Several years ago (probably 1999 or maybe 2000), I attended a Spiritual Retreat led by Macrina Wiederkehr. I will never forget this retreat; it was special in every way and Macrina Wiederkehr spoke to my heart.
I’m re-reading her book, A Tree Full of Angels , and I am revisiting the same feelings I had during that Very Spiritual Retreat.
Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB., is an author and spiritual guide and a Benedictine monastic of St. Scholastica Monastery in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She travels throughout the United States and Canada as a retreat director. In her retreats seekers are guided through experiences of silence, contemplation, and faith sharing. Many of her retreat themes come from her writings. She also draws extensively from literature and poetry and enjoys creating rituals.
From A Tree Full of Angels:
What God most longs to discover in us is our willingness to embrace ourselves as we are at our beginning–empty, little, and poor. . . . Acceptance of our littleness makes it possible for our greatness to emerge. Our littleness is not a choice. It is simply the way we are. Our greatness, however is a choice. When we choose to accept the life God has given to us, when we allow God to fill our emptiness, we are choosing greatness.
. . . We are not the only ones with an ache in our hearts. God’s ache for us is immense. Listen to God’s ache in my paraphrase of Hosea 11:3-4, 8:
I myself taught Ephraim to walk, I held them in my arms, but they did not know that I was crying for them, that I was leading them with human ties, with strings of love. . .. I was like someone lifting an infant . . . Ephraim, how could I part with you? Israel, how could I give you up.
. . . To pray is to touch God and let God touch us. It is a matter of presence and response. Prayer does nothing to make God more present, for God is always present. Prayer is our response to the presence of God in our lives.
Although I know of course the importance of Bible reading, now and then I receive nourishment from writers such as Macrina Wiederkehr, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Eugene Peterson, C. S.Lewis, Richard Foster, Dallas Willard, Andrew Murray – the list goes on.
Every now and then I just need to stop, look, and listen for God in the here and now – and reading Macrina’s book helps to give me perspective and peace.