Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Silent Retreat at St Beuno's

I have recently returned from an 8 day individually guided silent retreat at St Beuno's in North Wales. It proved to be an amazing adventure enabling deep connection with myself and with God in ways that took me by surprise, provoked  more than one internal wrestling match, set my feet a-dancing, and brought me to rest in the loving, life-giving gaze of God. I went in response to what felt like an invitation from God and I am so thankful for all he showed me and all he gave to me. I would not have missed it for the world.

I was delighted and encouraged that, as I drew near to St Beuno's at the beginning of my retreat, a beautiful rainbow arced across the sky and, as I drove out of the gateway at the end of my retreat, I was captivated by another beautiful rainbow.

Whilst I travelled my own journey with God through the 8 days there in silence, I was often deeply moved to be alongside others doing the same thing. We did not interact with each other in conventional ways, but precious bonds developed between us nevertheless.

Supper at St Beuno's - In Silence

What an oddly assorted bunch
      of munching human beings.
Fellow pilgrims all,
      whose wandering paths
      have somehow led to
      this place
      this here
      this now.
Every one of us dependent on
      food for sustenance
      air for breathing
      love for living
gathered here from scattered lives
knowing our need of God.
            in this place
            this here
            this now
God's wondrous gifts of Grace.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013


How can I speak of prayer?
It has so many textures, moods and movements,
it defies the words I seek to pin it down.

It is need expressing,
frustration bellowing,
thankfulness responding,
desperation clinging,
blessing giving,
questions wrestling,
trust growing,
silence being...

It is the soaring as the spirit takes flight,
the crescendo of abandoned praise,
the struggle of bewildered pain,
the stillness of eternity.

It is a groaning and a yearning,
a whisper and a shouting.
It is a hammering on a brassy heaven,
a grasping for the hem of his garment,
a gazing on the face of love.

It is the keening cry of grief outpoured
and the faint whimper in the dark.
It is a stirring in the depths of being,
a shaking of fists, of heart, of life.

It is a teetering on the edge of an abyss,
a seed of hope flung into the vastness of space,
a sinking into the everlasting arms of love.

It is a showing up and being there,
a waiting and a trusting,
a holding and a letting go -
hidden under the shadow of his wings.

It is a stripping, a revealing,
an exposing, an unveiling,
- standing naked before the one who sees
and knows and understands.

It is an unmaking and a recreating.

It is a skipping and a jumping,
a dancing and a weaving,
a sharing and a giving,
an offering of all of life within the life of God.

It is stillness and safety.
It is a breath, a heartbeat,
Love pulsing from the source of life
and pumping through my veins.

It is a turning and a touching
- a life-giving revolution,
an encounter, a connection
with the living God.

It is a movement to the heart of heaven,
wherein lies the hope for earth.