I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Wisdom Council member Lita Quimson’s reflection “Dispositioning: Entering the Holy of Holies” which she offers as preparatory guidance for retreats.
We are entering into the veil where the Arc of the Covenant (The tabernacle of the Ancient temple of Jerusalem)resides.
- The predominant or prevailing tendency of one’s spirits; natural mental and emotional outlook or mood; characteristic attitude:
- A state of mind regarding something -dictionary.com
A day or two before the start of our retreat, we are encouraged to prepare and disposition ourselves. Entering into a retreat in silence is a serious undertaking. Preparing ourselves for this also tells God that I am committed to this meeting, and I want to prepare myself to be in God’s presence just like I prepare myself for a work meeting or for an exam. My take on this Lord is that being with you and hearing from you is something I do yearly or bi-annually, and I want to do it well, I am taking this meeting seriously, and I don’t want to miss any message you have for me. Therefore, I do not want to be distracted by anything. I want to be in the right disposition, not frazzled, anxious, angry, fearful. I want to be quiet, in peace, anticipating, focused, and ready to receive.
In view of this, I am setting aside time not only for the retreat, but I also want to prepare myself, my disposition, my personhood, my well being, my boundaries, and my space. Because I am going to spend some quality time with someone I dearly love, I do not want to be distracted by the noise of the world.
When I am with my grandchildren or my children, I do not want them to feel that other matters are more important than my time with them. Therefore, I put my phone to silent and gesture that I will deal with you when I have spent some quality time with my first love.
I have named this as the entering into the holy of holies because the reverence involved in meeting with Yahweh is the same reverence that dispositioning involves from the person’s point of view. God is always waiting for us. Therefore, to give God our time and to give Him our all in all, we begin to prepare for this significant and serious meeting. Like the high priest who prepares and follows the rituals to mark the preparation, we, too, have practices in some ways.
The mini separation of our hearts allows us to choose not to engage in things that bring us stress or confusion. Shedding some responsibilities as we come closer to our retreat is another way of being like a high priest who starts putting on his garments of linen. Turning it over to someone else and starting to have less to do so that you can honor your soul and body.
The shedding can be akin to cleansing and washing because the shedding makes space as we empty ourselves. We make space for the spirit of God to enter into us more freely.
These are what it entailed for the high priest who was going to meet God had to do:
- Entering into the tent on the day of atonement once a year
- The washing of the bodies with pure water
- Giving offerings of animals without blemish (i.e. their best)
- Putting on of the Garments, the dressing of linen clothes, the tying of the sashes
- Stages of entry from one curtain to the next
- Entering into the center where the Arc of the Covenant resides where God was present: the final veil
Another feature is the curtains, the stages of entering going from the distracting ways to the next curtain of the less distracting ways, stage by stage. And then into the next curtain, where one can focus on the coming activity. That is even becoming more prepared for the practice of the presence of God.
We care for the temple of God in our bodies, for God’s spirit dwells in us, we glorify God in our body by preparing ourselves.
1 Cor 6:20
1 Cor 3:16-17
Lita Quimson is an experienced spiritual director trained in various local and international institutions such as the CenterQuest School of Spiritual Direction, Center for Ignatian Spirituality, and Emmaus Center for Psycho-Spiritual Formation. She holds a master’s degree in ministry major in spiritual formation and certificates in spiritual direction and formation. Lita designed formation programs and continues to design programs that are relevant to today’s world. She spearheads the development of innovative ways to reach more seekers, considering retreats and accompaniment online.
Lita is the founder of Cherimoya Eco-Spirituality & Retreat Center in the Philippines designed to provide space for people to rest in nature and be able to encounter god. She is also the founder and executive director of On the Third Day Renewal and Formation Center.