Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Re-engaging, Being Stirred and Quickened

I'm re-engaging our blog today. I believe a number of us have experienced some truth, beauty, and goodness in our interactions here. It's been a good while since any of us posted.

Anna and I had a great silent retreat last week in Maine with Martin Laird, author of Into the Silent Land and A Sunlit Absence (which I think are instant spiritual classics). We were at the Alcyon Retreat Center on Mount Desert Island, the largest island off the cost of Maine. There were sixteen of us along with Martin, and the retreat started on Monday (May 12) at 9:00 a.m. and ended on Friday at 1:30 p.m. Martin taught for an hour and a half each morning; otherwise we were in silence.

Here's a quote from his A Sunlit Absence that gives an indication of the depth engaged by the retreat: “The heart, a term that refers not to our thoughts and feelings but to our innermost depths that ground thought and feeling, our knowing center, is the place of divine encounter. Just because the Risen Christ is not accessible to the senses in the way the historical Jesus was, this does not imply absence but draws us to a Presence that is deeper than our discursive and imagining powers can perceive, but in which the heart delights. For here, Augustine insists, 'God speaks in the great silence of the heart.' When boredom besets prayer that is built on firm foundations of love of God and neighbor, boredom is a sign that the senses are being led from trying to grasp God as an object to a deep stillness that receives rather than grasps" (92).

I really feel strengthened and deepened by the retreat. Interestingly, our good friend Charles Hulin, the chair of the music department at Southeastern University, along with his wife Kathy is going next week to spend a week with the well-known Iona Community on Scotland's island of Iona (where St. Columba founded a monastery and church in the 500's). I am expecting to be strengthened and inspired by what they learn and experience there, too. So there are stirrings and quickenings going on.

My prayer for all of us is that we will indeed be stirred and quickened in God this summer. Please know that all of you that have connected with Living Stones over the years are in my prayers in a special way this week.


Paul T. Corrigan said...

Rickey, Thanks for reengaging--reawakening even--this space for sharing and mutual edification. I appreciate this quote and to hear again about the recent and upcoming spiritual island retreats.

living stones said...

It feels good to read a blog post again, and even though I'm biased, I liked how Rickey re-engaged by connecting our history with LS to our retreat and then to the retreat Charles and Kathy are taking on the island of Iona. I'm particularly grateful Rickey and I got to share so much silence together right at the start of his summer break. It was a gift and a blessing. May we all find more time to let God speak in the silence of our hearts.

Daniel said...

Rickey, I'm quite late reading and interacting with this post, but I'm nonetheless thankful for your investment and thoughtful reflection. I'm especially grateful you and Anna were able to share in that retreat and for your closing affirmations about keeping us, even a prodigal student/friend such as myself, in your prayers. May the rest of your summer be just as peaceful and renewing!

RC said...

Daniel, it's a delight to see your presence here via your comment, which really means a lot to me. Thank you! Looking forward to some direct connection soon...

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