a gem rediscovered
Letter from Fr. Jim Lee:
As I sit
here on my fourth day of a retreat began late because of pastoral
responsibilities in my parish—a sudden drowning of a
couple's only two children—I listen to the symphony of
wind, birds and silence, and I realize that only now am I beginning
to truly enter my retreat. It is Wednesday, a day of Great
Silence for deeper solitude and more time for personal prayer.
So Lauds are private and Mass is later this evening and it
feels like a holiday! It is also May 1st, the Feast of St.
Joseph the Worker, the beginning of Mary's month.
of these images make up what this holy place is about. Situated
in rolling cattle land,
solitude and solace abound. There is "room" for
the Almighty, Gentle God, the God of our Ancestors, the God
ever so close and intimate. There is "room" to
encounter and to be encountered by God in all His fullness
that overwhelms one in the might of the wind, the awesome
snow-covered mountains, ablaze at dawn, the vistas that stretch
for miles as well as the deep brown look of a deer grazing
outside your hermitage window, the call of a yellow-chested
meadowlark and the delicate beauty of spring wildflowers
next to a mountain waterfall.
is kairos, God's time, not chronos, human, overly-scheduled,
stress-filled time. You have all day to do nothing—yet
the one thing that is necessary, just "being" with
God and yourself and all of humanity in prayerful communion,
and there is simply not enough time. Simply sitting in Our
Father's House, the elegantly simple chapel in the presence
of the Blessed Sacrament becomes a "homecoming" of
salvific proportions: prodigal son, lost coin, lost sheep.
How glad God is; how utterly blessed we are.
first came to Marymount six years ago in October for my annual
retreat. With broken wrist in cast, I knew that God wanted
me to rest in Him. It was such a time of healing grace. As
I walked and walked the hills allowing the wind to whisk
away the sweat as I climbed ridges and draws, God's presence
surrounded me in the solitude. Here I confronted old angers
and deep darkness. Here I struggled to be free yet again
only to find anew the prison was of my own making, not God's.
years later I have had the grace to return twice in less
then six months. Each season has its own incredible beauty—and
its own call from God. In the two days that remain, I have
only one agenda—“to be" with God and for
God as humbly, as openly, and as lovingly as I am able.
am grateful to the Hermit Sisters of Marymount, Sister Rebecca
Mary and Sister Mary Beverly, for their faithful response
to God's call to serve Him and the Church in such a simple
way. I am grateful to God for those who have assisted them
in making this call a reality in this holy place.
you feel the call to solitude, if you dare to enter into
God's overwhelming embrace, if you desire abandonment in
such simplicity, then come on retreat, come to the silence,
come to the hills and allow the symphony of God's love fill
you, transform you, and embrace you.
gratitude and praise,
Father Jim Lee
May 1, 1996
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