Friday, October 14, 2011


The last few days I have been incommunicado – spending three days on a silent retreat, even without internet, at a Jesuit retreat house outside Detroit. 

Chapel by a stream at the Manresa Retreat Center

Just what I needed.

I tend to fill up my days with work, reading, internet, and whatever. I had almost three days without a schedule (except for 8:00 am Mass and meals).

As I prayed, read scripture, finished Shane Claibourne’s The Irresistible Revolution: living as an ordinary radical, prayed the Liturgy of the Hours as well as the Stations of the Cross (outside) and the rosary, I found myself touched by three words.

The first day I found myself recalling God’s love, manifested in so many ways.

The second day there was a half-hour meditation after Mass. During it participants were urged to find a word to use throughout the thirty minutes. When I read the sheet describing the meditation, the verb “courage!” immediately surfaced. It’s what Jesus says so many times to his disciples.

The third day the word “hope” surfaced.

What amazing words: love, courage, hope.

Outside my window
As I meditated on love, I thought of how I experience God’s love in so many ways – through friends, through the opportunity to serve in Honduras, through the beauty of the earth.

Courage – take heart – really challenged me. Why might I need courage in the coming year? Are there challenges – personal or social? Are there dangers? God knows.

But I recalled how a few people had been asking me if I was in danger. I honestly answered that, though I may be challenging my guardian angel at times, I was where I believe God wants me and feel at peace. I don’t feel in danger, though.

The last day was hope. It might seem easy to be hopeful in the US. But I find hope in Honduras, especially when I am with those I love in the countryside – amidst pain and poverty, but also in the midst of joy and sharing.

Somehow all this came together at Mass on Wednesday morning. As we began the Our Father I could hardly get past the “Our.” Somehow I felt so connected with the People of God assembled there, with the friends and family I had met with out east, and with the people in Honduras.

We are in this together – bound together in love, encouraged by each other and by God’s Spirit, and called to give a reason for our hope.

And so I left the retreat house Thursday morning to go to the University of Detroit-Mercy where I’m talking to three groups – twice on Honduras, once on my personal journey. After that, I’m off to Ames, Iowa.

It’s good to be here, especially because it’s great to see Dave Nantais, the director of campus ministry, who was a grad student at Iowa State University in 1992!

I came back to more than 300 new e-mails – mostly things I quickly deleted, but I found three fascinating pieces by Paul Jeffrey.

There is a moving photo essay on a killing in the Bajo Aguan in Honduras.

There is a great story about Padre Fausto Milla, a priest I greatly admire and whom I’ve written about several times.

And there’s another story about the possible candidature of our bishop for the 2013 presidential election. (I need to think about this one!)

Reading these, I wish I were home in Honduras, but what I need to do in the next three weeks is share with people the reality of Honduras, the people who are impoverished but rich in faith, suffering but generous and hospitable, my people.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are blessed. The blessings you have provided the people of Honduras return to you 30, 60, 100 fold.