by Trevor Thompson
Director of Pastoral Ministries
Palm Sunday of the Lord’s Passion
Before moving to North Carolina, I spent many a Holy Week on retreat at a Franciscan retreat center in western New York called Mt. Irenaeus (www.mounti.com). There, with others, we walked in Jesus’ footsteps through the week’s high liturgical feast days. Frequently, Holy Week also coincided with the turning of the seasons, nature’s own liturgy of dying
and rising: the sunshine thinning the mountain fog, the delicate white crocuses pushing through the melting snow drifts, and the return of robin and red-winged blackbirds. It was a week of walks in the woods, homemade meals, celebratory liturgies, and a mix of conversation and silence. At this point in my life, with two kids and another arriving in July, the increased expectations of work and homemaking, and the emotional ups and downs of life, it seems harder to find (or
make) the time to go on a retreat. I’m pretty certain I won’t be at a retreat center this week, but nevertheless I can still redouble my efforts to cast my life within the story of Jesus’ own life, passion, death, and resurrection. Maybe I’ll be able to go for a walk with my wife along the Eno River, play wiffle ball with my kids, and phone my father with a little more presence and patience. And perhaps, I’ll be able to join the people of God in one of this week’s liturgies where the love of God becomes all the more vivid through the prayers and rituals of the Church. We are all “endlessly incomplete,”
as St. Gregory of Nyssa wrote, and thus always in need of these “seasons of retreat” to keep our lives healthy and our love for others robust.