Thursday, 27 November 2014

Retreat gatherings

Sometimes retreats are the settings for profound encounters with God, like the one referred to in this first poem, which was given in the chapel in the picture (and there just happened to be a storm that night).  The other poems show the way that 'ordinary life' can take on an extra level of significance to the person on retreat...

     Standing under a tree

     It was the night of the thunderstorm
     when lightning struck.
     In the Woodland Chapel
     I sat rooted to my chair
     a surprised conductor
     of joy.             
Happy blending 
Silently aware of my fellow retreatants
in all their rich variety
(which, after four weeks together in silence, you know)
all tucking into our vegetable soup
it occurs to me –
God doesn’t hate celery.
Even if, for some of us
it isn’t to our taste
or disagrees with us
- no reference to fellow diners intended.
Which is good
because I am certainly some people’s celery.
 Maybe, as I begin to see
how much God appreciates my flavour
that will help me to acquire
more inclusive tastebuds.
God given
Take a picture
get an experience
steal a look -
our words betray our urgent grasp.
But to receive a gift
requires waiting.
The stream presents its tumbling notes
singly to the open ear.
The landscape’s complex shape and pattern
is unfolded slowly to the patient eye.
The blessing of the birds is laid gently on the shoulders
of one who pauses under the tree. 
Only the heart that is held open -
opened, held -
can receive the slow look of love,
the slow love of God.

Colloquy by Rory Geoghegan SJ
Inner Colloquy
Mind                This ‘talking with the Lord’ is fine, I’m sure
                        as long as you don’t think he’s really there.

Heart               My ‘really’ means much more than what’s up there
                        - I know the love that fills me when he’s near. 

Will                  If I can just let go, then he comes near
                        and answers with his calling my desire. 

Soul                 There is the taste of God in that desire
                        and he becomes the clothing that I wear. 

                        So, maybe we’ll both differ and concur:
                        we know, although we never can be sure.


No comments:

Post a Comment