Pilgrim Path

This blog is the work of a seeker and poet. Walking stick in hand, I head out into the world, not of the world, but in the world. My words and my friends carry me along and light the pilgrim path of spiritual journeys.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Brother Antony over at
Coming to the Quiet, writes about seduction as
it applies to the monastic life – specifically in the incredible film, “Into
Great Silence.” We don’t often use the word “seduction” in the spiritual
realm, but about a year ago I did so in a church newsletter article.
Antony’s posting reminded me of it.
Back in February of 2006, I spent some time on a beautiful retreat at

Saint Benedict's monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. Not surprisingly,
the after effects lasted for quite some time despite the usual hard landing
in what some folks call the real world.

During my time away, I spent four days in a hermitage, only coming

down from the mountain to attend morning and evening services with
the monks and other retreatants. Most of the time in the hermitage
was spent at a wooden table overlooking the vastness of our Maker's
glorious creation.

From bright sunny days made brighter by the blanket of snow, to
overcast days when the peaks of the nearby mountains were
unviewable, I sat at the table, laptop before me, burning the images
of this landscape into my brain. The scenery worked wonders on my
jammed up writer's veins as words, sacred and profane, came spilling

However, after just a few hours home, in a phone conversation with

a close friend, some new words came spilling forth unbidden. I told
her about how time away on retreat always manages to make me feel
like I am living in a "bigger" world. Returning home always makes me
feel like I am returning to a "smaller" existence. Interesting….if you
look at the words I used in the previous sentence, the word I associate
with the time on retreat is "living" and the word I associate with my
return is "existence." How truly sad!

My good friend then gave me the key word to explain it all. She said,


My time away allowed me to stuff all the baggage of everyday life away

and to see and live a bigger life. Simple tasks like preparing a meal
became holy. Without a dayplanner filled with appointments and
events, I was able to take pleasure in the choices before me. Instead
of "going smaller," I felt more connected to the "bigger life" promised
to all of us.

It didn't take long after the end of the phone conversation for me to

realize that I’d be taking off once again soon, this time to Coeur d'Alene,
Idaho to participate in a retreat weekend featuring theologian Matthew
Fox. The topic of that retreat is Holy Imagination. Along with this
recognition came the realization that "transfiguration" is the key to the
seduction that is this life of faith.

For the Idaho retreat, folks from wildly extreme times and places in

their lives agreed to come together from many cities for an extended
time together. We agreed to bring our entire souls to a place where
we can truly be ourselves with ourselves and with others. We willingly
displayed an honesty with one another that the world seldom sees.
We sang gloriously, we danced wildly, we laughed extravagantly,
we shared holy meals, and we touched one another, physically and

In short, we were transfigured.

And that is the reason we sometimes have crash landings when we

return home. The glories of our personal transfigurations seduce us
and we simply fall in love. My task now is to keep that spirit with me
as I resume my day-to-day life. That, in fact, is the task before all
of us…to recognize that when we open ourselves up to the movement
of the Holy Spirit, our lives become simpler, but bigger as we share
the eternal truth of love. A love so great that God joined us in our
dance here on earth. A love so great that we cannot help but share it
with all those we encounter. A love so great that He gave his only
begotten child so that we might know eternal life. Hallelujah….Amen!


Anonymous Antony said...

This is an outstanding post. I think your thoughts here have hit the mark. Thank you. I shall return to this one and read it a few more times. It is worth keeping in mind when we come to these times of transfiguration and then "crash."
Peace bro

4:09 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home