In the Commonplace of my Heart…

I have been silent this week on my return from a retreat.

It takes me a while to regroup and gather my thoughts so that I may best understand what it was that happened to me during my hours of unconscious reflection.

I say unconscious because at times emotions welled up in me apparently brought on by nothing…

“Randomly,” my children would say.

In my liturgical tradition I use tools  to make myself available to hear God when He speaks to me.

Recently I have curbed my constant banter of pleadings, reminders, implorings and blabberings in order to be still and listen.


Jesus, we are told on the first Sunday in Lent, went into the desert for 40 days and fasted…

I went out to Montserrat for 40 hours and silenced…


I didn’t deprive myself of food…

I know what happens to my body and mind when I fast for one day… I begin to feel light headed.

Jesus prayed…

When I pray in my altered state brought on by a few missed meals, I feel giddy and uplifted… I lose track of time.

My back begins to creak for attention… my head sets up a regular pounding.

By the next morning, if I have managed to go to bed on an empty stomach, I am refreshed, I feel uplifted and as close as I can get to the Divine… in short I am ready to do whatever God asks.

It can be a dangerous act this surrendering to His will…

It was in this tranquil frame of mind that I embarked on my retreat.


It turned out not to be so different this year from my normal life as a householder.

I walked, ate and kept quiet.

I attended mass, did Stations of the Cross and walked again.

I listened to evening prayer and took notes at meditations and found myself walking again,


along the lake shore.

I read and wrote a postcard for my prayer partner.

I opened myself to enlightenment.

I was neither light headed nor giddy, nor hungry.

I had no headache, my back was supple and my mind was alert, not altered, as I sat at breakfast.

Oatmeal, strawberries and blackberries, a healthy fresh-from-the-oven muffin and steaming coffee sat before me on the table.

Unbidden, tears pulled up a chair and a sob escaped into a hastily gathered tissue from my sleeve.

Confounded, I removed my glasses and dabbed at my face while finishing my cereal and fruit and emptying my cup.

I felt peaceful and serene.

I took myself off for a walk to the end of the road and back again.


I cried, I soared along the path my feet borne by angels’ wings.

My heart was singing, my smile was radiant I could feel it making my cheeks tingle in exultation.

Tears flowed.

My life, the one I share with Hubs, is also filled with such joyous moments.

Each day we enjoy the simple pleasure of oatmeal, fresh fruit and coffee.

I did not need a retreat to experience simplicity.

What I did need was God to show me that I was living to His glory in the commonplace of my life.

That I was doing His will as I went about my normal day.

And it may not be extraordinary but it will lead me, in the end, to exactly where He is calling me.

I am renewed each time I turn my thoughts to God.

I don’t have to wait to do an amazing thing….

I don’t have to work at re-shaping my heart.

God has me exactly where He needs me and changes are occurring in the oatmeal and fresh fruit ordinariness of my everyday life.

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