Today I made my weekly trip to Mt. Irenaeus. It was a lovely morning and when I first arrived I met Br. Kevin who is a good friend. He was walking toward the House of Peace and after dropping off some groceries for brunch I accompanied Kevin up the path toward the chapel. As we walked I could see overripe elderberries hanging from their bushes. Kevin and I talked about how he had prepared elderberry preserves last year, but not this year.
Once inside the chapel I spotted many familiar faces. Several present were members of our St. Irenaeus Secular Franciscan fraternity. Others were parents of St. Bonaventure alumni and others were Mountain regulars. Four of those present were students from nearby Houghton College. A Houghton alumni member who currently is on the faculty of Daemen College in Buffalo and me the spouse of a Houghton graduate. Amazingly there were more Houghton students than St. Bonaventure students.
Mass began and our celebrant, Fr. Lou McCormick, OFM led us in the opening song. The readings were very powerful for me today. Especially the second reading from James. A familiar quote of “faith without works,” was part of that reading and that got me paying attention a bit more. Fr. Lou’s homily on the readings and in particular the gospel caused me to see where I’d been in an error lately. I hadn’t been picking up my cross and following Christ. I’d been complaining a bit more than necessary about a situation where I believe I’d been wronged, but complaining no longer seems to work, at least in that situation so I have to pick up my cross and follow. The Serenity Prayer has a line about “wisdom to know the difference,” and today’s readings and homily helped me to see and know that difference.
After brunch and an extended visit with the Houghton students I wandered back up the hill toward the labyrinth and walked it very mindfully. I really tried to stay in the moment and be cognizant of what I was doing. After my contemplative walk I took a nap on one of the benches near the labyrinth. I had a sense of peace as I walked and later drove down from the Mountain. Merton’s prayer was with me as I walked and it continues to be with me at times. “My Lord God I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead…” Yet, I continue to walk the road which much like the labyrinth continues to twist and turn.
Those are my thoughts this day and into the night. I’m looking forward to working with the students again this week. I’m surprised and challenged by their excitement. I’m challenged by the graduate classes I’m involved with at St. Bonaventure too. I cannot imagine a schedule that could be more full. I’m almost overwhelmed at times.