Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Still time for a Lenten retreat

This week we are experiencing the last few days before Palm Sunday, which begins Holy Week. If you get right on it, there is still time for a Lenten retreat. Here is some good advice about retreats from Louis Evely, in That Man is You, translated by Edmond Bonin, 1964. This is a book that my mother gave me years ago, and goodness knows she could have used a retreat from her five children every now and again. Evely says:

As long as we're in a turmoil, taken up with our problems and our interests, we're safely sheltered from God and out of God's reach. We need several days of recollection before we can begin to live in God and on Him.

We have to stay there in a kind of stupor and let our motor idle till we've adjusted to a new tempo we've never experienced before. If we're too intent on our questions, we can't hear God's answers, which are surprising, disconcerting, and never come to us the way we expect.

To meet God, we have to get away from ourselves. Retreatants always stuff their suitcase with a pile of things: letters to be answered, a book, three or four chocolate bars, a newspaper . . . in case the whole business becomes intolerable.

We all feel the need of a few projects to shield us from God. We imagine God can't nourish us. What we must do, instead, is disencumber ourselves - even of major problems, even of vital ones.

God will discuss all that with us in God's own good time and in His own way. It's none of our business, but God's. It's God's worry far more than ours. We're all panting and puffing under a burden that's unbearable because we've taken it on ourselves without authorization. . . .

In peace,
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek
Photo: bucolic scene at
The Monastery of the Holy Spirit
Conyers, Georgia, January 2008

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