Tomorrow evening begins the one week of the year for which I live the other 51. I will be spending the next six days on retreat in silence. No phones, TV, radio or media of any kind~just God, the beach and me.
The week before a retreat is always difficult. Satan really does all he can to prevent me from getting there. Our weather here in NJ these last few days has had me a bit worried. We had one week to dry out after hurricane Irene's visit and it has been raining again. But all is in God's hands and I trust him to keep the roads clear (or at least provide me with a detour).
I usually know pretty far in advance of the retreat what spiritual reading God wants me to bring along. This year I had a bit of trouble discerning what I should take along to help guide me during these six days. I came across two treasures by Thomas Merton in Barnes & Nobles's bargain bin. I will be using his Book of Hours as my prayer book for the week. I am also bringing his Thoughts in Solitude.
I will be back on Sunday, Sept. 18 with my usual Sunday meditation and hopefully some pictures and reflections as well. Please keep me in your prayers this week as all of you will be in mine.
I will leave you with an excerpt from Thomas Merton's Thoughts in Solitude. These words hold as much meaning now as they did when Merton wrote them in 1956.
"When men are merely submerged in a mass of impersonal human beings pushed around by automatic forces, they lose their true humanity, their integrity, their ability to love, their capacity for self~determination. When society is made up of men who know no interior solitude, it can no longer be held together by love and consequently is held together by a violent and abusive authority. But when men are violently deprived of the solitude and freedom which are their due, the society in which they live becomes putrid; it festers with servility, resentment and hate."
*All photos from my 2009 retreat.