Tuesday, June 06, 2006
Campus Ministers Panic as Students "Sleep" Through Entire Retreat
After some confusion, Holy Spirit High School students were discovered not to be slackers on their recent Pentecost weekend retreat...despite "sleeping" through two days of it.
"I kept trying to tell them I wasn't really asleep, but I couldn't break out of it and didn't really want to," explained Caitlin Kirschbaum. "We prayed and everyone just, like, fell over. It felt like God wrapped me in a warm blanket, really peaceful. But I wasn't entirely sure what was going on."
Apparently, the entire group was "resting in the spirit," a term well-known in charismatic circles. Since Holy Spirit High School isn't deeply charismatic, adults in charge of the retreat didn't recognize the phenomenon of deep prayer.
"First we thought, OK, they're teenagers, and they're playing a trick on us," said campus minister Ron Jameson. "Then we thought they seem to be really out of it, so maybe they were just tired...this was the first evening of the retreat. But Saturday morning they were still out, and we had this full slate of activities planned to help the students understand their spiritual life. It began to get a little tense when we got off-schedule...we didn't expect them to be semi-conscious in prayer all weekend, for pete's sake."
The campus ministers tried a number of tricks Saturday to get the students out of this state: holding warm pizza under their noses, turning on some favorite TV shows like "The O.C.", and finally aversion therapy: they played Barry Manilow tunes at top volume. Nothing worked.
The students eventually arose for Mass Sunday morning, eager to go to Mass and then tell others about their experience.
"That was the best retreat I ever had," said Ms. Kirschbaum. "It really beat the 'trust games' we played last year. I think we should pray on retreats more often."