Call off the search parties

The retreat at the Carmelite Monastery was nice. Here's some pictures, the first of those "long-remembered":/if_i_dont_make_it_back.php tall stone walls and the rest of the beautiful chapel:
Carmelite Monastery, Philadelphia Carmelite Monastery, Philadelphia Carmelite Monastery, Philadelphia Carmelite Monastery, Philadelphia
It was a silent retreat--for us at least. There were three talks about "Teresa of Avila":http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teresa_of_Avila given by Father Tim Byerley, who also works with the "Collegium Center":http://www.collegiumcenter.org/about.php, a kind of religious education outreach project for young adult Catholics in South Jersey (I mentioned it "a few months ago":http://www.quakerranter.org/teaching_quakerism_again.php as a model of young adult youth outreach that Friends might want to consider). Much of what Teresa has to say about prayer is universal and very applicable to Friends, though I have to admit I started spacing out by around the fourth mansion of the "Interior Castle":http://www.ccel.org/ccel/teresa/castle2.toc.html (I've never been good with numbered religious steps!).
I'm in no danger of following my wife Julie's journey from Friends to Catholicism, though as always I very much enjoyed being in the midst of a gathered group committed to a spirituality. The idea of religious life as self-abnegation is an important one for all Christians in an age where "me-ism":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScWdek6_Ids&eurl has become the "secular state religion":http://www.walmart.com/ and I hope to return to it in the near future.

  • For the last five years, I’ve gone on at least one silent retreat a year. I think that’s some­thing I’ll nev­er give up, regard­less of where my spir­i­tu­al path ends up.
    I’m glad to hear that it was a good expe­ri­ence for you. I love St. Teresa’s auto­bi­og­ra­phy, but The Inte­ri­or Cas­tle is very “chewy” read­ing. 🙂

  • Well, I’m glad that you sur­vived, and that you weren’t sub­ject­ed to an “auto da fe,” like the Anabap­tists in Voltaire’s ‘Can­dide.’ 😉
    It sounds like a great expe­ri­ence, actu­al­ly. My wife and I used to go on silent retreats fair­ly reg­u­lar­ly, most of them inter-religious but with a strong Catholic fla­vor and pres­ence. Iron­i­cal­ly, we haven’t been on a silent retreat since join­ing the “silent assem­blies of God’s peo­ple.” I think we might be due for a tune-up, so to speak.