"I do not see the road ahead of me"

Ashford, CT

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
I happened upon this famous prayer (a good one to use on retreats) while reading Thomas Merton's Thoughts In Solitude in the library yesterday. And the day before that I was reading Man's Search for Meaning, by Victor Frankl. That book also seemed relevant to the retreat work we envision. Drawing on Frankl's own experiences in Nazi concentration camps, it emphasizes the ultimate human need for meaning and purpose in life, especially in times of great suffering.

Since the retreat we attended in Boston, I've been thinking that good retreats are not merely a break or escape from our lives, but a chance to reflect and listen to God and find deeper meaning and purpose in our lives. This would seem especially important for the poor and suffering. And I wouldn't want our guests to focus their attention primarily on the the nice place we have in the country, but on the value and importance of their own lives (their lives with God who is calling them), which deserve our respect and attention and care.

More tomorrow...