge of speech, but not of silence; Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word. All our knowledge brings us nearer to death, But nearness to death no nearer to God. Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

flecting or meditating, just let go and do nothing, be still and know that He is God.

Physical Activity– Go for a Lucid Walk or to the Gym to Work out, gardening, clean your closet, clean your car, mountain biking, etc. As you shower, imagine the Lord cleansing your soul, mind and body afresh today.

Artist Date- (you’ll have to do this in silence, solitude and incognito in the urban crowd) This is either you go to a museum, theatre, library, mall, gallery , cemetery, beach, mountain, public park, etc.

Solo Dinner– Plan a meal that you yourself would buy the ingredients, cook and sit

down to dine with yourself. As you buy your ingredients, reflect on the natural process of sowing, harvest, etc. As you cook, smell and watch chemical reaction that taking place and practice attentiveness. As you eat, eat slowly, savoring each food and hear yourself chew and reflect on your physical nourishment. You can also opt to go to a restaurant and just take your time and savor each moment as it comes.

“Apple Tree with Red Fruit” By Paul Ranson

Journal– Before you go to bed, write down everything you heard and receive from your day of retreat.

Heart Rhythms:

Many aspects and elements of your one-day retreat can be integrated into your daily life. Like taking mini-retreat during lunch breaks or silence when driving home and meditation before going to work. I also like doing elements of these retreats with my youth. Try and tech to them, it works.

“Composition” By Jackson Pollock

Practice anytime soon reading Psalm 23 for a week, reading only one verse a day in the morning, each time you read, read it slowly and reverentially with the ear of your heart ready to listen. Then meditate on the verse for the whole day. At the end of the day, journal your reflection, insights and prayer. This practice is little bit like what the Benedictine monks called “lectio Divina”, Latin word for divine or sacred reading. The Benedictine has been practicing the lectio divina for hundreds of years.


What is the Rhythm of Your life?

Living the Rhythm of God’s Heart-

One-Day At-Home Retreat:

What can you tell about the two palm trees?

(remember to plan ahead and have everything that you would need– art supplies, meal menu, preselected scripture, designated space, )

What do you notice, what is their difference?

Start after your morning breakfast: • Sitting Practice (15-30 minutes)- Sit comfortably, take a few deep breathes until you

Have you ever had a funny epiphany? One day I realize that some of the palm trees along the freeways of Los Angeles are fake and they are a cover for something else! My wife (then girlfriend) condescendingly informed me about the anomaly. (She is from the mountains of Colorado, go figure.) What! I said, you mean those are cell phone towers? This urban landscape speaks of how pervasive and intrusive technology is encroaching on our lives. Of course, technology makes life easier as well. But we can lose our sense of the natural rhythm of life if we bow to the pressures and demands of success that desecrates our Sabbath day and our need to pause as part of our natural and spiritual rhythms. Succumbing to pressures to succeed in ministry can lead us to a driven life without any regard to rest, retreats, mindfulness and depth in every activites done. We are creatures of God with soul, we are to be soulful in our living, practicing the presence of the Lord in everyday mundane or sensational events. Forsake and repent of busyness for busyness sake. Turn away from being a workaholic just to prove your worth and stop the non– stop activities. Spend some time asking yourself these questions below: Are you controlled by the pressures of your ministry to perform and produce at the expense of neglecting your soul, your personal devotion to God? • Do you lack boundaries practicing hospitality?

can hear your own breathing. Just sit and do nothing but listen to your heart beat and breathing. Just live in the moment, no prayers, no reflections, no thoughts, whenever thoughts, prayers, etc. comes to your mind, just go back to listening to your breathing. Don’t watch the time, set a timer to keep your time.

slowly and reverentially with the ear of your heart ready to listen. Read your pre-selected scripture verse(try reading only a few verses). Read your verse very slowly at least three times pausing each time to have silence allowing the Holy Spirit to work your heart and allowing the ear of your heart to hear. Once a word, sentence or thoughts from the verse stands out, then you are ready to meditate on it. (note: meditate on what the Lord spoke to out from the verse and take it with you in your for the whole day constantly coming back to it.)

Meditation (15 minutes)- Chew on what the Holy Spirit has spoken to your heart during your lectio divina. Ruminate over what the Lord has spoken to you, let it interact with your world, your worries, ambitions, anxiety, dreams, longing.

Prayers: (15 minutes)- Write your prayer (your response from your meditation, what He had spoken) on a journal or perhaps, you can paint your prayer, dance your prayer, sing your prayer (maybe there is song that came to you during your meditation.

Contemplate (15 minutes)- Just relax and rest in Him, stop praying, thinking, reflecting

Physical Activity– Go for a Lucid Walk or gardening, clean your closet, clean your car,

or meditating, just let go and do nothing, be still and know that He is God. and then after your activity, as you shower, imagine the Lord cleansing your soul, mind and body afresh today.

• • •

Do you feel guilty not meeting people’s needs when you know what you need is just a little time off for a retreat– a time for you and God alone. Are your time management plan ruled by busyness, deadlines, phone calls even after hours?

Do you allow for space to be silent, to hear your breathing, to reflect on your day? • Is your life sucked in by the economics of survival, capitalism, consumerism? Are you ruled by deadline, mortgage payments, credit cards, car payments? • What is your time management paradigm?

Is your life chaotic?

Heart Rhythms:

Feel the Rhythm of God’s heart by listening to your heart and the breath of God breathed in you. Pause between your activities or tasks during the day (not just during lunch breaks) to create a space to praise Him for what He has done before moving on to the next thing.

Lectio Divina (30 minutes)- Latin for sacred reading, Basically, you read the scripture

Artist’s Way (1hour or more)-

Create your Sacred Space– This is like a min-chapel. Find a space in your house, bed-

Go through your scrap book, photo album, photos, year book, memories and read or look at it reverentially, slowly allowing the Holy Spirit to speak to you. room, shed, backyard, garage any space at your home. Hang some artwork, put a collage together, put some candles or any other sensory materials to help you focus, meditate and contemplate.

Solo Dinner– Plan a meal that you yourself would buy the ingredients, cook and sit down to dine with yourself. As you buy your ingredients, reflect on the natural process of sowing, harvest, etc. As you cook, smell and watch chemical reaction that takes place and practice attentiveness. As you eat, eat slowly, savoring each food and hear yourself chew and reflect on your physical nourishment.

Journal– Before you go to bed, write down everything you heard and receive from your day of retreat.

Continued practice of these spiritual rhythm would transfer over to your everyday life flowing with the rhythm of God’s heart.


Leisure of the Heart

Leisure of the Heart

The Art of Retreat

Accepting and embracing our need for spiritual retreat

It is quite a challenge to try and tell you how you should do your retreat. You have to take time to listen to your heart and discern what you need, it is like what doctors tell us– to listen to our own body– we should do the same to our own soul. If we take care of our soul, we will prevent a lot of spiritual ailments like burnout, backsliding, lack of purpose, depression, apathy, and other negative spiritual forces that seeks to harm us and take us out of our ministry and family. “The Female Head (La Scapigliata) Develop a regular rhythm of work, play, rest, reBy Leonardo DaVinci treat, study and fellowship. All of your energies and motivation to serve and love God could easily be nurtured by none other but you. Taking regular retreat is part of your ministry– Exercise self-leadership on your soul care. A refreshed urban youth worker is a powerful leader. Practice the presence of the Lord in every activities you are engaged in. Live in the now, attentive and mindful of what the Lord is doing in and through you. Following the next few pages, I put together recommendations for at least 3 kinds of one-day retreats.

Some elements of a one-day spiritual retreat Plan ahead: • The Location - If it is the library make sure it is open, or make sure no one is at home or tell them what you are doing.

Meals– prepare an easy and light healthy meal or you can plan ahead where to eat if you want to eat at a restaurant. You can also go on a Fast.

Books– You can pre select your scripture reading or just allow the Holy Spirit

Creative Expression– Journal, Pens, watercolor paint, magazine, photos,

Physical Exercise– Consider doing your regular work out regime but only

to guide you. clay, etc. Try to intuitive sense what you would want to use. with such attentiveness, listening to your body and heart and soul.

The idea is that as we develop spiritual and reflective practices within the context of our personal lives and the pursuit of social change, we create a more solid and secure foundation for a new world. We build lives with greater expressions of love, more authentic relationships, and a deeper articulation of truth. We become less afraid of fear and less afraid of life. When we turn inward, we find stillness and chaos resting together. We find craving and contraction and the seeds of liberation from both. We can ignore what we find or we can embrace it- all of it Reflection and spiritual practice will help ensure that our actions as human beings yield benefits to a sphere far beyond the horizon we can easily see. We are all seekers. In the midst of an ever-complex, ever-quickening universe, we crave the pause in which we remember what matter most.

Sea Serpents IV By Gustav Klimt

Through ongoing, deliberate experiences with our inner life, we cultivate stillness, open our hearts, nurture our personal expressions of faith, and deepen our capacity just to be. Rather than an escape, refuge is a return to the real. Turning inward allows us to develop our power from within, the power that makes real change possible. -Claudia Horwitz on her book; The Spiritual Activist, Penguin Compass

Talk about “pause”, eh? Do you tend to the needs of your innermost being? Do you nurture and care for your soul by taking regular retreats. Remember, a day of rest like “Monday-Off” is just a day of recreational rest if you don’t intentionally take time to listen, pray, read and listen again to the Holy Spirit. You need time to just kick back and chill. However, there is difference between a “dayoff” and a spiritual retreat. To retreat is to attend and visit the depths of your sometimes forgotten soul. To take a day-off is to rest and relax.

Heart Rhythms:

Do take pauses and min-retreats during the day to be still, silent, and listen to the still small voice of God. Cultivate the depth of your being by taking extended quiet times “Boys in the Pasture” By Winslow Homer


Leisure of the Heart

Leisure of the Heart

Taking time to learn the art of spiritual retreat

Taking time to learn the art of spiritual retreat

“ If I am not at home with myself I won't feel at home anywhere else. It is such a delight to come home to myself, to become my own friend. I experienced this kind of homecoming once when I was living alone. Under the guise of ministering to others I had become alienated from myself. In my everyday maddening ministerial rush I suddenly discovered myself eating on the run-grabbing a sandwich and eating it while standing up or going out the door. The violence of this great irreverence to myself suddenly occurred to me. I was not at home with myself. It took a while to slow down, but I was finally able to make a decision to spend time with myself. I began to experience the joy of being with me. I put flower on the table, lit a candle, turned on soft music, ate slowly. I learned the joy of simply being with myself without rushing. It was like taking myself out to dinner. It was a kind of coming home to myself. When you can lovingly be present to yourself, your presence to others takes on a deeper quality also.”

“Sometimes all that we yearn forbeauty,courage, love, hope, faith-lies hidden. God seems to be absent from our lives. We are unable to truly see the people with whom we live. The goodness and worth of our own lives elude us. At times like this we may feel called to take a step back and look at the mystery of life anew. That's what the word retreat means- to go back.

Excerpted from Macrina Weiderkehr's book “ A Tree Full of Angels Harper Collins Publishing

-Macrina Wiederkehr from her book “ The Song of the Seed” A monastic way of tending the soul question to ponder:

Imagine yourself in the bosom of God’s love. You should BE there more often.

Image by Carol Barber

Why do YOU need to take a step back?

Retreat Prayers through art  

Images that helps guides soulful prayer

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