I will be offering a retreat on the value of haiku as a spiritual discipline. It is being sponsored by The Ayres Center of Spiritual Development of St. Mary’s Sewanee University. The dates are 6-8 pm on Friday January 15, 10-4 on the 16th, and 10-12 am on the 17th. You may contact Mary Beth Best, the Reservation Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has been a while since I last wrote, but time is now my own again! Yesterday, I was copying some retreat notes into another book and remembered an experience I wanted to share.
At a retreat last year, I was meditating on Zephaniah 3:14-20. One line in verse 17 was translated as “He will renew you in his love.” This translation is based, not on the Hebrew, but later translations. The Hebrew text reads, “He will be silent in his love.” While “renew you” fits the context better, “be silent” resonated with me. I was, after all on a largely silent retreat. This was my reflection:
“Pat and I have loved each other for well over fifty years. That love has often been expressed in laughter and exuberance. But it has also been expressed in silence–holding hands on the beach, sitting together on the porch in the mountains. Sometimes God’s love is like that. Or better, our love is like that–God and me. I can sit in silence and know the silence of God with me as a love that words fail to express. I like exuberance and singing, but I also enjoy just sitting in silence with my loving God.”
Where love is present
Silence can be beautiful:
Calm moon-lit waters
It was still dark as I walked to the guest cafeteria. The Rosemary bush was waiting:
Early morning walk Caressing the Rosemary The day’s first blessing
Later walking to the chapel to chant with the monks and praise God another blessing from Nature:
The path to worship Covered in Honeysuckle Aroma of God
I have always been blessed to experience the beauty and glory of God in Nature. It was no different at Mepkin Abbey whose beautiful grounds boarding on Cooper River afforded ample opportunities for silent meditation.
In blessed silence I heard the presence of God– Music of Nature
I came to the retreat hoping to grow in love for God and acquiring more of the compassion of Jesus. One day I walked in a labyrinth marked off by wildflowers.
In the labyrinth Unbidden a song arose: More love to Thee
In those seven grace-filled days, I also meditated on Scripture. With the psalmist, I learned to sing my own song, “All my life I will sing to you, my Jesus.” Over and over again as I read in the Gospels, I experienced the glad-hearted kindness of Jesus.
Blessed are the kind For they are children of God Kindness is divine
I was loved by God on this retreat and I returned home with more love and compassion for others–at least for a time. The ordinary world often makes compassion difficult, doesn’t it? So, my growth in love and compassion is far from complete. But in that wonderful retreat perhaps I sprouted a new blossom or two.
Trust in God’s slow work Transformation takes ages For each one of us
- As always, as you are moved, you may share this with others.
- If you are interested in retreats you may check out this web site: http://www.theanchorage.org.