Sunday, May 24, 2009
Retreat Day Three
Wednesday was a new day. Alleluia! Praise God. I woke up pain free. The stomach ache was gone. And! On my way to Lauds, I saw one of my fellow retreatants go in the visitor's chapel, and not in the cloister, where we were told to go. I followed her to tell her that she was going in the wrong place. But! She told me that we didn't have to go into the cloister with the monks; we can go in the visitor's chapel, which is better.
Way, way, way...much, much, much better. The visitor's chapel is adjacent to the altar; so close you feel like you are concelebrating. The priest comes to us to give Communion.
THERE'S NO GAUNTLET OF MONKS TO PARADE THROUGH!
Praise be to God! God is good, all the time!
What a wonderful start to a wondrous day!
After breakfast, I walked. The trouble with St. Joseph's Abbey is that it's on top of a hill, a very steep hill. This means that wherever you walk will involve coming back uphill. I did it. I walked all week. Sometimes when I felt the pressure in my shins I wondered if I was getting shin splints. And sometimes walking up those hills I had to stop because I didn't have my inhaler with me, but I did it. All week I did it.
There's a lake on the property. Today, I walked to the left of the lake thinking of walking around it. The weather was perfect. 80 degrees and I'm walking in the cool woods, it doesn't get much better than that. I passed the hermit's hut. It's abandoned. I was appreciating all the sights and sounds, when I heard some thrashing through the woods. I saw bright blue. It was one of the ladies on retreat with me.
We greeted each other and sat down to talk. Every "silent retreat" should have a session like this. Her name is Kate and she's the mother to a young family. May God bless her and her loved ones. She was telling me about herself and happened to say that she can't take criticism.
She can't take criticism! She happened to be sitting next to me in the stalls when that old crosspatch monk signaled me to take off my baseball cap. I reminded her of that incident and then I told her how it bothered me all day, resulting in severe acid reflex.
We hashed it through. The whys, wherefores, and no wonder he's a monk--the old fart. She had me laughing over the whole episode. Kate was good for me. Thank you, Jesus. You know what we decided was behind the monk's request?
He was a Yankees fan. I was wearing a Red Sox baseball cap.
Seriously, the monk was across the room. He saw a person, 5'7" tall, wearing a sweatshirt, pants, sneakers, and a baseball cap. Get the picture.
He thought I was a man.
The simple solution is the fact, I bet. There, end of the story! I put the entire occurrence to bed. Thank you, Kate. God speed, and may He always be your strength and consolation.
I continued my walk in peace. I went as far as I could go before I was stopped by a small waterfall. I sat down on a rock and prayed my Rosary.
The mosquitoes found me. Here are some pictures I took during my walk.
One more thought: on my way to my cell, after Compline, I heard AQ's voice. I followed it. There he was sitting in his office. Finally, I got my hug and greeting. He apologized for being so absent these last couple of days but the abbot was using him to transport the monks to doctor's appointments. We made an appointment for Thursday, after Compline.
I went to bed much happier than last night and had a peaceful rest.