"Sanctity is the only cure for the vast unhappiness
of our universal failure as human beings."
- Caryll Houselander
For all of you who prayed for the success of our recent Duc In Altum retreat: THANK YOU! Your prayers were heard and answered in marvelous ways. Unfortunately the days passed too quickly and kept me very busy...so busy that I forget to take one single photo. Oi! But take my word for it, from start to finish, the retreat was blessed and anointed.
Seeing those young ladies engaged in the great work of prayer and discernment was inspiring. Seeing the Holy Spirit so active and alive brought an influx of hope to my soul.
On our first Duc in Altum retreat I noticed something really beautiful: In the midst of this silent retreat (silent, save for recreation at dinner), there was a bond that developed among the retreatants. I attributed this bond to the fact that most of the retreatants already knew each other.
Well, that theory was blown out of the water last week. Again, we had the Duc in Altum and observed the silence (save for dinnertime) and most of the ladies did not know each other; and yet, I witnessed a similar bond being formed among the retreatants. It was both obvious and tangible.
I found this pattern very interesting and it got me thinking. My reflections led me to this conclusion: Love grows in silence - both our love for God and, perhaps more mysteriously, our love for neighbor. Each of these young women were keenly aware that they were not alone on this retreat, that they were supported by the presence of others on a similar journey. Each seemed to be lifting the other up in prayer. And it was there, in that silent support and care, that this bond began to be formed. It was reinforced during the dinner recreations where human interaction and shared experience brought such joy.
When striving for deep intimacy with God, inevitably we come to a deeper love of His creatures and all of His creation.
Sometimes I hear or read about these outrageous stories about how unfulfilled a priest or religious is because they can't marry. My response? What hogwash!
True fulfillment is borne, first and foremost, in our INTENSE and ALL-CONSUMING love for God. If a priest or religious is unfulfilled, I would dare to assert that perhaps it is because they have not tapped into true intimacy with God, and thus cannot know authentic and ardent love for neighbor. It is not because they can't marry. Otherwise you would never find an unhappy married person. Fact is, no matter what vocation you are called to, in order to be truly fulfilled there is a degree of intimacy with God that must be present in the soul.
I believe the great writer, Caryll Houslander, would agree with me from what I read in her quote below:
Sanctity is a genius for love. This is why the saint never complains of not being 'fulfilled'. No matter what the circumstances of his life are, the saint loves to his fullest human capacity not only supernaturally, though this is what really matters, but naturally too; and it is on the degree of his capacity for objective love, and on nothing else, that the fullness of any man's life depends.
Houslander goes on to say that: "It does not depend upon circumstances or chance, on whether he is gifted or not, on whether he has a happy or a melancholy temperament, on whether he is rich or poor, married or single, on whether he has a magnificent vocation or a humdrum one, or whether he travels the world over or is restricted to the same few streets for the whole of his life, on whether he is good looking or plain, on whether he is healthy or unhealthy..."
So you may be wanting to ask: THEN UPON WHAT DOES SANCTITY AND HAPPINESS DEPEND???
"...it depends upon one thing and one thing only - whether he has or has not the capacity to love."
I humbly ask that You increase,
ever more and more,
with each passing second,
my capacity to love!