Tuesday, August 31, 2010

On Retreat in Alvernia

I spent the day at a Franciscan Retreat house called Alvernia in Centerport Long Island for a day of reflection last year. The theme was Praying Always and All Ways. This has been playing over and over in my mind, especially recently (see my previous post)

One segment of the retreat was praying in nature. As Alvernia sits directly on the water in Centerport, surrounded by myriad flora and fauna, this was appropriate. St. Francis reminds us that all creatures and forces are our Brothers and Sisters; Brother Sun, Sister Moon, Brother Fire, Sister Water, Mother Earth, Sister Death. I began and and ended this segment's journey deep in a thicket of bamboo about 20yards from the front door of the retreat house - it may as well been 20 miles.

I wrote the following poem in the midst of this experience:

My Bamboo Temple,
Walls 30 feet and and twice as wide.
In it, I sit and prepare for my journey with and to You.
Our Swan, majestic and swift, flies in low,
How can such a thing be, to sustain such grace in flight?
I walk on our beach to your shore.
Your pebbles, rocks and silt suck gently at my feet,
Embracing them as your own, like a lover's deep kiss.
Dozens of geometrically perfect, wet-clear jellyfish lie at your water's edge.
They have chosen this place to die.
I remain in You as You remain in me.

Return to my Temple to phase back into...and out of...the World.


Daily Mass Readings
1 Corinthians 2:10-16
Psalm 145:8-14
Luke 4:31-37

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