And just a few more photos from the retreat, for friends that would have liked to be there. The theme was Driven or Drawn: Tending Spirit Movement, with presentations by Father Bill Sneck, SJ.
Mary Lou Weaver Houser created the visuals for our time together, and slowly added to this center visual as the retreat proceeded. If you’re wondering about the cobwebby look – yes, it’s floss, picking up on Father Bill’s description of doing a daily examen of consciousness as a good and necessary habit, similar to regular flossing.
The collage in the background of a waiter is also thanks to Father Bill, who likes to use the waiter as an image for his work of spiritual direction. He sees the Holy Spirit as a gourmet cook serving up a rich banquet, while Father Bill is the waiter who knows the menu of many possible prayer exercises, readings and activities; he listens to his directee’s hungers and offers menu “specials;” he is subordinate to the relationship between the diner and the chef, only one part of a good dining experience.
This unplanned still life caught my eye as I was journaling the first night. It captures many features of the retreat – flame-colored leaves gathered out in a beautiful natural setting; helpful presentations and the encouragement to put what we were learning into practice (doing the consciousness examen, formulating a proposition to test with Ignatian style pros and cons); quiet times for reflection and journaling; good food; good worship times. The sheet of music came from an evening worship session and brought its own spark of light for me. It’s the yearningly beautiful melody for a version of Psalm 139 (#556 in the Hymnal Worship Book, a tune by Ananias Davisson called Tender Thought). And the words of the last line are very fitting for thoughts on light and darkness.
If deepest darkness cover me,
The darkness hideth not from Thee;
To Thee both night and day are bright,
The darkness shineth as the light.
And one last photo, taken just as I was leaving. You can see the front view of this statue in the previous post. Here he is more anonymous, a pilgrim setting out. It makes me think of the angel’s message to the women at the tomb in Matthew’s telling of Easter morning. “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here…he has been raised, and indeed, he is going ahead of you to Galilee…” It’s a good reminder, as I return to the routines of daily life, that Jesus goes ahead of me. And that there’s always that pilgrim’s staff, ready to be picked up and used on the Way. (See it waiting there, in the corner? I didn't notice it until after I'd taken the picture.)
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"