August 22nd Retreat Gathering Day (2017)

G.K. Chesterton

I wish we had a photo of us as we wound up our day on G.K. Chesterton and St. Therese, kindred spirits—all of us sitting around the courtyard fountain.  People said they missed the times they couldn’t come and we resolved to carry one another, present or not, into our way of keeping one another enlivened in the ways of the Spirit.  We had been dreaming about conversations we could have on our web site forum.

As you may know, Fr. John Udris has been asked by his bishop to put together a recommendation as to whether G.K. Chesterton’s cause for canonization should be opened.  So he has been studying G.K.’s footprints.

But let me begin with our Eucharist and the words of Moses : “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength.” “Write them on your door post, wear them on your wrist.”  These words are really a promise from God for empowerment expressing his commitment. And they are God’s recommendation to us for a Rule of Life.  Fr. John told us our saints prove that nothing is impossible when they believe that God is all powerful, all-wise, and all love.  We hold back.  But the saints don’t hold back.  God can do it if we let him. “Your faith can move this mountain.”

Moreover, God longs to be loved in only the way your heart knows including with your weaknesses, according to your nature and character.  God has a me-shaped hole in his heart that only I can fill with my own holiness.  Listen to Fr. John communicating live in Carmelite Axis.

We looked at The Agonia, our special icon, to reflect on it’s meaning for Jesus, and what it means for us as the disciples in the foreground,  (See the reflection within Food for the Soul) and on how our own personal Rule of Life should prepare us for our own trials by guarding us from the world, the flesh, and the devil.  (see the new description of Rule of Life.) We need to prepare ahead of time to die the daily deaths asked of us.

In the day’s talks Fr. John laid out the personality of G.K. Chesterton contrasting him with George Bernard Shaw with whom he often publicly disagreed, while highly respecting him.  Surely G.K. was a contemplative as shown in the striking qualities he shared with Therese: Humility, Humour, Gratitude and a certain child-likeness.  Perhaps G.K. is more the Celtic saint and Therese the Carmelite.

Chesterton was a genius who loved arguing because he loved the truth, but he kept his civility and enjoyed the exchange, never belittling nor patronizing anyone. Humility is being grounded in reality as was our Lady with her bare feet planted firmly on the ground.   G.K. and Therese shared a common project: to rejoice in their dependence on God and to reject the mad self-sufficiency of our time.  Both praised laughter, especially laughing at oneself, as a means to self-forgetfulness that broadens the mind and brings us closer to others.  Something about childhood attracted them. G.K had endless wonder that erupted into constant thanks.  Therese lived vulnerability. Both loved littleness.  And then, there is the resilience of a child, who never tires of repeating–the ways to keep faith and love alive.  Explore these qualities in the poetry. and listen to Fr. John’s talk on Chesterton and Therese.

Breaking away was happier on the 12th since we all looked forward to the possibilities for ongoing connection via our Friends of Carmel web site.

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