I woke this morning at 4AM after spending the better part of yesterday driving to Springfield, IL for our retreat on Spirituality and Sexuality. Since the other postulants are losers and slept during yesterday's drive (not that I hold any grudges) I decided to turn in early last night. So early this morning, I had the chance to spend some time exploring and reflecting on this week and the retreat.
Originally this is where I would have posted my pictures of the Chiara Center here in Springfield, some of the architechure, and even how the TV in my room has a channel where I can watch the Blessed Sacrament...in case Jesus feels moved to start admonishing the coaching staff of the Michigan Wolverine football team. Unfortunately the one computer with internet access here does not have a slot for SD cards, nor did I bring my USB cable. Perhaps later this week I'll find a way to get my laptop hooked in.
Being upset that I couldn't give a virtual tour of this fine facility (the shower has enough room for 3 people, which is rather ironic since we're supposed to be dealing with celibacy), I started to reflect on the topics we discussed at last night's session: the introduction to our week.
We will discuss many topics relating to sexuality and spirituality: masculine spirituality, celibacy, practical applications and understanding of relationships, understanding our own concepts of gender roles and gender identities, and trying to be relevant on sexuality when many people feel that the Catholic Church has lost credibility on the topic. There's a lot of things to discuss, and not all of them will be "easy" to talk about.
As guys, we joked on the way here about how we would react. I agreed with another one of my brothers that we should use "...that's what she said!" as much as possible this week. With all the sexual innuendos that will be flying around I'm sure we'll have plenty of opportunities. But even as we joked about the weekend, I could see how we as men tend to either trivialize or react irrationally to very serious or uncomfortable topics. We know we're attending this event to better our ministry, to comply with requirements set forth by our Province, and to better understand our own sexuality as we continue to think about living a celibate life. Even still, the 13 year-old boy inside thinks about how he's gonna giggle each time he hears someone say "penis."
So with Benny Bennassi's "I Love My Sex" playing on the iPod, my Detroit Red Wings jersey, and a healthy swagger about me, I decided I was ready to start discussing issues of spirituality, sexuality, my sexual history, interactions with the opposite sex, and the like. I have resigned to the thought that I am a "man's man:" I think fart jokes are funny, I prefer to insult my friends rather than be touchy-feely with them (even though they are both a form of bonding), and I like to say "Oh Yeah!" at really inappropriate times. Whether you people feel I am their champion or an abomination is for them to decide. This week is for me to learn how I can be me and still be respectful, present to, and understanding to others with regards to sexuality.
The first session was mostly an introduction. Today we will get down to business ("Oh yeah!") . I'll try to keep everyone informed as to the topics and reflections of the day.
Please pray that that I don't make a bigger ass of myself than I already am!