Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Temptation in the silence

Been thinking of the temptations that come to me when I go to be silent at the Jesuit Retreat Center in Wernersville. As I was walking about Lansdale this morning, I welcomed the fact that I knew some of the temptations that greet me there. I thought of how the newly baptized Jesus headed out into the wilderness. He was clearly prepared for the temptations, his responses show us he was ready.
How ready am I? The next time I go on retreat, will I be able to quote scripture to fight off the following?
The Jesuit Center has graciously provided a computer for those on retreat. I have been pulled into the room in the past. Can I walk by it for a weekend retreat, let alone 8 days? No e-mail, facebook, Flickr. I desire to avoid it. The voice shows up... "It will be OK if you just do this." I feel it is best to avoid. A break from the internet may be a good thing every now and then.
Down in the Amish Room are snacks, including a virtually unlimited supply of potato chips. I am thinking I don't need to eat that many chips, especially since I have been known to stop by the dessert table each evening.

The mind wants to roam from here to there. How wonderful it would be if it remained in the present moment of the present retreat. Can I avoid counting the days that are left? Can I not wish for a more "meaningful" experience? Can I greet each moment as a blessing of a unique opportunity to stop and be with God? Do I really need to drive to see the garden like I have in the past? Can I resist taking science books to prepare for teaching lessons when I return? Can I not compare a present retreat with past retreats? If moved to draw cards for fellow retreaters, can I just go with the desire? Do I have to do this every time? Can I just be? Can I be aware of when my mind is taking me away from the retreat, greet the thought and let it move on? My mind will wonder. Can be aware of the temptation to not be in the present moment?
Ignatius believed that God was in all things. So maybe I am wrong about the computer, potato chips, and my unmindful nature. Maybe it is in those things, where I will find God. Maybe not.
One last photo from Wernersville... when I saw this image of me standing on a stump, I became aware... of how much I needed new sneakers.



  1. Ignatius speaks of finding the mean in eating and drinking; enough, but not too much. I recall his advice about deciding ahead of time how much you'll eat and wonder if he might have similar advice about checking that computer. I went for a long time not knowing it was there, and it's hard to resist for me, too.

    May the retreat be full of graces - of all sorts...even in the temptations.

  2. Wayne, I know you're a fan of Buechner, too. Have you read Brendan? That's what came to mind while reading this post. :)


  3. Michelle--- I am a big fan of the mean, and also a big fan of forgiveness if I succumb to the temptations.

    Daisy--- not yet, maybe soon. Margaret just found me Godric at a used book sale... who would dump there Buechner... clearly a sin ;')

  4. lol The nerve of some people, eh? Actually, maybe I was thinking of Godric. Either one, you can't go wrong, right?

  5. Daisy... they also dumped a book of his sermons and a book he wrote on the Gospels!!!

  6. Wow, talk about your buried treasures. Margaret scored big! :)

  7. Peace and grace be with you....

    I am so very envious....

  8. Ah, Stratoz. I've been there, not at that particular Jesuit retreat house but on 10 days retreats with no books, no computer, no journal and once I got over the initial shock of letting go, it was wonderful. May we not see you here for a few more days.

    By the way. Those sneakers look pretty good to me, but then I've been known to wear my soles down to the springs.

  9. I'm thinking, judging from the snapshots you've given us here, your mind has found much to explore other than your sneakers. I'm thinking it was Tozer who said one can appraise their "wandering" by the sign of the dove released by Noah during the flood. It's only as God created that our thoughts have freedom to wander; the important thing is whether or not they return to the ark.

    Enjoy God in the retreat, my friend....

  10. Giggles, Beryl, Jim--- I am back, with hopefully much to say. the sneaker photo was nearly two years old, which is what inspired the purchase of new ones. will stop by your blogs soon.


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