Thursday, August 30, 2007

Look at All the People

This week at Black Rock Retreat Center near Lancaster, PA, there's a retreat/course on the Theology of the Body. It's led by Christopher West and an amazing team of pray-ers, planners, and supporters with the Theology of the Body Institute. I had the grace to come down yesterday and spend the night, and now I'm sitting in a cozy chair on the edge of the main sitting room as the sun peeks through the woods surrounding this holy place. And the coffee is gooooood.

As a speaker for the Institute, I get to spend the day, just listening in, meeting people, and hopefully touching base with Christopher at some point. The main thing is prayerful support and witnessing to the great stuff that's happening through this revolutionary teaching on human sexuality, the meaning of the body, and God's plan for man and woman. (If you're new to reading this blog, and want a sweet and concise summary of Pope John Paul II's scriptural reflections on Genesis and the meaning of being made male and female, check out this link of Christopher's, or see the previous posts on my blog by finding the label "Theology of the Body" in the column to the right, scroll way down! Or check out this sample).

There's nothing like a retreat. NOTHING. Even if it's just for a day. And combine the experience of "coming away to a deserted place to rest awhile" with this beautiful teaching, a master teacher like Christopher, over 90 people from all walks of life, married, single, religious, young and old, the beautiful woods and fields of Lancaster County, PA.... AND good coffee....

Please... take me now!


Just last night, before the prayer service, I got to meet a few souls. To my question, "How's the week going?" (I made mine awhile ago), I was greeted with that "Surprise!- Merry Christmas- you just won the lottery- happy birthday- i love you- will you marry me" kind of expression. In other words, this week, this Head and Heart Immersion Course on the Theology of the Body, is like a spiritual fire hydrant gushing water in the middle of a swelteringly hot city block. Those who come are like kids running around and splashing in the streams of cool water. Cool, life-changing, transforming, and healing water.

The prayer service was beautiful. The chapel was dark, dimly lit with candles flanking the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament in the center. One of the Franciscan brothers played guitar and sang softly as people moved towards the many places where confession was available in the room. It was so warm and intimate, so healing. The Presence of Jesus was like a throbbing heartbeat in the room, beating a rhythm that called us back, back to the beginning. Back to God's original plan for a union and communion among His People. Man to Woman, and Woman to Man, brother to brother and sister to sister. I watched and prayed, and saw the faces of the people gathered in the flickering candlelight. From across the US, and from Canada, and India, and everyone seemed deep in the mystery. This retreat looks at just what it means to be human, just what God created us to be, and it is work. Getting past the lies our culture tells us, the twisted vision of what a man is, what a woman is really is hard work. People have been wounded, the pain runs deep. But I feel everytime I come to Black Rock that the healing has begun. This Theology of the Body is the antidote.
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