Monday, August 23, 2010

The Pilgrims Who Traveled...

This is a photo of all of us (well, almost all of us), taken in the chapel at Bethlehem University. The art in the Church remembers martyrs----specifically children who were martyred, beginning with the Holy Innocents, pictured on the walls behind us surrounding the main altar. The photo also includes the two students from Bethlehem U (second and third from the left, in the second row--clearly younger than the rest of us!) who met with us earlier in the day.

The women who made this retreat journey come from all over the United States, from different religious traditions----yet we all were seeking to somehow encounter and touch the holy. On the first day of our retreat, Sr Marianne (one of our amazing leaders!) told us that the difference between a tourist and a pilgrim is this: Tourists pass through the land, while pilgrims allow the land to pass through them.

As I reflected on this through our retreat, I kept returning to the sense of 'intention.' What did I intend to do, see, accomplish? I didn't go to see buildings. I didn't go to see 'stuff.' I didn't have a terribly specific set of goals in mind. I know that I am always telling people that they should make time for spiritual things, for retreats, for prayer. And I know that I can't give what I don't have. So, I went to spend some time apart, in the land where our faith has roots---and remember. I remembered. I prayed. I wept. I sang. I photographed the places I visited. I wrote in my journal, and shared some of what I wrote in this blog. I find that the photographs have become a source of prayer and meditation for me. People have asked me what souvenirs I brought back----I didn't shop much. I brought back photos to help me keep the memories.

The women who were part of the retreat are amazing---and I learned so much from being part of our collective journey.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord! The Gospel account is Luke: 9: 28-36 (which is why I included the cloud photo!).

Mt Tabor is the site of the Basilica of the Transfiguration----the early Church Fathers believed that Tabor was the site, but others have suggested Mt Hermon or Mt Arbel. But this is where the church is and where pilgrims remember the event. I remembered all the times I've given talks on retreats and mission weeks and asked people not to build their tents on the high point of the experience, but to remember that the Transfiguration only happened once. The rest of the time, Jesus and his followers were going up the mountain, going down the mountain, and walking across valleys and plains.

It's easy to want to build tents on the mountain top---but in time, I think we'd become complacent and bored with the view. We would forget how good we have it, because we wouldn't have anything else to compare it to.

I spent time in the two side chapels---the ones for Moses and Elijah----praying for the strength to continue down the mountain and into the valleys, where most of our lives are spent.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

There is still much to say...

I'm back, in jet lag recovery mode. Thanks to all for your response to my bloggage---the conversation is good, yes?

There are more photos and reflections to share. Whenever I've had experiences that are reflective and/or life-changing in nature---the learning and understanding happen over time. I will continue to post photos and reflections--so stay tuned, and let's continue the conversation.