Sunday, February 26, 2006

Thoughts after our retreat

Greetings to you in Christ!

We have just completed our annual retreat. These retreats are always such a time of blessing, a time of rededication to our principal monastic calling: silence, prayer of the heart, lectio divina, seeking God in quiet. Please God that our 'momentum' from this past week will keep us closely united to God in contemplation.

Our retreat master, Prior Cuthbert Brogan, OSB of St. Michael's Abbey, Farnborough (I highly recommend their website) gave us a series of excellent reflections inspired by St. Ephrem the Syrian, John Cardinal Newman and Dom Prosper Gueranger on the fundamentals of monastic life. The conferences were particularly inspiring coming from the young superior of a small but vigorous house. Prior Cuthbert will return for our visitation in August, and I will have the opportunity to return the favor for their community in October.

It is also a great blessing to have a retreat with so many young men (by our standards!) in formation. Watching them try to adjust to slowing down even more than usual, spending long hours in silence and listening to meditations on the holy mysteries reminded me how difficult this is for the average person today. At the same time, I recall in days such as these the startling simplicity of it all when one abandons oneself entirely to God. What have we to lose except our undue attachments to creatures, to our self-will and to self-justification? And none of these will bring us peace or salvation. The Holy Spirit prays with groanings too deep for human words within us: why do we worry about so many things? Why do we not all seek for that peace beyond all understanding, the peace that Christ calls 'my peace'? We need not climb into heaven and find it nor delve into the depths: it is near to us, poured into us in our baptism and chrismation.

I wish each of you this peace, the peace that the world cannot give!

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