There Will Be Bread had a lot (or should that be a Lot?) on her mind after a whirlwind week; Crash (now in the midst of a summer that will take him from intensive Latin, to work with a church historian, to the Naval History and Heritage Command) is writing about writing again after a whirlwind of a sophomore year. Do you just show up again without explanation?
I turned my grades in yesterday, and while there are still some loose ends to tie up as department chair, I suspect it might be summer on my calendar.
Ignatius talks about stopping a few paces before your prayer space to pray for the grace you desire in that time of prayer, and to once again commend yourself into God's hands. In that vein I headed off Tuesday night through the rush hour traffic to spend the night at the old Jesuit Novitiate in Wernersville, and to see my spiritual director — to stop for this moment before my summer begins and ask for the graces I might need and to remind myself just how I live and move and have my being.
And like Fran, here are my scattered thoughts, more than a bit windblown...
The weather was, as the local news station kept repeating on the drive up, "unsettled," but I threw my umbrella in the back and walked twice in gentle rains. After dinner, I walked through the hedgerows and back up toward the cemetery. The newly cleaned gravestones glowed blue-white in the dusk, bright ovals hovering over the high grass. I walked through, stopping to pray for a couple of men I knew, and for Joseph Grady, SJ, a scholastic, because my late neighbor Marie Malloy prayed for him. Then I leaned against the wall down by the oldest grave in the cemetery, which belongs to Anthony Ryan, nSJ a novice who died 10 weeks after he entered in 1931, and prayed. Despite the unsettled weather, it was a very settling spot to pray.
One retreat was wrapping up, another just beginning, so everyone was having a talking dinner. Arriving near the end, I found an empty table, filled my plate and sat down with a book and crept into the silence held between its covers. At the end of the meal, a Jesuit friend (and my long-time confessor) came over, offering tea and gentle conversation, both of which I gladly accepted. It was a grace-filled entry into the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation, a celebration that was warm, joyful, grounded in my current challenges, bracing and above all, a deep experience of mercy. Easter all over again.