My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird—
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.
Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,
which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.
Thirst, Poems by Mary Oliver
Mentioned in Father Kevin O’Brien SJ.
The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life.
In these days of preparation for our coming Ignatian retreat, I am spending a lot of time with Ignatian authors. One of them is Fr. Kevin O’Brien, whose book I own, and whose retreat on ignatianspirituality.com I follow.
Add Lent, when I am very much staying away from Facebook, and my involvement in the retreat, and you have me pretty much cut off from mainstream news of all kinds.
When I attend a retreat, I embark on a spiritual journey of a few days, opening myself to the Spirit, and all that She has to tell me or show me. Working on a retreat is more like giving birth than walking a spiritual maze. The heart and the mind together, while being very much open to the guidance of the Spirit, struggle to bring about clarity to points that need to be developed, like so many signposts on the journey the retreatants hopefully will take.
While guided by a Sister of the Sacred Heart, a great soul, and with the help of all that we have learned all these years, all together, we make a group of disciples going into a terra very much incognita. Every so often, when we meet and share our progress, the presence of the Spirit among us, buried deep within the talks we have prepared, delights us.
I would like to ask you then, you who happen to read this, to say a small prayer for us this coming weekend. ‘Us’ includes those who will listen and those who will speak, those who will eat and those who will prepare the food to be eaten, all of us remaining in silence for two days.
The theme of our retreat is: Finding God in my Daily Life.
Art: Sheila Landry Designs. Found here.