Having the time and freedom to retreat from the world is a great gift. Doing it in silence is an even greater gift! I think of the movie a few years ago, Into Great Silence, about life in a Carthusian Monastery where the monks live in profound silence offering their lives and work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. What a blessing it is to be engulfed, even for a few days, in profound silence.
I was awake and walking one morning before sunrise and heard the birds in symphony as they welcomed the new day. The wind was blowing rustling the leaves. I felt like I was hearing God's voice as Elijah did in the small whispering sound which is often lost in our noisy world.
Because of my grandson's suicide in May this was a particularly difficult retreat for me. I had a hard time focusing on the topics of the meditations. Brendan was continually before my eyes and in my heart and mind. But it seems to me, that was at it should be. How can such a cataclysmic event not shake the soul like the earthquake that tore the temple veil in two.
|Christmas 2017 --Brendan cuddling|
the two youngest grandbabies
No matter what the meditation, I spent much of the five days crying: the silence, the sadness, thinking of the pain of all the members of our family, especially Brendan's parents and siblings. Everything reminded me of Brendan.
And there was other remembering: rocking the baby in my arms, reading stories and singing lullabies at night. His favorite was Shule-La-Roo. "Sing it, Grandma," he would say, "And do that to my eyes." I would run my fingers gently down his face over his closed eyelids as I sang and he would often drift into sleep before I finished.
The grief was overwhelming at times -- not a grief of despair -- never that! A grief of separation -- of lost opportunities: to laugh -- to share -- to watch the unfolding of our precious bud into the full flower of manhood.
We will never see that.
But God is so good. In one of my tear times a thought came to me and an image of our Brendan -- the baby lover, the baby whisperer -- with Our Lady.
At that terrible moment, as Brendan slipped from life into death, I could see Mother Mary holding Baby Jesus out to Brendan and the baby in her arms reaching, leaning as if to leap into Brendan's arms -- smiling and laughing in that way babies do.
And Brendan, our baby lover, our baby cuddler, our coaxer and cajoler of babies -- reaching back to receive Baby Jesus in his arms and enfold him, their cheeks together, Brendan whispering in his ear, "I love you, sweet Jesus."
And Mary, that loving Mother, that comforter and consoler, wrapped both her babies in a loving embrace and whispered in Brendan's ear, "Welcome home, beloved boy.""
My Jesus, I trust in you.