Religious communities in our tradition usually have “Bishop Visitors.” These are bishops who agree to be advisors, encouragers, and friends of the Community. I serve in this capacity for the Community of Transfiguration in Cincinnati and am here to chair the Board of Trustees and Society meeting which occur annually.
It’s hardly a retreat since I am in meetings morning, noon and night and there are often major decisions to be made affecting the life and future of the Community. Yet, the regular round of Morning, Noon, Evening, and Night Prayers and the Daily Eucharist provide a framework which is in itself spiritually refreshing.
St. Benedict writes of days balanced between prayer, work and study and — while that is not easy to achieve even in a monastery — even the attempt to do so beats the hectic pace which consumes most of our daily lives. We closed our Chapter meeting tonight with this great prayer adapted from Thomas Merton:
Our Lord God, we have no idea where we are going.
We do not see the road ahead of us.
We cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do we really know ourselves, and the fact that we think we are following your will does not mean that we are actually doing so.
But we believe that our desire to please you does in fact please you.
And we hope that we have that desire in all that we are doing.
We hope that we will never do anything apart from that desire.
And we know that if we do this, you will lead us by the right road though we may know nothing about it.
Therefore will we trust in you always, though we may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
We will not fear, for you are ever with us,
and you will never leave us to face our perils alone.
(A great prayer for us as individuals…for our communities…and indeed for the Church at large!)