You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘obedience’ tag.

September’s scarlet crisped tips of maple leaves overhanging the asphalt road on our way to East Gloucester, Massachusetts, and the retreat house, a sacred place of cleansing silence. “And we didn’t get too lost this time,” said my buddy Pat, her pink cowgirl hat aslant upon her forehead, “not like other years.” It was 2014.

For miles, bracing wind currents from the nearby ocean and cawing sea gulls heightened our anticipation. It had always been the same: for thirty years we had left landlocked St. Louis, only to relish the Atlantic’s watery moods, at times like a fickle lover.

No matter that accommodations were spartan, the fixtures rusty, the cream walls smudged from retreatants’ luggage, the all-weather carpet stained, the acoustical tiles discolored, the mattresses lumpy, the casement windows corroded.

Of more importance were spirited retreat guides seasoned by life’s hilarity and tears, the retreatants’ prayer-weaving-mantle protecting scary descents into in our psyches, long hours of walking shady paths carved out from the surrounding forest, the boulder-lined coast affording multiple sits atop blankets, clam shells splattered upon sands with each tide, honey bees flitting around clumps of Queen Anne’s lace and goldenrod pushing through the sands. And chef-prepared meals energized everyone with New England cuisine.

Central to this experience, however, were long hours spent in meditation, relishing its fruit, and recording significant messages: always about conversion of heart. Within Love’s dream we were washed, until the next directed retreat.

At times, I feel like I’m participating in the directed retreat of my life, one that is moving me toward the contemplation for obtaining divine Love, the last meditation found in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. I’ll know it when I get there.

As an aside, 2017 saw the opening of the new retreatants’ wing at Eastern Point Retreat House, staffed by Jesuits from the New England Province.

 

It was October 1966, then, a young professed in our Academy. Stressed by intermittent knee pain and overwhelmed by teaching and surveillante responsibilities, I fingered a slim paperback in the pocket of my petticoat and ached for more of Abraham Heschel’s Man’s Quest for God – Studies in Prayer and Symbolism (1954). I had been forewarned to keep this book underwraps; its Jewishness smarted against acceptable norms in the Catholic world in which I lived.

But Heschel’s words shimmered off the pages and left track marks upon my psyche—I would return at a later time.

These words still shimmer, but integrated at a deeper level than decades before. Central to Heschel’s theology is what he calls divine pathos: God’s continuing need for us as co-creators in his multiple expanding universes—an understanding Heschel gleaned from his studies of the Talmud and kabbalistic and Hasidic writings.

No matter that the prophets and Jesus of Nazareth decried the hardness of heart they encountered along dusty Palestinian roads, natives filled with self-absorption, haughtiness, and stingy spirits. Similar avoidance of collaboration with Creator God exists today.

Yet, God persists in His offer.

Stripped of its religious trappings, co-creation again appears in the Eleventh Step of Alcoholics Anonymous: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. The handful that brings love, harmony, and peace where before there was none do experience shimmering life.

Such is the viable antidote for our world, no matter who is in power.

This midnight dream astounded me, left me wondering:

It is night, the waning moon filling the cloudless sky. Throngs of men, women, and children fill an amphitheater built within a hillside teeming with tall grasses, trembled by ocean breezes. Laughter, excitement, and expectation mount with passing moments. I feel vibrantly alive among them.

Once awake, I sat up, then, returned to sleep, only to have the dream reoccur.

Earlier in the evening, I’d been horrified by Yahoo’s narration of Portland’s Wall of Moms, walking arm in arm between protesters and federal agents—And the follow-up story of the Fathers Against Fascism with their leaf blowers. Whatever or however these stories occurred remains to be seen, but something horrific did happened that incited fears of the continuing violence in our country.

To return to the compensatory dream—The night speaks to the lateness of the hour, to time running out, given my advanced years. I am alone, unnerved by the crowds, agog with enthusiasm; they were privy to something I’ve yet to learn—something about story. My Dreamer wished me to join them. I do.

Under their tutelage I’ve already stumbled upon parts of my story, but more will be revealed, now that I’m safely ensconced in old age. I feel as though I’ve just pulled apart most of the wrappings of my birthright, foibles and all—it is wondrous.

So rather that leech stories from Yahoo, better to explore the recesses of my birthright, see what’s there, and continue coming alive, from the inside out. The quest deepens…

 

 

Available on Amazon

%d bloggers like this: