REMINDER: I will not be moderating comments or posting during my annual retreat which began on Monday and ends Saturday after lunch. I wrote this post last Sunday before I left. Isn't technology great? Susan will be doing most of the posts this week. Special prayers for her and Chriss, my intrepid allies.
Nous sont les trois amis de Les Femmes.
I am so grateful for their friendship, their faith, and their writing skills!
And now my thoughts for this Wednesday on the retreat:
By this time we should be well into the meditations of the first week of the Ignatian Retreat. One of my favorites meditations, however, is from the second week on the two standards. It invites the retreatant to visualize Satan on a tall throne in Babylon amidst smoke and fire with his minions milling about cursing and swearing. Satan harangues his demons with orders to prowl about the world tempting souls to the worst and most malicious debauches. We can imagine the murky sky and the stench of sulphur everywhere. Christ, on the other hand, exhorts his troops from the plains around Jerusalem where the sun is shining and all his followers stand in rapt attention. He encourages with kind words and exhortations. Think of the scene in Henry V after the battle of Agincourt when Henry's troops sing the Non Nobis Domine. "Not to us be the glory, Lord."
Will we choose to follow Christ or Lucifer. I expect that most people making such a retreat have already decided like Joshua that, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Nevertheless, the meditation is a great reminder of the strategies of Satan and his commando devils. I wonder if C.S. Lewis ever read St. Ignatius because his Screwtape Letters remind me of all the wiles of the evil one as he prowls about looking for souls to devour.
I hope some day you get a chance to make an Ignatian retreat. Every year, even though the retreat is essentially the same in terms of the meditations, it is different. I am always in a different place. Sometimes I'm coming following a year of many consolations. Sometimes I'm in the midst of desolation. No matter where I am, going off to a quiet place with the Lord is a gift beyond measure.
If you've never made any kind of retreat, Look for an opportunity to meet the Lord without the distractions of daily life. If it's a silent retreat -- all the better. Our world is so full of noise. How can anyone hear the still voice of Christ in all the clatter and clutter? And if you can't hear Him how can you respond to the admonition, "If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts."
Please pray for me as I'm praying for you.