Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stripped in the Desert

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado
picture by Steven L. Pierce

This is the title of a reflection from the book Radical Grace by Richard Rohr, O.F.M. It truly speaks to me today.

The Hebrew people entered the desert feeling themselves a united people, a strong people, and you'd think that perhaps they would have experienced greater strength as they walked through. But no! They experienced the fragmentation and weariness; they experienced divisions among their people. They were not the people they thought they were.

When all of our idols are taken away, all our securities and defense mechanisms, we find out who we really are. We're so little, so poor, so empty--sometimes, even so ugly. But God takes away our shame, and we are able to present ourselves to God poor and humble. Then we find out who we are and who God is for us. The desert is where Israel experienced its sinfulness, that it was weak and unable to do any good. Our temptation is always to shorten the time, make our timetable God's timetable. We want to get out and get it over with. But we cannot rush the journey of faith. We have to attune ourselves to its times and seasons. You can't bake a cake quicker by turning up the heat to 450 degrees, nor can you slow it down by lowering it to 200. It will flop either way.
from Great Themes of Scripture
by Richard Rohr, O.F.M.


He was talking to me. I trust we all have been here. Some for longer than others. I'm still such a slow learner or stubborn that only a gentle kick in the rear will bring me back to reality! Yes, sometimes a stiff KICK in the rear. DUH! Then the light comes on and I see how God has been there all the time fine tuning and pruning what I thought I was bold and wise enough to do by myself. Yes, indeed, there it is, The Hand of Providence. So if any of you were wondering, it was a fruitful and wonderful retreat at the Woods!!!


Thanks be to God!


  1. So good that your retreat was fruitful...I love retreats, even mini ones like the 3 or 4 evenings before Lent that our parish invites speakers for us. We also get blessed with extra Masses and opportunities for Reconciliation, too.
    blessings to you,


  2. so glad you enjoyed your retreat! i have learned to settle into my dry transition times because when they end it is oh so sweet!

  3. Excellent!!
    We just finished our parish Lenten Mission with the Intercessors of the Lamb as our guest speakers.. I feel so renewed and excited!!

  4. Glad to hear it, Cathy. :)

  5. Cathy, So glad to hear the retreat was wonderful and fruitful. Beautiful quote from Richard Rohr. As you can guess, I'm sure, it touches me right where I am this week. Thank you for your lovely, supportive words on my post this week. It was very much appreciated. God bless you!


Your insightful comments are appreciated and I want all to feel comfortable and welcome